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10 tips on How Parents Can Help their Child Organize for School

October 20, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

As we all know, many children with special needs require structure in their daily lives.  From the time they wake up in the morning until the time they go to bed.  We as parents are responsible for organizing their schedule throughout the day with therapies, play dates, after school sports…etc.  However, during those hours most children will also be in some type of educational setting.  Unfortunately, some children with special needs have poor organizational skills which can affect their ability to access the school’s curriculum.  Whether your child is in kindergarten or high school, I’m sure they struggle with organization at some level.  Here are a few tips on how you can help your child with organization for the school environment. Read the rest of this entry →

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The Language of Dyslexia: Are they speaking Spanish?

October 13, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

“They cannot use RTI or an SST to delay an IEP or 504. Also are they using OG and have they requested AT and OT assessment? Lastly, what is the status of her OG tutor?”  There are a lot of things that are right with these sentences but there one thing that is glaringly wrong with it. Go back and read that sentence again and this time read it as a parent who might just be starting their journey with a child with dyslexia. How would you feel? Left out? Overwhelmed? Well, I must admit this is what I allowed to happen in one of my own IEP meetings very recently. When we adjourned the meeting and stepped outside to debrief, the dad said, “What was going on in there? Were they speaking Spanish?” Right then I knew I had failed to do part of my job. I had failed to check-in with my clients and make sure they understood what we were talking about. I failed to prepare them with a list of acronyms to refer to. I failed to make sure they understood they could pause the meeting at any time to ask for clarification. The ironic part of this story is that the dad is active military which means he speaks in acronyms all day long – and the IEP jargon was overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I am not taking all of the responsibility, the school side of the table (yes, I know we are supposed to be a team, but…) were equally as guilty as myself. We get into this mode of talking to each, preaching to the choir and forget how overwhelming and new this is for parents. So, to prevent this from happening again, I have listed below some commonly used terms during IEP meetings for a child with dyslexia, what they mean and how they can be misused and misunderstood and why they come up in meetings about students with dyslexia. Read the rest of this entry →

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Music, Magic and Our “Emotional Brains”

October 11, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

I have long been a believer that no one therapy, and no one therapist can do it “all”.  This has become even clearer to me as I have worked with both speech and music therapists in treating children with deficits in social skills.

As occupational therapists we are acutely aware that individuals with various learning disabilities, including autism,  are often extremely sensitive to noise and that sensory overload is common.  These persons tend to often react to even the most minimal of stimuli as if they were being bombarded with multiple stimuli.

Why does this happen and what can we do to help these individuals modulate their reactions? Read the rest of this entry →

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Visual Impairment, Including Blindness Fact Sheet

October 6, 2013 in The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities by Jess

Julian’s Story

When Julian was almost two years old, he developed this adorable habit of closing one eye when he looked at you. It almost seemed as if he were winking. The possibility that Julian had a visual impairment didn’t initially occur to his parents, but when Julian’s right eye started crossing inward toward his nose…

Off they went to the eye doctor, who confirmed that, yes, Julian had a visual impairment—amblyopia, often called “lazy eye.” As the most common cause of vision problems in children, amblyopia is the medical term used when vision in one eye is reduced because that eye and the brain are not working together properly. (1)  Julian was also very farsighted, especially in the eye he’d taken to closing.

Soon Julian had a brand-new pair of durable glasses suited to his active two-year-old self. The eye doctor also put an eyepatch over Julian’s better eye, so that he would have to use the weaker eye and strengthen its communication with the brain. Otherwise, the eye doctor said, the brain would begin to ignore the images sent by the weaker eye, resulting in permanent vision problems in that eye.

Julian took good care of his glasses, but he didn’t take well to the patch, unfortunately. He ripped it off every time his parents put it on…and back on… and back on again. So today his eye still turns inward if he doesn’t wear his glasses. Read the rest of this entry →

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Traumatic Brain Injury Fact Sheet

October 6, 2013 in The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities by Jess

Susan’s Story

Susan was 7 years old when she was hit by a car while riding her bike. She broke her arm and leg. She also hit her head very hard. The doctors say she sustained a traumatic brain injury. When she came home from the hospital, she needed lots of help, but now she looks fine.

In fact, that’s part of the problem, especially at school. Her friends and teachers think her brain has healed because her broken bones have. But there are changes in Susan that are hard to understand. It takes Susan longer to do things. She has trouble remembering things. She can’t always find the words she wants to use. Reading is hard for her now. It’s going to take time before people really understand the changes they see in her. Read the rest of this entry →

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Spina Bifida Fact Sheet

October 6, 2013 in The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities by Jess

Juan José’s Story

This story comes to you from the Real Stories collection of the Spina Bifida Association.

I remember when the doctors told me my child had hydrocephalus and myelomeningocele and that he would not be able to do anything that another child would do. I was devastated to say the least!

Through the years, my son has proved them wrong time and time again by overcoming obstacles that having Spina Bifida can give. He spoke his first sentence at nine months old, he crawled on time, he used a wheelchair for the first time at 12 months old. My son is now an honor student in “regular” education classes and very active in wheelchair sports. He has many friends and excels in everything that he does. Read the rest of this entry →

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Speech and Language Impairments Fact Sheet

October 6, 2013 in The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities by Jess

A Day in the Life of an SLP

Christina is a speech-language pathologist. She works with children and adults who have impairments in their speech, voice, or language skills. These impairments can take many forms, as her schedule today shows.

First comes Robbie. He’s a cutie pie in the first grade and has recently been diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech—or CAS. CAS is a speech disorder marked by choppy speech. Robbie also talks in a monotone, making odd pauses as he tries to form words. Sometimes she can see him struggle. It’s not that the muscles of his tongue, lips, and jaw are weak. The difficulty lies in the brain and how it communicates to the muscles involved in producing speech. The muscles need to move in precise ways for speech to be intelligible. And that’s what she and Robbie are working on.

Next, Christina goes down the hall and meets with Pearl in her third grade classroom. While the other students are reading in small groups, she works with Pearl one on one, using the same storybook. Pearl has a speech disorder, too, but hers is called dysarthria. It causes Pearl’s speech to be slurred, very soft, breathy, and slow. Here, the cause is weak muscles of the tongue, lips, palate, and jaw. So that’s what Christina and Pearl work on—strengthening the muscles used to form sounds, words, and sentences, and improving Pearl’s articulation.

One more student to see—4th grader Mario, who has a stutter. She’s helping Mario learn to slow down his speech and control his breathing as he talks. Christina already sees improvement in his fluency. Read the rest of this entry →

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Tourette Syndrome Fact Sheet

October 6, 2013 in The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities by Jess

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), our nation’s special education law, defines 14 categories of disability under which a child may be found eligible for special education and related services. One of those categories is “Other Health Impairment,” or OHI, for short. Within OHI’s definition, numerous disabilities and medical conditions are explicitly named. Tourette syndrome is one such.

This short resource page accompanies NICHCY’s fact sheet on Other Health Impairment and provides a brief overview of Tourette syndrome and connections to sources of additional information. Read the rest of this entry →

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Sickle Cell Anemia Fact Sheet

October 6, 2013 in The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities by Jess

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), our nation’s special education law, defines 14 categories of disability under which a child may be found eligible for special education and related services. One of those categories is “Other Health Impairment,” or OHI, for short. Within OHI’s definition, numerous disabilities and medical conditions are explicitly named.  Sickle Cell Anemiais one such.

This resource page accompanies the fact sheet on Other Health Impairment and provides a brief overview of sickle cell anemia and connections to additional information. Read the rest of this entry →

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Rheumatic Fever Fact Sheet

October 6, 2013 in The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities by Jess

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), our nation’s special education law, defines 14 categories of disability under which a child may be found eligible for special education and related services. One of those categories is “Other Health Impairment,” or OHI, for short. Within OHI’s definition, numerous disabilities and medical conditions are explicitly named. Rheumatic fever is one such.

This short resource page accompanies the fact sheet on Other Health Impairment and provides a brief overview of rheumatic fever and connections to sources of additional information. Read the rest of this entry →

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