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.
Visual Motor Free Activities
Many children diagnosed with autism experience high levels of anxiety which leads to difficult coping skills. Self-regulation helps children on the autism spectrum learn how to mange stress and build resilience. It is through self-regulation that students learn ways to function and manage their own stress, the following links provide information on teaching children techniques on self-regulation. These techniques are also useful for children diagnosed with ADHD and anyone with emotional difficulties and impulses.
Imagine during the course of the day you have no idea what is expected of you. Moving from one activity to the next depending on others to inform you of your daily plans. there are many benefits to using visual schedules especially for autistic children and adults. Studies show that many people diagnosed with autism experience high levels of anxiety often caused by unstructured activities.
Visual schedules are a way to communicate an activity through the use of images, symbols, photos, words, numbers and drawings that will help a child or adult follow rules and guidelines and understand what is expected during the course of the day.
Th following are resources containing information on creating visual schedules and free printables:
Teaching children and adults with disabilities to tell time is one of the many steps towards independence. While neurotypical children tend to start learning how to tell around the first grade, for children with disabilities, it may take a little longer.
When teaching a child with a disability to learn how to read, teaching time telling skills requires more practice a most. each step should be broken Use multi-sensory activities as much as you can including practices that involve tactile, visual, touch, etc. Be aware if the child has a sensory processing disorder. Look for clues of a pending meltdown as the child may begin to feel overwhelmed. Allow the opportunity to calm down before returning to the activity.
The following resources below includes worksheets, templates and interactive games.
Busy Teacher. Provides beginner steps to teaching time
Education World. Lesson plans including a bingo card and additional resources on telling time
Scholastic. A lesson plan on teaching time using an analog clock model including information on pre-instructional planning and a clock template
Scholastic. Provides 10 ways to practice time skills
Teaching Time. Site includes worksheets, interactive games and templates.
The Mad House. Blog on how to make a paper plate clock- Great multisensory activity for learners
Third Space Learning. A blog article that provides a step by step technique on teaching time including ways to reduce cognitive overload.
We Are Teachers. 5 hands on ways to teach telling time. The webpage also includes a free blank watch for children to color.
Games For Telling Time
Published by: Art Works Blog
Written by: Rebecca Sutton
When Roger Ideishi was helping a Philadelphia aquarium develop programming for children with cognitive and sensory disorders, he surveyed parents to see whether or not they thought their child would engage with programming by touching a starfish. “Every single parent said their child would not touch the starfish,” said Ideishi, a professor at Temple University who specializes in helping organizations develop meaningful experiences for children with disabilities. “Guess what happened? Every child touched the starfish.”
It’s an example of the happy surprises that can occur when taking children with sensory or cognitive disorders to community institutions such as Blue Star Museums, which include several aquariums around the country. “Without these opportunities, parents wouldn’t have known that their children had these other capacities or interests,” said Ideishi. Click here to read the rest of the story.
Guest Blogger, Jeremy Divinity
The classroom is a social environment where student success is dependent on the ability to interact well with others. Whereas, 72% of students on the autism spectrum have additional mental health needs that cause challenges in the classroom.
Although the learning disabilities that are associated with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) are unique to each child many autistic students share the same development problems: social interaction, language, and behavior.Autism can hinder a student’s ability to communicate and share experiences with others. Compared to their peers, autistic students are four times more likely to need extra learning and social support. This lack of social-emotional competence leads to a decrease in their connection to the learning environment and academic performance.
ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) treatments for autistic children have proven that the behavior of autistic students can be changed. Studies have demonstrated that ABA techniques produce improvements in communication, social relationships, and school performance.With the right accommodations, including proper modifications to the educational environment, along with the addition of positive reinforcement, autistic students can overcome the many barriers to learning.To put in place effective ABA techniques, educators need a better understanding of autism and how it may affect learning. Teachers are being called upon to be innovative and creative due to the unique challenges that students with ASD provide, this includes modifying their education programs.
One ABA treatment that is growing in popularity is the use of therapy dogs. If you are unfamiliar with therapy dogs and the benefits of therapy dog treatment, here is a brief history lesson: Smoky, a Yorkshire terrier, and World War 2 veteran was the first official therapy dog whose service on and off the battlefield would pave the way for future therapy dogs. Injured soldiers relied on Smoky, their canine companion, for entertainment to boost their morale. Today, therapy dogs act as a safety net, guardian, and friend who are trained to respond to a child’s most repetitive behaviors. Due to their calming influence, therapy dogs are becoming popular in the autism community. The special relationship between the therapy dog and child stimulates positive changed behavior. For children with ASD, their furry companions are not only their best friend but also offer therapeutic benefits.
Teachers and therapists have found that therapy dogs not only act as “social catalysts” that promote social interaction but also increase the activity levels of autistic students. In a study of 22 children, kids who engaged in therapy dog sessions were more talkative and socially engaged, while also less aggressive.The calming demeanor and influence of therapy dogs aid autistic students in managing the sensory challenges of the school environment. Therapy dogs can mitigate the impact of autism in the classroom by providing stability in what may seem like an unfamiliar environment.The relationship a therapy dog has with a child extends deeper than just companionship, therapy dogs can provide both practical and emotional support. Here are some of the most common therapeutic benefits that therapy dogs provide for autistic students:
Therapy dogs show unconditional love, and often times, a loving friendship develops. Both therapy dog and patient enjoy each other’s company in nonverbal ways which assists with everyday life. For example, therapy dogs de-escalate emotional meltdowns by gently interrupting any self-harming behaviors.
The biggest challenge faced by students with autism is social interaction with peers. When introduced to the classroom, therapy dogs can increase a child’s participation and functional level. After interacting with their canine companions, students with ASD transfer over their new-found social relationships with other students.
Another benefit of therapy dogs is that they can assist with behavior management by their comforting and calming demeanor. Many therapy dogs are specifically trained to decrease inappropriate behavior by acting as a source of comfort, such as leaning against a child or gently across their lap.
The most important benefit that therapy dogs can provide for students is an improvement in academic performance. After introducing therapy dogs, you will find that your students are more attentive. While also being better behaved with a new-found self-confidence – which is key to academic success. Autistic students face many challenges in the classroom. To help autistic students overcome barriers to learning school administrators, teachers, and parents must be equipped with the right accommodations. Therapy dogs mitigate the impact of autism and assist in managing the sensory overload of the school environment, and provide students with autism with the stability needed to be successful in the classroom.
is an education blogger for Teach.com and freelance writer from Los Angeles. Read more at http://www.JeremyDivinity.com.