Before Technology

Sometimes same events re-occur.  Years ago, families had rules about the use of television with children and now things have gotten more complex with the emergence of social media,  smartphones, and computers for example.

The Family Media Plan-published by the American Academy of Pediatrics talks about the fact that at the age of fifteen months, the use of media is okay so long as a parent watches with the toddler.  The controversy around this area is a fascinating one that should be considered by parents and caregivers.  In visiting homes it becomes apparent that there are varying opinions and reasons for or against its use being voiced.  Research about the use of technology is telling us more and more.  The fact that it is showing that there is an influence on brain development is not surprising. How does this affect your children and parenting style around this issue?

THE CHECKUP

Screen Use Tied to Children’s Brain Development

In a study, preschoolers who used screens less had better language skills.

 

Credit…iStock by Getty Images

Navigate Special Ed

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Navigating Special Education

So frustrating… your child enters the world and you are not aware of the hand that you will be dealt with.  You have a child – a wonderful child whom you love so much – but they have a different style of functioning. They may respond to the world differently. They may need accommodations in school so that they have an untimed exam. They may need related services such as Speech Therapy and/or a paraprofessional to provide support in the “least restrictive environment least restrictive environment

LRE continuum pyramid levels

Photo credit: https://adayinourshoes.com/iep-lre-least-restrictive-environment/?utm_source=copy&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=SocialSnap

Your child is evaluated to determine what needs they may or may not have.  You go to your local school district office to discuss the plan based on these reports and an Individual Education Plan is developed.  The law states that you have rights as a parent to both participate and agree or disagree to an outlined plan for your child.  I am not a special education advocate, but I work with children of different ages. Part of my work involves assisting parents with written reports to present at IEP meetings/CPSE meetings and speaking with professionals in terms of suggesting supports from which those whose skills I have evaluated may benefit.

You may be scheduling a meeting with educational attornies and trying to answer the question of “what’s next?” An attorney may advise you that your child is entitled to free appropriate education.  What is that? http://www.nyedlaw.com/blog/2018/02/what-constitutes-free-appropriate-public-education.html

Over the years, I have seen children fall through the cracks and not get the services that they need.  It’s in the best interests of your child to advocate on behalf of your own.

In the NYC area there are organizations such as

The Parents League   

IncludeNYC

available to help guide you as well.  Similar programs are offered in other areas so check with parents organizations supporting the needs of children such as your own.

Additional Resource https://magazine.parentingspecialneeds.org/publication/?i=646946&ver=html5&p=24

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Add Routines to Your Day

Kids love routines.

The dictionary definition tells us that routines are a “sequence of actions regularly followed. Why are routines important?  Without giving it away, here are 18 reasons:  http://www.skilledatlife.com/18-reasons-why-a-daily-routine-is-so-important/

Elmo, from Sesame Street, gives us an idea of what a routine for a young child may look like https://autism.sesamestreet.org/daily-routine-cards/

The need to assist families with children who have disabilities to embed tasks into their routines each day may be exasperating.  What can you do???   https://www.autismspeaks.org/sensory-issues

Examples of accommodations for hyper-sensitivities

  • Dimmed lights
  • Incandescent versus fluorescent lighting
  • Sunglasses or visor to block overhead fluorescent lighting
  • Ear plugs or headphones in noisy environments
  • Closed door or high-walled work areas to block distracting sights and sounds
  • Avoidance of strongly scented products (perfumes, air fresheners, soaps, etc.)
  • Food options that avoid personal aversions (e.g. intensely spicy, textured, cold, hot, etc.)
  • Clothing that accommodates personal sensitivities (e.g. to tight waistbands and/or scratchy fabric, seams and tags)
  • Request for permission before touching

Examples of accommodations for hypo-sensitivities

  • Visual supports for those who have difficulty processing spoken information
  • Sensory-stimulating toys (e.g. safe chewies and fidgets)
  • Opportunities for rocking, swinging and other sensory stimulating activities
  • Strong tasting and/or textured foods, cold beverages, etc.
  • Firm touch (according to preference)
  • Weighted blankets
  • Fun opportunities to practice physical skills (catching, dancing, jumping, running, etc.)
  • Furniture arrangements that reduce chances of bumping into sharp or hard surfaces

 

Becoming Bi or Tri-Lingual

woman reading book to toddler
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Speaking more than one language at home enriches communication for children with autism

Neuro-typical and-atypical learns a language in the same way. Rather than a detrimental task for them, you are actually creating new pathways in the brain AND enabling more of the brain to develop. The fact is that anyone can learn a language, but it is simply easier to do so at an early age as the brain is initially developing. Over time, the language that a child is most comfortable with may change. The key will be to give a child lots of practice.

For special needs parents who have voiced this concern: Current research does not support the idea that raising a child with autism in a bilingual learning environment will delay language development or cause a language disorder. In fact, based on recent studies, we encourage parents to expose their child with autism to bilingual language environments.www.marcus.org › autism-resources › autism-tips-and-resources › autism…Autism & Bilingualism | Marcus Autism Center For sure – with these children you will want to have social pragmatic group involvement – defined here: https://www.autismspeaks.org/social-skills-and-autism. It’s just important for you and the group leader to understand that the child who learns two languages will typically develop skill function in the same sequence but at a slower rate. The fact that language development is slower will also slow down the rate of social skill development. Here is a list of the sequence https://www.apa.org/act/resources/fact-sheets/development-10-years. You may wish to discuss this with the social skills group leader, identifying with your child’s team where they are at.

Key Suggestions for How to Teach Your Child

One person’s parent or caregiver speaks on language and the other parent speaks the second language

At school – one language i.e. English and at home i.e. Mandarin

In the morning one language is spoken and then at night a second language is spoken

Some parents send their children to language classes after school. In NYC for example https://infohub.nyced.org/in-our-schools/programs/english-language-learners-programs-and-services

Keeping within the guidelines of your Family Media Plan you may want to incorporate these television programs for your younger child https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/5-bilingual-tv-shows-for-preschoolers or as they are older https://www.commonsensemedia.org/app-lists

No-Tech Activity for Teaching Dual Languages:

  • Reading Rockets

  •  

https://www.readingrockets.org/article/learning-two-languages

  • Bosley

In this reading series, Bosley may be a helpful addition for your child’s quiet reading time at home; because you can Follow Bosley on his adventures and learn a new language This dual language book is designed to teach your child new words and phrases. Techniques that are used include Repeat words Simple phrases Opposites Highlighted vocab words

Paperback Bosley Sees the World : A Dual Language Book in Mandarin Chinese and English Book

 

https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/bosley-sees-the-world-a-dual-language-book-in-spanish-and-english_tim—johnson/9469358/#isbn=1470171155&idiq=35837160