By Melanie Sandidge
The very necessity of having a meeting to develop an individualized education plan (or IEP) can be stressful. Walking into a room full of educated professionals can be intimidating. If you believe your child’s needs are at odds with whatever cost efficient solution being offered, preparation is mandatory. These meetings are not designed to make it easy for you to be an effective advocate.
Over the years, I have learned what works for my child, how to create effective partnerships with educators, administrators, and support staff, how to empower my child and increase his investment in his education, the crucial elements to a successful IEP and how the laws pertaining to special education function. Here is what you need to know.
There is no copy and paste answer for helping your child have a beneficial educational experience. Inclusivity is amazing, when the climate and culture of the typically developing children in your child’s...
What is a fidget? How was I using one when I was writing and typing this?
Fidgets come in a wide variety for all of the senses. Smell, hearing, taste, sight, and touch. Common fidgets focus on the touching aspect of the fidget such as beanbags and stones as examples. Those are the fidgets that are neat, but the one fidget I have been using quite a bit and still do at times is the toothpick.
Touch to me isn’t always about the hands, it can also be in the mouth area; I was the kind of kid that would rather chew on something or at least feel something in my mouth than to fiddle with my hands, then again, later on I saw a yo-yo as a nice little fidget. It spins, makes sounds at times, and sometimes lights up in the dark. See? Eye fidgets! Not just touch fidgets!
This is my definition of a fidget. A fidget is an object that can be interacted within the five senses to keep a person from over stimulating. That’s how I see it anyway. Guess you can call these rescue objects from...
By Shannon Kennedy Hewett
I have been a mother for almost seven years now, and I have been a mother to a child with autism for almost four. Although I have had four years of experience being an “autism mommy” to my son, TJ, I am still no expert. It is a learning process every single day, and I am always reflecting, learning from my mistakes, and seeking advice from other parents who are also on this journey. For me, one of the most memorable and challenging times was the long process that led to the day that my fears were finally confirmed – diagnosis day. If you are a parent who suspects that your child may have autism, or if you have just received an autism diagnosis for your child, then I would love to share my story with you. Not because I am an expert, but because I have been there. I have felt many of the same feelings that you are probably feeling right now, I have survived, and I have learned so much about my son, his diagnosis, and myself.
I always wanted...
Planes, trains, keys, and lights. There are one thousand different little things that someone with autism can be interested in. However, is there a difference between an interest and a passion? According to Webster’s dictionary, an interest is defined as “a feeling that accompanies or causes special attention to an object or class of objects” and a passion is defined as “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction”. Webster shows the difference between the two words, passion is almost uncontrollable it is a conviction. Where as an interest is just merely special attention. This is what autistic children feel when they are passionate about something. However, it is not just a small conviction it is a large conviction. One that they have absolute no control over. Understanding this can help one understand how an autistic person functions.
If we want to get into the physiological side of things. There is actually a neurological reason that...
Many children go through the “terrible-twos” or “horrible threes”, and this includes children with autism. The differing characteristic is that many children with autism are unable to communicate their wants unlike many other “typical” toddler or young child. Some children on the autism spectrum do not talk effectively until much later than others, so challenging behaviors can be stressful to the parents or guardians.
Challenging behaviors do not occur because of autism. The innermost processes of the mind of a child with autism may have results of impulsive behavior that the child may not be able to control. Just as the shaking due to Parkinson’s disease or the memory loss due to Alzheimer’s, the behaviors of a child with autism really cannot be helped by the child.
What you can Do
There are ways, however, you can help your child diminish some of the challenging behaviors. This does take some work on your part, and while the tactics...
The connection between gut and brain
In every language of our planet, people use proverbs connecting gut, brain and feeling with each other. We may follow a “gut feeling” or feel “butterflies in the stomach” when in love. Scientists have in recent years uncovered that these may be more than just words.
When a gut feeling makes us anxious or nervous, that signal might actually come from the second largest concentration of nerve-cells in our body (besides the brain): Our intestines. Discoveries about the “brain in the belly” have revolutionized our understanding of how diet, digestion, mood and health are connected with each other.
The long standing medical consensus was, that problems like depression or anxiety contributed to gastrointestinal symptoms. Now there is significant evidence, turning the image of culprit and victim upside down.
These findings give a much better explanation for why a disproportional number of people with digestive issues...
A History of Universal Design for Learning
This is a two part series on universal design for learning. In this article, I will cover the history of universal design for learning. In the next article, I will be covering easy ways to make your lessons, courses, and curriculums universally designed—both those you are about to create and those you have created.
As teachers, many of us have thought it. “I already have so much work to do, I can’t start doing universal design for learning as well.” The jobs of teachers and professors is already overwhelming. As a former special education teacher and university composition professor, I can relate to this sentiment.
However, is it too difficult? Well, we need to know what exactly universal design for learning is before we can begin to answer that question in an informed manner.
Throughout this article, I’m going to use the phrase “divergent learners.” I...
Some children with the unique ability of autism spectrum disorder, from mild to severe, may also have other overlapping diagnoses. One of these is known as obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD. This anxiety condition is characterized by overwhelmingly consistent and persistent thoughts of things the individual feels must be accomplished, or something unfortunate will occur. These behaviors depend completely on the person, and can be those such as spinning, handwashing, cleaning, having everything perfectly in the same exact place and arrangement, or doing a task over and over again until it is perfect. Performing the same ritualistic behavior at great lengths, such as praying and counting, is also a characteristic. People who are obsessive-compulsive may also constantly worry about ethics and morals, apologize a lot, worry about germs, and more.
If you notice any repetitive, obsessive behaviors from your child, you may wish to take him to his physician. Often, your child’s...
What do you think? Do animals help children with autism? Why do animals tend to be a fascinating topic for me when it comes to the subject of autism? To me, it's because there are times where I can relate to them.
Some examples of a cat, and I do tend to like cats. Dogs too, but cats can be a bit more quieter at times. Many of these animals can relate in some way, even if it's a bear. I don't encourage others to have bears for pets, but thinking out loud, if I were to be sitting by a river stream and a bear comes up close to me, I would remain calm, look at the bear for a moment, and keep watching the stream. Not causing any harm, no cubs in the area, not catching any fish, just sitting there. Not a bear expert by any means, but that's what I think I would do. The way I kind of see animals is that it is neat to talk like them too. Talking to them without making a single sound; So relaxed body movements, eye contacts,...
Video sharing can be pretty sweet!
I have been familiar with the camera stuff. Used to do some video stuff with some older friends that involved a green screen; Was never really good at "acting" with the amateurs. Boy, they know how to do comedy. Used to be MustBeAmateurHour but now go by the channel, Group Picture Time.
Later on when it comes to the camera, I get to be in front of a camera. Used to be so camera shy to be honest with you. Strange because I'm more comfortable with large groups; So I took a college class that involves acting in front of the camera. Sure acting is optional, but the main reason why I did it was so I wouldn't be so nervous about being in front of the camera. It worked, and I'm all right with it.
A team worked on the edits to some of the featured video presentations for the site; to me, it looked really cool and decided to try something like that myself. Got ideas and wanted to share; There's no real major theme to my channel to whatever is...