What should families expect their children to learn in a life skills class at the high school level? A simple question; however, I think many schools seem to struggle with providing valuable life skills lessons. Our students age out at 22 years old, which means the state is no longer responsible with providing the students services through public schools. When students attain that age and leave our system, it is incredibly important for them and their family that the student has learned coping skills to assist them to become more independent in their life. Read the rest of this entry →
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Executive functioning skills are essential to succeed in life. Certain executive functioning skills, such as time management and organization, help individuals in their jobs, daily chores, and day to day responsibilities. Students with a variety of learning challenges, such as ADHD, learning disabilities, or autism spectrum disorders, may have deficits in such executive functioning skills, which can, in turn, adversely affect the school experience. Although these deficits may seem insurmountable at times, there are ways to tackle them to achieve success.
As a new school year is beginning, high school faculty and staff, parents, and students themselves, are searching for systems to put in place to develop such executive functioning skills and to maximize the classroom learning experience. To help, here are New Frontiers in Learning’s Five Keys to a Successful School Year: Read the rest of this entry →
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 →
Dear Drs. Utay
After testing with a school psychologist, we were told our son has a problem with executive functioning. He is intelligent but can’t apply himself. I thought he just needed more motivation or better study skills but it’s more complicated than that. What is executive functioning and how do I work with my son to improve it?
Executive functioning affects every aspect of life in and out of school. Many children just like this boy struggle with executive functioning deficiencies, but few are given the tools to make improvements. Let’s start with the basics. Read the rest of this entry →
More and more, schools are pushing towards inclusive environments. Classrooms are a mixture of typical children, bright children, and children with a variety of skill deficits and developmental delays. Many of our more atypical students struggle with what can be considered moderate to severe mental health issues. Whereas many of these students are cognitively capable of managing the curriculum, the emotional and social aspects of school are more overwhelming for them than their more typical peers. Read the rest of this entry →
Spotting people with Inattentive ADHD (ADHD-I) can be as difficult as finding Waldo in those busy picture books. People with ADHD-I do not stand out, blend into the setting they are in, and are perfectly happy if they are never found. Trevor is a good example.
Trevor is a quiet, well behaved, seventh grader who always sits in the back of the classroom. He rarely listens to a word that his biology teacher says, instead, he spends his time thinking about the science fiction book that he is reading. There will be a biology test in five days and he will barely pass it. Read the rest of this entry →
The following is a list of the most viewed special education advisor guest articles from 2011. Thank you to all of the guest authors that have submitted articles to Special Education Advisor in 2011. The quality of articles and their content has been outstanding and we really appreciate every single submission. Without your submissions we would not be able to fulfill our mission to families with children who have special education needs. Enjoy the list: Read the rest of this entry →
Those of us with younger children have spent the past several years worrying about getting them through elementary school, but there comes a time when we have to think about the next phase…..Middle School! I’m sure I’m not the only parent who is concerned about whether my child is adequately prepared to handle the Middle School environment. As we all remember from our own experience, it’s a whole new world! The campus is larger, the class sizes are bigger and teachers expect students to be able to be responsible for their homework assignments and work independently without constant adult supervision. However, for the student who has organization, planning, or off task behavior problems, they might have difficulty functioning in their new environment. For those parents who have children still in elementary school and are already struggling in these areas, it’s a good idea to add Pre-Vocational Goals to their IEP’s. The purpose of Pre-Vocational Goals is to help train children in specific measurable skill building tasks. For some, the ability to organize, plan or stay on task in class does not come naturally to them. Pre-Vocational Goals can help a student learn how to master these skills so that when they enter middle school, they will be prepared to deal with an environment that no longer holds their hand and tells them what to do every minute in class. Read the rest of this entry →
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.
There is a general acknowledgement in our house that if you can't find my youngest son, go find a computer and there he will be. This really wasn't too much of a problem until he hit high school. Then the workload for school became so intense that it really cut into his computer time and the battle was on.
How do you get a child who is fixated on computer surfing and gaming to concentrate on his homework, which is all done on computers nowadays. At first we tried not allowing any breaks when he came home from school. RIght away to the homework. This way we figured that he would still be in school mode so there would just be the push towrds the end of the day. Now that really didn't have too much effect on his efficiency. In fact, the fighting that ensued was legendary. I tried the positive approach...now if you do your homework you will earn "so much time" on the computer to play your games or surf the net. It didn't really work because he just steamrollered through his homwork, not paying attention and not learning anything. OK, try one down, next... Read the rest of this entry →