Anxiety can be a masterful imposter. In children, it can sway away from the more typical avoidant, clingy behaviour and show itself as tantrums, meltdowns and aggression. As if anxiety wasn’t hard enough to deal with!
When children are under the influence of an anxious brain, their behaviour has nothing to do with wanting to push against the limits. They are often great kids who don’t want to do the wrong thing, but they are being driven by a brain in high alert.
If we could see what was happening in their heads when anxiety takes hold like this, their behaviour would make sense. We would want to scoop them up and take them away from the chaos of it all. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they should be getting a free pass on their unruly behaviour. Their angry behaviour makes sense, and it’s important to let them know this, but there will always be better choices they are capable of making. Click here to read the rest of the story
Fine motor skill activities should include skill development in using the small muscles in the hand. Most activities focus on using pencils, scissors and tongs. This holiday season, why not engage your special needs child in a fun, engaging activity that will help to improve the pincer grasp and hand manipulation? The following links include fine motor activities with many items you can find around your home.
Sequence is defined as a set of related events, movements, or things that follow each other in a particular order. For many children and adults with developmental delays and disabilities, the ability to arrange thoughts, information and language may be a challenge due to issues with their executive function capabilities. The following resources, tips and strategies will help you teach sequencing skills.
Annual audits and surveys can be very intimidating. A group of state surveyors showing up at the residence or day program to review services given to individuals with developmental disabilities.
What is the purpose of the audit?
In each state, Immediate Care Facilities (ICF), Immediate Residential Alternatives (IRAs), Waiver services or privately operated programs are funded through Medicaid Assistance Annually State agencies. Annual surveys serve the purpose of recertifying facilities and to make any further recommendations. Overall, the goal is to ensure the quality of for the individuals receiving services.
What are surveyors looking for?
In recent years, the focus is more on ensuring facilities that provide services and supports to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are providing opportunities for individual choices including person-centered planning, community inclusion and choice-making. Typically, State auditors will review the Individualized service Plan (ISP) document to determine it the ISP is both current and accurate.
State Auditors generally spend some time talking to staff. They may ask you questions relating to the person’s plan. The questions are often generated after they have read the individual’s ISP plan. The questions that are asked are more than likely things that you do well everyday. here are 10 easy steps as you prepare for the auditing process:
Knowledge of Individuals. know each person’s plan including person-centered planning plan, medical needs, preferences and habilitation plan.
Cleanliness. Make sure the environment is neat and orderly.
Privacy. Remember to give the person privacy when needed.
Choice. Offer choices throughout activities whenever possible. The auditors may ask you how do you teach choice-making.
Tone. Always speak in a positive and appropriate tone of voice.
Small groups. Work in small groups whenever possible. Incorporate variety of choice during activities.
Community activities. Ensure individuals are able to make choices in activities in the community and community inclusion opportunities are available.
Universal Precaution Guidelines. Know the precautions and follow them. Remember to change gloves when moving from one individual to the next.
Active Programming. The auditors may ask questions related to what they have read in the individuals ISP or CFA (Comprehensive Functional Assessment).
Safeguards. make sure you are able to describe the individual’s supervision needs.
Remember: Demonstrate your self-confidence, because you are good at what you do!
Matching task activities provide children with special needs an opportunity to learn in a fun, interactive way. Matching activities provide the opportunity for children and adults to master a skill through repetition and leads to higher learning. Matching and sorting helps to strengthen memory and identify the relationship between two or more items. Below are links to worksheets and matching activities.
The individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is a written plan that is developed for infant and toddlers up to the age of 3. It is Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Act responsible for developing and implementing statewide early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
The difference between IFSP and an IEP, is that ISFP is written plan designed for the family while the IEP focus is the student. ISFP should include the following information:
Your child’s level of functioning and needs
Family information Natural environment
Where your child receives services
Number of sessions your child will receive for the service
Who will pay for the service
Services provided through early intervention based on your child’s needs include:
Occupational and physical therapy
Special education service
Speech and language therapy
Medical and nursing service
Psychological and social work services
Health services necessary for your child to benefit from other early intervention services
Family training, counseling, and home visits
Transportation to enable your child and family to receive early intervention services
Respite care and other family support services
Individualized family service plan team members include:
Parent or caregiver
Other family members
An advocate if requested by the parents
A service coordinator is provided to assist and enable an infant or a toddler with a disability and the family to receive services. The service coordinator also:
Coordinates early intervention services and other services
Facilitates and participates in the development, and evaluation of the plan
Ensures services are provided in a timely manner
Facilitate the development of a transition plan to preschool, or to other services.
Published by: Children Rehabilitative Services
Written by: Dr. Nick Tanner
Never stop advocating.
When parents have a kid with extra needs or differences, things may things get contentious between parents schools, healthcare providers, and government agencies. Sometimes it can feel a little like it is “us vs. the world.”
As a psychologist, part of my job is encouraging my parents to engage with these complex systems of care, help them navigate the procedural challenges inherent to these systems, and facilitate collaboration with the goal of helping patients and families thrive.
Although it’s important to have realistic expectations, the old saying is true; squeaky wheels tend to get the grease. Families and parents who are persistent tend to be more successful in getting more individualized and intensive treatment.
Though conflict can be uncomfortable, it’s important to be your child’s biggest cheerleader – never stop advocating. Click here to read the rest of the story
Nonverbal Learning Disorder is a disorder you may or nay not heard of. It shares similar characteristics to autism such as the challenge in reading body language but is also quite different. By learning the signs and symptoms of nonverbal learning disorder, the better chance you have in using effective teaching strategies.
Nonverbal learning disorder is defines as a person who has difficulty in interpreting and understanding non verbal cues in the environment If 93% of how we communicate is nonverbal, a person with nonverbal learning disorder is only getting 7% of daily communication.
Dr. Byron P. Rouke of the University of Windsor developed the following criteria to assess nonverbal learning disorder:
Perceptual deficits usually on the left side of the body. The child has difficulty understanding or perceiving information through the skin of both hands but the left hand has more difficulty than the right.
Tends to be clumsy
Difficulty with visual-spatial organizational skills. Finds it difficult to organize notes.
Difficulty when encountering new information.
Difficulty in knowing what is expected of you and hard to see the bigger picture
Distort sense of time. Time is abstract and non-linear
Well-developed, rote and verbal capacity
Repetitive way of speaking
Signs and Symptoms
Excellent vocabulary and verbal expression
Excellent memory skills
unable to see the bigger picture
Poor motor and coordination skills
Difficulty with reading
Difficulty with math reading problems
Fear of new situations
May have symptoms of anxiety, depression
Misreads body language
Better auditory processing skills than visual processing skills
Focus on details
Teaching Strategies For Parents and Teachers
Give assignments in chunks
Give constructive feedback
Create a daily class routine and stick to them
Write the class schedule on the board
Provide several verbal cues before transition
Give the student time to preview and prepare for new activities such as group projects
Offer added verbal explanations when the student or child seems confused
Teach in sequential steps
Rondalyn Varney Whitney/OTR, Nonverbal learning disorder: Understanding and coping with NLD and Aspergers: What parents and teachers need to know (2008)
Woliver, Robbie (2008) Alphabet Kids: From ADD to Zellwer Syndrome.
Rutgers researchers have developed a tool to help neurologists screen for obstructive sleep apnea in people with epilepsy whose seizures can be magnified by sleep disorders.
The study appears in the journal Neurology Clinical Practice.
Although detection and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve seizure control in some patients with epilepsy, providers have not regularly assessed patients for those risk factors. The researchers developed an electronic health record alert for neurologists to evaluate a patient’s need for a sleep study.
This study can determine the necessity for treatment, which can result in improved seizure control, reduction in antiepileptic medications and reduce the risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. Click here to read the rest of the story