We are a society of labels and the school system is no different. Parents love to hear when their child is labeled “Gifted” and cringe if their child is labeled “Special Needs.” I’m writing this to help parents overcome their disdain for the “Special Needs” label. If you have been told by your school that your child should be tested for Special Education services, then your child is most likely Not Able to access the curriculum in school successfully. If that is the case, then you as the parent have a responsibility to find what is going on with your child; even if that means he/she could be given the label of “Special Needs.” Read the rest of this entry →
You are browsing the archive for 2011 February.
Living with a teenager is challenging in and of itself; trying to assist a student who may not want help is even more difficult. Teens desire nothing more than independence from their parents. They crave autonomy even though they still want parental feedback and approval. Teens are known for testing parental boundaries and limits. In addition, hormonal changes can wreak havoc on teens’ daily moods. One moment an adolescent can seem perfectly secure and happy and the next she can snap over an innocuous comment. Homework and academic expectations add another layer of stress. If this situation sounds familiar, try any one of the following strategies. Read the rest of this entry →
Communication is one of the most important aspects of every relationship and even more important when parents are trying to bond with their young children. Communication comes in many forms and is not limited to only the spoken language. The following 13 minute video describes with vivid imagery and parent interviews how American Sign Language has helped parents connect to their children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The video was produced by DJ Kurs in cooperation with California State University – Northridge and the California Department of Education. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Read the rest of this entry →
My wife, Dennise, and I have become huge fans of the work that is taking place at Social Thinking. Our first introduction to their work was last year when Dennise saw Pamela Crooke speak at a conference. She came home excited about what she had heard and right away wanted to learn more. About a month after that conference we attended my son’s annual IEP and the first thing we talked about coincidently was Social Thinking’s, “You are a Social Detective”. So when I had a chance to see the creator of Social Thinking, Michelle Garcia Winner, speak last weekend at an Autism Conference I jumped at the chance.
If you ever have the opportunity to see Michelle speak I highly recommend it. Her speaking technique is very engaging: I’d call it a mix of knowledge, experience, humor, storytelling and most of all frank and honest statements. Read the rest of this entry →
Karen Janowski asked on Twitter, “have you helped your students optimize their performance using tech?-color choices, font sizes, text-to-speech, readability…” and when I re-tweeted her, she added, “we’ll keep preaching it until it’s unnecessary. Think that will ever happen?” Read the rest of this entry →
The Special Education student eagerly awaits modern educational approaches, as their cognitive skills weaknesses can be improved to make them functioning students. They can become even highly capable learners, and soon. Now, we can move forward without hesitation.
For years, the typical solution was in-classroom or pull out tutorial assistance of daily assignments. Teachers, not knowing how to implement advanced instructional strategies, remained instructing within this inefficient model. In many cases, teachers feared additional, cumbersome work in learning and implementing new methodologies. Read the rest of this entry →
One of the benefits of being an advocate is when you attend a lot of IEP meetings in the same District you start to see patterns. Usually, these patterns are designed by the School District to manipulate the outcome of an IEP with a set agenda. As a parent, you probably won’t even realize this is happening because you only attend one or two IEP meetings a year, but as an advocate they are easy to spot.
For years, my local school district has been paying behaviorists from non-public agencies (NPA) to help children in school who need more behavior support than a paraprofessional can provide. Due to the cost and shrinking budgets, the School District has decided to try and eliminate NPA behavior support from ALL IEP’s. The elimination of NPA behaviorists isn’t a written policy that a parent could find in the School District’s Special Education manual but it’s still happening none the less. Read the rest of this entry →
It’s routinely thought that our passions interfere with our rationality. Mr. Spock and Commander Data are supposedly the straight thinkers. Fortunately, since what is done to our kids fills us with fear, indignation, and many other strong emotions, that’s not exactly true. Read the rest of this entry →
Selecting the right camp and understanding common misconceptions about overnight camp for children with learning differences & social skill needs.
Overnight summer camp is one of the most rewarding experiences that you can provide your child with if you know how to choose a camp where your child can be successful. Overnight camp can provide children with learning differences, social skill needs, mild Autism Spectrum Disorders, Non-Verbal Learning Disability and ADD/ADHD with many benefits. It can nurture their independence, help them develop important social skills and friendships. It can also increase a child’s self- esteem and self-confidence. Finding the right overnight summer camp for your child can be a daunting task given the number of overnight camps available. As a camp professional who has worked with campers for over 20 years in camp settings I have seen firsthand what types of camp environments work best for children diagnosed with learning differences and the diagnoses mentioned above and which can be challenging for them. As a parent to a child with learning differences. I know what questions I would want answered from a prospective Camp Director and am happy to share my expertise with you. Read the rest of this entry →