Dysgraphia and Workplace Accommodations

Some might be surprised to learn that there are several types of learning disabilities. Dysgraphia is describes as a learning disability that affects writing, spelling and fine motor skills. Dysgraphia is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can occur as a stand alone disorder or part of a co-occurring disorder with other disabilities such as ADHD, Autism, and Dyslexia. Typically it is diagnosed or discovered in the early years when children are beginning to learn how to write. Most adults often remain undiagnosed.

Early Signs of Dysgraphia

Signs and symptoms of dysgraphia generally begin to show up when children began to lean how to write. Early signs of Dysgraphia include:

  • Inconsistent spacing between letters
  • Poor spatial planning
  • Poor spelling
  • Unable to read own handwriting
  • Poor fine motor skills
  • Omitted words
  • Writes slow
  • Pain in hand from writing
  • Messy unorganized papers
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper
  • Illegible printing and cursive letter formation
  • Slopping handwriting
  • Tight, cramped pencil grip
  • Tires quickly when writing
  • mixes upper and lower case or irregular sizes and shapes of letters.

Download a free dysgraphia checklist

Signs and Symptoms in the Workplace

A early signs that rarely disappears is having a “sloppy” handwriting. The person when writing leaves out letters at the end of a sentence, difficulty reading own handwriting after meetings, trouble with filling out routine forms, displays unorganized papers on the desk, difficulty thinking and writing at the same time and tends to mixes upper and lower case letters when writing. The person will also avoid writing when possible and show a preference to using a computer or texting neatness, line spacing, staying inside margins and capitalization rules.

Strategies to Use in the Workplace
  1. If you have a smart phone, you can use the device to record meetings, interviews or instructions that are given to you.
  2. Assitive technology such as tablets, computers and Apps are also useful in transcribing information
  3. Take the time to organize your desk before you leave work in the evening. Prioritize your workflow and create a plan for the next day.
  4. Pre-write. Before you take on the task of writing, create an outline on paper.
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Aspiration Precautions

Children and adults with developmental disabilities often face challenges with eating, drinking and swallowing disorders than the general population. It is estimated that adults with intellectual disabilities require support from caregivers during mealtime. It is common among people who have a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, physical  disability and muscular dystrophy.

Dysphasia is a medical term used to describe any person having difficulty swallowing foods and liquids taking  more energy and time to move food from the mouth to the stomach. Signs of dysphasia may include:

  • Drooling
  • Food or liquid remaining in the oral cavity after swallowing
  • Complaints of pain when swallowing
  • Coughing during or right after eating or drinking
  • Extra time needed to chew or swallow
  • Reflux of food

Dysphasia can lead to aspiration. Aspiration is defined when food, fluid, or other foreign material gets into the trachea or lungs instead of going down the esophagus and into the stomach. when this occurs, the person is able to cough to get the food or fluid out of their lungs, in some cases especially with children and adults with disabilities may not be able to cough. This is known as Silent Aspiration.

A complication of aspiration is Pneumonia which is defined as inhaling food, saliva, and liquids into the lungs

According to the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities Health and safety Alert, factors that place people at risk for aspiration include:

  • Being fed by others
  • Weak or absent coughing, and/or gag reflexes, commonly seen in people with cerebral palsy.
  • food stuffing and rapid eating/drinking
  • Poor chewing or swallowing pills
  • GERD- the return of partially digested food or stomach contents to the esophagus
  • Providing liquids or food consistencies the person is not able to tolerate such as eating whole foods.
  • Seizures that may occur during eating and/or drinking.

How to recognize signs and symptoms of Aspiration:

  • Choking or coughing while eating or just after eating
  • Drooling while eating or just after eating
  • Eyes start to water
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever 30 minutes after eating
Intervene immediate if there are signs of aspiration:
  • Stop feeding immediately
  • Keep the person in an upright position
  • Call 911 if the person has difficulty or stops breathing and no pulse
  • Start rescue breathing

Minimize aspiration from occurring by serving the appropriate food texture and liquid consistency. If you are not sure of the right consistency, check with your health care provider. The following are pictures of food consistencies.

Courtesy of OPWDD

Courtesy of OPWDD

Whole. Food is served as it is normally prepared; no changes are needed in
preparation or consistency

Courtesy of OPWDD

1 ” Pieces cut to size. Food is served as prepared and cut into 1-inch pieces
(about the width of a fork).

Courtesy of OPWDD

1/4 Pieces Cut to Size. Food is cut with a knife or a pizza cutter or placed in a food
processor and cut into ¼ -inch pieces (about the width of a #2 pencil)

Courtesy of OPWDD

Ground. Food must be prepared using a food processor or comparable equipment
until MOIST, COHESIVE AND NO LARGER THAN A GRAIN OF RICE, or relish
like pieces, similar to pickle relish. Ground food must always be moist. Ground meat
is moistened with a liquid either before or after being prepared in the food processor
and is ALWAYS served with a moistener such as broth, low fat sauce, gravy or
appropriate condiment. Hard, dry ground particles are easy to inhale and must be
avoided.

 

Courtesy of OPWDD

Pureed. Food must be prepared using a food processor or comparable equipment.
All foods are moistened and processed until smooth, achieving an applesauce-like or
pudding consistency. A spoon should NOT stand up in the food, but the consistency
should not be runny. Each food item is to be pureed separately, unless foods are
prepared in a mixture such as a soup, stew, casserole, or salad.

Aspiration Precautions

  • Make sure the person eats slowly and takes small bites of food
  •  Ensure the person takes small sips of liquids
  • Focus on the person’s swallowing
  • Make sure the person remains upright for a minimum of thirty minutes after eating

Data and Statistics- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

  • Fetal alcohol disorders range from mild intellectual and behavioral problems to extreme disorders that lead to profound disabilities or premature death.
  • FAS are not heredity: they are 100 percent preventable the sole cause is prenatal alcohol exposure.
  • Of the children heavily exposed to alcohol before birth, about 40 percent are estimated to exhibit fetal alcohol disorders, with 4 percent affected by full blown fetal alcohol syndrome.
  • Women who give birth to a child with FAS are 800 times more likely to give birth to subsequent children with the syndrome than are women who have never given birth to a child with the syndrome.
  • Each year, there are four times as many infants born with fetal alcohol disorders as there are infants born with muscular dystrophy, spina bifida and Down syndrome combined.
  • 15 out of 100 women of childbearing age do not know that drinking alcohol during pregnancy is dangerous.
  • FASD affects about 40,000 newborns each year
  • A survey of pediatrician reported in the journal Pediatrics revealed that only 13 percent routinely discussed the risk of drinking during pregnancy with their adolescent patients.

  • According to the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, 1 in 9 pregnant women binge drink during the first trimester.
  • FASD are 100% incurable
  • 60% of individuals with FASD find themselves in legal trouble at some point in their lives.
  • There is a high prevalence of epilepsy (5.9%) in individuals with FASD compared with individuals who did not have the disorder.
  • 94% of individuals heavily exposed to alcohol in the womb are diagnosed with ADHD
  • It is estimated a lifetime cost for one individual with FASD is 2 million
  • 50% of adults with FASD were clinically depressed

SEPTEMBER IS FETAL ALCOHOL SPECTRUM DISORDER AWARENESS MONTH

School Accomodations for Students Diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders as a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank during pregnancy. The effects of the fetal alcohol disorders includes many learning challenges including hyperactivity, poor attention span, memory issues, coordination challenges, anxiety, speech and language delays, problem-solving issues, difficulty staying on task, behavioral challenges and social interaction.

Some children with FASD have co-occurring disorders or are often mis-diagnosed.

The following are the most common disorders:

  • Oppositional Defiant Disorders (ODD)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactive/Inattentive Disorder (ADHD)
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Anti-Social Personality Disorder

The following are Accommodations that will help students succeed:

  • Use a multi-sensory approach to learning
  • Allow extra time for testing assessments
  • Chunk the test into parts
  • Reduce distractions by using preferential seating
  • Allow the student to take breaks
  • Use oral test
  • Provide oral instructions
  • Use a checklist for the student to use
  • Allow the student to use a timer
  • Use repetition
  • Check in with the students for understanding and provide feedback
  • Teach calming strategies
  • Use assistive technology
  • Use social stories
  • Teach social skills

DIY Sensory Activities for your Child With Autism

Dysfunctional sensory system is a common Symptom of Autism as well as other developmental disabilities. In this, sometimes one or more senses can either be hypo or hyper sensitive to stimulation and can lead to behaviors like rocking, spinning, and hand- flapping, irritability and hyperactivity.

There are three basic senses that are critical for our survival- tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive. Sensory Integration techniques or therapies of these senses can facilitate attention and awareness, and reduce overall arousal.

In this article, each of these sensory systems will be covered. There also will be a Do-it-yourself (DIY) activity mentioned to overcome dysfunction and improve functioning of these sensory systems. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Fine Motor-Flag Day Activities

June 14th is the designated day to celebrate the American flag. The purpose of Flag Day is to reflect on the foundations of the Nation’s freedom. The following activities can be used to improve fine motor skills for both children and adults with disabilities. From cutting to coloring , the activities also use a multi-sensory approach to learning.

Arts and Crafts

DLTK Flag Day– Flag day crafts including coloring pages and tracing.

Education World– Flag day lesson plan activities

Enchanted Learning– Allows you to click on any of the crafts to get to the instructions.

Flag Day Crafts– Includes creating a togetherness flag, star cookie cutter and a craft stick American Flag

No Time for Flash Cards- Create an American flag sticky window collage

Flag Day Inspired Recipes

Food Network– 6 Star spangled red, white, and blue recipes made for flag day.

Saralee Bread- Flag day food art recipe

Taste of Home- Top 12 flag-shaped recipes

Tasty Kitchen– Recipe for cakes and cupcakes in the shape of the American flag.

Flag Day Coloring

Color me good

Crayola

DLTK

Doodle Art Alley

Get Coloring Pages

Supercoloring

The color.com

Thoughtco

USA Printables

Woojr.

Free Printable Money WorkSheets

Summer will be here before you know it. If you want your student/ child or individual to continue practicing math skills, I have provided below 4 money sheets that you can printout and make several copies. The money sheets allows the child to work on both IEP and ISP goals including:

  1. Identifying coins
  2. Matching coins
  3. Visual discrimination
  4. Counting
  5. Transition skills
  6. Visual learners

 

Burger King.Worksheet. This is a fun activity especially for children, students and adults that enjoy going to Burger King. The individual will choose the picture and subject the cost of the item from $10.00.  This activity people with dysgraphia, increase money skills, attention skills, task initiation skills and works well as a pre-trip to Burger King. focusing on transition skills.

Matching Dimes Worksheet– The matching dime activity is great for goals on counting and identifying a time. it is useful for children adults that are visual learners and provides hands on materials. The students learning ability will increase with the use of actual dimes.

Circle Nickle Worksheet – This worksheet give the individual an opportunity to work on counting, identify various coins as well as explaining the value of the coin. The worksheet also provides additional support and increases visual discrimination skills.

Dime Counting – helps the child, student or adult with special needs practice counting skills and visual memory.

My plan for the rest of the year is to provide you with more resources that are more functional and allows you to download information.

 

7 People With Less Visible Disabilities Talk Misconceptions and Stigma

Source: Teen Vogue
Written By: Paula Akpan

Some disabilities are more immediately apparent than others, particularly if the person uses an aid such as a wheelchair. Others, however, aren’t as obvious. The Invisible Disabilities Association defines invisible disability as “a physical, mental, or neurological condition that limits a person’s movements, sense, or activities that is invisible to the onlooker.” As a result, not only do people with invisible or less visible disabilities have to make day-to-day adjustments to exist in the world around them, but they must also navigate misconceptions about their condition —including the idea that they aren’t disabled “enough.” Click here to read the rest of the story.

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe overtime. It is a life-threatening disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system. A thick mucus can block the lungs and the pancreas.

In the United States, about 30,000 people are affected by the disease. It is estimated that more than 70,000 people worldwide are living with cystic fibrosis. 1 in every 20 Americans is an unaffected carrier of an abnormal CE gene.

Wikipedia

Common symptoms of cystic fibrosis include:

  • Salty-tasting skin
  • Persistent coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Poor weight gain in spite of excessive appetite
  • Greasy, bulky stools
  • Repeated lung infections
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Sinus infections.

Cystic Fibrosis does not affect any cognitive or learning abilities. However, the student may need modifications and supports due to the disease. Teachers with students with cystic fibrosis should be knowledgeable about the disease.

15 Facts About Cri Du Chat Syndrome

Cri-Du Chat (cat’s cry) is a rare genetic disorder that results when a piece of the 5p chromosome is deleted. The name is French for “cry of the cat,” referring to the high-pitched cat-life cry. Other characteristics include intellectual disability, hyperactivity, and delay development. below are some more facts on this rare disease.

Click here to download PDF article

  • Cri du Chat is French for cat’s cry or crying cat
  • The syndrome gets its name from the infant cry which is similar to a meowing kitten
  • The cry is due to issues with the larynx and nervous system
  • About one third of children lose the cry by the age of 2 years.
  • It is also known as 5p- (5p minus)
  • The size of the deletion varies among affected individuals
  • Cri du chat syndrome is not inherited.
  • About 10 percent of people with cri du chat syndrome inherit it from an unaffected parent.
  • Is a chromosomal condition that results when a piece of chromosome 5 is missing
  • People diagnosed with cri du chat tend to have distinctive facial features
  • Occurs in an estimated 1 in 20,000 to 50,000 newborns
  • Cri du chat is found in  people of all ethnic backgrounds
  • It was first described by Jerome Lejeune in 1963
  • It is more common in females by a 4.3 ratio
  • It is a rare genetic disorder
  • In some cases, cri du chat syndrome may go undiagnosed
  • Children born with cri du chat syndrome are more likely to have developmental delays
  • The symptoms of cri du chat vary from person to person
  • Both children and adults with cri du chat are often seen as cheerful and friendly.

 

References

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center

National Organizations of Rare Diseases