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

 

Technology Initiative:

Just published this week on the American Speech-Language Association website:

The Healthy Communication and Popular Technology Initiative is an effort led by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association to safeguard healthy communication in a technology-driven world. We’re a force for moderate tech use that encourages conversation, human interaction and practicing safe listening.

JOIN US

THE SITUATION

We are texting, emailing and posting more than ever – but are we truly communicating?

person-woman-hand-smartphone
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The technology we use every day has helped us accomplish great things, but it’s also had a profound impact on how we communicate. If current habits continue, experts are concerned overuse of popular technology could lead to diminished speech, language and hearing abilities”.

I agree. 

Within the context of home care intervention, I may walk into a family’s home with a child who has a diagnosis of receptive and expressive language delay. Apparent are different scenarios related to this phenomenon

*****I am not trying to be critical of any parent or parenting style, but merely pointing out what has been observed

  • a parent on the phone and a child pulling at their clothes, but the parent ignores them.
  • the parent is on the phone and the child is playing on a tablet or phone and neither acknowledges each other or after opening the door – a newcomer in the home.
  • While speaking to a parent all of a sudden Elmo across the room starts to dance.  When asking how that happened, the parent pointed out that their daughter had learned to push a red button on a cell phone that then activates Elmo.  That’s what happened.  Inquiring as to whether or not the child could actually manipulate the toy and make that happen or request help in doing so, you could feel the tension in the room.  I never got the answer.

You get the idea……

Perhaps consider this article published today  https://blog.asha.org/2020/01/17/asha-president-is-parents-smartphone-use-the-new-secondhand-smoke/ 

and this

Adapted from The Gap: The Science of What Separates Us From Other Animals by Thomas Suddendorf, out now from Basic Books.

Like many a scholar before and since, Bertrand Russell confidently asserts that certain traits—“speech, fire, agriculture, writing, tools, and large-scale cooperation”—set humans apart from animals. Although we appear to excel in many domains, such claims are not typically founded in any thorough comparison. In fact, if you set the bar low, you can conclude that parrots can speak, ants have agriculture, crows make tools, and bees cooperate on a large scale. We need to dig deeper to understand to what we owe our unique success—what separates us from other animals in the domains of language, mental time travel, the theory of mind, intelligence, culture, and morality. In each domain, various nonhuman species have competences, but the human ability is special in some respects—and they have much in common.

Only time will tell if this continues to be the case.

Continue reading “Technology Initiative:”

How Does Assistive Technology Assist People With Communication Need? — Autism Connect

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 […]

via How Does Assistive Technology Assist People With Communication Need? — Autism Connect

For school aged children, a caregiver can request the school district for an AAC assessment through the IEP process. Here is an example of how to request through DREF.org
https://dredf.org/…/uploads/2016/02/AT-AAC-Assessment.doc

 

A Decade of Changed Communication

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Welcome to a new decade!   Where have you been and where you will go this year. I hope my readers will be able to increase their connectivity to others and opportunities to engage with those in many different venues.  As you do so- pause and think about how we are doing so. My question to you is where did talking face-to-face vs. FaceTime go?

Changes Over a Decade in How We Talk:  

Absolutely fascinating how it seems that social media has taken over so much of our means of communicating with one another! Take a look at the statistics https://www.oberlo.com/blog/social-media-marketing-statistics and recall that social media only became a phenomenon of the late 1900s.  Remember the movie “Social Network” and how famous Mark Zuckerberg became as a result?

Now he has new plans https://time.com/facebook-world-plan/

Cell phone usage has changed us too.  At the very bottom of this post, there is a link noting the evolution of this type of communication.

July 14, 2015, the following was published http://attentiv.com/we-dont-speak/  Text messaging leads to abbreviated speech. We can avoid faces by merely looking at a screen.  Fewer verbal productions are heard, and the duration of these discussions is shorter.  The way in which we “talk” has changed  and is different cross-generational groups October 17, 2016, the following was published:  https://www.languagetrainers.co.uk/blog/2016/10/17/with-texting-and-social-media-are-people-really-speaking-less/

August 24, 2018, an article was published indicating that ADHD as a diagnosis may not be linked to technology use.  I learned that as I was writing this post and was surprised by the finding.  https://www.psychcongress.com/article/has-easy-access-technology-increased-rates-adhd  Why?  I’ve seen it in my travels at work – children looking into computer screens-not acknowledging parents, becoming highly active with the rush of adrenalin-fueled by the use of the screen.   Digging further, I found this video    https://www.wsj.com/video/silicon-valley-renegades-take-on-tech-obsession/2D3A120C-C88F-4C81-A005-1439E464A507.html

What Can We Do Right Now to Positively Use Technology?In this upcoming second week of school vacation (at least in NYC, NY) there are some very useful apps that may be of help to use with your child.  When used, please consider the fact that you will want to implement their use under your supervision and guidance.https://ilslearningcorner.com/2015-09-15-kids-apps-for-learning-disabilities/?fbclid=IwAR2PGx4WLPViOnmxB6vFbCmpdtirsR293kzBThNHWy5ap7TvkHfmlo0cHu8

As well, you might want to include the use of age-appropriate school workbooks https://www.highlights.com/store/workbooks?gclid=CjwKCAiAuqHwBRAQEiwAD-zr3Zbarrj_KcVvfduGbsezrdoCgGZTzB2ARwgB-hm0_3Gc3040nL-75RoCIOEQAvD_BwEandr

and reading materials from the local library.

I’ve posted other potential activities that do not involve screen time so please scroll back for those and please don’t forget to look up at each other and look!

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Fussy Eating

by Claire Gillespie shared from The Week and via Fussy Eating — Pediatric Feeding News

The Truth about Fussy Eating by by Claire Gillespie shared from The Week It’s no big secret that a lot of kids don’t like vegetables. Or they think they don’t like them, because they don’t really know — they won’t try them. Another non-secret is that one of the most exhausting aspects of parenting isKeep…

 

 

There are serious sensory components to eating and these are illustrated through another remarkable post that was recently featured; well worth a look.  For example, the sensation for some may be illustrated with the following image.  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/77902889/posts/2550462747