Happy Holidays

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Special Needs Resource Blog will take a break during the holidays and will return Monday, January 2, 2017 with new information, tools and resources to post including more downloadable free tools and templates Monday thru Friday. I am excited and look forward to sharing more resources with you in the new year.
Thanks to all of you for following my blog this year. Wishing you and your families joy and peace all through the holidays and throughout the new year. May the spirit of the holidays be with you throughout the new year.  🙂  🙂
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How A Transition Coordinator Can Prepare Your Child For Life After School

How a Transition Coordinator Can Prepare Your Child for Life After School
Source: (Friendship Circle)

The transition from high school to whatever comes next can be stressful for students with special needs and their parents. Guiding them through this passage is a school transition coordinator or specialist. If you haven’t made contact with this individual at your teen’s school yet, don’t wait.

I had my first meeting with our high-school transition coordinator, Barbara Milewski, when my daughter was still in middle school. I wanted to find out what I should be worrying about and planning for. Not only did she reduce my anxiety, she also pointed me toward a county agency that gave my daughter a job that summer. As school meetings go, that one was unusually productive.

Since many parents don’t know such a resource exists, I asked Mrs. Milewski — who has decades of experience helping young people through this transition as a district guidance counselor, school social worker, case manager for special-education students, and transition coordinator — to share a little bit about what transition coordinators do and why you should seek yours out. Click here to read the rest of the story.

What Does Sensory Processing Look Like In Adults?

Sensory Processing Disorder in Adults
Source: (ADDitude)

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) manifests in many small, sometimes maddening ways. Itchy tags may be unbearable. Loud music intolerable. Perfume simply sickening. Whatever the specific symptoms, SPD makes it difficult to interact with your daily environment. This impacts how you relate to others, study and learn, participate in sports and group activities, and follow your dreams. It is a unique and challenging neurological condition associated with inefficient processing of sensory information, and it deserves serious support.

SPD disrupts how the brain — the top of the central nervous system — takes in, organizes, and uses the messages received through our body’s receptors. We take in sensory information through our eyes, ears, muscles, joints, skin and inner ears, and we use those sensations – we integrate them, modulate them, analyze them and interpret them — for immediate and appropriate everyday functioning. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Speech-language Pathology and Adult Services

speech-word-cloud
Guest Blogger, Anne Marie Pineiro, M.A. CCC-SLP, 

Speech-language Pathologists serve individuals, families, and groups from diverse

linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Services are provided based on applying the

best available research evidence, using expert clinical judgments, and considering

clients’ individual preferences and values. Speech-language pathologists address

typical and atypical communication and swallowing in the following areas:

pragmatics (language use, social aspects of communication)

-literacy (reading, writing, spelling)

– prelinguistic communication (e.g., joint attention, intentionality, communicative signaling)

paralinguistic communication

  • cognition- attention,  memory,  sequencing,  problem solving,  executive functioning
  • feeding and swallowing- 4 phases of swallowing

-oral, pharyngeal, laryngeal, esophageal

orofacial myology (including tongue thrust)

-oral-motor functions

Source:   http://www.asha.org/uploadedFiles/SP2007-00283.pdf

In providing services to those Adults diagnosed with a variety of Developmental Disabilities, the SLP’s role may become much more defined, focusing on what is most functional to an individual in the areas of speech, receptive and expressive language (verbal or non-verbal communication) and feeding/ swallowing.  Very often we are attempting to assess and/or maintain an individual’s current level of functioning in the above areas and to train all those involved in the care of that individual in the strategies and implementation of them to achieve that goal.  In our Agency, for example, we break the assessment down into the following areas in order to develop functional and measurable outcomes:

Speech

  1. Does the individual use speech functionally to communicate wants/needs in a variety of settings?
  2. If so, is their speech understood by all, some, few communicative partners?  Are there any strategies a person might use to increase his/her intelligibility- modifying volume, rate, resonance, increasing fluency, etc.?  Does the person use Augmentative Communication to supplement speech when he/she cannot be understood e.g. low/high tech communication device, writing, American Sign Language, Picture Language Board, etc.

Language

  1. Receptive language (Language comprehension) including attention to objects, using objects functionally, identification of objects and/or pictures, comprehending one, two or three-step oral directives, vocabulary, comprehension of attributes and spatial relationships, or auditory comprehension on the word, sentence and paragraph levels.  Is comprehension on the literal or inferential levels?
  2. Expressive language- (Language expression)- for those who are verbal, the MLU (mean length of utterance) is assessed.  For non-verbal individuals, language expression can be in the form of pointing to one or two picture symbols consecutively on a picture language communication board or AAC device, writing or typing single words, phrases, sentences or paragraphs on paper, computer or AAC device.

-AAC device assessments for nonverbal individuals take into account the individual’s cognitive skills, physical abilities in order to access the device (direct selection with hand or finger, eye gaze, head pointer, switch/scanning, etc.), receptive and expressive language skills, communicative intent and pragmatic language abilities, and literacy.  All those involved in the individual’s care play an extremely important role in whether or not someone may receive an AAC device since they will be the ones to set up/take down the device and provide basic maintenance for the device, including programming, charging, etc.

Feeding and Swallowing:

Many people wonder why an SLP would be the one to review an individual’s mealtime plan or protocol.  ASHA guidelines state it best: “The speech-language pathologist is a primary professional involved in assessment and management of individuals with swallowing and feeding disorders. These areas include:

  • Performing clinical swallowing and feeding evaluation;
  • Performing instrumental assessment of swallowing function with medical professionals as appropriate;
  • Identifying normal and abnormal swallowing anatomy and physiology;
  • Identifying signs of possible or potential disorders in upper aerodigestive tract swallowing and making referrals to appropriate medical personnel;
  • Making decisions about management of swallowing and feeding disorders;
  • Developing treatment plans;
  • Providing treatment for swallowing and feeding disorders, documenting progress, and determining appropriate dismissal criteria;
  • Providing teaching and counseling to individuals and their families;
  • Educating other professionals on the needs of individuals with swallowing and feeding disorders and the speech-language pathologists’ role in the diagnosis and management of swallowing and feeding disorders;
  • Serving as an integral part of a team as appropriate;
  • Advocating for services for individuals with swallowing and feeding disorders;
  • Advancing the knowledge base through research activities.

In addition, Speech-language pathologists have extensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and functional aspects of the upper aerodigestive tract for swallowing and speech across the age spectrum including infants, children, and adults (including geriatrics). The upper aerodigestive tract includes oral, pharyngeal, and cervical esophageal anatomic regions. Speech-language pathologists also have extensive knowledge of the underlying medical and behavioral etiologies of swallowing and feeding disorders. In addition, they have expertise in all aspects of communication disorders that include cognition, language, and behavioral interactions, many of which may affect the diagnosis and management of swallowing and feeding disorders.”

Source: http://www.asha.org/policy/TR2001-00150/#sec1.3

The dysphagia and feeding disorders that are seen in adults with developmental disability include poorly developed and absent feeding and oral preparation skills and competencies, physiological and anatomical impairments that degrade oral-pharyngeal and esophageal bolus motility, and disruptive or maladaptive mealtime behaviors. Nutrition, hydration, saliva management, ingestion of medications, and management of the oral hygiene bolus may be involved. Upper airway obstruction (choking), aspiration, malnutrition, and dehydration may result from the disorder (Rogers et al., 1994, Sheppard et al., 1988).  Source: http://www.asha.org/policy/TR2001-00150/#sec1.3

Therefore, in our Agency that serves Adults with Developmental Disabilities, the SLP works as one member of the Team, including the Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Nurse, Residential Team and Family Members to create a mealtime protocol or plan which simply states the best way to maximize nutrition while at the same time attempting to decrease incidents of choking (partial or complete blockage of the airway) or aspiration (food or liquid making its way into the lungs which can lead to aspiration pneumonia).  These plans are developed so that all involved in the individual’s care may be informed of the best feeding practices for that individual which include: adaptive mealtime equipment (any cup spoon, plate, straw, etc. used for an individual to improve ability to eat independently and to improve oral-motor control), positioning in chair or wheelchair, degrees of assistance needed for self-feeding, food and liquid consistencies, food allergies and intolerances, the presence of any mealtime behaviors, including rapid pace of eating which may increase risk of choking or aspiration, and any specific instructions the caregiver would find useful in feeding the individual or maximizing the individual’s ability to feed themselves.

I hope you find this information helpful in identifying the SLP’s role in providing services to adults with Developmental Disabilities.

This information is in no way intended to serve as a complete guide in this area, but is meant to simply assist in identifying ways the SLP works as part of the Interdisciplinary Team in serving adults with developmental disabilities in a day habilitation setting

The Challenges of Being a Hyperactive Grown-Up

adhd

Source: (Hong Kong Free Press)

Under the dim yellowish light, a woman is preparing the bar to welcome its customers later today. She checks there are sufficient bottles of wine, then walks over to another side of the bar to check the roster. From time to time, she takes out her phone and speaks into it, making voice notes. Grace Ma Lai -wah, who owns Club 71 in Central, was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) just over a decade ago. It means the 63-year-old tends to forget things and relies on her smartphone for reminders. Click here to read the rest of the story.

What It’s Like To Have A Sibling With Autism

via Pinterest
Source: (Affinity Magazine)

Being afraid to invite friends round in case they didn’t understand, watching your parents work endlessly to get them the best quality of care, not always being able to help or understand why your sibling was so upset or in pain, these are only a few of the list of problems people with a sibling with autism and their family face every day. For me, my brother has been this sibling for me. Click here for the rest of the story.

15 Great Fidget Sensory Gifts For The Holidays

With the holidays approaching, finding the right gift for someone with sensory issues can be challenging. Fidget toys are great gifts for both children and adults, especially for children diagnosed with autism and ADHD. Fidget toys provides sensory input in a less distracting way. They can help improve concentration and attention to task and also help children and adults focus and remain calm as well as decreases stress and anxiety.Below are links to a variety of fidgets including texture, tactile and visual.

fidgetgifts

 

 Texture Fidgets

Tangle Creations Jr.- amazon.com
Metallic Texture-amazon.com
Brain Noodle-Therapy Shoppe
Tangle Hairy-Office Playground
Bumpy Gel Sensory Ball- Children’s Therapy Store
Palm Size Massage Balls- Therapy Shoppe

Stretch Fidgets

Stretching String-Therapy Shoppe
Stretchy Happy Face-Office Playground
Spaghetti Stress Ball- Office Playground
Pull and Stretch Bounce Balls-Amazon

Squeeze Fidgets

Poppin Peeters- Jet.com
Bug-Out Bob-especial needs

Chewy Fidgets

Oval Chewy Necklaces-Therapy Shoppe
Scented Textured Chew Stixx- Therapy Shoppe
Chewable Gem Beads Necklace-Stimtastic

 

8 Reasons Why You Should Hire Someone With Asperger’s Syndrome

penelope trunk
Source: (Life Hack)

When you hear the word Asperger’s, what kind of person do you think of?

Asperger’s Syndrome (ASP) is a type of mild autism that affects an average of 1 in 88 children in the US. In popular media, there are certain stereotypes attributed to people with Asperger’s (just think of Sheldon Cooper from TV’s Big Bang Theory). Often, due to their unusual gifts and behavior, highly creative and gifted people are labeled with Asperger’s, especially if they are socially awkward.

Furthermore, there’s been a trend recently where “experts” diagnose famous people with Asperger’s posthumously. The list of “diagnosed” includes Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, George Washington, and many others. Obviously, such post-mortem diagnoses are nonsense. Diagnosing Asperger’s is a difficult process and such diagnosis can only be established by psychiatrists or psychologists. They typically use specialized psychoeducational assessments to diagnose Asperger’s syndrome. To read the rest of the story, Click Here