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Getting Through The Pandemic With Art-Fueled Joy

Sunday Stillwell For the past three years, I have worked in a local elementary school as a one-to-one support aide to a handful of K-2 students with various intellectual disabilities, in a self-contained functional academic life-skills (FALS) classroom. My job is to assist the student I am working with in all aspects of their day. I sing songs during circle time, help them learn to request items with their communication devices, teach ABCs and 123s, and during recess I play tag because it made everyone giggle and little bodies have a lot of energy to burn in the last two hours of school. But, hands-down my favorite days are the ones when we draw pictures, sculpt creatures out of clay, or create masterpieces in art class using bits of rolled up tissue paper, glue, and a vivid imagination. My favorite days. Then, in March 2020, COVID-19 hit, and those in…

An iPad screen with the app Speak for Yourself, and a list of animals in the message bar: "banana, cookie, cat, dog..."

OK, So We have AAC: Now What?

Think of your goal less about “doing it right” and more about “getting comfortable with AAC.” I’ve seen fear of being wrong all too often lead to no modeling. And I promise some modeling, modeling with mistakes, modeling slowly, all of it is better than no modeling.

Autism and the Quest for Knowledge

Jennifer Byde Myers jennyalice.com  Jack doesn’t fit the mold. Not the mold for a typical kid, not the one for cerebral palsy, not autism, not ADHD. Whenever we try to “box him up”, another piece of him pops out, unexplainable by a typical convention. I like it that way. I know I didn’t fit into the parameters that were set up for me as a kid, and I do my best to keep growing and changing so I can steer clear of the typical; “what I am supposed to do.” The problem with being outside of the norms is that other people don’t always know how to handle you, or help you, or befriend you, or teach you, or be your doctor, or your therapist. People sometimes become exasperated, or assume less of you, or ignore you. And some of that might happen out in the big bad world, but…

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Learning to Play a Musical Instrument is for People with Autism too!

Stephen M. Shore, Ed.D. www.autismasperger.net Preparation  “Can you help me draw a straight line down the middle of the page?” I ask my student upon our initial meeting. Done! “How about three more lines, going sideways?” Done! Soon we have eight empty squares on what was a blank notebook-sized piece of paper. “A!” responds my student when I ask for the first letter of the alphabet. I then ask him to write that letter in the first box before moving on to B through G. The 8th box is filled with the word “extra.” “Excellent!  Gee, could you finish writing out a line of ‘As’ on this specially prepared yellow stickie™?” Done! “Now let’s write up some ‘B’s…” And we continue until we reach the letter G. Now with a “bank” of letters I’ll have the child use a scissors to cut the bottom part of the stickie™ off before…

Writing Effective IEP Goals and Objectives: Suggestions for Teachers and Parents

Daniel Dage http://specialed.wordpress.com Note from the author: This article is part of a larger series about Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and the IEP process in which I go over each part of the IEP in-depth and describe the process from both a teacher perspective and a parent perspective. By far, this article seems to be the most read and searched for of the entire series. However, in actual practice I have not attended many IEPs where the goals and objectives were actually the subject of enough scrutiny by the attendees. Most of the time, the biggest issue of contention is during the discussion of placement. What most parents (and an embarrassing number of teachers) don’t realize is that goals and objectives are what are going to drive the students’ placement and services during the coming school year. While a Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) is the most abused part of the…