Thursday, March 29, 2012

Steps to Help You Teach Children With Autism

You may be feeling grief upon receiving a diagnosis that your child has Autism or Aspergers Syndrome etc. Do not despair! There is hope! Many individuals on the autism spectrum have grown up to have productive, fulfilling lives. Your child can still have a bright future! One out of 120 children coming into the world are now being diagnosed with some form of autism. It appears to be becoming a world wide epidemic. You are not alone. Here are three alternative steps to take to improve your child's life and your own:
1. Creative expression
2. Telepathic Communication
3. Life Style Changes
It may be helpful to understand that many of them are Indigo or Rainbow children. This means that these children have more activated DNA, they are extremely sensitive, gifted, and highly intelligent. At the same time their speech may be delayed or others may have physical developmental challenges.
As such, children on the autism spectrum are often gifted in painting, drawing, sculpture and music. When you allow them to express themselves in these other mediums, the whole family will benefit. Creative expression is therapeutic in and of itself, as it allows freedom for feelings to be expressed in a safe, fun way. These feelings may otherwise be buried and come out later in a destructive way. For all of us, with or without autism, emotional expression is vital for our health and well-being. It is a normal part of being human. This is why music, painting, and drawing is important for autistic children. It provides them with another language, which may be easier, for the autistic child than verbal expression.
You don't have to be a professional artist or art therapist to support your child in expressing themselves. You can paint or draw along with them or create music together. If this is a challenge for you, just keep it simple and fun. Try to let go of your inner critic. Art education is vital for the development of the autistic child because it will develop their inner realm, and will help them discover who they are and how they fit into the world around them.
These children have a highly sensitive metabolism which means they may have a tendency to become overwhelmed by large groups of people, large classrooms, noise, and emotion. When they are feeling overwhelmed or over stimulated they can either withdraw further within themselves and from the outer world or they can become more hyperactive, or escalate the situation to have an emotional meltdown. At this point hugging or holding them can feel uncomfortable or even painful for the autistic child if they are highly sensitive to touch or energy. A highly sensitive autistic child may be clear sentient, clairvoyant and telepathic. It is more natural and easier for them to communicate this way. You will learn to appreciate their strengths and what they have to offer the world.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Multiple Intelligences - Educational Success

Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences has been grasped by the education community as a wonderful and meaningful way to acknowledge, "We are not all the same, we do not all have the same kind of minds, and education works most effectively for most individuals if... human differences are taken seriously." (Gardner, 1995)

Today's education is riddled with funding issues, dropped music and art classes for economic purposes, and problems with lower test scores. Why aren't new teachers using Howard Gardner's "Multiple Intelligences" as a tool to reach as many students as possible?

The Multiple Intelligences are: Auditory, Kinesthetic, Visual/Spatial, Intraspective, Interspective, Logical/Mathematical and Linguistic. Gardner suggested three more intelligences-Naturalist- Natural Environment, Spiritual/Existential- Religion /Philosophical, Moral- Ethics, Humanity, Value of Life.

These last three "intelligences" are more difficult to assess, but have been recognized in people who have improved the quality of life for others.

Human differences, our uniqueness, offer valuable contributions to society. There is creativity in everyone. Studies have found that after the rigors of raising a family, or after retirement, latent talents have been discovered, and these talents were present throughout life, but not encouraged.

It is up to parents and teachers to provide intelligent environments. Many were educated with teachers and parents who did not encourage cultural diversity, and did not say they could draw a purple tree, or sing an off- beat song. They did not ignite their imaginations, and give them quiet time to process the world's wonder and its' opportunities. No, multiple intelligences was not stressed in the teacher education classes, or spoken in the Pediatrician's office. School systems, so caught up in fiduciary problems, don't even think about getting to the root of education, which is really teaching, tailored toward the child. The IEP's (Individual Educational Plan) rarely include assessing the "talents" of the child and then incorporating that learning style into his curriculum.

To teach using the Multiple Intelligences, students should be sitting at tables of six. If there are desks, they may be arranged in a group of six. The chairs or desks, should have space underneath for book storage. Each table or group is a team. The room is like a corporation "brainstorming" room. The teacher chooses the captain (facilitator), recorder, materials leader, for each group and the jobs will rotate around the group.

The responsibilities of the captain will be to keep the table's students on task, and will be in charge of reporting the results of the final project. Another student will record who is doing what task for the project. This helps the teacher grade an individual student on the project. Each table will become a "team," and create a team name. The teacher guides the class through the steps of the lesson, and the material's student at each table will be the only one getting up for the supplies needed for the lesson. Each student's talents will be used within the group.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Programs for Troubled Youth Avoid Bullying

Does your child go home from school annoyed, aloof, and, sometimes, with bruises? Do your neighbors complain about your kid being aggressive, impulsive, and dominating? If you constantly experience these scenarios, you are most likely a parent who has to deal with your child's bullying. Some may not consider bullying serious compared to other incidents of violence, but its effect can mark the victim and perpetrator until their adulthood. Apart from incidents in the classroom and community setting, cyber-bullying can also occur as more children now have access to the Internet.
Consequences of Bullying
Besides the physical injury and damage, bullying victims endure and develop health problems like sleeping difficulties and psychological issues. With depression, low self-esteem, and fear, victims of bullying can also have problems with problems in school especially if they don't receive enough attention from teachers or parents. Bullying can also cause economic costs on law enforcement agencies, healthcare providers, and social service organizations.
Prevalence of Bullycide Cases
There are reports of victims of bullying who commit suicide after being bullied for a long time through different forms; this is called bullycide. Bullycide can also refer to a victim's death as perpetrated by a bully. Since the first bullycide case in 1967, thousands of victims have already passed away due to bullying. Aside from the victim's loved ones' who have grieved from their loss, the world could have benefited from those victims. One bullycide victim could have been the one to discover a cure for cancer, suggest a feasible solution to minimize global warming, or even develop a new financial system to address widespread poverty and suffering.
Comprehensive Approach to Education
To tackle the issue, authorities from the government and education sectors have issued laws, directives, and teen programs to protect the nation's youth. Such comprehensive approaches to education accentuate the role of teachers, parents, and community leaders in helping teens cope with their social lives. As authority figures, parents have the obligation to look out for telltale signs of bullying, and to act to protect your child.
Boarding Schools for Troubled Youth
Enrolling your children in an school that offers unique programs for teenagers can be a good way to prevent the harsh effects of bullying. Such schools developed their own curriculums and classroom settings that provide a safe environment for your child's growth and emotional development. They also have dormitories where your child can stay during the school year

Monday, March 12, 2012

ADHD In Teenagers - Is Your Teen In Need Of ADHD Drugs, Or Are They Feeding Their Addiction?

It would be foolhardy for me, or anyone one else for that matter, to deny the fact that ADHD in teenagers is a growing problem, not only in the United States, but all over the world. After all, statistics don't lie, and if recent statistics are anything to go by, the number of teens living with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) has increased tenfold in recent years. The question which many researchers are asking is why.

Some experts believe it's because we have more reliable and more robust ADHD screening procedures in place these days, and that because more people are familiar with the signs and symptoms of the disorder, more cases are being brought to the attention of health care providers.

On the other hand, a lot of people are arguing that many doctors aren't adequately experienced in this field, and are therefore likely to misdiagnose ADHD. In a perfect world, a psychiatrist or pediatrician lacking experience in this field would refer their patient to a different doctor, but as we all know, we don't live in a perfect world.

Many specialists in this field, including many people working in government agencies such as the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believe that many of the cases involving ADHD in teenagers aren't legitimate cases and that many teens are actually faking the disorder. As many have pointed out, it's very easy for a teen to go online in order to familiarize themselves with ADHD symptoms, and then fake those symptoms for the sole purpose of obtaining the prescription drugs which are routinely used for treating ADHD.

Let's take a look at one possible scenario. Your teenage son spends a lot of his time hanging out with all his college pals, some of which might already be taking ADHD stimulant drugs, either legally or illegally. At some point, you son is offered some of these tablets. Maybe he takes them so he can stay awake longer than usual because he wants to study for an important exam. Maybe he's been invited to a party, and wants to stay awake all night just like his friends do.

Because these amphetamine-like ADHD drugs are so addictive, your son soon has a habit over which he has no control. He now has to rely on friends to keep him supplied, but because these drugs are a Class ll Controlled Substance, acquiring them without a prescription could land him in prison. Rather than risk his freedom, he goes online and does some research regarding ADHD symptoms, and before long, he's behaving just as any other ADHD teen behaves. As a parent, you're concerned so you take him to doctor for screening. Not having much experience, the doctor decides your son does indeed have ADHD, and duly prescribes ADHD stimulant drugs.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

8 Steps to Help You Stay Balanced for Teaching the Child With Autism

An autistic child can be extremely challenging to live with or teach at times. Your own self-care is vital as you can easily become drained and thrown off balance by the demands of parenting or teaching these kids. This is being wisely selfish. Do something you love to do every day which will recharge you. If you love to swim, go swimming, if you love to play music, then play music, if you love to garden, then spend time in your garden, if you love to ride horses then go riding. Do whatever you need to do to care for yourself. You are the most important person to influence your child so they need you to be grounded and balanced.
Here are 8 STEPS to HELP YOU recover your energy and help you stay balanced.
1. Make a strong determination to overcome this challenge and to not be defeated by this diagnosis of autism.
2. Adjust your attitude from how unfortunate I am to have an autistic child to how blessed I am to be given a child whose mission it is to bring Light and Love to this world! See the gifts autism has to offer. The only thing we can control is our attitude and the most positive attitude is one of hope.
3. Strengthen your Faith. Implement a spiritual practice if you do not already have one. Whatever spiritual path that will nourish your spirit during difficult days. Prayer, mindful meditation and chanting are some ways which can help strengthen your faith.
4. Listen to and follow your Intuition which will guide you.
5. Appreciate your partner. You are not alone you are together as one team facing this challenge. Be determined that the challenge of autism is not going to tear apart your marriage. Take time out to spend time as a couple.
6. Find and build a support network especially if you are a single parent. Remind yourself that you are not alone. Talk to other parents either in a support group or in an online forum. Find support that uplifts you.
7. Do your inner work. It is important to clear your emotional baggage and negative beliefs that do not serve you anymore as children will tend to mirror your inner state. Find a healing modality that is effective and gentle, and a practitioner that you feel comfortable and safe with.
8. To care for yourself I recommend these simple methods:
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Deep Breathing exercises
  • Receive Reiki to raise your life force and relieve stress
  • Take Access Body Talk course as a simple First Aid technique

Article Source:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Enrolling a Teenager With Aspergers Syndrome at a Therapeutic School

Aspergers syndrome is a disability that affects how a person relates to other people. People who have Aspergers may talk a lot about their hobbies but have problems in getting messages across other people or giving them a chance to talk. They may also have problems in understanding other people's feelings or their body gestures. Overall, it can be said that people with Aspergers have impaired communication with other people.

Aspergers is also demonstrated when people like their habits to be stringently observed and organized. They like everything to be at the right schedule and can be seriously frustrated when it is done in the "wrong" manner. The results of Aspergers vary and can range from formalized behavior to aggressive and anti-social behavior.

Secondary school can be highly upsetting for students with Aspergers syndrome given the secondary school's routine. Transferring classrooms and meeting new classmates and teachers can be extremely stressful for someone who likes everything to be "in place" or unchanging. A person who has Aspergers can also extend a lot of effort when speaking with others. While other students have better interpersonal relationship as they get older, people with Aspergers may find it tricky to maintain friendships.

A thesis by Petra Dewrang, a psychologist, investigates individuals with Aspergers from children between 14 and 18 years old. The thesis, which was based on interviews, self-evaluations and tests, found out that people afflicted with Aspergers were as comfortable as the comparison group. Although both Aspergers and comparison group established good relationships with their family, the former seems to have a difficult time building relationships outside the family sphere. With this, a therapeutic school can help people afflicted with Aspergers syndrome to gain more interpersonal skills, which permit them to relate with other people.

Hence, specialty schools such as an Aspergers school can help students get used to the school environment without much trauma. These schools have individualized programs that serve the needs of a person who struggles with a specific difficulty. For example, people with Aspergers can work with groups, such as clubs, that permit them to polish their hobbies. Although they are fascinated about a specific subject and have a difficult time keeping up with other subjects, personalized programs can help these adolescents concentrate on subjects where they are performing poorly.

Adolescents dealing with Aspergers can also experience burnout in terms of school work. Thus, facing homework can be even more daunting when they do not have colleagues to share it with. Therapeutic schools can work out with teachers to modify schoolwork for these students without actually lowering coursework quality. A school counselor can also help these students in developing positive attitudes in dealing with their interpersonal difficulties.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Therapeutic School for Troubled Youth

Most people agree that teenagers of this generation deal with more daily activities, entertainment, and worries compared to those in the past. With technological advancements at their behest, they enjoy many things their parents didn't. However, this wide range of choices and overwhelming stimuli also has an effect on them; their emotional and psychological aspects of growth are often compromised. Fortunately, research and developments on educational, medical, and clinical institutions help troubled teens find a shelter in boarding schools designed especially for them.

Boarding schools for struggling teens accept students with various forms and manifestations of developmental, educational, and psychological issues. They help those with autism spectrum disorders, adoption issues, anxiety, as well as oppositional, bipolar, and borderline personality disorders. Such boarding schools also deal with students with post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse issues, and depression, impulse control, and anger management problems. Those struggling with their academic, family, and communication aspects can also enroll in these schools.

Therapeutic schools for troubled teens have a variety of clinical services to handle different teen issues. They refer to modern treatment modalities to help each student have a higher functioning level, diminish symptoms and manifestations, and help them become productive family and community members. These modalities include behavior, group, and family therapy, each with its own features and advantages that suit a student's needs.

A multi-disciplinary team includes therapists, teachers, and psychiatrists who coordinate structured treatment programs for a student's specific needs and preferences. These experts assess a teen's capabilities and current levels of achievement using standardized tests used by licensed professionals in the industry. Aside from individual treatments, a school for troubled youth also employs group therapies that allow students to interact with fellow teens.

Schools for troubled teens also develop and provide programs for teens with clinical cases such as Asperger Syndrome. Their team of knowledgeable experts refers to the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV-TR) for the symptoms and criteria to determine if your child has the condition. A leading Aspergers school can effectively deal with your teen's needs while also allowing them to function normally at school

With today's teens' plethora of issues and problems, a therapeutic school where they can find help, healing, and happiness is the ideal place for learning, development, and growth. Such schools can help them become successful, positive people who know their self-worth and potential. A safe, balanced environment for growth with the right facilities, programs, and people can help teens become productive individuals.

Executive Education Strategy and Its Administrative Relevance

In the domain of management training and consultation, national education development for executives is accomplished by keeping strategic planning in the mind. Several agencies across the domains are engaged in planning and managing the development of education systems for executives more and more strategically. A number of reasons force organizations to put a straight focus on the implementation of executive education strategy in the best manner possible.

Organizations wish to plan all the educational activities and goals without necessarily achieving the expected outcomes of the strategies. During the strategy resolution process more resources are not applied for the betterment of the results. Experts believe that there is no hard fast rule that ensures a perfect mechanism to conduct strategic planning for executive education strategy. A number of typical management steps however involved to carry out the methods in the proper sequence.

* Education Strategy Analysis
* Strategy Planning
* Planning Implementation
* Strategy evaluation

The primary segment of executive education program is known as Strategy Analysis. The analysis phase conducts data collection on the basis of internal dynamics of the organization. During the sector analysis, experts take care of the entire executive strategy to address the major issues of the setup planet including the educational challenges of the movement. The question asked during the executive education strategy includes the various strategic goals that organizations work on to promote the executives in the best manner possible.

Executives usually want to plan and carry out all the training and education activities without looking across the ultimate goals and business results of the strategies. During the process, it's not necessary that more and more resources and utilities are put in action for the best results. These strategies are however formulated in strict accordance with the different levels of benefits and results. A balanced decision-making process across the strategy consultation helps decision makers to take better decisions on the topics like strategy evaluation, strategy planning, planning implementation and strategy analysis as well.

A strategy building process begins with the primary phase called Analysis. The process analyzes the current situation of a system moves ahead with the critical issues regarding status and functioning of the remedial options available in the organization. The strategy then seriously formulated and appraised on the basis of several important and core issues. This all depends on the overall providing policy orientations and associated mechanism.

When the system analysis is finished, future directions are made and traced to revamp the management decisions. Administrators can further proceed with planning the necessary actions to correct or improve the situation. Finally, operationalization of the education strategy takes place that work ahead with the necessary action reforms and institutional measure to sustain the actual start of the system.

Experts however believe that deliberate planning and subject management are important aspects that influence the feedback-providing operations. The operation usually collaborates three major parts during the process. These parts include monitoring, review and evaluation of the ongoing processes.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Helpful Hint by a Mother Who Knows How It Is

My goal for myself is to provide information to people involved in the special education community. My tip of the week idea may turn into tip of the day as I have 11 years of information to share!

I have been thinking about this for a very long time and where to start - so I chose to start at the beginning - and the first feeling I had when my son was diagnosed with autism. FEAR. Fear was the first emotion that I experienced, dealt with for years and have finally overcome. Fear of the unknown...

    the unknown of what autism is
    unknown of future
    unknown of medical testing, psychological testing, etc...
    unknown of efficacy of treatment and therapy
    unknown of psychologists, therapists, doctors, etc...
    unknown of what to do and what to do next
    unknown of child's rights
    unknown of laws


    fear of my decisions
    fear of doctors advice
    fear of following my gut
    fear of not following professional advice
    fear of schools, teachers, administrators,advocates
    fear of financial effects on family
    fear of my decisions

So now that I have experienced every one of these fears and unknowns, I can tell you that it wasn't easy - I guess that was why I was a size 2. Decision making and facing fear and the unknown does get easier and easier. You begin to trust yourself and to follow your gut.... Your gut is your best guide - you know your child the best. Maybe you don't have a PhD or an MD or an MS but you are either a mother or a father or a relative or teacher. Fear is a motivator and if you don't face fear and stare it down, you will go nowhere. FEAR is only a feeling - one that can be overcome like sadness, like being upset. These feelings often pass with time - and so will FEAR.

Don't be Afraid of FEAR - it is just another test in life - testing your courage - and even if you don't find the answer right away, you gain courage, education, self-esteem, contacts, and a reason to keep going. Don't let FEAR take away your rights and opportunities and that is exactly what it will do if you don't face it and act upon it. You may stumble, but that is human nature - get up and try again!

Winston Churchill once said "NEVER, never, never give up!"

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Touch Typing Tutor for Children With Special Needs

Learning to touch type can be a life changing skills for children with special needs. By learning this priceless skill these kids can improve other skills such as reading and spelling not to mention the vocabulary enhancement. The best way to teach special needs children to type is with a touch typing tutor.

There are many touch typing tutors out there aimed designed for kids with some sort of learning disability. The most popular type of learning disability these tutors are used for is Dyslexia. For years teachers across the land have used specially designed typing tutors to teach dyslexic children how to type.

But these programs have proven to be useful with other types of Special Needs including Dyspraxia / Development Co-ordination Disorder (DCD), Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Aspergers, Semantic Pragmatic & other language disorders and Visual Impairment.

A typing program aimed for special needs children must add educational value and teach keyboard skills at the same. So such programs must include:

A focus on additional literacy benefits whilst teaching touch typing

    Grammar and punctuation lessons
    Written and Spoken instructions
    A simple and uncluttered presentation style
    Games (A bit of fun is always welcomed)
    Rewards (to keep children motivated)
    Short Lessons

Benefits for Dyslexic Children

Learning type can bring many benefits for children with dyslexia including reading, comprehension, focus and spelling not to mention the reduction in handwriting, often a challenging area for many dyslexics.

Benefits for Visually Impaired

For the majority of visually impaired children learning keyboard skills is the only way to use a computer, despite the great strides made in voice recognition software's the keyboard still the most practical way for someone with sight problems to control a computer.

Benefits for Children with ASD

ASD is the acronym for Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Autistic children have difficulties with producing written work and evidencing progress. Reason why the chosen typing tutor must have well structured lessons with a clear beginning and a clear ending as well as a reward system which is immediate.

Benefits for Semantic Pragmatic Children

Semantic Pragmatic Disorder or SPD causes complex communication problems that can be overcomed with touch typing because it will improve the process of written communication by greatly reducing the need for a linear thought process.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Help Your Gifted Child Having Math Learning Disability Triumph His Curriculums

Have you noticed your child saying that he hates math, he can't get math or he don't want to do math? Compared to other facets of learning like reading, parents are tolerant towards their child not taking interest in the subject. Not to forget, math is the most essential subject of your child's curriculum and is highly significant in your child's life and his future prospects. But, a question that might pop up in the minds of many would be that why does your special child show so much of disinterest in learning math?

The answer lies in the fact that your child is having math learning disorder or in other words Discalculia. It is scientifically known as math learning disability. It is a state where people puzzle to identify math symbols and concepts. The fundamental sign incorporates reading and language skills. The sufferers often have obscurity in basic calculation. There are many parents who might think that sending their children to elementary school teachers is the best solution for their dilemma. But they are not aware of the fact that the teachers themselves have proved to be uncomfortable with the subject. In fact, many elementary teachers suffer from math unease themselves. Therefore, most elementary teachers are not good authorities on the mathematical learning and approach of their students.

A blend of a teacher's poor understanding of mathematical conception, insufficient knowledge of teaching techniques in mathematics, and incomplete knowledge about altering teaching approaches to reach learners with a usual learning profile, can create depressing results for special needs children. Other than creating curiosity of the students in the subject, the incompetence of the teachers will further demoralize them.

There are two categories of dyscalculia, problem in remembering basic math facts and arithmetic weak point. The basic fact problem is happening to students who still persist to count with their hand. Meanwhile, arithmetic weakness is the inability in performing computation appropriately. Students who are familiar this problem didn't have any difficulty in basic math. To trim down the problem, they should use paper and pencil in finishing the test. Another math learning disability is written symbols. The students have complexity in writing official and easy math symbols. It's intricate for them to use pencil, paper, or abstract concepts to eradicate the problem.

Students who are facing difficulty in writing symbol normally could give an answer verbally. So, the deception for them is exercising concrete examples. Initiate new math theory total with the illustration. When you tutor student with math learning disability, just carry out a verbal instruction for every step of written training. Another step to assist them is by using graph paper. Illustrate that their problem can be resolved in many ways.

Parents can themselves help in treating their child's learning disabilities. All you have to do is to lay pressure on the significance of the subject for their future prospects. Further if you think that you cannot comprehend the nature of the topic your child brings home for practice, it would be advised that you should move out of the straight teaching role and hire a professional who has an experience in teaching math to children with a similar disability.

The author of this article owns special education schools NYC offering seminars, workshops, special needs schools NYC & summer learning disability programs for children using Ortan Gillingham method.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Is Modern Technology Bad for Learning? Tips for the User of Modern Technology

Recently I went to my beauty salon to get my hair cut. They were running a special - "Hair Cuts for $7.00 after 7:00 pm on Tuesday evenings." There were more people than usual in the waiting area because of the special as many of us are looking for ways to save money. Most of us who were waiting were visually occupying ourselves while we waited. There were five to six people using hand-held electronic devices - phones, iPads etc. Two people were reading magazines and two of us were reading books. I do not know specifically what the owners of the electronic devices were doing - there are many ways to use these devices including talking, texting, listening to music, playing games, surfing the web and reading. It appeared that most of the users were visually occupied.

Since we see such great technological advancement in our day, we may think that we have increased in our intelligence. Sadly, our education system seems to be floundering. Some would have us think that our forefathers were widely illiterate. To discover the literacy of our forefathers we could calculate the "readability" of their documents. Educators determine the readability or grade level of a text by using a graph counting the number of sentences and syllables in a 100-word passage. Our forefathers used long words and long sentences placing the readability far above the majority of students and adults today. For example, I looked up The Federalist Papers online and chose a 100-word passage from each of the three authors (Alexander Hamilton # 1, James Madison #38 and John Jay #64). Each were at least college level using Fry's Readability Graph. Keep in mind that these papers were intended to be read and understood by everyone throughout the Colonies, not just intellectuals.

Due to the relative lack of close visual stimuli, these individuals allowed their eyes to develop normally. They were outside much of the time, allowing their visual system to mature. Also, they had well-developed auditory systems. This can also be understood by reading the documents. Listening to each other speak in this way helped as well.

Our lives are so much different now. However, we do not have to return to an agrarian society to restore much of what has been lost. Here are some tips for the user of modern technology:

1. Take breaks often - at least looking up and outside.

2. When possible take longer breaks, taking walks outside.

3. Get sunshine and breathe deeply.

4. Use appropriate sized reading material for young eyes.

5. Limit screen time (TV, Computer, and hand-held electronic devices) for young children whose auditory and visual systems are still maturing.

6. Use meal times to discuss current events or other issues as a family.

7. Read together as a family.

8. Encourage and model reading for your children.

Maggie operates the Center for Neuro Development in Lakewood, Washington, along with her husband Ronnie. Maggie earned a Special Education from Adams State College in 1989. She has been in an internship / independent study leading to certification with the International Christian Association of Neurodevelopmentalists. They offer local, on site services as well as some long distance consultation. They work with homeschoolers as well as those who attend school. While many of their clients are challenged with learning they offer products and services for a broad range of individuals.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sensory Stages One and Two in Concept Development

In order to learn about the world and the things in it, we must explore our surroundings and gather information through our senses. Regardless of whether we are talking about a child or adult, or a developmentally delayed or gifted individual, and regardless of the skill or concept we are considering, the brain must begin its search for information by using the senses.

If we do not recognize something as having been encountered in the past or if we encountered it but did not understand it, we will rely on our sensory organs to gather information. Both children and adults who are presented with something completely novel to them will begin their investigation by looking, touching, tasting or listening to it. It is only after we have gained information about the physical properties of the thing we are exploring that we can move on to investigating it at a more sophisticated level.

Because sensory exploration is the foundation of all learning, individuals who have visual or hearing impairments and those who have inadequate sensory integration or sensory processing abilities are at a great disadvantage and are therefore at higher risk for experiencing delayed development and learning disabilities.

All skills and concepts follow the same sequence of developmental stages: acquiring information about something's physical properties by exploring it with the sensory organs, discovering how these properties change when an action is taken (cause and effect relationships), and the ability to manipulate this information symbolically in the mind in the absence of the thing itself.

Children with atypical development progress through the same stages of concept development and in the same order as children with typical development. Due to the sensory processing problems that the atypical population experiences, however, they often cannot progress as fast through these stages and can become stuck in a stage for years, perhaps even indefinitely, if they are unable to gain access to the information and experiences they need in order to progress to the next higher level.

The fist two stages of skill or concept development (we call this "cognitive" development) are the sensory stages. In the first stage the learner uses only one sense at a time to explore something. Stage One is marked by behaviors like watching but not touching or looking away from something that is being manipulated by the hands.

Stage Two is marked by exploration behaviors that show the coordination of two or more senses: an object an be manipulated at the same time it is being watched or it can be mouthed at the same time it is being manipulated with the fingers.

The sensory stages illustrate the progression from "simple to complex" and from "single to multiple" that will mark all of the stages of cognitive development. In language development, for example, infants vocalize and produce individual sounds, grunts, or squeals before they produce more complex constructions like combining consonants and vowels ("canonical babbling"). In the same way, children first explore individual physical properties of things before they can coordinate their senses well enough to explore two or more dimensions of an object at once.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Is Your Special Education Child Actually Being Served?

First of all, I would like to let you know that there are many special education teachers who, day in and day out advocate for special education children, and teach your child to the best of their abilities. The fact is that these teachers are not being supported, and are being made to put their license on the line, and first and foremost serve the local high-profile students first. What do I mean by high-profile students? I mean students whose parents are school administrators, lawyers, local politicians, or work for some other local high-profile organization. That's right, if you are not one of these parents, then you need to investigate whether or not your child is being served properly, according to his IEP. The excuse that the administration give the teachers for this behavior, is that they do not have enough money to hire enough special education teachers.

Let me take a moment here and educate you as to what that statement actually means. Not having enough money does not mean that the state or the city does not have enough money to hire teachers. What it means is that they did not budget enough money to hire the teachers necessary to accomplish the balanced service of special education students. They have budgeted many thousands of dollars in states such as South Carolina, for roads, highways, and research to stop flooding on city streets, and at the same time laid off teachers. Oh, of course they don't call it a layoff, they cover that by calling teachers positions slots, and just tell you the parents that there are no slots left. The parents tend to buy into what the school system says, because the school system is very good at covering their tracks.

At this point you may be asking how I know these things, and where I was able to acquire my information. I have been a special education teacher in two states and in at least three major counties. I have relatives who are teachers in other states, so my information is about as inside as it gets. In fact you can hang your hat on it. As I am writing this I am in contact with state officials and am trying to create a task force for this very purpose. I don't know if I will be able to pull this off without the backing of many parents with children having special needs, and attending public schools. Now that you understand that I am in contact with many special education teachers, I want you to know the unbelievable truth, and that is that when these teachers complain that they are serving high-profile cases, and they are not able to find the time to serve others, that do not have parents in high places, they are threatened, they are told that they will lose their jobs if they say the wrong thing, they are given extra work to do, sometimes in an attempt to have teachers quit if they rock the boat.

The teacher knows that the administration will not back them and that their license is on the line. Yet they also know that they will be fired if they say or do the wrong thing. Many teachers have contacted me in tears, and believe me it is not just one or two, nor is it just one school system, but many. The sole purpose of this article is to let you know the truth, so that if you have a child who is in special education and you are not one of those high-profile cases, the first thing you should do after reading this article is get on the telephone with your school system and find out exactly what services your child is getting, and when they are getting them. some of you will be shocked to find that your child may not have been served properly for many months. The heart of the law that protects our special education students is based on equality.

If the state does not have enough teachers to be in compliance with the law, shame on them. I would call your governor's office, your senator's office, your state education office, and let your legislators know how you feel about the situation. Don't stand silent, silence does not change things. Although the school system itself is completely upside down and a mess, overall throughout the country, it is in the area of special education that we fail I students the most. Don't believe for a moment that is the teachers fault when children don't learn, and that we have to create programs to keep good teachers and classrooms, and get rid of the bad ones. The truth is good teachers are being taken out of classrooms by mandated education, and in services that they have to perform or they will not be able to keep their certification. When good teachers are not in classrooms, children don't learn. we all have heard it said that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, well, I am telling you it does.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tips For Parents of Specials Needs Children

You can get a very good, quality education for your special needs child within the school system. You do need to take heed of some important aspects when dealing with disabilities and the school district.

Educate yourself before you go into a meeting with the professionals in the school district:

* Learn all you can about your child's specific disability (classification)
* Learn your rights & responsibilities (for you & your child)
* Learn the rights & responsibilities of the school district
* Find an advocate through the state dept. of education
* Find a support group or start one of your own
* Find online support groups- they have a wealth of information that you may need.

You will never learn all the laws of special education as there are several notebooks (about 4 inches thick) filled with these laws. You can, however, learn the laws that pertain to your child and their specific needs.

Your child is entitled to a FREE & Appropriate Public Education!!!

Always keep a record of any and all meetings (IEP or private) dealing with your child. Document every call you have with the school, teacher or district official, with the date, time, name(s) of those involved & the specifics of the conversation. Do this with all meetings as well (general or IEP specific). Any notes sent home should also be kept in this file for reference at a later date, if necessary.

The school &/or district does not usually freely offer the information to all that you feel your child needs. Before attending any meetings with the school personnel, write a list of questions to ask about the things you feel your child needs to achieve his/her maximum potential in his/her school career.