Thursday, May 30, 2013

Early Detection, difficult

From my experience as an education and someone who works with children with disabilities daily, those that have been diagnosed with Autism and early age definitely have a head start in achievement throughout their life.  If you are able to know that your child has Autism or another learning disability then you stop forcing them to learn how every other student would, but the reality is that they cannot learn that way.  They must have a different educational plan, because they learn differently and that is a fact.  Those that go without know if they have a disability are forced to try and learn just like everyone else and that is not fair thus does not benefit the child in anyway.  If you suspect your child has a disability follow the steps, early detection is key to success.

As a parent, you never want to believe that your precious bundle has a problem. But when it comes to autism, catching it early–ideally by the age of eighteen months–makes a huge difference. The younger your child, the greater the impact of treatment on symptoms of autism. But no matter your child's age, don't lose hope. Treatment can reduce the disorder's effects and help your child learn, grow, and thrive.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Autism, environment, Childhood

I am sure many of you have heard that it takes a village to raise a child, well that is even more prevalent when you have a child that has a disability.  Whether the child has Autism, Down Syndrome or some other Developmental Delay, if the entire team is not doing what they are suppose to do e.g. parents, teachers, family, friends, caretakers, then the child will not achieve to their ability.

I have seen both sides of the coin, where you have one family who doesn't really care about the IEP goals or helping the student outside of school.  Now the parents still love their child, but they are not reinforcing what is happening at school.  These parents will provide no help to the student with homework or projects, thus putting everything on the school and the school trying to play catch up, because nothing is being done at home.

Then you have the parents that do everything they can to help their child succeed.  These parents know what they are working on in their speech sessions, they know what subject they are having the most trouble in.  This child continues to grow and become more intelligent because they have an entire team with one objective for the child and that objective is to improve.

I say team a lot in this post because it takes a team to help a child with a disability to become successful, with  out that team the child will not reach very high academic achievement.  Everyone must be on the same page.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Why isnt my Autism teenager just a normal teenager?

Yesterday I talked about Autism and relationships, today I would like to talk about how many parents come into my office because of a concern over one of their child's behaviors.  For example a parent will come in and say "John told me that he hated me last night and he just wanted to be left alone in his room."  This is obviously just one of many things that parents give me.  The very first thing I tell them is that "Every teenage goes through these fazes whether they have a disability or not."  It is very important for us as parents, teachers and friends to remember that while some teenagers have Autism they are still teenagers.  They will go through puberty, having a lot of friends, not having a lot of friends, loving their parents, hating their parents, dress like a skater one day, be a jock the next.  It is important not to overreact and to always sit back and think this child with Autism is still a child and they are learning their way through life.  Each life will have its ups and downs.  It is important we do not overreact and to talk to other people, because your child might be doing the same thing your neighbor is doing.

Be positive and always share what you are going through with others.

Remember leave feedback on what you would like me to write about.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Autism and Girlfriends, plus relationships, self confidence

Being a middle school teacher there are obviously a lot of hormones going on and bodies changing etc.  I know personally I deal with mostly males that have Autism, so I can only speak from the male side.  I have parents of students with Autism that come to me and tell me how John Doe has finally wore jeans instead of sweatpants to school because he like Jane Doe.  Now the mother and myself have tried for years for John not to wear sweatpants, but all it took was one love interest and the student is more conscious of what he or she is wearing, thus making a huge step in becoming more mainstreamed.

Then I have other parents that come to me and tell me that their child likes another student, but has no idea how to help the student in establishing a relationship, when the student clams up when speaking to the oposite sex.  I tell the parents that many times to have the student start with Facebook or twitter and just talk to the opposite sex on their to help calm the nerves, thus gradually introducing them to talking to the opposite sex.

These are the types of things we need to look out for as parents, teachers and friends of those with Autism  to try and push them to have more self confidence. The more confidence the student has the more mainstreamed they become.

As always please leave feedback and suggestions for any future post.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Spontaneous problems that children with Autism go through and those that are emotionally disturbed.

There are many spontaneous management problems that teachers face everyday when kids with different personalities come to school.  The students may come to school with a bad attitude and just carry this attitude all day with them.  The students could have little things happen to them all day and it may just build up to the student exploding in their last class.  There could also be an explosion from just one monumental moment that sets a student off with the student releasing their anger all at once.  These are just a couple of sceneries that a may cause a spontaneous problem for a teacher to deal with.
One spontaneous management problem encountered is if there is a student that has to go to the bathroom the teacher asks the student to hold on a second while the class finishes the warm-up.  The student accepts the teacher’s decision with disgust and the class finishes the warm-up.  The teacher lets the student go to the bathroom as soon as the warm-up is done.  The student arrives back in the classroom after a five-minute absence.  The student goes to sit into their chair, but squats down and misses the chair, hitting the floor very loud and extremely hard.  The entire classroom erupts in laughter at the student that missed their chair.  The student turns immediately red and begins to shake their fist.  The student gets up and starts screaming and begins to throw things they can find around them.  The student throws their chair along with their book bag.  The class continues to laugh as the student spirals out of control.  Eventual the student stops throwing objects when a book hits another girl in the classroom.  The student is sent down to the office and school support comes to escort them.  The student is suspended for 3 days, for disruptive behavior and harming another student.
The teacher who knew the student was emotionally disturbed, was rather irritated by the student asking to use the restroom when the class had just began.  The teacher then let the student use the restroom after the warm-up had been finished.  When the student had come back and hit the floor, the teacher looked on in a kind of amazement, while the other class members made fun of the student that embarrassed him or herself. The teacher, rather then intervening aloud, let these actions to go on for about four minutes.  After that time, the student took matters into their own hands when they began to throw objects and shout very loudly.  The teacher used vocal warnings e.g. "Calm down," "you will be written up if this continue," and "stop that."  The student, of course, did not respond to any of these verbal commands, thus causing the student to continue their behavior.  The teacher did not get physical or ask the student to leave the room.  The teacher took action after the girl in the class was injured by having school support come to take the student to the office.
There were many ways this spontaneous moment could have been alleviated or created less of an issue than it escalated to. The teacher could have maybe let the student go to the bathroom sooner, which could have allowed the student to not be so flustered upon their return and possibly could have prevented even the fall in the first place. The teacher could also have told the students to stop laughing at the student as soon as it began and this would of prevented further embarrassment by the student.  The teacher could of asked the student to go out in the hallway to calm down or ask the student to take a walk while the other classmates gathered themselves.  The teacher could also have asked a neighboring teacher if they could help them out with controlling the student as well, in private so as not to further embarrass the student.  The teacher could of used this moment as a teaching moment for the student to learn ways about coping when they are stressed or irritated.  The teacher could of suggested the student count to ten while closing their eyes or taking one big deep breath to calm themselves.  The teacher needed to use this moment to either give the student a coping method or let them use the coping method they know, which calms the student down.
Many times in the classroom it is hard to control a spontaneous problem.  The quicker the teacher takes action to correct the situation, the quicker the situation will be dissolved.  If the teacher just sits back and lets the situation happen and continue to worsen, then the situation may spiral out of the teacher’s control.  It is always better to take action in some way, rather then not take any action at all.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rules, Autism, Down Syndrome following can help and hurt.

There is on very positive and sometimes a hurdle trait that students with Autism have.  The trait is following the rules to a “T”.  These students see the rules as black and white.  If in the beginning of the year the teacher tells the students no food in class, then these students no matter the circumstances believe that there should be no food in class, even if the teacher is having a party to end the year, I have personally seen students that will not participate, because the teacher established the no food rule in the beginning of the year.  I know I have witnessed students with Autism walk out of a classroom that was showing a cartoon, because the student believed that cartoons were not part of school.  This is a common occurrence across the board.
I have also seen were this may be a problem though as well.  Take for example a student with Autism is at a restaurant and their care taker tells them to stay at the table while the caretaker goes and get the car.  Meanwhile the manager asks the student with Autism to please get up because they have to seat another customer.  The student with Autism refuses because they were told not to leave.  Now there is a confrontation and it isn’t really anyones fault.  The manager is trying to conduct business (should he have empathy for the student with Autism?  Yes), and the student with Autism is trying to do what he is told by his caretaker and follow the rules.  This is where the rule following might come in a negative way.  Here is a link to a similar situation that happened in Frederick, Maryland.

Now of course this student had Down Syndrome, but he might of just of been following what his caretaker told him to do.

Does anyone else have examples like this?  Please Share!

Friday, May 17, 2013

1. Classroom management considerations, including possible modifications of classroom environment that would promote inclusion/ If you are a parent of a student with Autism ask the teachers why this isnt happening?

When dealing with inclusion in the classroom it is important to make sure the classroom fits the environment.  There is a totally different culture when there is a inclusion classroom and when there is no inclusion in the classroom.  It is important to have a well balanced and well maintained classroom so that students with and without disabilities are successful. 
            When the classroom teacher sets up the classroom for inclusion it is important to manage the classroom appropriately.  The teacher has to be able to get to students that have special needs quickly in case issues arrive.  It is important for these students to be in the first to second row and if the students is of larger size then the side aisle would benefit these students.  The easier the teacher has access to the students the better.  The teacher also needs to make sure that the classroom is set up with the least amount of distractions.  If the teacher has students that are easily distracted it is important to set up their room with bare minimum on the walls, this way the students are paying attention to the teacher and not the walls. 
            The teacher also has to have modifications that are available to them be available to the students.  If a student requires scribe hopefully the teacher has a printer to print out the notes for the student to follow along.  If the student requires a word processor the teacher should have a few laptops so that the student can be productive, but have their accommodations met at the same time.  The teachers also need to give the students preferential seating and putting the students in situations to succeed e.g. the teacher selecting the groups and the students not.
            Inclusion can be very successful and students with disabilities plus students without disabilities can excel in an inclusion classroom.  It is important though for the teacher to have proper management styles and have his or her classroom set up for all students to be successful.  The teachers also need to make sure that they have quick access to modifications and assistive technology.  If the teacher can use different tools in the classroom it will make for a successful classroom.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

example of co-op learning for students with disabilities-holocaust-World War II

There are many teachers that feel students can learn in a variety of ways.  One of those ways would be cooperative learning and group work in teams.  Cooperative learning is when a group learns a subject or certain topic together and almost everything they learn in the activity is “new” to the students or mostly “new” to them.  When doing group work in teams, it is usually a topic that had been discussed in class and the students are asked to create some sort of presentation in small groups to expand on what they have learned. The two situations are very similar, but usually have different outcomes within the classroom.
            There are many ways a teacher could incorporate cooperative learning in the classroom. Say an English class is learning about the Holocaust. Some examples of activities could be, the teacher will provide students in a 9th Grade English class a check sheet that has certain facts on concentration camps e.g. were there scientific tests on Jews? Were Jews worked to death in the camps? Did the Jews have to shave their heads?  The students will be assigned to groups of three in a computer lab and will be assigned to find out the answers on the concentration camp questions they are assigned.  The students will have 30 minutes to complete their list and five minutes to present their data.  Students will tally and keep track of how many concentration camps practiced the same practices.  This assignment will be at the end of reading the book Night by Elie Wiesel. 
            With the activity the students will be able to build their knowledge on what they know about the Holocaust.  The students will have learned from the experiences which the book Night had showed them.  With the research the students will be able to build on their knowledge of other concentration camps and what the Nazi’s purposes were in the concentration camps.  The assignment will break down as follows:  3 minutes will be introduction on what the assignment requires; 25 minutes will be allotted for the research in a computer lab; 15 minutes will be given for the students will be aloud to share what each group has found and what camp had each kind of activities, also what made the specific Nazi camp unique; 10 minutes will be allotted for the teacher will show the students the tally sheet of if camps had similar cultures or if the Nazis made the Jews do certain scenarios; 5 minutes for a cool down for the students to share one new fact the student learned about concentration camps that day.
            With the research of the assignment it should incorporate the student’s ability to research and build upon their current knowledge of the Holocaust.  The students will be able to compare and contrast other concentration camps during that time. The students will be able to build their skills with recalling knowledge that they have learned during the semester about World War II and more specially the Holocaust.  With research incorporated, this is the perfect activity for 9th graders to work together in order to discover certain facts they do not know about the Holocaust. 
            The overall objective of this cooperative learning assignment is to practice the students researching abilities, using a variety of databases.  Students in English class, as they get older, need to be to effective at doing research on certain topics for papers. With that the students will need to be able to compare and contrasts different facts while also choosing the most appropriate facts to use when making specific points.  With cooperative learning students will be able to learn news things, while learning with each other. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Emotional Behavior Disorder, BIP, IEP.

Emotional Behavior Disorders are.
            Before I began working in special education, my experience with special education and emotional/behavior disorder students was very limited.  I coached football before I began working in special education and had many athletes that had Individual Education Plans (IEP’s), along with Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP), which deal with students that have emotional and behavior disorders. Some characteristics that I have seen in students with emotional and behavior disorders are lashing out, shutting down and aviodence of difficult tasks. These experiences are the ones that got me interested in teaching special education and students with BIP’s. 
            I always tried to encourage the athletes that I coached to participate and try to positively reinforce their actions when they do participate.  These students, I could tell, had a little more difficulty with interacting with the other students.  These experiences are the ones that really got me interested in teaching and helping students with BIP’s.  I could see that students who had more problems then the other kids just wanted to be involved in a team and a sport.  I know that sometimes these students needed some time to step out when things in the football would get too intense for them, but as soon as they had time to cool off, they were ready to jump back in and participate.  On the football field students do not get extra time, get an aid, or have a BIP.  They are asked to do everything the students without IEP’s or BIP’s do and it is a great feeling when they accomplish great things.
            I just recently got involved in special education in August and I have loved every minute of it.  I work half of the day with just one student and the other half with several students.  Some of these students do have BIP’s, but I feel that they can become very successful.  Each student that I work with that has a BIP comes from a single parent home and they do live with their mother.  I do not know if this is a common trend with students that have BIP’s.  They become easily frustrated when it comes to difficult tasks. The students I’ve worked with like to throw things and shout out when they become frustrated.  The best solution for when these students become frustrated is to make them aware of their options and give them a chance to cool down.  I know that working with students that have BIP’s usually get several options, when they are acting out.  Usually the students are asked to correct their behavior, if the behavior continues they are told their options if they continue to behave inappropriately.  If these students continue to act then the student receives a Saturday school.  This is the extent of the experiences that I have had with students and BIP’s.  I have not seen students get to the third stage of correction which is good.
            I feel that all of these students have behavior that can be corrected, if they are given the right opportunity to do so.  I feel that these students need to be aware of the options that they have when they display inappropriate behavior.  I do think that all students that have a BIP’s can display appropriate behavior in school and become a successful student.  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Autism and routines

Routines are huge with students that have Autism.  It helps them have a balance to their day and know where to go to next.  Now there are always going to be hiccups in the schedule and it is important to practice coping techniques, so that the student does not overreact to the situation.  If the students can practice these techniques it will help prepare them for the real world.