Technology Has Opened Doors For Those With Disabilities

Technology Has Opened Doors for Those with Disabilities
Written by: Jessica Grono
Published By: Cerebral Palsy News Today

No matter what type of cerebral palsy a person has, it limits their independence to a certain extent. Independence is amazing, especially when you have such a limited range of freedom. Technology has improved the quality life of thousands of people who have significant disabilities. I know that each time I can do an action for myself, the feeling is indescribable. This week online, I learned of two children who have experienced the unexpected, thanks to advances in technology. Click here to read the rest of the story

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Assistive Technology Switches for Children and Adults With Physical Disabilities

Assistive technology devices are identified in the IDEA 2004 as, any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities.

Switches fall under this category which allows people with physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy to manipulate their environment by controlling various types of adaptive and assistive switches used for environmental control and communication devices.

The following are resources for assistive technology switches:

Ablenet- Helps people with disabilities through the creation of assistive technology. Ablenet provides switches for both children and adults.

Adaptive Tech Solutions– A therapist-owned and operated company which provides adaptive equipment for individuals with disabilities

eSpecial Needs– Provides adaptive switches to children and adults with physical disabilities which allows them to manipulate their environment.

Enabling Devices– Creates customized one-of-a-kind assistive technology devices for communication, education and playing.

Rehabmart– sells inclusive learning devices which help children with impairments including augmentative communication and adaptive toys

Assistive Technology Websites

Glenda Assistive Technology Information and More– A website containing information on various types of assistive technology including visual supports, AAC, switches and tablets

Teaching Learners With Multiple Special Needs- Created by Kate Ahern, an assistive technology specialist. This website serves as a resource for teachers or learners with severe, profound, or multiple special needs. There is a great article on 60 things to do with a single switch 

Articles 

Assistiveware- How to Support a Student Who Uses a Switch Device

Breezy Special Ed- How to use your iPAD as a switch device

Perkins School for the Blind: Favorite Cause and Affect Switch Apps

Understood- Checklist: What to consider when looking at assistive technology

For more ideas and resources, visit my Pinterest Site:  Assistive Technology

 

Smithsonian Exhibit Puts Focus On Accessible Design

Publisher: Disability Scoop
Written by: Shaun Heasley

From clothing to utensils and computers, a new exhibit is showcasing the varied and increasing ways that today’s world is adapting to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities.

The display at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum dubbed “Access+Ability” includes over 70 works that highlight how design is making a broad range of experiences more inclusive.

Divided into three sections — moving, connecting and living — the exhibit features the latest in cane technology, clothing with magnets and other accessibility modifications, eye-controlled speech-generating devices and more innovations.

Click here for the rest of the story

20 Task Box Resources To Use In Your Classroom or Home

Task boxes (also known as work boxes) are structured work systems created by Division TEACCH t the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. This system allows the student to work independently on a task for a specific time in a supportive environment.  Task boxes are now used for students with a variety of disabilities including students required pervasive levels of support.

 

There are 3 types of task boxes: stacking- Helps with eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills; sorting- may break activities by size, color, texture, shape and flavor and fine motor- strengthens the smaller movement in the wrists, hands and fingers.

The following sites include information on how to set up a task box system in your classroom or in your home.

How I Set Up My Task Box System ( Delightfully Dedicated)

How to Set Up An Independent Workbox (Breezy Special Ed)

How to Start a Task Box System (Autism Adventures)

Task Box Set Up- (Autism Adventures)

Websites that will give you ideas on creating task boxes, and the material needed.

Autism Classroom Workbox System (Teaching Special Thinkers)

Fine Motor Morning Work Bins (Differentiated Kindergarten)

Assembly Work Task (Autism Classroom News and Resources)

Free Math Printable Task Box for Special Education ( My Creative Inclusion)

Higher Level Academics in Task Boxes (Mrs. P’s Specialties)

How I Use Workboxes in My Classroom (Creating and Teaching)

Pre-Vocational Work Boxes (SPED Adventures)

Quick and Easy Task Box Ideas (Little Miss Kim’s Class)

Task Boxes: A Hands On Approach to Life Skills (Therablog)

Task Boxes for Autistic Children (Love to Know)

Structured Work Boxes (University of Mary Washington)

Ways to Up the Ante in Your Work Task System (The Autism Vault)

Winter Task Boxes (You Aut-aKnow)

Work Boxes in Autism Classrooms (Noodle Nook)

Work Box Task Ideas (The Autism Helper)

Work Task (Breezy Special Ed)

 

Anyone With A Disability Should Relate To Finding Dory

Anyone with a Disability Should Relate to Finding Dory
Source (Cerebral Palsy News Today)
Author: Jessica Grono

Movies are usually liked because they are relatable. Seeing many movies that portray a character with cerebral palsy isn’t very common. There are some, but the character is either sick, dying or wants to die. Either way, they’re unrealistic. However, I felt very positive about the movie Finding Dory.

As a child in the late seventies and early eighties, movies about people with disabilities were scarce. I remember seeing one on television that showed a man falling for a woman in a wheelchair, but she ended up dying in the end anyway. Not very positive. More recently, there is a movie about a man who, despite being well-loved, educated and having a great life, commits suicide because he’s in a wheelchair. Again, it was a terrible representation of people with disabilities. Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Helping Children Understand Person First Language


Pubished by: ASD
Written By: Nicole Dezarn

Person first language is an important ethical matter often discussed in the field of special education and disability advocacy. The idea that the important descriptor for a person is not their disability but that the disability is something that the person has is fundamental in framing the mindset that having a disability doesn’t mean that a person is less or incapable of success. It can be challenging enough to broach this subject with adults but how do we help children to understand what person first language means and why it is so important? I felt it might be helpful to share an approach with which I have had success. Click here to read the rest of the story

Choking Prevention for People with Developmental Disabilities

Children and adults with developmental disabilities have a higher risk of choking compared to the general population.

Risk Factors Include:

Some medical conditions that increase a person’s risk of choking are:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Seizure disorders
  • Neurological and muscular disorders
  • Down Syndrome
  • Brain Injury
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Inability to swallow certain food textures and liquids
  • Medication side effects which decrease voluntary muscles
  • Dysphasia (difficulty swallowing)

Other contributing factors include:

Eat or drink too fast

Have poor posture when eating

Swallow non-edible objects (PICA)

The following foods put people at greater risk:

  • Hotdogs served whole
  • Hard candy
  • Popcorn
  • Sandwiches
  • Broccoli
  • Raw carrots
  • Nuts

Teaching Material on Choking

Arizona Department of Economic Security

Eunice Kennedy Shriver-Dysphasia, Aspiration and Choking

Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities

New York State Choking Prevention Resources

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

State Agencies Choking Alerts

Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

Minnesota Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities 

New Jersey Health and Safety Alert Choking

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!

 

 

June Special Needs Article Links

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

8 activities for your preschooler with cerebral palsy (Cerebral Palsy News Today)

8 tips for wheelchair travel on an airplane (Cerebral Palsy News Today)

10 benefits of jigsaw puzzles for people with special needs (Autism Parenting Magazine)

20 tips on employment for students with disabilities( The Inclusion Lab)

25 sensory hacks for kids for vestibular and proprioceptive input (AndNextComesL)

At airports, making travel easier for autistic passengers (New York Times)

Epilepsy and Exercise (Epilepsy Foundation)

Helping your child with special needs develop empathy (Friendship Circle)

Kids with cerebral palsy take to yoga (The Times of India)

From tragic death, a law to safeguard people with developmental disabilities (Philly.com)

Let’s talk about the fidget spinner craze (Neurodivergent Rebel)

Parents of those with disabilities fear deportation (Disability Scoop)

Simple ways sensory-based intervention can change your ASD child’s life (Autism Parenting Magazine)

Sleep strategies for teens with autism: A guide for parents (Autism Speaks)

The difficulties that get overlooked when your autistic child is verbal (FaithMummy)

When a parent and child has ADHD (HuffPost)

When the brain can’t hear: Auditory Processing Disorder (Sensory Spectrum)