11 Resources on Teaching Personal Safety Skills To Special Needs Children and Adults

Studies show that both children and adults with developmental disabilities are vulnerable to incidents of abuse and injuries. Personal safety includes learning about being safe and dangerous environments. The following articles focus on teaching tips in both the community and in the home.

5 tips on teaching safety skills to children with autism

A guide to personal safety

Community safety skills

How to help individuals with disabilities be safe in the community

Personal safety programs for children with intellectual disabilities

Safety First: Teaching safety skills to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Teaching people with intellectual disabilities about fire emergencies

Teaching safety awareness skills to children with autism

Teaching stranger safety skills to children and adults with disabilities

Safety Activities

Activities that teach safety

Safety worksheets from Teacher Vision

2020 Autism Conferences

Are you planning on attending any conferences this year to build up your professional arsenal? Attending conferences and seminars serve the purpose of increasing knowledge, expertise, and application. The following conferences and seminars listed vary from 1-day to 3-day seminars. Click on the link to get additional information.
January

27th Annual Florida Statewide Card Autism Conference
Date: January 17-19, 2020
Location: Orlando, Fl.

Annual Autism conference for families, educators, professionals and autistic adults.

ICADD International Conference on Autism and Developmental Disorders
Date: January 30-31, 2020
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

CASP The Council of Autism Service Providers Annual Conference
Date: January 13-14, 2020
Location: Scottsdale, AZ

7th Annual Conference on Depression, Anxiety and Stress Management
January 20-21, 2020
Barcelona, Spain

Autism Spectrum Disorder Across the Life Span
Date: January 11, 2020
Location: Boston, MA

DADD 21st International Conference on Autism, Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disabilities
Date: January 22, 2020
Location: Sarasota, FL

Future Horizon
An Evening with Temple Grandin
Date: January 28, 2020
Location: Atlanta, GA

Features Renown Dr. Temple Grandin who will give insight backed by research evidence and own experience.

February

DFW Autism Conference
Date: February 6-7, 2020
Location: Hurst, TX

Autism Conference and Training
Date: February 7-8, 2020
Location: Vancouver, BC

Future Horizon
An Evening with Temple Grandin
Date: February 11, 2020
Location: Oklahoma City, OK

Features Renown Dr. Temple Grandin who will give insights backed by research evidence and own experience.

Future Horizon
An Evening with Temple Grandin
Date: Lubbock, TX
Location: February 17, 2020

Features Renown Dr. Temple Grandin who will give insight backed by research evidence and own experience.

National Autistic Society- Autism Professional Conference
Date: February 27-28, 2020
Location:Birmingham, London

19th Annual Alabama Autism Conference
Dtae: February 28, 2020
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL

2nd European Autism Congress
Date: February 28-29
Location: Budapest, Hungary

March

Professional Development and Parent Seminars
Date: March 5, 2020
Location: Albany, New York

Autism Conference and Training
Date: March 5-6, 2020
Location: Edmonton, AB

Southern Maine Autism Conference
Date: March 7, 2020 8am- 4pm
Location: South Portland, ME

2020 Autism Matters Conference
Date: March 20, 2020
Location: Orange Beach, AL

Autism Through the Life Span
Date: March 21, 2020 8:45-4:30
Location: Li Ka Shing Conference Center
291 Campus Drive, Stanford University

Autism Society National Conference
2020 Disability Policy Seminar
Date: March 23-25, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

11th Annual Honestly Autism Day
Date: March 28, 2020
Location: Hunt Valley, MD

April

Autism Conference and Training
Date: April 2-3, 2020
Location: Ottawa, ON

Nebraska ASD Network State Conference
Date: April 2-3, 2020
Location: Lincoln, NE

Autism Conference and Training
Date: April 16-17, 2020
Location: Halifax, NS

Autism Converge Autism Summit 2020
Date: April 23-25, 2020
Location: Greenville, SC

Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin 31st Annual Conference
Date: April 30- May 2, 2020
Location: Wisconsin Dells, WI

May

International Society for Autism Research
Date: May 6-9, 2020
Location: Seattle, Washington

Autism Conference and Expo Georgia
Date: May 13-14, 2019
Location: Georgia State University
Atlanta, GA

June

Autism Research Conference
Date: June 4
Location: New York, NY

National Autism Conference
Milestones Autism Resources
Date: June 11-12, 2020
Location: Cleveland, OH

October

Autism New Jersey Annual Conference
Date: October 15-16, 2020
Location: Atlantic City, N.J.

Executive Dysfunctions of ADHD Persist Into Adulthood: 25-Year Study

Published by: ADDitude
Written by: Nathaly Pesantez

Executive functioning deficits persist well into adulthood for individuals with ADHD, according to a new study1 in the Journal of Attention Disorders that affirms the clinical theory that executive dysfunction is a core symptom of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The small Norwegian study looked at attentional processing capacities — namely pre-attentive and executive functioning — in a group of people with and without ADHD over a 23- to 25-year period. Pre-attentive processing — the basic, preliminary stage in the brain whereby auditive and visual stimuli is analyzed — is not as well understood in relation to ADHD as is executive functioning — the controlled brain processes (like working memory) that allow us to integrate information and select optimal actions — the researchers said.

These two processes, according to the researchers, exist on “contrasting ends of [the] ‘attentional processing continuum.’”  Because pre-attentive processing deficits may be precursors for brain function deficits of a higher order (like executive functioning), the study aimed to “gain insight into the long-term changes in attentional capacity” for “a clearer conception of attention dysfunction in ADHD.” Click here to read the rest of the story.

January Day Habilitation Activity Ideas

Januay is considered the coldest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The following are January observances, celebrations, events, and holidays that can be used as ideas for your Day Habilitation Program.

You can download the PDF format here:January Day Habilitation Activity Ideas

Keep in mind the following when planning activities:

  • People with intellectual/developmental disabilities are more likely to learn when using a multi-sensory approach which includes engaging people on all levels where they are able to use some of their senses. For example a cooking activity should include, allowing individuals to see what they are doing, taste, smell, and touch, etc.
  • Make sure each activity is broken into small steps
  • Use continuous probing
  • Provide prompting strategies such as independence, verbal, gestural, hand over hand and physical prompting.
  • Allow extra time to complete the task
  • Give immediate feedback including praise.

What You Should Know About GERD and Developmental Disabilities

Feeding problems are common in people with an  intellectual/developmental disability. For example, it is reported that 37% of individuals with diplegia or hemiplegia and 86% of individuals with quadriplegia experience GERD. It is very common in people with cerebral palsy and can show up as anemia, failure to thrive and reoccurring infections.

It is usually missed by people who have been feeding and serving food to individuals with disability due to its subtle signs.

What is Gastroesophageal Reflux? (GERD)

GERD occurs when the muscle connecting  to the esophagus is weak and opens under pressure, allowing the stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus. It is the acid from the stomach to the esophagus. this will irritate the lining of the esophagus and causes heartburn. Without treatment, GERD can cause complications.

What causes GERD?

GERD is usually caused by inflammation from the exposure of the esophagus to the stomach acid. The following can cause GERD:

  • diet such as fatty foods, coffee, peppermint and chocolate
  • decreased muscle tone
  • overweight
  • backup in blockage of the intestinal tract.

There are many reasons for the high incidence of GERD in individuals with intellectual disability including immobility and positioning, abnormal postures, medication use and excessive drooling.

What is a developmental disability?

A developmental disability is described as an assortment of chronic conditions that are due to mental or physical impairments or both. For example, you may have a child or an adult with an intellectual disability or perhaps a person diagnosed with cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability. It is also considered a severe and chronic disability that can occur up to the age of 22, hence the word developmental. A developmental disability can occur before birth such as genetic disorders (i.e. cri du chat, fragile x syndrome,) or chromosomes ( i.e. Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome); during birth (lack of oxygen) or after birth up to the age of 22 (i.e. head injuries, child abuse or accidents).

For people with limited communication, the following are possible signs of gastroesophageal reflux:

If you suspect GERD, make arrangements for the person to be evaluated by a physician.

2020 Disability Awareness Observance Calendar

The calendar includes major special needs awareness months, weeks, and days. Most websites include awareness toolkits, promotional materials and fact sheets.  This page focus is on awareness activities that impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities only.

January

January (Month)

National Birth  Defects Month

January (Week)

January 19-25- Special Education Week

January (Day)

January 4- World Braille Day

January 20- International Day of Acceptance

January 24- Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day

February

February (Month)

Turner Syndrome Awareness Month

February (Day)

February 15- International Angelman Day

February 28- Rare Disease Day

March

March (Month)

Brain Injury Awareness Month

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

National Early Intervention Awareness Month

Kidney Awareness Month

Multiple Sclerosis Month

Social Work Awareness Month

Trisomy Awareness Month

March (Day)

March 1- Self-Injury Day

March 1- International Wheelchair Day

March 21- World Down Syndrome Day

March 26- Purple Day for Epilepsy

April

April (Day)

April 1- Paraprofessional Appreciation Day

April 2- World Autism Awareness Day 

May

May (Month)

Better Hearing and Speech Month

Early Intervention Awareness Month

Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

Prader Willi Syndrome Awareness Month

Williams Syndrome Awareness Month

May (Day)

May 1- Global Developmental Delay Day

May (Week)

May 4-6 Children Mental Health Awareness Week

May 15- Tuberous Sclerosis Global Awareness Day

May 5-12- Cri du Chat Awareness Week

June

June (Month)

Aphasia Awareness Month

June (Week)

Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week (Last Sunday in June)

Scoliosis Awareness Month

June (Day)

June 17- CDKL5 Awareness Day 

June 23- Dravet Syndrome Awareness Day (Canada)

Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month

July

July (Day)

July 14- Disability Pride Parade (NY)

July 14- Disability Awareness Day (UK)

July 22- National Fragile X Syndrome Awareness Day

July 26- American Disabilities Act Day (30 Year Anniversary) 

September

September (Month)

Chiari Awareness Month

Craniofacial Acceptance Month

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Syndrome Awareness Month

Hydrocephalus Awareness Month

National Spinal Cord Awareness Month

Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Sepsis Awareness Month

September (Week)

September 13-19- Direct Support Professional Week

September 7- World Duchenne Awareness Day

September 9- Fetal Alcohol Awareness Day

October

October (Month)

ADHD Awareness Month

Disability History Month

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Dysautonomia Awareness

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National Dyslexia Awareness Month

Occupational Therapy Awareness Month

October (Day)

October 5- World Teacher’s Day

October 6- World Cerebral Palsy Day

October 10- National Depression Screening Day

October 15- White Cane Awareness Day

October (Week)

October 4-10- Mental Illness Awareness Week 

October 13-19 Invisible Disabilities Week

October 13-19 International OCD Awareness Week

October 19-23- National School Bus Safety Week

National Physical Therapy Month

Rett Syndrome Awareness Month

Special Needs Law Month

Spinal Bifida Awareness Month

November

November (Month)

22q Awareness Month

Epilepsy Awareness Month

November (Day)

November 1- LGS Awareness Day

November 4- National Stress Awareness Day

November 15- World Ohtahara Syndrome Awareness Day

December

December (Day)

December 2- National Special Education Day

December 3- International Day of Persons with Disabilities

December (Week)

December 1-7- Infantile Spasm

Inside Dollywood’s ‘Incredible’ Calming Room for Children with Autism

Publisher: Yahoo News
Written by:Rachel DeSantis

A day at the Dollywood Family Amusement Park is filled with enough sights, sounds and colors to overstimulate anyone ⁠— especially those with autism.

That’s why Dollywood safety manager Judy Toth, who noticed an influx of families with children on the spectrum at the Tennessee park, decided to take action to help make their trip all the more memorable.

The result? A first-of-its-kind calming room that serves as a refuge of sorts for families seeking a break from the non-stop hustle and bustle of the 150-acre theme park.

“[It’s] sensory overload when you come to a theme park,” Toth tells PEOPLE. “And I couldn’t quite grasp at the beginning, you know, why are they coming? Knowing that something could potentially trigger their child. But realistically, it was just that they want their child to do what any other child does.”

The calming room first opened in the spring of 2016 after Toth observed that families with children on the spectrum were having to either end their trip early or slip someplace quieter, like a bathroom or a first-aid tent. Click here to read the rest of the story

Identify Money Freebie

Learn to identify coins is one of the first steps in learning to count and understanding money management skills. The following worksheets will help to reinforce the ability to recognize the various denominations of coins.

The lesson plan below is a helpful tool to reinforce recognizing coins.  Children with intellectual disabilities and special needs learn best through visual demonstrations and pictures. Remember to allow extra time to complete the task and use simple directions.

Lesson Plan: Identify Coins

Objective: the Student will successfully identify coins

Performance Criteria: The student will identify the correct coin, 3 out of 5 trials

Materials Needed:

  • coin worksheets
  • actual penny, nickle, dime and quarter
  • pencil

Steps:

  1. the instructor will use real coins and identify the coin to the student
  2. the instructor will use one coin at a time, starting with the smallest demoninator
  3. The instructor will pick up the penny and state, “this is a penny.”
  4. The instructor will then ask the student to pick up the penny
  5. The instructor will aske the student to describe the penny
  6. The instructor will ask the student the value of the penny.
  7. Once completed, the instructor will have the student complete the worksheet
  8. The insstructor will continue with the rest of the coins.

Circle Nickle Worksheet

id coin worksheet

circle penny worksheet

circle dime

Study Reveals Increased Prevalence of Mental Illness in Adults with CP

Source: Cerebral Palsy News Today
Written by: Marisa Wexler

A recent study found that adults with cerebral palsy have a higher risk of developing mental health conditions, highlighting the need for better holistic care in this population.

The study, “Prevalence of Mental Health Disorders Among Adults With Cerebral Palsy: A Cross-sectional Analysis,” was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Most research on cerebral palsy (CP) focuses on children because, until relatively recently, it wasn’t that common for people with CP to live through adulthood. That paradigm is rapidly changing, so it’s necessary for researchers and clinicians to understand the challenges adults with CP face so they can be given the best possible care and support to have not just a longer life, but higher quality of life. Click here to read the rest of the story.