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Coulter defense of her use of the R-word reveals her true colors

October 31, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Following the third debate between President Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney, Ann Coulter a news “personality,” tweeted out, ““I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard”, referring to President Obama. Immediately and justifiably a large number of people began to call Coulter out for her offensive word choice, which upset people for two main reasons: 1) that she finds it okay to use such a demeaning term to the mentally disabled, and 2) that she would feel it is okay to speak about an elected president of the United States in such a manner. Coulter’s defense of her use of the ”R” word reveals her true colors. Read the rest of this entry →

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“Mind Blindness?” I Don’t Think So: Thinking Differently About Theory of Mind and ASD

October 30, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

It has been well documented in the literature that individuals with ASD have impairments with what it called “theory of mind.”  Basically, theory of mind refers to the ability to take the perspective of other people, or to see things from the point of view of someone else.  Some refer to the difficulties with theory of mind in people with ASD as “mind blindness.”  I find that to be quite a harsh description of individuals who have amazing minds and much to offer the world.  I’m not going to discount the fact that many people with ASD do have difficulty understanding the perspective of other people.  But what I am going to point out is this:  so do a lot of people who don’t have autism.  Let’s not deny that many people in this world spend the majority of their time thinking from their own perspective and have great difficulty seeing things from the perspective of others.  It may be true that people with ASD have more difficulty with perspective taking than individuals without ASD, but they are not a rare species of humans who are the only people who have difficulty with theory of mind.  Read the rest of this entry →

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5 Ways to Find Balance as a Special Educator

October 29, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Doug Goldberg

As a School Psychologist I often find myself pulled between different roles. As an advocate for children, a consultant to teachers/schools and a perceived gate keeper for extra services my roles in an educational setting often blur the reality of any given situation. On top of this, schools are microcosms of society; and as such, they often house varying opinions, cultural values and social norms, which impact the dynamic and flow of collaboration. As a stake holder in this system it is imperative to find a balance between the myriad of factors at play. This balance helps to foster meaningful growth and change. This is especially true with regards to children who need extra assistance or are receiving specialized services.  Academic Support Team, Special Education Eligibility and Individualized Education Progam (IEP) meetings are often charged with frustration, misunderstandings and varied intentions, which lead to angry parents and disenchanted teachers. As a  member of these meetings I often focus on different ways to balance the multiple dynamics at play. By merging the cacophony of opinions into a symphony of support, our team is usually able to come to a plan that we all agree on. Although written from the point of view of a School Psychologist, these 5 recommendations will help anyone find balance when heading into a difficult meeting or decision. Read the rest of this entry →
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Looking Back at the First Autism Diagnosis

October 28, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

 

In October 2010, The Atlantic Published an article entitled, “Autism’s First Child.”  This article chronicled the first documented case of Autism in medical literature dating back to 1943.  However, this article was really more about the man, Donald Triplett, a 77-year-old Mississippian, and his enviable life.  The author of the article, Caren Zucker, explains it best when she said:

We wanted readers to come away with a critical lesson — that in real and material ways, the quality of life achievable by a person with autism (or with any disability for that matter) depends significantly on how successfully and spontaneously any society recognizes the humanity of that person in its midst. In short, pity isn’t much help. But community is, when community implies connectedness, inclusiveness, caring, and, quite simply, good old-fashioned friendship.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Treasures I found at the Thrift Shop: Autism and Understanding

October 25, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Today my boy and I were skulking in a thrift store – hunting for treasures. It is one of our favourite pass-times: something we can do together, an adventure of sorts, and always there is the promise of finding something absolutely remarkable. For me that would be some lovely 1940′s kitsch, movie memorabilia, photos or art, or old miscellaneous collectible bits and pieces. For H the treasure could include old movies or electronics, retro pop culture stuff, anything Star Wars or Star Trek, or even a really cool hat. Read the rest of this entry →

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Autism, iPads, Problems and Solutions

October 23, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

As a certified speech language pathologist using technology with children with autism for the past 12 years, I have experienced first hand the impact the iPad has had on the field. When the iPad was first released, it was quickly adopted by the special needs community as an easy to use, engaging tool.  Plus, with the early creation of apps for communication, it solidified its place as a viable option for children with autism. There is much debate about the benefits of the iPad for these children, but in my experience, the use of the iPad boils down to two major categories: a therapeutic tool or a communication tool. Read the rest of this entry →

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The Most Essential Factor in Parenting Students with ADD and ADHD?

October 18, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Some people would answer something such as “the ability to stay calm,” or “providing the right kind of structure,” or “keeping yourself healthy and well-rested.” Read the rest of this entry →

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My Mom Said…No More Excuses!

October 17, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

One topic that I have discussed with many parents over the years is that of excuse-making. I know what you are thinking, “I don’t make excuses for my child”. While that might be true for some of you, my experience has proven to show me time and time again that parents make far too many excuses for their children.  I know this may “ruffle” some feathers with this article, but my intention is to really help you to embrace the strengths your child has so that they can become as independent and self-sufficient as possible. Below I have outlined some tips for success and my hope is that you will at least attempt to give these a try; Read the rest of this entry →

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Suspect Dyslexia? Here are some tips to prove it.

October 16, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

You’ve suspected it since your child was three. You were quite sure of it when your child was five and now your child is in school and you are convinced and unwavering about it. The school is not quite as convinced and they are slow to react to your suspicions. Be prepared; the road to the diagnosis may not be easy or cheap, but in the long run it will be worth it. The steps to diagnosis below make the assumption that you have done your research about dyslexia and you understand the symptoms. If you are still at that stage, you can visit www.interdys.org for more information. Read the rest of this entry →

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When ABC doesn’t work

October 15, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

There is a very popular ABC (Antecedent – Behavior – Consequence) approach when the carer is supposed to find the trigger (Antecedent), define the Behavior and provide the Consequence for this (often called inappropriate) behaviour – ignore/ time out/ etc. In autism this approach does not always work. Sometimes the antecedent cannot be easily identified, because it can be either ‘present but invisible’, or ‘possible future’, or ‘past’ antecedent. Let me explain.

Present but invisible antecedent

Sometimes we cannot see/ hear/ feel certain stimuli as our senses are too ‘normal’. For example, the child may be disturbed by the sound of the microwave oven two rooms away. As the carer cannot hear it, any ‘challenging behavior’ displayed by the child would be interpreted as ‘out of the blue’. Read the rest of this entry →

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