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.
Money skills teaches more than identifying coins and bills. Teaching children with disabilities also helps to strengthen fine motor skills, task initiation, and sequencing skills.
The following websites provide activities and lesson plans which are free to download on a variety of activities:
Education World- A money math match activity where students will learn that different combinations of coins can represent the same amount of money.
Money Instructor– Free lesson plans on basic money skills including counting money, money math, vocabulary, coloring, handwriting, tracing activities and money games.
Practical Money Skills– A website designed to teach money skills including special needs children and adults. Includes lesson plans on making decisions, shopping, banking services and understanding credit. The website includes a teacher’s guide, student activities and PowerPoint presentations.
The Teachers Corner– A generated money worksheet. The worksheets allow you to choose from different currencies.
United States Currency Education Program– Offers a wide range of free education and training resources including money coloring sheets and printable play money
United States Mint-Produces circulating coinage in the United States. This webpage includes lessons for grades K-12 with lessons on each of the coins which are free to download.
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.
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
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
- Will identify a good smell
- Will identify a bad smell
- Will identify the smell (i.e. smells like apples)
- 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.
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
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!
Task Initiation is often a challenge for children and adults with an executive functioning disorder. For a child, it may be lack of initiative in doing homework while for an adult, it may include forgetting or putting off paying bills. Children and adults with task initiation issues generally have a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, Intellectual disability or a learning disorder.
Signs of a task initiation impaired executive functioning skill would be someone having difficulty in getting started on a task and keeping the effort needed in order to complete the task. A child or an adult require external cues in order to complete the task. Also, it will require understanding what is expected and understanding the task. Here are a few strategies:
- Limit Distractions. In the classroom any type of added sensory input can defer the student from getting started in their school work.
- Create a List. Visual support will help to increase getting the work done for a school-age child, you may want to create a to-do list which the steps are broken down into smaller steps. When a person with an executive function is given a task, it may be overwhelming, making it more difficult to get started.
- Use Cues. A clock or a timer will help the child or adult stay on time and understanding the amount of time it will take to complete a task
- Break task down. Create where the work is done in chunks so that the work will not be as overwhelming for the student.
Before Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month ends, I wanted to post links to free training modules on asthma and allergy. Below you will find a few that are all self-study which you can review on your own time. I included one for teachers and parents that focus on created a lesson plan for children which would be great for child with and without asthma and allergy issues.
Asthma and Nutrition Training Module– Developed by the University of Florida Pediatric Pulmonary Center, this course provides participants information on asthma and nutrition that may be used in assessing and counseling clients. This is a self-study module in a PowerPoint format with audio capture.
Asthma on Wheels Teacher Training Module– Created through the Mecklenburg County Health Department Asthma Education Program. This teacher training module provides a lesson plan to students with discussions of asthma and learning activities and list ways to educate students about asthma being a controllable condition in which students can live actively healthy lives.
Asthma Program- Indiana State Department of Health– Website includes information and resources for healthcare providers including a printable asthma medication poster and an asthma guideline implementation steps and tools.
Continuing Education for Healthcare Professionals– A free online course presented by Cross County University. This course focuses on information on assessment and monitoring, control of environmental factors, medicine management and patient education.
Food Allergy School Staff Training Module– A 30 minute module is designed to assist the school nurse in staff training and increase food allergy awareness for all staff including teachers, administration, aides, specialist and coaches.
For some autistic children, social situations can be overwhelming and cause a great amount of anxiety. One of the characteristics of having an autism spectrum disorder is social interaction. Dr. Lorna Wing described social interaction as:
- not paying attention to others
- being aloof, distant and uninterested
- being alone and withdrawal
- difficulty in making and sustaining relationships
- a lack of social skills
Social skills vary from conversation to friendship skills. The following links provides social skills resources on a variety of topics:
5 tips for running a social skills group ages 7-11. This site provides tips on increasing social skills via working in a group.
12 activities to help your child with social skills. This article by the Friendship Circle describes 12 ways to help improve social skills
101 ways to teach children social skills. Written by Lawrence Shapiro, this ready-to-use reproducible activity book (pdf) contains information on communication, being part of a group, caring about yourself, and problem solving.
Building social skills through activities. Danny Pettry created an e-book that focuses on various activities that will increase social skills for children.
Kind words sensory lesson friendship activity. This article includes information on why kind word are important through sensory play.
More tools for teaching social skills in school. Examples of role-plays, worksheets and student behavior.
Social skills activities. Free printable activity sheets on developing and practicing social skills.
Social skills lesson activities. Developed by special educator Angela Cardenos, this website includes various lessons on social skills and friendship
Social skills lessons on friends. A lesson plan and activity on identifying the qualities of a friend and naming behaviors that a friend may exhibit.
Social Skills Worksheets. This site includes printables for social skills designed to develop appropriate social skills.
Orange is a color that is associated with the fall months of October and November. It can also be used as a training activity for people with developmental disabilities.
Facts about the color orange:
- Orange is the color between red and yellow
- It is associated with amusement, extroverts, warmth, fire ,energy, danger taste, aroma and autumn
- It is the national color of Netherlands
- It is the symbolic color of Buddhism and Hinduism.
Activity: What’s in the Box
Learning Objective: to identify various items using a multi-sensory approach
- shoe box
- candy corn
- circus peanuts
Instructions: Place all items into an empty container such as a shoe box. Once completed, have participants sit in a circle and pass around the box. Give each person an opportunity to touch the object and to guess the name of the object. For people with a severe cognitive level or multi-disabilities, provide hand over hand guidance.
Discuss with the group or class the various sizes, the aroma, etc.
- You can also do a compare and contrast activity by adding items into the box of different colors and having the group choose the orange items.
- Have the group create a collage by cutting out items in a magazine that are orange. This will help with improving fine motor skills.
Special Needs Resource Blog will take a break during the holidays and will return Monday, January 4, 2016 with new information, tools and resources to post including more downloadable free tools and templates Monday thru Thursday. I am excited and look forward to sharing more resources with you in the new year.
Thanks to all of you for following my blog this year. Wishing you and your families joy and peace all through the holidays and throughout the new year. May the spirit of the holidays be with you throughout the new year. 🙂 🙂
During my trainings, I often incorporate games that help staff understand from the point of view of a person with a disability. This is a fun and simple game
Providing ongoing sensitivity training for staff working with children with special needs and adults with developmental disabilities on a regular basis lessens the risk of staff losing sight of the specific needs of each person. One game that is fun and also allows participants to reflect is an old fashion game of pick-up sticks. This game has been around for centuries and is both inexpensive and fun. This game can be conducted during staff meetings or your next staff development day.
Purpose: Enhance staff sensitivity towards people with disabilities, specifically fine-motor skills, cerebral palsy, eye-hand coordination, intellectual disabilities and learning disabilities.
Learning Objectives: As a result of this training
Instructions: Participants will grab all of the sticks and quickly release his/her hand and allows the sticks to scatter. Each participant will proceed to pick up the stick one by one using the black stick with the non-dominant hand. If any of the sticks move, the game stops and the next person will attempt to pick up all the sticks.
- Once the game is completed, Time should be given to discuss and reflect on the activity.
- ask the participants how they felt.
- Some of the feelings the presenter wants to encourage includes, frustration, slow, anger, and hopelessness.
- Ask- What was the purpose of this exercise.
- Some answers should include, to improve of understanding of what others are going through.
- Discussion should include next steps including, increasing patience
Length of Training Session: 60 Minutes
Recommended Number of Participants: 3-15 people
Time: Allow each person 3 minutes to complete the task.
Materials: Pick- up sticks, timer
I purchases my sticks at a local stationary store however you can also purchase the pick-up sticks online. check out the resources below:
Century Novelty– $5.95
S & S Worldwide – $5.49
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14th as National Flag Day. While not a federal holiday it is observed in all fifty states.
Flag day is a great opportunity to help your child or student work on a number of areas including fine motor skills , counting and vocabulary. A simple activity such as painting. using just a regular paper plate and some store purchase star stickers, children will enjoy working on this fun activity.
A second activity; using regular pop sticks, children can paint and over their colors
I have also included a third activity which includes tracing the letter F, counting the number of stars, tracing a star, coloring a star and unscrambling words.
You will find this activity here. TRACE THE LETTER F