Fine motor skill activities should include skill development in using the small muscles in the hand. Most activities focus on using pencils, scissors and tongs. This holiday season, why not engage your special needs child in a fun, engaging activity that will help to improve the pincer grasp and hand manipulation? The following links include fine motor activities with many items you can find around your home.
Sequence is defined as a set of related events, movements, or things that follow each other in a particular order. For many children and adults with developmental delays and disabilities, the ability to arrange thoughts, information and language may be a challenge due to issues with their executive function capabilities. The following resources, tips and strategies will help you teach sequencing skills.
Annual audits and surveys can be very intimidating. A group of state surveyors showing up at the residence or day program to review services given to individuals with developmental disabilities.
What is the purpose of the audit?
In each state, Immediate Care Facilities (ICF), Immediate Residential Alternatives (IRAs), Waiver services or privately operated programs are funded through Medicaid Assistance Annually State agencies. Annual surveys serve the purpose of recertifying facilities and to make any further recommendations. Overall, the goal is to ensure the quality of for the individuals receiving services.
What are surveyors looking for?
In recent years, the focus is more on ensuring facilities that provide services and supports to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are providing opportunities for individual choices including person-centered planning, community inclusion and choice-making. Typically, State auditors will review the Individualized service Plan (ISP) document to determine it the ISP is both current and accurate.
State Auditors generally spend some time talking to staff. They may ask you questions relating to the person’s plan. The questions are often generated after they have read the individual’s ISP plan. The questions that are asked are more than likely things that you do well everyday. here are 10 easy steps as you prepare for the auditing process:
- Knowledge of Individuals. know each person’s plan including person-centered planning plan, medical needs, preferences and habilitation plan.
- Cleanliness. Make sure the environment is neat and orderly.
- Privacy. Remember to give the person privacy when needed.
- Choice. Offer choices throughout activities whenever possible. The auditors may ask you how do you teach choice-making.
- Tone. Always speak in a positive and appropriate tone of voice.
- Small groups. Work in small groups whenever possible. Incorporate variety of choice during activities.
- Community activities. Ensure individuals are able to make choices in activities in the community and community inclusion opportunities are available.
- Universal Precaution Guidelines. Know the precautions and follow them. Remember to change gloves when moving from one individual to the next.
- Active Programming. The auditors may ask questions related to what they have read in the individuals ISP or CFA (Comprehensive Functional Assessment).
- Safeguards. make sure you are able to describe the individual’s supervision needs.
Remember: Demonstrate your self-confidence, because you are good at what you do!
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.
Studies show that epilepsy are more common in individuals with autism than the general population. Studies show that in some cases, 20% of people diagnosed with autism also have an epilepsy disorder. Other studies indicate epilepsy prevalence estimates between 5% to 46%.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts social, speech, behavioral and motor skills. It is a spectrum disorder meaning it varies from person to person. No two people have the same symptoms. It is estimated that 1% of the population is diagnosed with autism.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder which occurs when neurons in the brain experience a brief interruption causing a seizure to occur. Seizures vary from mild to severe and affects over 3 million Americans. There are different types of seizures:
- Generalized Tonic/Clonic- A seizures where the whole brain is affected.
- Absence Seizures- Generally start without any warnings. It affects children and last only for a few seconds.
- Myoclonic Seizures- Are abrupt jerks of the muscle groups which originate from the spine.
- Partial Seizures- The person may look as though he or she is in a trance.
There are many unanswered questions as to why epilepsy is more common in people with autism. There is some evidence the common underlying cause may be both are related to genetic and environmental causes and are both related to some type of brain disorder. Evidence does shoe however individuals with autism and epilepsy have worse behavioral and social outcomes than individuals diagnosed with autism only including issues with motor and daily living skills.
Signs for parents to look out for
- May be difficult to determine especially in children diagnosed with severe autism spectrum disorder. Red flags include, staring episodes, stiffening of the body and shaking movements.
- A medical evaluation will include brain imaging and an electroencephalogram (EEG).
If you are an educator, be aware that after a seizure, the student will become tired. Allow the student an opportunity to rest.
Neurologist Disorder Treatment. Epilepsy in patients with autism: Links, risks and treatment challenges. Frank McBesag- Published online 2017 Dec 18
Synapse- Autistic Spectrum Disorder Factsheet
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
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.