What’s the Difference Between High and Low Functioning Autism?

Teacher helping student in classroom
Source: (Very Well)
Author: Lisa Jo Rudy

People with autism are often described as being “high functioning”  or ” low functioning” But there are no such diagnoses in the diagnostic manual.

In 2013, new diagnostic criteria for autism were created to describe three levels of autism. These levels are supposed to describe the level of support each individual requires.  But there is nothing in the criteria that describes which strengths or challenges would slot an individual into a particular level.

And of course the level of support required by any individual varies based on the situation and setting.

So what is meant by these terms? The answer isn’t obvious. Click here to read the rest of the story.

30 Must-Know ADHD Teaching Resources

Studies show that in the United States, 6.4 million children between the ages of 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. The average age of ADHD diagnosis is 7. Males are almost three times to be diagnosed with ADHD than females.

30-adhd-teaching

The DSM-V defines ADHD as a persistent pattern of attention and or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning of development. Inattention symptoms include the following:

  1. often fails to give close attention to details
  2. often has difficulty sustaining attention in task or play activities
  3. often does not listen when spoken to directly
  4. Often does not follow through on instructions
  5. Often has difficulty organizing task and activities often avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in task that requires sustained mental effort.

Hyperactive symptoms include:

  1. trouble paying attention
  2. restlessness
  3. excessive talking
  4. loud interaction with others
  5. frequent interventions
  6. may have a quick temper

The following links provide tools, resources and information for parents and special education educators on providing support to children diagnosed with ADHD.

Accommodations

Information on classroom accommodations including teaching techniques, learning style, schedule, environment, material, assistance and behavior management.

8 easy classroom accommodations for students with ADHD( Blue Mango)

10 ways to support students with hyperactivity and attention needs  (The Starr Spangled Planner)

Accommodations for ADHD students (ADDCoach4U)

Classroom accommodations for ADHD(Understood)

Every 504 plan should include these ADHD accommodations (ADDitude)

Top 20 ADHD accommodations and modifications that work (Promoting Success Blog)

Classroom Tips and Strategies

The following links are tips and strategies that are specific to teaching techniques and helpful information on behavior approaches, rewards, eliminating distractions and seating arrangements

15 strategies to help students with ADHD (Student Savvy)

30 ideas for teaching children with ADHD (Kelly Bear)

50 practical strategies for teaching ADHD without drugs (ASCD Edge)

ADHD and piano lesson teaching strategies (Teach Piano Today)

ADD/ADHD in the classroom: Tips for teachers and parents (hsana.org)

ADHD Teaching Strategies for the Classroom( Promoting Success Blog)

Classroom interventions for ADHD (pdf)

Classroom rules that keep student’s attention on learning (Additude)

Helping the student with ADHD in the classroom (LDonline)

How can teachers help students with ADHD (Education World)

Ideas and strategies for kids with ADD and learning disabilities (Child Development Institute)

Setting up the classroom (ADD in Schools)

Supporting students with ADHD (Free Spirit Publishing)

Teaching students with ADHD: Instructional strategies and practice (U.S. Department of Education)

Tips for teaching students with ADHD(ADHD Kids Rock)

Concentration

Tips and information from websites on helping students concentrate in the classroom.

5 simple concentration building techniques for kids with ADHD (Empowering Parents)

5 ways to improve your child’s focus (Understood)

17 ways to help students with ADHD concentrate (Edutopia)

Ways to improve concentration in kids with ADHD (Brain Balance)

Executive Functioning

Executive functioning helps students analyze a task, planning, organization, time management and finishing a task. The following links provide articles on understand executive functioning and its relationship to ADHD.

Classroom strategies for executive functioning (Understood)

Executive functioning explained and 20 strategies for success (Minds in Bloom)

Executive function skills (CHADD)

Executive Functioning Issues (Understood)

Handwriting for kids with ADHD (Look! We’re Learning)

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Image result for duchenne muscular dystrophy awareness month

February 13th is the first day of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Week. Here are some facts on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy:

  • It is one of the nine types of muscular dystrophies
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy was first described by French neurologist, Guillaune Benjamin Amand Duchenne in the 1860’s.
  • It is an inherited disorder
  • It is caused by an absence of dystrophin, a protein that bonds the muscle cell
  • It is characterized by progressive muscle degeneration
  • It occurs in about 1 out of every 3,600 male infants
  • Risks include a family history of Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Symptoms start appearing between the ages of 3-5.
  • By the age of 12, most males affected may lose their ability to walk
  • Breathing difficulties and heart disease usually start by the age of 20
  • Very rare are females affected by the disease.
  • Early symptoms include muscle weakness in the hips, pelvic area, thighs and shoulders.
  • By teen years, the heart and respiratory muscles are affected.
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy carriers are females with one normal dystrophin gene on one x chromosome and an abnormal dystrophin gene on the other x chromosome
  • Most carriers do not show any signs or symptoms.
  • Affected children may have delayed motor skills including sitting, standing and walking.
  • Survival into the early 30’s is becoming more common due to advances in cardia and respiratory care.
  • Duchenne is associated with a heart disease that weakens the cardiac muscle
  • Between 400 and 600 boys in the United States are born with these conditions each year.
  • there are a few cases which results from new mutations in affected males
  • steroid drugs can slow the loss of muscular strength
  • There is no known cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy

For Those With Autism, Fixations Can Be Beneficial

Consuelo Martinez watches her daughter Chelsea, who has autism, play the violin
Source: (Disability Scoop)
Author: Shaun Heasley

Parents and teachers should do more to embrace the preferred interests of those with autism, researchers say, pointing out that such aptitudes can be calming and form the basis for careers.

Individuals on the spectrum often display intense interests in topics like computers, animals or trains. Traditionally, many experts thought that such preferences might inhibit social development. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Social Skills Resources for Parents and Special Education Teachers

For some autistic children, social situations can be overwhelming and cause a great amount of anxiety. One of the characteristics of having an autism spectrum disorder is social interaction. Dr. Lorna Wing described social interaction as:

  1. not paying attention to others
  2. being aloof, distant and uninterested
  3. being alone and withdrawal
  4. difficulty in making and sustaining relationships
  5. a lack of social skills

social-skills

Social skills vary from conversation to friendship skills. The following links provides social skills resources on a variety of topics:

5 tips for running a social skills group ages 7-11. This site provides tips on increasing social skills via working in a group.

12 activities to help your child with social skills. This article by the Friendship Circle describes 12 ways to help improve social skills

101 ways to teach children social skills. Written by Lawrence Shapiro, this ready-to-use reproducible activity book (pdf) contains information on communication, being part of a group, caring about yourself, and problem solving.

Building social skills through activities. Danny Pettry created an e-book that focuses on various activities that will increase social skills for children.

Kind words sensory lesson friendship activity. This article includes information on why kind word are important through sensory play.

More tools for teaching social skills in school. Examples of role-plays, worksheets and student behavior.

Social skills activities. Free printable activity sheets on developing and practicing social skills.

Social skills lesson activities. Developed by special educator Angela Cardenos, this website includes various lessons on social skills and friendship

Social skills lessons on friends. A lesson plan and activity on identifying the qualities of a friend and naming behaviors that a friend may exhibit.

Social Skills Worksheets. This site includes printables for social skills designed to develop appropriate social skills.

10 Must Read Articles On Special Needs Children and Safety

 

safety

According to the National Autism Association, children with special needs are at an increase risk for injuries than the general population. The following article links provide information on additional tips and resources on a variety of safety topics.

7 safety strategies for kids with special needs

How to teach fire safety to special needs kids

Keeping children with disabilities safe

Keeping your autistic child safe

Special needs children and safety

Teach home and community safety skills to kids with special needs

Teaching stranger safety skills to children and adults with disabilities

Teaching stranger safety to kids with autism

The importance of teaching children body safety

Traffic safety for children with special needs

Should I Push My Activities Child To Take Part In Typical Activities?

Baseball kids
Source: Very Well
Author: Lisa Jo Rudy

You enroll your autistic in a preschool soccer program and watch as your child wanders off while the other children happily kick the ball and run toward the goal.

You carefully dress your child up for Halloween to look like his favorite TV character, only to find that he can’t stay in the costume for more than two minutes without having a sensory Meltdown. Click here for the rest of the story.

January Special Needs Article Links

Welcome to the January links. These are articles that I tweeted and or received from viewers during the month of January on special needs and developmental disability topics. Enjoy!

specialneedslinks

10 alarm clocks for children with sensory challenges (Friendship Circle)

65+ ways to help students with sensory challenges at school (Mama OT)

ABL Denim creates sensory-friendly jeans for kids with autism (The Mighty)

ADHD: Younger children may be diagnosed (Medical News Today)

Boy with Down syndrome inspires mom to open Fairfield dance studio (Journal News)

Britain’s criminal justice system doesn’t know what to do about autism (Independent)

How to recognize sensory issues in your child (Integrated Learning Strategies)

Oral motor games for children young and old (Special-ism)

Organization and attention challenges related to sensory processing disorder (Sugar Aunts)

New technology aims to give unique voices to people who can’t speak (WHOTV)

The aging of the population with Down syndrome is a positive sign (STATNews)

The best tech jobs for individuals with autism (Forbes)

The truth about autism and sleep (The Huffington Post)

Top autism tips for professionals  (Network Autism)

Understanding the battle of an aggressive autistic child (iTech Post)

Braille Teaching Resources

 braille

January is Braille Literacy Month.  Invented by Louis Braille, at the age of 15 years old while attending the National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris. Braille lost his sight during a childhood accident at the age of 4. Braille is not a language, rather it is a code that uses symbols formed within units of space that consists of six raised dots , 2 across and 3 down.

The following sites describe Braille:

Braille: Deciphering the code

Braille: What is it?

What is Braille

The following links below include resources on teaching braille:

 

braille-teaching-resources

 

Braille Teaching Resources

  1. A kitchen curriculum for the parents of visually impaired children. A functional skills curriculum for visual impaired children from infants to 12 on up.
  2. 3 tips for teaching young children with a visual impairment how to become strong readers. Kristen Smith describes ways to prepare young children for reading including creating story boxes, and using all the senses.
  3. 5 ways to teach your blind child how to use an iPad. This article includes a few demonstration via videos and an infographic.
  4. 10 strategies for teaching math to children with visual impairments. Hillary Kleck shares ten strategies for teaching math to children who are blind or visually impaired.
  5. Creating a theme for your braille classroom. Liz Eagan shares tips and suggestions on creating a braille station in the classroom.
  6. Fun ways to teach braille to partially sighted students. Game activities for students that are partially sighted braille readers.
  7. Tips for promoting braille in the classroom. A number of suggestions that give students the opportunity to explore and understand braille
  8. Ten tips to help you teach yourself braille. Wonder Baby’s article includes a braille cheat sheet and a downloadable Braille alphabet and numbers sheet.
  9. Teaching Braille Writing. Tracy Fitch outlines 5 ways to help new learners on using a braille writer.
  10. Tracking activities for pre-braille learners. Resources including a variety of tactile material that can be glued to index cards or braille paper

Celebrating Nerodiversity: Embracing people for what they are

Celebrating Neurodiversity: Embracing people for what they are

 

 

 

 

Source: (Durham Region Autism Services)

The term “neurodiversity” was first pioneered in the late 1990’s by two forward-thinking individuals: journalist Harvey Blume and autism advocate Judy Singer. Blume and Singer both believed that the ‘Neurologically Different’ deserve their own political category, standing alongside the familiar ones of class, gender, and race and working to augment the rights and redefine common perceptions of the neurodiverse.

It was Blume and Singer’s wish to see the neurodiverse perceived in light of their strengths as well as their weaknesses. They noted, for example, that those with dyslexia often show above-average visual thinking abilities and entrepreneurial knack. Those with ADHD have a penchant for creative problem solving on the fly. They are typically very imaginative and excel in holistic problem processing that is based on imagination rather than working memory. People on the autism spectrum often show an unusual affinity for mathematics and computer programming. Those who struggle with mental illness, though their challenges may be many, often come up with unique and insightful ways to cope, and frequently exhibit heightened creativity. Click here to read the rest of the story