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Ten Tips to Build Self-Advocacy Skills

August 30, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

Self-Advocacy refers to an individual’s ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his or her own interests, desires, needs, and rights. It involves making informed decisions and taking responsibility for those decisions. (VanReusen et al., 1994)

Below are ten tips to help build self-advocacy skills:  Read the rest of this entry →

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Strengths and Challenges of Individuals with Fragile X Syndrome

August 30, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) is an inherited genetic disorder that results in a range of characteristics which include autistic-like features, such as gaze avoidance, hand-flapping, difficulty with transitions, and impaired social and communication skills. It is the most commonly known inherited cause of intellectual disability, affecting 1 in 4000 males and 1 in 8000 females (Dykens, Hodapp, & Finucane, 2000). Organizations such as the National Fragile X Foundation and FRAXA are working to raise awareness about FXS; however, families continue to consistently hear “Fragile what?” when advising physicians, clinicians, teachers, friends, and neighbors of their child’s condition.

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What do Assessment Results Really Say?

August 29, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

There is an old adage: “Statistics never lie, but statisticians do.” In other words the results are not just the data, but rather how one analyzes and interprets the data. When reviewing assessment results, be sure to look at the actual assessment scores reporting grade level and percentile performance. I have had school psychologists claim that a child scoring in the first or second percentile is in the “low average range.” When they say this, my question to them is, “How low does the student have to score to be in the low range?” Also review the individual sub-test scores because the Broad Scores are averages that don’t always identify the needs of the student.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Temple Grandin, Roy Rogers & Reality TV

August 26, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

Cue the music……One of these things is not like the others.  One of these things just doesn't belong.  Can you tell which thing is not like the others, by the time I finish my song?

Did you guess which thing was not like the others?  Did you guess which thing just doesn't belong? If you guessed “Reality TV” is not like the others, then you're absolutely...right! Read the rest of this entry →

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A Mother’s Appeal: Look for Hidden Learning Disabilities Early in School

August 23, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

When a child looks normal, but does not learn well, we sometimes make the assumption that the child is lazy or not focused enough on their studies in school. This common and almost always frustrating scenario is what parents deal with every day when they have a child with learning disabilities (LD) or special needs. And that is exactly what Dane, a sinewy child with pretty white blond hair and the biggest of smiles, faces every time he picks up a pencil or a book. Read the rest of this entry →

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To Punish or Not to Punish?

August 21, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Punishment is widely used in our society.

Punishment can be seen in imprisonment, late fees, speeding tickets, and detention all for not following socially acceptable rules. By definition, punishment is anything that follows a behavior that leads to the decrease of that behavior in the future. This may include adding something to the environment or situation such as giving detention or issuing a parking fine. It also includes removing things from the environment of situation such as taking away dessert after dinner as well as the popular “grounding” (e.g., no television or computer, cannot go over friend’s homes on the weekends).  Read the rest of this entry →

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The Myth about IEP Team Collaboration

August 15, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

If you have been following my blogs lately, I recently got into a debate in the comment section of the Top Ten Negotiating Skills to Learn for an IEP. I’m going to focus this blog on one comment that was made:

“The (IEP) “team” concept does not in any way suggest a process of negotiation, rather it suggests collaboration. There is a significant difference with the former implying a relationship of possibly opposing views, while the latter implies a co-operative relationship.” Read the rest of this entry →

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Creative Cognitive Approaches in the Treatment and Education of the Severely Autistic Child

August 14, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

At its core, autism is a disorder of relating and communicating. Due to challenges with sensory processing, cognitive development, language acquisition and socialization, children with autism have severe impairment in their ability to connect and communicate with other people. Individualized Educational Programs ( IEP) routinely include goals for sensory regulation, communication, behavioral problems and socialization, but not goals written with clear strategies aimed at improving cognitive functioning whereby independent problem-solving skills are developed.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Behavior and Discipline for Children with a Disability

August 13, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

Nothing upsets me greater than when a child is continually disciplined at School when the behavior is obviously a manifestation of their disability. The Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) has set up specific discipline rules to follow when this occurs. My problem is when these ruled aren’t followed and the child is thus denied their right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Before I expand on how I have seen schools skirt their legal responsibility with regard to discipline in the United States, I’m going take a moment to address what is happening elsewhere in the world regarding this issue.

I came across this article yesterday from the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, “Parents of disabled children rebel against suspensions”. The first thing that jumped out at me from the article was: Read the rest of this entry →

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Music: A Scientific Elixir Balances the Brain and Mends the Mind

August 10, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

One cannot deny the beauty of music and the power it has over us. As Plato said, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” It is little wonder that music is used to rehabilitate disorders of the brain and today music is being used in new unique ways to correct learning and behavioral disorders in children at the Brain Balance Center in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

On a scientific note, it is interesting to be aware how different kinds of music affect us in different ways. In fact, that difference is being used strategically to target areas of the brain that are not working properly. The different effects of music can be better understood by these examples. For instance, the marching music of John Philip Sousa, with its strong beat and cadence, has a strong affect over the left side of the brain, the side responsible for order, sequence, and linear thinking. That is in contrast to the sounds of Jean-Paul Sartre, or the wail of Jimmy Hendrix’s guitar that stimulates the right hemisphere which gives us innovation, creativity, and novel experiences. Albert Einstein, who was known for his independent thinking as well as his brilliant creativity and unique right brain structure said, “He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice.”

The point is that kids with learning and behavioral disorders have specific things in their brains that are disconnected causing each child to be different in ways that may hold them back. The problem is that since each child is different, it follows that, each child needs a unique set of solutions to re-connect their brain.

Brain Balance Centers have produced different sets of scientifically composed music for use in its centers across the country. There are different compositions created for different learning disorders. The music used for ADHD, Tourettes, or compulsive disorders all of which are caused by the underdevelopment of the right hemisphere, are different than those compositions used for Dyslexia, ADD, and processing disorders that are caused by disorders of the left hemisphere. The Brain Balance Program owes its remarkable success with children’s learning and behavioral problems to its ability to target the specific hemispheric delays of the brain, including this unique use of music for specific disorders. Brain Balance Centers does not stop with music. Brain Balance has scores of ways to stimulate the brain. That is because each child’s learning and behavioral problems are complex, multiple, and unique to that child. The type of stimulus has to match the child’s weakness in order to help that child. As a result Brain Balance has taken music theory to the next step and developed different music programs to fit each child’s needs. This is likewise done to fit the correct brain weaknesses with the correct stimuli (other than music) for each developmental delay.

Music is one of the ingredients in the mix at the Brain Balance Achievement Center in Wayne, and it is an important one. When the correct stimulus is matched with the correctly identified brain disconnection the result is the re-connection and the restoration of the brain function. Sometimes the results in the children seem to fit the effects of music as seen by Ludwig van Beethoven when he said, “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.”

Dr. Albert Forwood, director of Pennsylvania’s first Brain Balance Achievement Center, is a Board-certified Chiropractic Neurologist who specializes in working with children affected by ADHD, OCD, Dyslexia, Tourette ’s syndrome, processing problems and Autistic Spectrum Disorders.   The center which recently opened in Wayne helps children improve socially and academically using a drug-free approach.

You can visit Dr. Forwood at his website www.brainbalancecenters.com or contact Brain Balance by E-mail at wayne@brainbalancecenters.com or by phone at 610-688-2700

 

 

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