The frustration of not able to communicate or express their wants can have a negative effect on individuals with autism. They may tend to stay aloof, throw tantrum and indulge in negative behavior For autism, assistive technology can benefit individuals (of all age groups) in promoting communication and social interactions. Assistive technology refers to hand-held gadgets such […]
Sixteen years ago when I was trying to locate a woman who wanted to plan for the placement of her child in the hands of adoptive parents, “birth parent” was used to refer to the parent who gave birth to the adopted child. With the increased variety of methods by which families can be created, I guess the term “biological parent” came into vogue. Adoption is only one way to create a family, after all.
What Do Biological Parents Do???: Many biological parents who have to place their child in the hands of adoptive parents do so with significant personal sadness. The circumstances that brought them to the point of having to do so is often quite unfortunate, leaving a personal scar that may never heal. Biological parents may have to PLAN an adoption, because they love their child and want the best for them, realizing that they cannot care for them. It is not necessarily, as i have heard many state, that the child involved was “given away”. This term in actuality is offensive to many in the adoption community.
Baggage Carried: I do not think that as a group people who adopt necessarily consider the developmental differences to which these childern may be prone. Impoverished living conditions, poverty, abuse or genetically carried predispositions may all be contributing factors that are unknown to a prospective adoptive parent and child. In a professional role, there is a responsibility to both be aware of and appreciate this fact. I also believe that it is the role for every professional who touches the life of an adopted child to become an educator for both the adoptee and adoptive parent in terms of the differences that are present. Teaching the adoptee and the adoptive parent how to deal with the problems that may be present, so that functioning is at the highest possible level is extremely important. Parents need to be empowered to locate professionals who are adoption savvy – aware of the issues. As well, the possibility of screening a child who was adopted in
Birthdays: From their perspective, the adopted child will always understand that there is a person or people who chose to not care for them after they were born. Children who walk into your office will carry throughout their lives a feeling of having been rejected, on some level. Birthdays will always represent a day of loss for them. They may be exciting, but sad as well. Sometimes adopted children withdraw from their adoptive family on that day, not wanting to confront this aspect of their lives. Instead, they may bury their head into a solitary activity, avoiding others.
Environment: Children who are adopted may come from homes that are void of adequate nutrition. Biological parents of adoptees who choose not to raise them may do so because of poor financial circumstances. They may have need for the money that the legal process invovled in the actual adoption process may be a motivating factor for them to go this route.
Child trafficking: This is something well documented in China. The following link provides a detailed definition of this term and after reading this, one can come to appreciate how trafficking can influence a person: www.unicef.org/southafrica/SAF_pressrelease_notetrafficking.pdf The emotional toll that this takes on a human being cannot be understated. The article that I reference here gives a very real picture of the very issue.
Orphanages: If a child was in one internationally or domestically prior to placement there may be factors that cause delays in the development of communication skills, nutrition and overall growth. Sharon Glennen, PhD., CCC/SLP has documented this in her articles that are readily available online. In her article “Orphanage Care and Language” she talks of her own experience in adopting a child from Russia. Her travels to various orphanages and observations made during her visits are documented. Amongst the red flags that she notes are a lack of environmental stimulation from adults, delays in language development, low birth weight, limited play opportunities. Some children are left drinking from bottles or may not be assisted in learning how to eat with utensils. One can surmise that the need for a multidisciplinary team evaluation and treatment approach in working with these children is essential to help them reach typical developmental milestones.
In closing, I quote Susan Soon-Keum“ADOPTION is bittersweet,” said Susan Soon-Keum Cox, vice president for public policy and external affairs at Holt International, a Christian adoption agency based in Eugene, Ore., with an extensive program in China. She states that “The process connects birth parents, child and adoptive parents in an unequal relationship in which each party has different needs and different leverage. It begins in loss”. www.cityrooms.blogs.nytimes.com: *“For Adoptive Parents, Questions without Answers” We all need to be sensitive when we deal with all of these parties. Families where there is an “open adoption”, where the adoptive parents and child have a relationship especially in domestic ones, where we as professionals have a possibility of gaining more information. In some cases it will not be and you will have no history at all….there will be gaps in our knowledge of that with which we deal. This is an unfortunate reality with which we all must sadly deal.
It has come to my increasing attention that there is a need for parents to know what resources are available to help them in understanding typical development. In an effort to help offer guidance I am going to just present a few take-aways in this post. Parents need to understand that they are their child‘s first teacher and can offer stimulation at home that will further aid their child in learning how to eat and drink.
Start feeding your baby puree solid foods, as a general rule when they are eight months old. Start with a stage one baby food and give them a small baby sized spoon that are available readily in a drug store. The spoon should have a soft surface, where the food is placed. Typically you will see these marketed as “baby spoons”. One that the baby above uses is an example. Bear in mind that you will want to be guided by your child’s pediatrician about the amounts of food that your child eats.
In terms of giving your child liquids. A fact not very widely recognized is that your baby will be born knowing how to suck and swallow and have had a great deal of practice at that point. Your baby in-utero is starting to suck and swallow because they are surrounded in the womb in amniotic fluid. They need to learn how to suck and swallow this. As a result – your child does not need you to teach them this skill, (typically developing children) and can skip the bottle. Rather than giving them a bottle, be that teacher and teach your child to close their lips so that some of te very first sounds can emerge “m”, “b” and “p”. How are they produced? Closing your lips. So……try to use a honey bear with tubing. A company by the name of Talk Tools sells this product. They can be found at www.talktools.com. The product comes with tubing. You, the person feeding the baby is going to place the tubing in the baby’s mouth and squeeze the honey bear itself and liquid will flow into the baby’s mouth. The person feeding the baby will be the one controlling how much liquid is given. Straw drinking will develop around fifteen to eighteen months, so do not worry about this for now.
Pacifiers – my personal pet-peeve. Do you and your child a favor by avoiding their use from the beginning. A typically developing child does not need them and the continued use will be to your child’s detriment, if you have already started. Sorry…. Children need to learn to close their lips – not continue the sucking and swallow that the pacifier promotes. If your child is using this you can start weaning them by cutting the rubber part of the pacifier down very gradually…snip off a bit by bit. Gradually there will be not enough to suck on and the pacifier will be gone.
Thickening agents may be suggested by your doctor if your child or young infant is having difficulty swallowing. Be careful because some of these have not been tested on this population and there may be better options such as nectars, thichening with rice cereal, smoothies or shakes.
Sarah Rosenfeld Johnson has written a great deal about the connection between speech development and feeding. Google her name and you will see more specific information. As well, the www.talktools.com website can tell you more about this speech-language pathologist.
We all hope for happy and healthy children. When there is a glitch…when a parent has the unfortunate situation of being told that their child will need help in the very early years, when neuroplasticity is at a peak, emotions may rage. Cuts to the early intervention program, in many areas of the country have heightened anxiety about the future for disabled children, those receiving services through the early intervention program or those receiving services elsewhere. Some parents have expressed reticence about enrolling their child in a specialized education program, or having professionals in their home to offer services to their child. That feeling is respected. Acceptance of a developmental delay or other type of handicapping condition may take a while to set in. That said – I have a few suggestions.
I have realized that parents whose children receive early intervention services or those who would like their children considered for program participation are genuinely unsure of the process or they are not educated about what might qualify their child for services in a particular area. Others are unaware of what they would expect to see in terms of skill development in a variety of areas. That is unfortunate. Parents need guidance and there are resources available for you. Especially of concern is that you learn about when typically developing children acquire specific milestones like crawling, sitting, standing, speaking, eating solid food, drinking from a cup, assisting with dressing. There are many more that could be mentioned. Below is information that may be helpful:
DVD: A Life to Love: Preventing Accidental Injury to Our Most Precious Resource-available in English, Spanish, Chinese Creole, Arabic and Russian (produced by the NYC Administration for Children’s Services @ 150 William Street New York, NY 10038. NYC residents can call 311).
A colleague of mine provides this training and it has served as an invaluable resource in completion of evaluations to increase likelihoood of children receiving our services. In a highly difficult economic climate it is imperative for those of us who act as the voices for children who cannot speak to enroll in these highly helpful courses. Rebecca Alva is on linkedin and you can connect with her there as well.
Held my first EI Training in Commack, NY (LI) today. Here is what two attendees had to say:The course was very helpful in learning how to properly perform and write a complete Early Intervention Evaluation.
Erika Witt, Speech-Language Pathologist
Very informative, useful information.
Madelyn Ratkus, Speech-Language Pathologist
An SLP Provider who has taken my trainings sent me the following e-mail with the subject line above, “I am writing up an eval on a bilingual baby that I saw with a translator….. I have your binder at my side…it is an invaluable resource right now.l’shanah tovah wherever you are today!
Here is what two providers had to say about yesterday’s training:Rebecca Alva tailored this course to the immediate needs of Early Intervention Evaluators. This information is going to be so helpful when writing and performing evaluators. Many of the resources provided will help raise the quality of EI evaluations that are performed.
Karen M. Mackin, Speech-Language Pathologist
This course will really be helpful to me as I write my evals. Now I know exactly what the Evaluation Standards Unit wants as far as Informed Clinical Opinion…
Jennifer Sitler Redpath, Speech-Language Pathologist
Performing Evaluations In Early InterventionCOURSE DESCRIPTION
Infants and toddlers from birth through age two, who live in New York City and who have a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in a developmental delay, or who are suspected of having a developmental delay or disability are entitled to a developmental screening or a comprehensive evaluation to determine eligibility for additional early intervention services. Delays may be in one or more of the following areas of development: cognitive, physical, communication, social/emotional, and/or adaptive. Children at risk of a disability are eligible for initial screening, and will receive periodic screenings through the New York City Infant Child Health Assessment Program.
Providers are faced with increasing amounts of confusion and frustration in performing evaluations in the Early Intervention Program. EI providers will understand and learn how to properly incorporate several sources of information and improve the quality of their evaluations reports.
• Discuss NYS DOH Public Health Law, codes, rules and regulations as it applies to Early Intervention.
• Discuss the Adopted Early Intervention Program Regulations 6/3/2010.
• Discuss NYS Memorandum 2005-02 Standards and Procedures for Evaluations, Reimbursement, Eligibility requirements and Determinations under the Early Intervention Program.
• Describe how no single procedure or instrument may be used as the sole indicator of eligibility in EI.
• Discuss how to appropriately interpret and use test scores in MDE (Multidisciplinary Evaluations).
• Describe how to incorporate information from a variety of appropriate sources into MDE’s.
• Describe how to appropriately use Clinical Clues and Predictors from the Clinical Practice Guideline: Communication Disorders, Autism/PDD, Hearing Impairments and Motor Disorders (Oral Motor Assessment for Feeding and Swallowing) in MDE’s.
• Formulate an Informed Clinical Opinion in MDE’s.
9:00 Registration & Refreshments
9:30 Introduction, Public Health Law & Adopted Early Intervention Program Regulations 6/3/2010
10:00 Regulations & Guidelines – Memo 2005-02
11:45 Test Instruments, Use & Interpretation
1:00 Lunch on your own
2:00 Clinical Practice Guidelines, Clinical Clues/Predictors
3:45 Integrating Several Sources of Information & Formulating your Informed Clinical Opinion
4:30 Group Discussion, Questions, Comment Form
5:00 Course Concludes
CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS
*Participants must have paid registration fee, signed-in, miss no more than 1 hr., participate in a written self examination and signed out in order to receive a Certificate of Completion.
Failure to sign-in or out will result in forfeiture of credit for the entire course. No exceptions will be made. Partial credit is not available.
DATES & LOCATIONS
Sept 24th (Sat-Queens), Oct 1st (Sat-NYC), Oct 2nd (Sun-LI), Nov 5th (Sat-NYC) and Dec 17th (Sat-NYC)
Course Locations: Queens
92-30 56th Avenue, Rego Park, NY 11373 (Toledo Court Community Room)
(Behind Queens Center Shopping Mall & Next to Newtown Preschool/Playground).
New York City
Pearl Studios NYC, 519 Eighth Avenue (btw 35th & 36th), 12th Fl. (212) 904-1850
Wingate by Wyndham Commack, Long Island NY – 801 Crooked Hill Road Brentwood, NY 11717
REGISTRATION & FEES
Improve the quality of your evaluations by registering for this training!
Register by phone: 917.885.3146 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
*****Early Bird Price of $227 applies for the September and October Dates!!!*****
Registration Fee: $257
Early Bird: $227 (Must Be Received/Paid for 25 days prior to the training dates for Nov & Dec)
Group Rates: $217 each (2+), $207 each (4+), $197 each (6+) and $187 each (8+)
ALL PAYMENTS MUST BE PAID IN FULL PRIOR TO ATTENDANCE
Mail Check Payments to: Rebecca Alva, 92-30 56th Ave, Apt. 4N, Rego Park, NY 11373 or
by Credit Card (VISA, MasterCard, Amex) via Paypal – http://www.paypal.com
Note: The fee includes materials/handouts and light refreshments.
Please submit your accommodation requests for special needs in writing via e-mail at lease two weeks prior to the course.
CONFIRMATIONS & CANCELLATIONS
Confirmation: is available upon receipt of payment and sent via e-mail in an effort to be “green”.
Cancellation Policy (Organization): Evaluations Standards Training, LLC reserves the right to cancel or reschedule any course/workshop/training due to insufficient registration or extenuating circumstances. A full refund will be provided to the participants unless they choose a credit towards a future training. If the refund is requested, it will be in the same format of payment either by check or credit card.
Cancellation Policy (Participant): A refund less a $50.00 administration fee will be provided upon receipt of written request. Refund requests must be received by mail (postmarked) or e-mail 8 days or more prior to the date of the training. There is no refund for cancellations received 7 days or less prior to the date of training; however, a credit will be issued toward a future training.
On February 13, 2011 Providers attended the 2nd EI Training on Performing Evaluations In Early Intervention. Here is what one Provider had to say: This training truly was a training like no other. We were provided with tons of functional information that I intend to use ASAP! I now am more clear on the regulations put forth by Early Intervention Department of Health.
Alisha Price, SLP
I was asked by Catherine J. Crowley, CCC-SLP, J.D., Ph.D., ASHA Fellow and Board Recognized Specialist in Child Language, to teach her Assessment and Evaluation class on Thursday, February 24th at Teachers College, Columbia University. My lecture for the students was on the Standards and Procedures for Evaluations & Eligibility Requirements Under the Early Intervention Program. It was great sharing my knowledge with the students!
Here is what two Providers had to say about the EI Training:Amazing! This workshop was very helpful & informative. I received a lot of documents that will help me when writing evaluations. The information received will also help me to evaluate myself in how I approach evaluations. I learned a lot regarding the laws and regulations that determine eligibility for Early Intervention. I am now able to provide support for any recommendations I make in future evaluations. Jeanel Burgess-Belfon, Speech-Language Pathologist
It was very informative and it was nice to get paper copies of all the materials. Rebecca was very knowledgeable and an engaging speaker. I loved learning about the laws that are in place and I think that this will help me to be a better report/eval writer in general. Maria Niemiec, Special Educator
So – your child has received an IFSP (individualized family service plan) or the IEP (individualized education plan). They are now going to start receiving services. You receive copies of reports and now have to absorb in black and white what your child’s difficulties entail. These are very hard for a parent to read. Maybe you need some support in understanding the disability, learning how to help your child. Does this sound familiar? This is now your life and your child’s life. You have to look the problem right in the face, just as the people in the picture above are doing to something that is unknown to us, but in the distance. You are not sure really what it is but as the figure moves closer, a new reality takes place for you and your child.
Good news is that those who work with infants, toddlers, older children and adults with disabilities or learning differences can act as invaluable supports. They can help advocate for your child and aid you as a parent in understanding the nature of the problems with which he or she lives. Professionals can help you learn how to teach your child about compensating for the difficulty that they have so that they develop into functional and safe adults.
There is an important key here – we are talking about your CHILD. Parents do a disservice to your child if this is not something that is not openly discuss at home, from the time that your child is young. You may readthis and wonder how in the world do you talk to a child about the problem that they have and at what age?.
Preschool aged children with disabilities are in classrooms with typically developing classmates, depending on the severity of the problem. At younger and younger ages children are consequently becoming aware of differences in others. This concept mayy already be discussed at school before you have gotten around to it. Your child deserves to hear about their personal situation from their parent or other primary caregiver first. So – here are a few jumping off points for you.
With a child as young as preschool age, you might start very simply at pointing out things that a child may see around him or her. Perhaps you pass by a person who is blind and walks with a seeing eye dog. Talk about what the dog does. A family member wears glasses, a person is in a wheelchair, the universal symbol for handicap accessibility. Discuss theese situations.
Your child’s teacher, school director, religious leader and/or the pediatrician might able to guide you in recommending books that describe the disability specific to your child. They may also know about books that describe children in general, who may have disabilities or difficulties in learning.
Television shows such as “Dora the Explorer“, “SpongeBob Square Pants“, “Little Bear” and “Sesame Street” have episodes in which the children have disabilities. You may choose to watch these shows with your child and discuss this if the situation presents itself.
Talking to your child, especially as they are young adults of what they have to do to keep themselves safe. For example, if they take medication then perhaps they should not be drinking alcohol. If they have a physical disability and want to drive a car, they may need to be guided in terms of adapting the vehicle. Again – be guided by professionals treating your child for especial significant points to discuss with them.
Part of maturing as a person is understanding who we are. If we do not truly do so, then how can we take care of ourselves as we grow. Consider this true story. A young man who lives with ADHD at his Bar Mitzvah (a right of passage into adulthood; typically at the age of thirteen, within the Jewish religion) prepared a discussion about the Torah portion for that week. He presented it to his family and friends. The discussion was striking. The young man said that he thought that the Biblical character, Moses, had difficulty controlling his anger and had an impulsive side to him. He illustrated that within the Torah reading for that week. Further, he related this to himself. He was able to openly discuss his own disability, having recognized it in someone else.
The next day, the same teen-ager left for school and by the end of a year demonstrated some ability to calm himself down in moments of anger more efficiently so that he was not physically hurting other people. In this particular case, it is an ongoing process – but his awareness of the problem is ultimately what is enabling him to compensate for it. He has taken ownership for this particular aspect of his personality.
Resources are out there to help parents as well as adults. Here is a sample of a few that might be meaningful for others reading this post but you can generally find this information by just typing into a search bar the name of the disability, illness, problem and information for parents, children and adults generally are found.
CHADD (children and adults with ADHD) www.chadd.org has a link that is designed to give parents information
American Speech-Language Hearing Association: www.asha.org has a link for “self-help groups for speech-language and swallowing disorders” and “resources” which links you to ways to help a child or adult understand a hearing disorder
American Psychiatric Association www.ParentsMed.Org provides resources about medication for children as well as adults
If you go into either www.pbsparents.org or www.nick.com and type in a search for information, programming related to children with disabilities a number of resources are loaded and provide assistance for both parents and caregivers.
If anyone reading this has more information that they think would be useful for others, please comment so that others can benefit. Thanks.
Is your child starting a new school? If so, you most likely are feeling a certain amount of anxiety, as is your child if he or she is old enough to understand what this means for them.
BE AN ADVOCATE
Ensure that your child does not fall through the cracks….
You might think something like …what are the teachers going to be like? will my child like his or her teacher and will they make friends at the school? You are probably wondering when the services that are authorized will start. Well – here is news for you they may not start on time unless you stay involved. This is not to put down anyone who might an administrator or teacher in any one school – but things sometimes happen, especially in a large educational system – like the public school system. You a tremendous help and partner in making sure that your child gets help. Here are some quick suggestions for you to keep in mind.
Having worked in schools; with the professional hat on (so to speak), i can give you some advice. Some schools do not see the paperwork for students who have an IEP (if it is a public school program, especially) until the school district sends them over.
It will be helpful if when you go to school – during the first week, stop by the main office and give the principal a copy personally.
Get the name of the director of special education services at the school. If that is not the exact title – just explain to the staff that your child receives services – he is mandated for — therapy (fill in the blank) and you would like to introduce yourself. I believe that they will really appreciate this initiative on your part. It also sends a very positive message to the school about YOU as a parent.
Now that the school is aware of the fact that your child is to be receiving services….Make sure that your child is on the list of students who should be receiving services in the school. This is extremely important because sometimes not all the names have been sent over from the district office.
Inform your child’s classroom teacher and ask for the name of the person who will be providing services. Get a phone number/extension for that person and an idea of when they will be in school. Be aware that sometimes related service providers/therapists might travel between different schools during any particular work week.
Ask the school in a few weeks to tell you of the schedule for therapy for your child.
Ask the therapist for a weekly report – bring in a composition book…put in your name and phone number and ask for theirs.
Double check the number of sessions that your child can receive during the year. With budget cuts impacting on services across the country and possibly, a limit on this should not be overlooked!
In October – we will revisit this topic for next steps. Schedules may not necessarily be finalized until the first few weeks into that month – but make a start to get involved in the process. It will be appreciated and most important – will benefit both you and your child.
This can be challenging, especially for the life of a special needs parent. Transitions can be hard so in this post I am going to focus on setting up an outline which may not be all inclusive but potentially helpful and include some links that may assist. I’ll then focus more specifically on what paperwork may be helpful to pull together for that first day with your child who may have an IEP at school in Part Two.
Heading Back to School..A Change of Seasons and a Need to Re-Organize
School sales started even before August 1st. I had trouble with that and still do because it feels like the summer is being perpetually being increasingly rushed such that even if you are away on vacation, there is that reminder abundantly present around you that the season and level of responsibility for your family (if with young children) will be changing sooner than you think. Even if you are an empty-nester ity is a reminder of the change of seasons and that the cooler weather season should be drawing soon upon the doorstep. Yes – the reality is that this time of year is fast approaching in the Mid-Atlantic part of the United States.
School Supplies: an annual rite of passage
As a child, I remembered that it starts again and is exciting because you hunt for that clean and crisp new notebook, new pens filled with ink, unsharpened pencils, crisp notebook paper etc. I must be dating myself – but one ritual I remember was making book covers from the nice shiney ones that they sold in the stores. They were paper with pretty designs such as this one from https://shiny-happy-art.myshopify.com/collections/stationery/products/shiny-happy-owls-book-cover?variant=18248709668961 or the ones that I made out of paper bags. Here is a link so you can see how to do this from scratch https://youtu.be/5fpaUSjqXro I also remember metal lunch boxes, insulated bags, ice packs and thermos bottles for lunch box preparation. It was always nice to have a matching box and thermos at school. Everything had to be properly labelled. Look at the lunch boxes above..in the picture…It was so much fun to pick out a new one.
Make sure that you have the proper uniforns, shoes/socks, a sweater and a bookbag. Labelling every item will ensure everything comes home and here is a link for an example about which i am speaking https://www.leeleelabels.com/clothing-labels/
On hold, but on the list for later: wintercoat and boots, gloves, scarf and hat-depending on where you live. Some stores are selling these now so watch online.
Wipe-off boards with markers will be great for the whole household to keep track of schedules and as well a bulletin boards to hang up all of those important announcements that come home. First thing that you may want to put up is that emergency contact list if you have a nanny or family member taking care of your child after school. Practice Will Help Everyone
An extra idea: Can your child help with chores at home i.e. setting the table for dinner, preparing one item, making lunch, laying out clothes for the morning and packing a book-bag the night before so you are set to go in the morning.. Think of the self-esteem that that may build! Whatever routines you have organized for your individual family….try and use them over the next few weeks.