Information for parents of disabled children

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Art of Creative Thinking

Crayon TipsImage by laffy4k via Flickr
Behavior strategies can be creative. There's no law against it. In fact, some professionals even encourage creativity with behavior issues. I thought I'd take a minute to blog about some strategies that I've seen work.

Making a team- Several kids I know need serious help during a meltdown. A meltdown, which any veteran survivor of special education can tell you, is the moment after the moment when a kid has had way too much. You can write a team approach into your behavior intervention plan. Who works with your child best? A teacher? A coach? You simply write up a game plan for dealing with a meltdown and those are the people you put in the game.  The goal is always the same; Get the student passed the meltdown and calm, then you move on to the business of his day.

One-on-One- Schools don't want to do it because they just can't afford it too often, but it does work. One aide to manage one student is sometimes called for when interventions will be intensive and of long duration.  This is likely something a parent has to put on the table. Don't wait for a teacher or administrator to put it out there. You could be waiting a while.

Give Sign a Try- I know all the arguments. It's not widely used. Others won't know how to talk to them. Okay, I get it, but communication is the biggest stumbling block there is for a child with Autism especially. I have two responses to the argument drawn from my own experience and philosophy. First, my experience is that it really reaches kids who work better tactilely or visually. Second, my philosophy is that people need to stop being lazy in our society. If you are in a social situation with a sign speaker, then get off your bum and learn some! Could I have put that more diplomatically? Yeah, but what fun is that?

These are by no stretch of the imagination the only creative interventions you can use. These are examples only. Parents drive the case conference committee, and while some educators disagree with me that it should be that way, it's the way it is. Think about it. Every other person at that table has multiple other students to work with this year. Yours isn't the only one. You are the only member of that committee who is exclusively focused on your child. A teacher doesn't live with the result of that committee's hard work. The family does.
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

There's Tired, and Then There's Thanksgiving Tired

...and dieDImage by 27147 via Flickr
The flu took it's toll this week, and the week before that. Its probably reason number 1 that I feel this tired today. Isn't it?

Then again, I've felt this coming on for a while. There are triggers for everyone as they run through life. Sometimes the world just goes gray. Thanksgiving does that to me for some reason. It's secretly my most hated holiday. Think about it.

An entire day dedicated to the celebration of how thankful we should be. It makes me regress yearly to my angry stage of grief. Well, I suppose I'm thankful that D has something that won't kill him. That's something, I guess. If you ignore that he can't talk to us and that he's not going to marry, go to college or even play little league, we have much to be grateful for.

The upside is that Thanksgiving demands that I work my behind off in the kitchen, in the house, keeping the peace. It's like a holiday marathon that begins days before and lasts into Thanksgiving night as I wind down from a good cry on the bathroom floor.  I only think about it if I stop.
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Most Restrictive Environments

Every one knows the phrase, but so very many educators don't understand. My son attends RISE Learning Center in Indianapolis. It's considered one of these environments. However, let me tell you why it's least restrictive for him.

Darrel couldn't be given the time and attention in a gen ed setting or even a simple special ed. classroom to learn simple things like walking in the line or not hitting others to get attention. His understanding and his behavior would cause him to be ostracized socially and under-educated in a less restrictive environment.

D can't sit down for very long, and it's not just behavior. He CAN'T sit down for long periods of time. It is painful, uncomfortable, distressing. Regular academic environments have the restriction that you must. It must be done this way, and that makes them too restrictive for Darrel. This is the reason a more restrictive environment belongs on the continuum of services for special education students.

It shocks me everyday to meet professionals in education who are against these environments touting inclusion, inclusion, inclusion like it's the magic cure. We have numbers that inclusion has good side effects, but my question is; Has anyone actually looked at its effects in terms of effectiveness compared with intensive, comprehensive service environments like RLC? I doubt it. The severe end of the autism spectrum interferes with our preconceived notions. My hope is to see education truly individualized as we profess to want it. Inclusion isn't right for every child, or it may not be right for right now. With intensive work on behavior and symptoms of the spectrum, a child who would never be included like Darrel or who would never learn if included, might have a hope of inclusion in the future.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Taking a short hiatus to deal with the holidays. Hope everyone has a wonderful time. Keep checking our links to see any new information that may come up. Any questions on this website can be addressed to