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Is the IPAD Good for Kids’ Attention?

May 22, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Q: IS THE IPAD GOOD FOR KIDS’ ATTENTION?

A: ONLY IF PARENTS MANAGE IT FOR THEM.

Attention is the busy traffic cop managing the portal of information flowing into our minds. These days, the cop is working overtime and is overworked and burning out in too many of us — especially kids.

Experts and teachers alike are now worried about how the chaotic tsunami of information pouring through iPads, iPhones, iTouches, computers, TVs, androids, and other devices into our children’s minds may be overtaxing and damaging brain development, especially how kids learn to pay attention. Many believe we are just seeing the tip of an iceberg. 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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Ten Related Services for an IEP you may not know about

August 19, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

In General the term Related Service means services designed to enable a child with a disability to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) as described in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) as may be required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education.  The Related Services most people are familiar with are Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Transportation.

The following list describes ten Related Services you may not know about:  Read the rest of this entry →

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12 Best Special Needs Apps of 2012-Special Education

April 2, 2013 in App Review by Jess

Dear Developmental Doc:

I have a 14 year old son who has high functioning autism. He loves anything to do with the computer but has a tendency to use technology as a way to hide from social and emotional experiences. I was reading about recent technological breakthroughs where computer apps actually encourage social/emotional and developmental growth. Do you have any recommendations? Lucille M.-Oxnard, CA.

Dear Lucille,

You are right, we are now living in a time where technology can assist in helping to build social and emotional bridges between persons with special needs and the greater communities at large. The following are a list and a description of the 13 best special needs apps of 2012. I recommend parents do their due diligence by doing research on each site before installing the apps for their child. Of particular note, please check out the complexity of the app, whether it can be adapted to the specific needs of your child and of course, cost (if any) per use. Best of luck with your entrance into our Brave New World! Esther Hess, a.k.a The Developmental Doc. Read the rest of this entry →

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Keyboarding…..You’re Never Too Young!

January 15, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

When I was in Middle School it was the 70’s…typing classes were part of the curriculum.  It was a useful skill to learn back then even though we were using electric typewriters.  They were fun classes where you learned to type to music; occasionally we took tests to see how fast we could type.  At the time, I took the class because I knew I could do well in it; not thinking about the fact that the class was preparing me for high school and college.  As a matter of fact, I used an electric typewriter through college.  Typing classes are no longer necessary because technology has come such a long way since I was in school.  Gone are the days of struggling to edit your work on a typewriter; where you didn’t have spell check to watch your back! Read the rest of this entry →

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iPad Apps That Teach Social Skills To Kids

December 4, 2012 in App Review by Jess

Basic social skills may not come easy to some children. However, iPad has a number of applications on the market today that can help teach children social skills in a non-threatening and easy to learn environment. The following are the top iPad applications to help your child interact in social and independent settings.

Stories2Learn

Stories2Learn offers parents and teachers the tools to implement stories utilizing audio messages, text and photos. The stories can then be used to develop the person’s social skills. For example, if someone is learning the concept of taking turns, trying to improve eye contact, sharing or other social activities, the concepts can be showcased in a story that the parent or teach designed within a matter of minutes. The designer can also add their own dialogue and audio to correlate along with the photographs. Read the rest of this entry →

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There May Be Curves in the Road to Using Technology

November 29, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

The road to using technology to support your child may not always be a straight road. I have travelled down this road as a parent.  At times I felt I wasn’t seeing any gains, only to realize the curves did lead to further progress.

There may be many curves along the way as you try to figure out what your child needs to best support them with their school work.  As a parent, this takes time and learning.  Becoming more aware of what your child needs and what best supports them will help you identify clear goals and will help you be more successful in helping your child.

As parents, we need to empower ourselves by developing a plan: 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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Free for Download: The Updated Freedom Stick

July 22, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

It is time for Universal Design for Learning to be put in the hands of every student. It is time for every student to be given the opportunity to discover and experiment with a range of tools which can support their own individual differing communication needs – not just in school, but throughout their lives.

Schools, traditionally, have provided students one way to do things. If the class was supposed to read something, everyone had the same technology – paper with alphabetical symbols printed on it which students needed to “decode.” If the class was supposed to write, everyone had the same technology – usually a pencil or a pen used to create alphabetical symbols on paper. If the class was supposed to get “organized,” everyone had the same technology – an “assignment book” or perhaps the infamous “middle school planner.”

If students could not function well with that “one way” they either failed, or were diagnosed as being “disabled” and were prescribed a different “one way” to work – a way which would set them apart from their peers forever. Read the rest of this entry →

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Writing without the Blocks

June 5, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

I am dictating this blog post using a Jawbone bluetooth headset and Windows Seven Speech Recognition. This is a very easy way for your students to begin the writing process, eliminating the struggles with holding a pen, or keyboarding, or spelling, or just the mechanical transfer from brain to hand.

One of the biggest issues I see in student writing is all the things which block students from effectively telling their stories, all the things which burn up cognitive effort and leave nothing left over for communication. Read the rest of this entry →

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