For many families, the first hour of the day can be the hardest. Life can be chaotic and for some reason, your child cannot seem to "get it together". You shout up the stairs for them to come down dressed and ready, only ro realize that you have to send them back up for their shoes. They leave with their homework still sitting on the dining room table, or their lunch by the door. What can be done. Here is a step-by-step technique to make getting out the door a lot easier.
-----The Night Before----
Step 1)- Put a simple wooden chair in your child's room.
Step 2)- Have your child pick out underwear, pants, and shirt (or dress). Letting them pick out the clothes reduces clothes-choosing struggles later. Your child then drapes them neatly over the back of the chair.
Step 3)- Have your child put a cup on the seat of the seat of the chair containing a toothbrush and brush. (trust me, I will get to it)
Step 4)- Have your child pick a pair of shoes, put them facing out, in front of the chair.
Step 5)- Gather all homework, lunch money, signed papers etc. Review them with your child, and have your child put them in his or her backpack. Have your child put the packed backpack to the side of the chair ready for their dominant hand to grab.
Step 6)- If your child takes one, have your child open and empty lunch box to on the opposite side of the chair (non-dominant hand).
Step 7)- Have your child put a pair of socks inside an empty cup on the counter in the bathroom.
Step 8)So- Put un-boxed lunch in a dedicated spot in the refrigerator that is in your child's reach.
Order of events.....
You send your child to his or her chair.
Don't forget to help your child re-set the next night!
This will take some practice for them to get down, but when they do, you will find that remembering things will, in general, become easier. Some kids may need a visual schedule as a prompt. Most kids will not always need this structure. Others may adopt a nigh-time preparation routine on their own! Either way, it will help you to breath easier in the morning!
A few weeks ago I blogged about short-term memory being the work-bench of the mind. In this fascinating video, Peter Doolittle gives an in-depth explanation of short-term and working memory and how they impact learning and understanding.
It has hardly been noticeable because the population of individuals with autism has increased so sharply over the last two decades, but a new trend has surfaced in the world of special education. In droves, children with autism are leaving the traditional classroom behind, as their parents instead opt to home-school.
Most of these parents feel that there is really no other viable option. Many parents believe that the traditional school model did not appropriately address their child's needs. Other parents feel that in order to fit learning into a day filled with intensive therapies, a seven hours school day is simply not a viable option.
Educating a child on the autism spectrum can be a daunting task. They have very unique learning styles. Many of them "don't see the forest for the trees" when learning, meaning that they focus on specific elements of whatever they are learning, while missing the big picture. Many can understand facts and figures, but have trouble with flexible thinking and reasoning. Others have memory challenges, slow processing speed, and some simply need to experience something rather than being told about it.
Traditional home-school curriculum may not work for every kid on the spectrum. Some curriculum may need to be modified in order to maximize learning. Sometimes specialty curriculum and teaching techniques need to be put into place that build's off of a child's interests and learning styles. If done well, this individualized teaching can really help a child to thrive academically.
In order to establish a strong home-schooling program for a child on the spectrum a parent needs
Feel free to review my blog on study tips for kids on the spectrum.
I have a unique set of skills perfectly suited to home-school planning for kids with autism. Please feel free to contact me.
Michael's speech therapist spent all session yesterday helping him with chronology concepts. He just can't seem to grasp "yesterday and tomorrow". Even with his own daily life, these concepts elude him. When she asks what he did yesterday, he always answers with "I went to get pizza".
Michael's BCBA has been working with her therapists on helping Michael sequence events. They are using the terms first, next, and last. He is able to put pictures in order, but can't seem to describe the events using the terminology.
Michael has a tutor. He is working with Michael on reading comprehension, specifically with talking about the order of events in a story. He doesn't understand why Michael is not able to use the words "before" and "after" when talking about what he reads.
All of these professionals are working with Michael using valid techniques and methods to address a core issue. Michael has trouble with sequencing and time concepts, but they are all using different terminology and techniques. Michael is getting confused. He doesn't know what word to use in what situation.
Our kids often find themselves working with different professionals in different ways. All of these therapists, teachers, and professionals do a great job in their own right, but kids suffer if there is no collaboration or comparing of notes.
When professionals work together and use a team-based model of treatment, kids improve more quickly, generalize skills more between professionals, and are able to understand more of what is being taught.
One way that this can be done is by using a "case manager". Many parents try to be case managers for their kids, only to realize that keeping all professionals on the same page can be a very daunting task. Working with a professional who will take on this role is often the key. That person needs to be knowledgeable about how a child learns, needs to be a professional themselves, able to communicate with different educators and therapists effectively, and have the child's best interest at heart. The right person can cultivate a team-culture that will help a child blossom!
Mark, a fourth grade boy with autism sits in his special education classroom. The para-professional sits with him as they recite the names of the planets in order. Learning this information is required for one of his social-studies goals. His his goal states that he has to accurately list the planets in 8 out of 10 trials. It is built off of the fourth grade educational standard for his state requiring that all fourth graders have a working knowledge of celestial bodies, the universe, and galaxies. Right now, Mark can list them 6 out of 10 times. Is this a IEP bad goal? Not necessarily, but I pose this question. Does Mark know what a planet is? Can he describe the Earth as a "big ball" or a sphere? Isn't Mark just learning a list of random names? A major focus in public special education currently is to build educational goals off of grade level standards. While this is an excellent notion, it often leaves students with unusable splinter skills.
Learning can be compared to a wall. Each mastered skill can be equated with a brick firmly laid in the wall. Each brick supports the brick above it. When we expect kids to "lay bricks" when there is no supporting brick underneath, their wall will have gaps. If the gaps are too big, more advanced learning simply can't happen as you cannot lay a brick without any support. In order for solid learning to take place, lower-level skills must be mastered, laying a foundation for more advanced skills. .
In daily life, we rarely question mastery. We have mastered knowing our address when we can recite it automatically upon request. We have mastered riding a bicycle or driving when it becomes an automatic skill.
Mastery of academics can be just as clear. We know we have mastered our multiplication facts when it takes very little effort to recall a fact. We know we have mastered reading at a certain grade level when we recognize all of the words on that level easily by sight.
When we teach kids concepts, while skipping prerequisite less-advanced concepts, we do them a disservice. The result can be a graduating senior who has some advanced algebra skills, but still can't count coins, or a middle school student who can read on a high school level, but can't understand what they read because their vocabulary is on a third grade level.
"I would rather have a daughter graduating with a solid seventh grade education" a father said to me once, "than have a daughter with a solid second grade education who had some high-school skills".
Building a solid educational wall can be a challenge for kids with learning disabilities or developmental delay. Some skills don't come easy and sometimes it is easier to just "move on". It is important during these times to look and see if a lower-level skill needs to be mastered first, laying the foundation that will help the more difficult concept to come more easily. For example. If a student is having trouble sequencing the events in a story, perhaps this is because they don't have a firm grasp on the concepts of before, after, first, second, third etc.
Mastery-based teaching, building a solid educational wall, helps students to have more long-term success gives them a solid foundation for life-long learning!
Sleep can have a huge impact on brain functioning! If your child has difficulty sleeping, a regular bedtime routine at a consistent time may help. Also, check with your nutritionist, a dose of melatonin may do the trick!
Sometimes kids who have had phonics training still struggle to read fluently. They struggle to sound words out or sound out slowly, never moving to automatic sight recognition of words. When this is the case, a simple collection of 1000 of the most common words, boiled down to a set of flash cards can help. Fry's 1000 words has basic, common sight words, moving up to the more common words on the fifth grade level. Reading these words automatically will help improve reading confidence, help kids to more easily recognize words on sight, and will help them to then devote energies to comprehending what they read! The lists can be found in printable lists on several websites. You can also purchase flash cards here.
Even typically developing children sometimes have difficulty with the transition between childrens' activities at church and "Big Church", meaning the adult worship service. This transition, which takes place when a child ages out of Sunday morning children's activities, can be particularly difficult for children with ADHD, developmental delay, or intellectual disability. Some parents resort to bringing an iPad or other digital media in order to keep their child occupied. While this is an option, there may be some other measures that can be put in place to help children to more actively engage in worship.
Below are seven recommendations that might help your child to experience church differently. Keep in mind that every kid will be able to engage in the process at different levels. Meet your child where they are in terms of interaction and worship.
A Dad's Gotta Do what a Dad's Gotta Do Is a beautiful picture of a a parent's love. To quote from the dust jacket...
"Many of the fondest "school days" memories revolve around a bustling morning routine that began with a hurried breakfast, followed by loading backpacks, and culminating in the drive to school. A Dad's Gotta Do What a Dad's Gotta Do is the story of one seemingly ordinary dad who makes a certain Monday morning drive to school anything but ordinary for his two boys. Author Mark Jones presents a humorous and easy-to-understand narrative of a father's unconditional love for his children."
Mark Jones felt lead to write this book because of his heart for adoption. He and Christa Brewer, the illustrator, worked together to create a beautifully illustrated story. Revenue from sales go to help families who feel called to adopt.
Christa and her husband Beau were in the middle of adopting their son Jacob from Ethiopia when Mark, a former children's minister from a church they had attended, contacted her, asking if she would be willing to illustrate the book.
After praying, Christa, an art teacher in Fort Worth, Texas, agreed to provide the illustrations.
Beau, Christa's husband elegantly summed up the book and its purpose...
A Dad's Gotta Do What a Dad's Gotta Do is much more than pictures and a fun story-line. It's about the Jacob's in the world that are without families to love them and care for them. This book is written for the future want-to-be adoptive parents that are not sure they can raise the funds to have a child of their own or add a child to their family. This book makes a real change.
Christa talked about how Jacob is a "Delight to Their Hearts" and explains below how their adoption of their son is an outgrowth of their faith in Jesus Christ.
John 14:18 I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.
Jacob's adoption into our family demonstrates what God has done for us through saving faith and personal relationship through Jesus Christ. We are no long orphans, but adopted as sons and daughters.
If your child is having trouble "getting" math and have trouble thinking critically about what they read? They may have difficulty with "fluid reasoning". Fluid reasoning, or Logic and Reasoning is taking information learned and applying it in new ways in order to solve problems. Trucky 3, a game published by Smart Games, can be a challenge for individuals of all ages. This game requires the player to fit unusually shaped blocks fully into the transparent back of a toy truck. In order for the blocks to fit correctly, there is only one solution. There game comes with 3 trucks, a variety of blocks, and increasingly complex puzzle cards. Smart Games also creates other games that support logic, reasoning, and critical thinking.
To provide useful information to families regarding educational strategies, interventions, and tools.