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Father’s Day: What Makes My Son Special

June 15, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

Over the years, there have been many famous quotes about the responsibilities of a father.  As Father’s Day approaches this Sunday, the three that speak to me the most are:

“Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad.” (Anne Geddes);

“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” (Sigmund Freud); and

“It is a wise father that knows his own child.” (William Shakespeare) Read the rest of this entry →

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Autism Inclusion

July 11, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Many children with autism struggle with social skills, intellectual focus, sensory deficits, communication and cognition, Diana says. “Their diagnosis should ideally be private, a detail that’s kept confidential between parents and school personnel; but that doesn’t mean that peers can’t be informed as to the challenges a fellow student faces.

“You don’t want to make it too complicated,” she explains. “Children can see casts and crutches; but it can be difficult to understand that ‘John’ (for instance) is uncomfortable with intrusion into his personal space, or can’t stand to eat round foods, or is easily frightened by loud noises, etc.  Children, when told of these exceptions, will often be extra sensitive to them.” Read the rest of this entry →

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Reality and misconceptions about helping kids improve their social skills

April 19, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Whenever I have the opportunity to speak with fellow Camp Directors who run camps designed for neurotypical children the topic often leads to discussing their campers who present with social-cognitive challenges. In other words, their campers who struggle socially in the camp setting.

Through my discussions with camp colleagues as well as professionals who work with children who present with social skill challenges I often hear that many parents are not interested in sending their child to a summer camp that is designed to meet their child’s needs. In some cases the child may not want to go to a camp designed to meet their needs as they understandably want to see themselves as no different than their neurotypical peers despite the fact that they are frequently met with rejection from the same peers who’s acceptance they crave. While these parents know there is a risk their child may be unsuccessful in the camp setting they believe that the best way for their child to improve their social skills and provide their child with a feeling of normalcy is through having their child participate in recreational settings (like summer camp) with their neurotypical peers. Often this well intended approach backfires for the child, particularly as they get older and social expectations increase. This led me to question as to where this widely held misconception comes from that children who present with social skill challenges can improve their social skills by simply being around neurotypical peers. Read the rest of this entry →

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Change Your Ways!

April 1, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

For most of us, the drive to change our own behavior emerges on or around on January 1st with the dawn of a new year and new possibilities for self improvement. Loose a little weight, stop smoking, exercise more, and eat leafy greens seem to be among the favorites. Most of us are pretty conservative and only select 1 (maybe 2) goals to tackle each year. After all, we are only human and it takes a lot of thinking to change a pattern or ingrained routine. If you’re diligent and work hard, you might see a change but for most of us….it’s an exercise in futility somewhere around March 1st. Why does that happen? How do we lose our “oomph” and why do we slip back into our old, familiar ways. Why can’t we learn to change our ways? These are all questions that we ought to be asking, but rarely do. Instead, we wait until the following year and begin the process all over again. Why? Because changing a behavior is REALLY hard, even when highly motivated to do so.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Does My Son Want Friends?

March 13, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

When I pick my son up from school I always ask him the same question, “How was school today?” This is always answered the same way, “It was good.” When I ask him to expand on his answer he will tell me about all of the academics he worked on, what therapies he went to, and whether they had PE, computer lab or went to the library that day. It’s a fine answer, but not really what I’m looking for. My follow up question is always, “Who did you talk to today?” For the last few months this has been answered with, “Nobody.” Really, you went the entire day without speaking to anyone? “Well, a couple of kids said hi to me, so I said hi back,” he would reply. That’s it!!! Read the rest of this entry →

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Students at Sierra Academy of Scottsdale Learn Valuable Lessons from Four-Legged ‘Therapists’

February 17, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

A new breed of therapist is helping special-needs students at Sierra Academy of Scottsdale master socialization skills and other classrooms lessons. The therapists – three of them, in fact – are dutiful, enthusiastic and, best of all, work for affection and a few tasty treats.

Three therapy dogs and their owners make much-anticipated weekly visits to Sierra Academy of Scottsdale to “teach students sensitivity, self-control, compassion and the importance of treating others – pets as well as people – with respect,” said academy director Debra Watland.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Social Skills and Life Skills Apps

January 17, 2012 in App Review by Doug Goldberg

What are Good Social Skills?

The ability to effectively adapt our social behavior around others according to the situation, what we know about the people in that situation and what our own needs are. (Michelle Garcia Winner & Pamela Crooke, Social Thinking at Work)

What are Life Skills?

Life skills are problem solving behaviors used appropriately and responsibly in the management of personal affairs. They are a set of human skills acquired via teaching or direct experience that are used to handle problems and questions commonly encountered in daily human life. The subject varies greatly depending on societal norms and community expectations. (Wikipedia) Read the rest of this entry →

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Developing Communication Skills in the Atypical Child

January 16, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

It is most important to first understand the complexity of speech. Speech is a means of communicating through spoken language, and therefore using proper speech by way of language (sounds) we can establish intelligent receptive and expressive communication with others.  

Errors in receptive and expressive language abilities occur when the production of sounds (articulation), and a misappropriation of the system of rules for organizing those sounds are made, hence Phonological disorders will occur. Read the rest of this entry →

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Book Review: Social Thinking at Work

January 2, 2012 in Book Review, Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

“Social Thinking at Work: Why Should I Care,” by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke is a game changer. This book provides practical advice to every adult whether you are on the Autism Spectrum, Neurotypical (NT), or somewhere in between on how to navigate the social intricacies involved with the workplace. I have long held the opinion that the ability to socialize and get along with people is as important to creating a successful career as being good at your job. Thus, success very often requires a combination of academic intelligence and social intelligence. Social Thinking at Work creates a roadmap for those individuals with weaknesses in social intelligence to “better understand the expectations of the social mind.” According to Michelle and Pamela, “Our goal is to make information explicit by breaking down and defining how the social mind works, and how it’s linked to social-emotional and behavioral expectations.” Read the rest of this entry →

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Enjoying your Child with Special Needs during the Thanksgiving Holiday

November 17, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

Thanksgiving is upon us and it’s usually filled with parties with family and friends.  For the child with special needs, this might be a difficult time for them because it usually means a change in their daily routine.  Meal times and allowing the child to have down time can really be effected by the holiday.  By the same token, parents need to have the opportunity to enjoy the holiday as well.  In order to do this, we as parents need to do a good job of balancing the change in routine with fun time with family and friends.  How do we accomplish both successfully? Read the rest of this entry →

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