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.
Lowe Syndrome also known as Oculocerebrorenal Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that affects the eyes, brain and kidneys. It has a prevalence of 1 in 500,000 and mainly affects males.
Signs and Symptoms
- Congenital cataracts
- eye abnormalities and eye disease
- kidney abnormalities (Renal Fanconi Syndrome)
- abnormal acidic blood
- progressive kidney problems
- feeding problems
- bone abnormalities
- weak or low muscle tone (hypotonia)
- joint problems
- developmental delays including motor skills
- short stature
- intellectual disability
- behavioral issues
Children and adults diagnosed with children and adults may also show the following signs and symptoms due to an intellectual disability:
- decrease learning ability
- delays in crawling
- delays in sitting up
- difficulty solving problems
- lack of curiosity
- language and speech delays
- poor memory
- behavior problems
The following strategies will help when teaching a child or an adult diagnosed with Lowe Syndrome:
- Use short and simple sentences to ensure understanding
- Repeat directions
- Teach specific skills when possible
- Use strategies such as chunking, backwards shaping, forward shaping and role modeling.
- Use concrete information
- Provide immediate feedback
Image thanks to Robert Thomson on Flickr.com (creative commons)
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
- Well-developed vocabulary
- 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
- Minimize transitions
- 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.
Tactile difficulties occur when the nervous system dysfunctions and the brain is unable to process information through the senses. Some children and adults with this form of sensory processing disorder will be over sensitive to touch. Between 5 to 13 percent of the population is diagnosed with sensory processing disorder.
Common Signs of Tactile Difficulties
- Difficulty with having nails cut or teeth brushed
- Becomes upset when hair is washed
- Dislikes any clothing with tags including clothes, hats, shoes, and complains about the type of fabric and the style
- Dislikes getting their hands dirty or messy
- Overreacts when they are touched by other people
- Oversensitive to temperature change
- Over or under reacts to pain
- Prefers deep pressure touch rather than light touch
- Avoids messy textures
- Prefers pants and long sleeves in hot weather
- Picky eater
- Eyes may be sensitive to cold wind
- Avoids walking barefoot
- Avoids standing close to other people
- May be anxious when physically close to other people
Strategies for Handling Tactile Defensiveness
- Use deep pressure
- use weighted items including blankets, vest and backpacks
- Seek out an OT
- Utilize a sensory diet
- Minimize time expected to stand and wait in line by having the child go first or last in line
- Allow the child to wear a jacket indoors
- Encourage the child to brush his or her body with a natural brush during bath time
- Create activities using play doh or silly putty
Chu, Sidney (1999), Tactile Defensiveness: Information for parents and professionals
Dyslexia is the most common learning disability. It is defined as language-based learning disability. Research shows that 1 in 5 people are dyslexic. It is a myth that people with dyslexia see words backwards, rather, letters such as b-d are reversed due tp deficits interpreting left and right. The best way for children to learn to read is through a multi-sensory approach. The following links include tips, strategies and ways to accommodate a student with dyslexia.
Candy is not the only great thing about Halloween. It is a chance to work on fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination while having fun at the same time. From ghosts to witches, there are a number of activities you child or student can do that will help increase fine motor skills. For some children and adults with disabilities, struggle with fine motor skills. These activities are a chance to improve the coordination between the brain and the muscles including dexterity and motor control. Click on the links below.
The special education and IEP process can be stressful and confusing. Many parents turn to a special needs advocate to guide them as they seek services for their child. But how can you find the right advocate?
Unlike attorneys, anyone can call themselves a special education advocate. And while there are training programs for advocates, there’s no formal licensing or certification. That’s why it’s important to do your research before hiring someone. Click here to read the rest of the story
Down syndrome (Trisomy 21) is a chromosomal disorder due to 3 copies of chromosome 21, causing a number of developmental delays, medical and physical disabilities. Learning is one of the areas that is affected by the disorder. Children born with Down syndrome typically have delays in the area of gross and fine motor skills, thinking, short attention span, speech and language difficulties and sequencing. The following links and resources include information on tips and strategies for teaching children with Down syndrome for both parents and teachers.
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month
Visual processing disorder affects the way a person sees or the ability to draw or copy. The child or the student may have difficulty with cutting, copying information accurately or may struggle to cut or paste. This is due to lack of visual motor integration between the eyes and the hands.
The following resources include information on strategies in improving motor skills and free activities and worksheets.