Dysgraphia is learning disability that affects handwritng, spelling and the ability to put thoughts on paper. It affects fine motors skills leading to illegible handwriting, inconsistent spacing between letters and poor spelling ability. It is possible for dysgraphia to be part of the diagnosis of ADHD, autism, and dyslexia. Signs often include an awkward pencil grip, becoming quickly tired from writing and lack of punctuation and capitalization. The following links provide teaching strategies which will help to improve writing skills.
According to IDEA’s definition, visually impairment is defined as including blindness means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness. There are 3 types of blindness including The types of vision impairments are low visual acuity, blindness, and legal blindness (which varies for each country): Low visual acuity, also known as moderate visual impairment, is a visual acuity between 20/70 and 20/400 with your best corrected vision, or a visual field of no more than 20 degrees.
The following articles and links provide resources on teaching students with visual impairments.
The following are articles that provide tips and resources on teaching students with visual impairments.
The following links provide activities that can used to teach students with visual impairments.
Today is the last day to recognize Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
You can download a free printed copy of the Down syndrome fact sheet, providing information on the types, prevalence, definition, signs and symptoms, and teaching strategies. Further information includes a list of Down syndrome organizations and foundations.
Teaching individuals to count is an early prerequisite to working on money skills. Before starting to work on a counting goals, students should be able to count numbers 1- 100. Make sure to break any counting activities into short, easy-to-manage steps and provide clear expectations.
6 methods for teaching money counting-Thought Co.
7 ways to teaching counting to 100- Raising Da Vinci
10 tips to teach numbers and alphabets to children with autism– The Learning App
Counting Strategies– National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Math: Counting and Comparing– The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity
Skip Counting for Autism– Autism Educators
Teaching Counting- The Autism Helper
Teaching Counting Skills– The Autism Helper
Teaching Counting– National Center on Intensive Intervention
English pediatrician, Dr. Harry Angleman first described Angelman syndrome in 1965 when he observed 3 children who had similar features including unusual happiness, developmental delays and similar facial disorders. He originally called it the “Happy Puppet Syndrome” based in a 17th century Italian painting by Gian Francesco Coroto. In most cases, a gene located on chromosome 15 is generally missing or damaged, in some cases, the individual may have 2 copies of the paternal chromosome 15. It is considered a developmental disability where children and adults will require ongoing services. Click the link below to download the factsheet.
February is Turner Syndrome Awareness Month. It is a rare disease that occurs in between one and 2,000 birth only affecting females. Turner Syndrome has several names including Ullrich-Turner Syndrome, Bonnevie-Ullrich-Turner Syndrome. gonadal dysgenesis and 45X. This rare disease is the result of the absence of one set of genes from the short arm of one X chromosome.
Special Needs Challenges
While girls and women with Turner Syndrome usually have normal intelligence, there is a risk of learning disabilities involving spatial concepts including math and memory and ADHD
Young girls diagnosed with Turner Syndrome during their early development may have delays in learning the alphabet, speech, difficulty in following one command at a time and conceptual difficulties such as up and down. Signs and symptoms of math or dyscalculia challenges include difficulty with counting money, estimating time, losing track when counting and remembering phone numbers or zip codes. The following strategies should be used when teaching students diagnosed with Turner Syndrome:
- Use flashcards to aid in memory as well as workbooks, games and video’s.
- Break learning into smaller steps by using a task analysis framework.
- Administer probing and feedback as a check in
- Model instructional practices
- Provide prompts
- Use visuals such as diagrams, graphics and pictures.
- Give clear directions
- Use multiple models including visual and auditory learning models
- Make sure directions are clear
- Allow time to process and take notes
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
Williams Syndrome also known as Williams-Beuren syndrome was discovered in 1961 by J.C.P. Williams, a Cardiologist from New Zealand. Williams Syndrome is a rare disorder with a prevalence of in 7,500 to 20,000 caused by the deletion of genetic material from chromosome 7. Williams syndrome symptoms include heart problems, low birth weight, l problems and developmental delays. 75 are diagnosed with mile to moderate intellectual disabilities or a learning disability.
Physical characteristics include:
Almond shape eyes
Longer upper lip
Puffiness around the eyes
Small upturned nose
- Enjoys music
- Developmental delay
- Excellent long-term memory
- Learning disability
- Poor fine motor skills
- Tactile defensiveness
Students with Mild intellectual disabilities will have difficulty with abstract thinking, executive functioning including planning, prioritizing, and cognitive flexibility. According to the Williams Syndrome Association Website, Children with Williams Syndrome face challenges with processing non-verbal information and displays difficulty with attention to detail.
Strategies should include:
- Using short sentences
- Repeat directions
- Break task into small steps
- Use concrete examples when introducing new words or concepts.
- Teach one concept at a time
- Use a multisensory approach which will help to stimulate learning
- Utilize visual learning style including the use of flash cars, pictures, images, handouts and colors.
Angelman Syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the nervous system, characteristics that include developmental delays, intellectual disability, and speech impairments. Angelman syndrome generally go unnoticed until the age of 1 year. Children typically have a happy demeanor and have a fascination with water
- developmental delay
- intellectual disability
- short attention span
- happy demeanor
- tongue thrusting
- feeding problems during infancy
- sensitivity to heat
- frequent drooling
- attraction to water
Angelman Syndrome is a rare disorder and affects 1 in 12,000 to 20,000 a year. Equally to less than 200,000 case a year. Affects all ethnicities and sexes equally.
Angelman Syndrome-Bridges for Kids
Angelman Syndrome– Ontario Teachers Federation
Angelman Syndrome– National Association of Special Educators
Angelman Syndrome in the Classroom- Puzzle Place
Communication strategies for children with Angelman Syndrome– Cleveland Clinic
Education Resources- Angelman Resources
Some Angelman Tips– Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs
Working with a child who has Angelman Syndrome– St. Cloud State University
Writing instruction for students with Angelman Syndrome– PracticalAAC
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)