July Special Needs Article Links

Welcome to the July article links. These are articles that I tweeted and or received from viewers during the month of July on special needs and developmental disability topics. A special thank you to Kathleen Carter for the additional special needs links!

5 things I would advise myself post autism diagnosis (HuffPost)

10 great autism books for autistic kids (New Horizon Professional ABA Services)

11 insightful tips for parents of ASD adults for getting the most out of vocational service providers (Think Inclusive)

17 things to love about ADHD (ADDitude)

ADHD and addiction- What is the risk (Discovery Place)

Creating the optimal living environment for a child with ADHD (Home Advisor)

How to create an autism friendly environment for kids (Redfin)

How to discuss puberty with your child who has special needs (Friendship Circle)

Make this summer safer with safety and wandering prevention resources (Autism Speaks)

My son made me a better teacher (ADDitude)

Parenting tips for ADHD: Do’s and don’t (Healthline)

Parents encourage early therapy for kids with cerebral palsy (Fox17)

Party planning and sensory processing disorder (Sensory Spectrum)

Secrets of your ADHD brain (ADDitude)

Seizures and seizure dogs (Epilepsy Foundation)

Strategies to triumphantly improve your autistic student’s peer interaction (Think Inclusive)

Teacher shortage leaves special education classrooms with inexperienced, first-time educators (Bakersfield.com)

Teens with ADHD: Recognizing signs of depression (Health Central)

The importance of self-esteem for kids with learning and attention issues (Understood)

The price of special education as autism rates surge (Bakerfield.com)

Understanding dyslexia (Child Mind Institute)

Autism and Wandering Resources (update)

Studies show that nearly half of children with autism attempt to wander off or bolt from a safe supervised place (Autism Speaks). Children with Angleman Syndrome also tend to have an obsession with water and will tend to wander if water is nearby. The following resources includes wandering kits, articles and additional resources on the topic of wandering.

What is Wandering?

When a person, who requires some level of supervision to be safe, leaves a supervised, safe space and/or the care of a responsible person and is expected to potential dangers such as traffic, open water (drowning), falling from a high place , hypothermia, heatstroke, dehydration.

Types of Wandering

  • Goal-Directed Wandering- wandering with the purpose of getting to something ( a place of obsession, water, etc.).
  • Non goal-directed wandering- Wandering with no purpose, random from one place to another.
  • Confusion Wandering-Wandering due to disorientation or confusion.
  • Bolting/fleeing- The act of suddenly running or bolding, usually to quickly get away from something, or in negative reaction to an event, anxiety or stress.
 Facts and Statistics
  • Roughly half, or 49%, of children with an ASD attempt to elope from a safe environment, a rate nearly four times higher than their unaffected siblings.
  • In 2009, 2010, and 2011, accidental drowning accounted for 91% total U.S. deaths reported in children with an ASD ages 14 and younger subsequent to wandering/elopement.
  • More than one third of ASD children who wander/elope are never or rarely able to communicate their name, address, or phone number.
  • 32% of parents reported a “close call” with a possible drowning.
  • 40% of parents had suffered sleep disruption due to fear of elopement.
  • half of families with elopers report they never received advice or guidance about elopement from a professional.
Source: Interactive Autism Network research report: Elopement and wandering (2011)
Source: National Autism Association, Lethal Outcomes in ASD Wandering (2012)

Caregivers Information

Autism elopement and wandering kit for families (Parenting Chaos)

Big Red Safety Toolkit (National Autism Association)

28 page toolkit that provides information on preventing wandering. The toolkit includes the following information:

  • Caregiver checklist
  • Family wandering emergency plan
  • swimming lessons tool
  • Root-causes scenario and strategies tool
  • Caregivers log
  • How to get tracking technology in your town.

First Responder Resources

First Responder Checklist– A checklist for first responders developed by the National Autism Association

First Responder Notification Form

First Responder Tips

GPS Tracking Technology

The AngleSense Guardian Kit

  • Comes with a GPS device, embedded SIM card, customized wearables and a magnet key for parents $39.00 monthly service plan.

7 tracking devices to find a lost child with autism (Friendship Circle)

Articles

5 simple ways to prevent wandering in children with autism (Autism Parenting Magazine)

Autism and Wandering (SFGate)

Autism and Wandering: How ABA can help keep kids safe. (HuffPost Parents)

Teaching safety skills to children with autism (Our Crazy Adventures in Autismland)

The autism epidemic that can no longer be ignored (HuffPost Parents)

Wandering: A hazard for more than a third of kids with autism (U.S. News)

Wandering & Autism: Elopement within the classroom (Autism Classroom Blog)

Wandering & Autism: Students who flee, bolt, run and elope (Autism Classroom Blog)

Resources on Teaching Scissor Skills

One of the ways to improve fine motor skills is helping children and adults develop cutting skills also help with pre-writing skills and pencil control. Below are resources that will help in developing and teaching scissor skills.

Cutting Skill Development

2 years- snips with scissors

2.5 years- Cuts across a 6-inch piece of paper

3.5 years- Cuts along a 6-inch line

4.5 years- Cuts out a circle

6-7 years- Cuts a variety of shapes and pictures.

Resources on Teaching Scissor Skills

5 easy ways to introduce scissor skills

How to teach a child to use scissors

How to use scissors

Scissor cutting skills: Why they are important

Teaching kids how to use scissors

Teaching preschoolers to use scissors

The importance of teaching your child how to use scissors

Tips for teaching scissor cutting skills

Practice Scissor Skills- The following links below include practicing cutting straight lines, curved lines and circles, zig-zag lines and mixed lines.

10-page scissor skills packet (Mama’s Learning Corner)- geared towards preschoolers and kindergartners.

12 free shapes and cutting page (www.mpmideas.com)- geared towards preschool aged children

Construction truck scissor cutting practice sheets (MO & MH)- Kids will practice cutting lines.

Cut, copy and glue for spring (Your Therapy Source)- Free 3-page packet in black and white. Includes a butterfly, ice cream cone and a snail.

Free cutting and coloring pack (Tot Schooling)- Cutting pack features straight, diagonal, curved and zig zag lines.

House scissor practice (Teaching Station)- Download free worksheets. Includes shapes of circles, squares, triangles, and rectangulars.

Printable preschool cutting busy box (Fun with Mama)- post includes ways to teach kids how to use scissors and develop cutting skills

Rocket scissor practice (Teaching Station)- Kids will practice cutting and pasting shapes to make a rocket.

Snake spiral worksheet (www.education.com)- Kids can both color and cut out the spiral design.

Trolls, hair-cutting (Tot Schooling Net)- Several different levels of difficulties.

Shopping Center Teaching Activities For Children and Adults With Special Needs

Shopping Centers (or malls as we call them in North America) provide a great way for customers to walk from one store to another without the hassles of having to leave one store in order to go into another. Through the years, Shopping centers  have added on movie theatres, arcades, and food eateries. This has led to a variety of ways of teaching children and adults with disabilities a number of skills.

 

Money Management.

Increasing money skills can be used in almost all areas of a shopping mall. Opportunities include stores such as banking, clothing , restaurants, etc. examples of items to teach include:

  • Will identify coins
  • Will identify money
  • Will count change
  • Will create a budget
  • will fill out deposit slip
  • Will fill out a withdrawal slip
  • Will use an ATM
Sensory

A shopping center provides a low-cost and effective way of arousing more of  more of the five senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch). Yankee Candle offers candles with a variety of fragrances including apple pumpkin, apple spice, beachwood, black cherry, etc.  Bath and Body Works also provides samples for both olfactory (smell) and touch. Samples of fragrances include lotions, cream, massage oils and fragrance mist. Window shopping is an additional opportunity to enhance visual cues with teaching a number of basic skills.  Other places include day spas, massage chairs and nail salons. Examples of sensory teaching activities include:

Window Shopping (Visual)
  • Will describe the color of the outfits
  • Will identify which items cost the most
  • Will describe how many of the outfits are the same, different
  • Will describe the various shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangular)
  • Will count the number of items in the window
Olfactory (Smell)
  • Will identify a good smell
  • Will identify a bad smell
  • Will identify the smell (i.e. smells like apples)
Tactile (Touch)
  • Will identify the object
  • Will tolerate hand massage
  • Will touch the object
  • Will describe the shape of the object

***  Be mindful some children and adults may have sensory processing issues and can be oversensitive to sights, textures, flavors and smells.

Social Skills

Teaching social skills involves communication, decision-making, self-management and relationship building. Locations in a shopping center to develop these skills includes, eatery and restaurants, banks, department stores and movie theatres. Samples of teaching social skills includes:

  • Will greet the store associate
  • Will say thank you
  • When promoted, will ask for help
  • Will wait patiently
  • Will make eye contact
  • Will use appropriately voice tone
Teaching Prompts

A few guidelines in teaching new skills:

  • Teach a new skill at least 2-3 times. The shopping center allows multiple opportunities to work on a number of skills including money management, and social skills.
  • Allow the person to think for themselves use prompt levels to help navigate levels of independence: Independent, verbal, gestural and physical.
  • Allow for real choice-making. Choice is more realistic when it involves at least 3 items or more. Choosing a new outfit or an item from a menu are perfect examples.
  • Always remember to praise!

 

 

4 Tips On Task Initiation For Children and Adults

Task Initiation is often a challenge for children and adults with an executive functioning disorder. For a child, it may be lack of initiative in doing homework while for an adult, it may include forgetting or putting off paying bills. Children and adults with task initiation issues generally have a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, Intellectual disability or a learning disorder.

Signs of a task initiation impaired executive functioning skill would be someone having difficulty in getting started on a task and keeping the effort needed in order to complete the task. A child or an adult require external cues in order to complete the task. Also, it will require understanding what is expected and understanding the task. Here are a few strategies:

  1. Limit Distractions. In the classroom any type of added sensory input can defer the student from getting started in their school work.
  2. Create a List. Visual support will help to increase getting the work done for a school-age child, you may want to create a to-do list which the steps are broken down into smaller steps. When a person with an executive function is given a task, it may be overwhelming, making it more difficult to get started.
  3. Use Cues. A clock or a timer will help the child or adult stay on time and understanding the amount of time it will take to complete a task
  4. Break task down. Create where the work is done in chunks so that the work will not be as overwhelming for the student.

16 Must-Read Training Resources In The U.K.

There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the U.K.- An estimated 1 in 100 people are affected. Studies also show that 60% of teachers in England do not feel they have adequate training to teach children with autism.

Thankfully across the U.K., a number of trainings that focus on autism help parents, professionals, caregivers and educators learn more about the autism spectrum disorder. below are links to trainings in the U.K.

England

Autism West Midlands
  • Autism West Midlands supports families and people with autism. Seminars and workshops are offered as well as an annual conference on autism.
Child Autism U.K.
  • Child Autism U.K. provides information and support for parents of children with autism. Training courses for parents includes beginner ABA and social skills.
The National Autistic Society- 
  • Leading U.K. charity for autistic children and their families. Provides information, support and services. NAS offers scheduled training events, in-house training and online training modules including training modules on communication, sensory experiences, stress and anxiety and physical activity.

Northern Ireland

Autism Initiatives
  • Provides a range of person-centered services throughout the U.K. Autism Initiatives Northern Ireland includes a learning and development department which is designed to meet the needs of all professional staff. Upcoming training topics for July includes, Understanding Autism, Epilepsy Awareness, and Keeping Children Safe. E-Learning courses are also available.
Autism NI
  • Northern Ireland’s longest-serving autism charity and training provider. Autism NI  provides family support workshops and discussion group. Training topics include, Fundamentals of Autism, Understanding Social Skills, Sensory Processing, and PECS training courses are held off-site.
Centre For Autism
  • Provides a wide range of training for professionals working with autistic children to parents, educators and caregivers. The organization also publishes a research bulletin designed to meet the needs of professionals working in education with autistic children. Trainings for parents include topics on, transition, sensory processing and life skills
PEAT
  • PEAT provides a wide range of training services for parents of children with autism and professionals involved with individuals with autism. PEAT provides in-house training and tailors made programs to meet the needs of parent groups and specific organizations.
The National Autistic Society, Northern Ireland
  • Provides information, support and training for autistic people, families, and professionals. Offers a variety of scheduled events, courses and online training modules.

Scotland

Autism Forth Valley
  • The Autism Forth Valley Website includes a table which contains information on training providers and courses including university courses on autism, professional organizations and social service agencies.
NHS Education for Scotland
  • NES offers a wide range of education and training support for both clinical and non-clinical staff in Scotland. Formats include e-learning, workbooks, publications and blended learning.
Scottish Autism
  • Provides a wide range of support services across Scotland for individuals with autism, their families and professionals. Scottish Autism offers external training core courses including, Introduction to Autism and Autism Profiling.

Wales

ASDinfoWales
  • An E-learning introductory course on autism spectrum disorder. Participants will be asked to answer a series of 20 questions. Once completed, participants will receive a certification.
Awares
  • Provides a library with a wealth of information on autism topics from previous conferences in Microsoft PowerPoint format. Geared towards professionals however this are also useful information for parents as well. Sample topics include; psychosexual development in ASD, A guide for practioners and resources for families living in Wales.
Learning Disability Wales
  • Training program includes a range of person-centered and practical courses for people in the public, voluntary and private sectors as well as parents and caregivers. Courses include a fee at an onsite facility. Training topics include, An Introduction to Mindfulness and Making Information Easy to Read and Understand
Ringway Training

A training provider delivering online courses on autism for professionals working with children, young people and adults on a host of topics including, Autism Spectrum Condition Advance Level Training and Autism and ADHD

The National Autistic Society/Wales
  • Offers a host of free one-hour webinars for teachers, professionals and parents. The website includes two series of one hour webinars on various topics such as, promoting inclusion, preventing bullying, and neurodevelopment and social competence in autism spectrum disorder.

Talking About Autism, Listen To Families


Source: The Spectrum News
Author: Shannon Des Roches Rosa

I take a deep breath before reading any article, popular or scientific, about autism. I steel myself because most of these stories paint people like my curly-haired, autistic teenage son as burdens to their families — as changelings or enigmas. I love my son Leo fiercely and consider him none of those things, so these stories hurt. My adult autistic friends are even more pained than I am by these puzzlingly negative portrayals. Click here to read the rest of the story

March Special Needs Article Links

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

3 key lessons no one told about dyslexia (The Pavlovic Today)

7 key social skills to help children with autism cope with bullying (Upbility)

7 signs adult ADHD might be interfering with your performance at work (Techco)

7 tips for motivating kids on the autism spectrum (PopSugar)

11 signs of autism in girls (Very Well)

Helping Asperger’s teens transition to college (My Asperger’s Child)

Helping your ADHD child with homework (Healthy Place)

Is sensory processing disorder the same as sensory processing sensitivity? (The Highly Sensitive Person)

Organization and attention challenges related to sensory processing disorder (The O.T. Toolbox)

Parents: Don’t hide your children’s autism diagnoses from them (Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism)

Sensory processing disorder at home ideas (Kids Activities Blog)

Sleep strategies for kids with autism and sensory needs (And Next Comes L)

What an autistic shutdown is like for me (The Mighty)

What teachers should know about ADHD and ASD (Edutopia)

 

Autism and Managing Multi-Tasking and Memory


Source: (Huffington Post)
Writer: Mary Bailey

There are studies and articles that explore the mysteries of multi-tasking and memory in the life of individuals with autism, but there are still huge question marks which have yet to be answered. In my own search for the keys to Chase’s brain, I learned that researchers have discovered that the brains of children with autism are inflexible at rest-to-task performance. This basically means that specific brain connections do not change or function as they should, when switching from a resting-state to a task-state. There can also be impairments in the parts of the brain responsible for prospective memory (remembering things that need to be done in the future) and retrospective memory (remembering things that occurred in the past). Click here to read the rest of the story

Tax Planning for Parents of Children with Autism (And Special Needs)

Tax Planning for Parents of Children with Autism
Source: (Parenting Special Needs Magazine)
Author: Karen F. Greenberg, CFP

Parents or other caregivers of loved ones with autism may qualify for valuable tax benefits, which may be overlooked by some tax preparers who are unfamiliar with the autism spectrum disorder. These unique tax benefits may entitle parents to additional refunds of thousands of dollars.

Families often incur a myriad of expenses because of their child’s treatment and life style expenses many of which are deductible as medical expenses. Taxpayers who itemize deductions can claim medical expenses to the extent that they exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income .The challenge is to be aware of which expenses may be allowable and to keep track of them. Click here to read the rest of the story.