Browsing: Developmental Disabilities

Feeding Difficulties in the Schools

Children spend 7-8 hours per day within the school setting. During that time they eat at least one meal, and usually a snack. This can be an extremely difficult task for children with feeding disorders that can exacerbate the problem even more. How many of you find yourself packing the same exact lunch every day, just to make sure your child eats something while they are at school? This can be very difficult for both you and your child.

There are several reasons why eating at school can be difficult for any child, but especially hard for children with feeding disorders.

  • Sensory overload – school cafeterias can be a sensory nightmare for children with feeding disorders. If we stop for a moment and think of all of the senses that are being affected within the cafeteria, it is no wonder that children have difficulty eating while at school. The lights are very bright and reflect off the shiny floor. The noise can be deafening, not to mention the fact that most cafeterias echo. The tables and chairs are very close together, and it is very crowded. Depending on the menu for the day, the multitude of smells within the cafeteria can be completely overwhelming. On top of all of this, your child is invited to sit in a hard plastic chair where his / her feet may or may not touch the ground; and eat a lunch that presents its own sensory input.
  • Socialization – lunch is a very social time within the school setting, and this can have a big impact on children with feeding difficulties. What happens during a typical lunch time at school? Kids sit around a table and chat. They sometimes even do silly things with their food to try to get their peers to laugh. Not only does this limit the good models a child with feeding difficulties needs at meal times, but it is a source of distraction that reduces the amount of time a child spends eating. A child who has motor difficulties that result in messy eating behavior may well encounter social stigmatization in this setting.
  • Time – the amount of time to eat lunch in schools is often limited to 15-20 minutes. This is a very short amount of time for children with feeding disorders. Not only are many children with feeding difficulties slow eaters, but they feel further pressure to eat quickly based on what they see their peers doing. If children see their friends finishing lunch in a short amount of time, this may cause the child to eat only a small portion of their lunch or not eat at all.

When you take all of these factors into account it is a wonder that children with feeding difficulties eat anything while at school. There are some children who do not. As adults, we know that when we are feeling stressed or overwhelmed we have difficulty focusing and following through with tasks. In some cases, we even shut down or quit all together. This is the same experience children with feeding difficulties have when faced with eating in the school cafeteria day after day. These children tend to give up, shut down, or eat only a minimal amount of food at lunch.

It is important that parents and school staff are aware of these difficulties, and do what they can to minimize the negative effects of sensory overload, socialization, and time on children with feeding difficulties.

  • Sensory – think about the layout of the cafeteria, and where your child may best be positioned for the least amount of overload. Is it possible for your child to sit at a table away from the major of the crowd, or with his back to much of the visual stimulation? Try using noise cancelling head phones to reduce sound sensitivity. Provide a sensory break prior to the start of lunch to help the child feel calm before entering the situation. These are just some of the possible ways to reduce sensory stimulation within the cafeteria. Each child is unique, and what works for one will not work for another; so experiment, and find what works best for your child.
  • Socialization – often times, children are allowed to pick their own seats within the cafeteria. This can lead to difficulties for children with feeding difficulties, and add to the stress they are already feeling. It may be helpful to assign a seat to your child to reduce the anxiety that they may feel when faced with having to choose where to sit each day. Another suggestion may be to provide a lunch buddy for your child. This may be the same child for several days, or different children each day. It is a good idea to ask your child where s / he would like to sit or with what s / he would like to sit. Including him / her in the decision ahead of time can assist in empowering him / her and make for a more pleasant experience.
  • Time – it should be possible to allow for your child to have extended time to eat his / her lunch as needed. This could be set up by having your child go to the cafeteria a little early or stay a little late to provide adequate time to eat.

All of these suggestions can be easily implemented into the school setting, and make for a more tolerable eating experience for your child. Eating while at school can be very stressful for children with feeding disorders so we should assist in any way that we are capable.

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How to Talk to Children With Down Syndrome

Learning to talk to children with Down syndrome has a few special challenges simply because of the nature of the disorder. These special children have developmental delays which vary from mild to severe in learning, speech and cognitive development. Help them to learn to verbalize, pronounce and enunciate, to the best of their ability, will require learning to talk to them.

The common areas of weakness in speech development for children with Down syndrome do not needlessly lie within their ability to understand or comprehend, but in being able to process and form words in response. Poor phonics skills, poor auditory memory, and / or their passive temperaments may all influence those around them to simply respond to their needs, which may be given by gestures, grunts, or their own version of sign language, without encouraging verbalization. Given that bit of information, you will realize that talking with these very special children are not much different than talking with any other child. It just requires a little more patience, and an understanding that you are both learning as you go.

First and foremost, never underestimate their ability to comprehend and understand. Talk to them as you would any child their age. Just because they may have difficulty finding the right word to respond with or difficulty forming it, does not mean they do not get it. Even if they do not understand exactly at that moment – at some point they will.

When a child with Down syndrome grunts, signs or gestures for a need or want, encourage them to say the word. If they want a hug, have them attempt to say the word HUG. Exaggerate the pronunciation as dramatically as necessary. Praise them for any attempt and celebrate ALL successes. Encourage and praise will be crucial to their continued effort.

When talking to a child with Down syndrome, ALWAYS allow them time to respond. We can not always find the right words at times – and they just need a little longer. If they are having trouble with pronunciation, that's ok. Accept any attempt in the beginning. As they become more confident over time, gently prompt with the correct pronunciation. Remember, they are just learning at a slower pace and need lots of practice.

Down syndrome children also have the tendency of being passive by nature, so they may rarely demand attention. Therefore, it is not uncommon for them to be ignored in social settings. Including them in conversations will increase their comprehension, social, verbal, and auditory skills. It is also a major influence on their self-esteem as well.

Every moment and action is an opportunity to build the language skills of a Down syndrome child. Simple conversations become catalysts for understanding the world around them. Knowing them time to respond, and striving every attempt, will give them the practice they need to communicate not only with family, but with the outside world. And that will truly be something to celebrate with them.

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Helping Families and Caregivers of Special Needs and Down Syndrome Children

Families caring for children with special needs, such as Down syndrome, face tremendous obstacles and challenges, yet they exhibit extraordinary courage that focuses on the care, nurturing and protection of their child that is special in so many ways.

Children, with any disabilities, require endless hours of attention: medical appointments, therapies such as speech and / or occupational, hippo therapy, hospital visits, and / or surgeries. Parents and caregivers spend sleepless nights watching, listening, comforting and worrying.

However, add to those responsibilities the normal routines of life, and we can imagine the tremendous affect on every family member in the home.

The hours of care may mean that siblings will not always have immediate needs / and or wants met. Mom or dad may miss games, practices, recitals or bedtimes. Daily responsibilities, such as laundry, cleaning, and cooking may not get done, or may be dispensed with older children, while youngger children may feel neglected, scared or confused.

The expenses and the financial means (or lack of) may be overwhelming. Insurance may be insufficient to meet all the medical needs. Second mortgages may be needed and life-savings may be wiped out to make sure that every necessary treatment, surgery and the best possible care is provided. Days that seemed short before suddenly run together when the responsibilities of running a home and the immunity strain, concern and care of a special child collide.

Seeking help outside of the immediate realm of friends and family are often times difficult for these families. Many do not want to impersonate others, may be embarrassed or ashamed, thinking that they should be able to handle it on their own, or simply do not know where to turn.

If only a few people see and understand the needs of such a family, and come together to assist, they can bring tremendous relief in unlimited ways. By educating a community, and working together, a family with a special needs child will have less stress and more time to not only care for their child, but the entire family unit.

Local clerges and parishes are considered caregivers, and have vast resources and abilities which bring financial, emotional, and spiritual support. Fund raisers, such as bake sales, may not only provide financial relief, but also brings awareness to other individuals and businesses locally, creating more resources that can benefit a family in need.

Local high schools may have teens that are willing to offer child care, outings to local parks or trips to the library. Others may offer lawn care and simple maintenance work to ease the upkeep of the home. Individuals who enjoy garage and yard sales, can bring entire neighborhoods together, donating the proceeds to the family. Many more may supply items. Those that enjoy cooking may band together and offer weekly meals, while others may offer to shop, clean or provide rest to an exhausted caregiver.

By understanding the needs of those with these extraordinary circumstances, willingly offering skills, talents and time, and educating those around them, a community can participate in the care and well-being of a member of their own family: their neighbor.

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Developmental Tools For Children With Down Syndrome

Developmental tools come in a variety of materials, and each can assist in establishing lifelong social, cognitive, mobility, speech and language skills. But, for children with special needs, such as Down syndrome, the tools used will become even more important, because those skills may be more difficult to attain due to learning and / or cognitive development issues. Knowing what tools during the right developmental period will be very important, but also realizing your child's needs will vary dependent upon your child and their level of disability.

Like all children, with or without special needs, each child learners and developers differently, so a guideline is given, but only to give an idea of ​​typical developmental stages. Your child may stay within the guidelines longer or excel beyond them sooner than other children. Your professional team, occupational and speech therapists can help you establish the best tools and practices for the right developmental stages of your child.

From birth through the first year, children's senses are being developed. Initially (0-3 months) hearing and visual stimulation, through soft music, the family's voices, and / or black and white objects are best. The child will seek out the source of sound and movement, helping to build muscle tone in the head, neck, and upper body. For children with Down syndrome, this is extremely important, due to hypotonia (lack of muscle tone) which is characteristic of this genetic disorder.

From 3-7 months, colors will begin to stimulate, and touch, smell and taste will become instrumental, as the child begins to put items in their mouths. Items such as teeth rings will also help in fine motor skills, such as grasping, while activity quilts can help develop vision, auditory, mobility and motor skills, as they listen, look, grab, stretch and reach for items within their range.

Generally, at 8-12 months, hand and eye coordination becomes the next stage, as children begin exploring the world around them. Crawling, shaking toys, sorting shapes, sucking and chewing on everything (make sure everything is baby safe!), Pop up toys, as well as bath toys all became useful tools for building muscle and mobility while initiating interest in the world around them and helping to promote language skills.

Language and social skills begin developing from 6 months to approximately 3 years. Language can become more developed by playing and interacting with other children. Social skills, such as sharing, cooperative, turn taking, and role playing are being introduced. Physical and fine motor skills (playing catch, throwing balls, riding tricycles, running, etc) as well as learning to problem solve and understand the relationship between cause and effect are also being internalized. Blocks, board games, lacing and or sorting toys, math items, such as toy clocks and numbers, music, and puzzles are all excellent tools for this stage in your child's development.

As your child reaches pre-school age, their gross and fine motor skills, self-esteem, listening and social skills, or lack thereof, will become more apparent. Building upon them will be crucial, and encouraging social interaction with board games, puppets, dressing up, etc. can help promote positive interaction, language, social skills and the important self-esteem that is necessary for your child to move smoothly through and into their next stage.

Moving into their elementary and junior high years, the child will find new stimulus through peers and social interaction. Sports, school activities, games (such as UNO or Guess Who) in social settings, and just hanging out with friends will help in establishing the ever increasing need for good social interaction skills. Here it will be important to stress what is and is not appropriate behavior with those around them, especially since children with Down syndrome tend to be extremely affectionate.

All these stages require safety and structure, even into their mid to young adult years. Here, a developing a sense of belonging and membership within their peer group will be strong, so learning self-advocacy will be an important tool. Establishing self-worth and self-esteem will stem from contributing to their friendships, family, and the world around them. Jobs, based upon their skill and interest level will play a key factor in becoming mature. They will begin to seek independence and initiate control over their own lives and begin eliminating their relationships based on emotions and closeness.

Developmental tools, from birth to adult, build upon each other in building lifelong mental, cognitive, physical, language and social skills. Almost everything in a child's world can be used in a positive manner to help your child develop and mature successfully. Understanding their need and meeting them on their level, with patience and love, will create the learning environment needed to make all their life stages of life happy and successful.

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Dolphin Assisted Therapy and Down Syndrome

Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT) is a reliably new treatment that is becoming popular for children with learning disabilities, such as autism, Down syndrome and attention deficit disorder, as well as patients with epilepsy, cancer and depression.

Advocates claim that DAT boosts the immune system and increases the learning capacity by 2-10 times, with a retention rate of 50% in a year. However, this therapy is not without its critics. Researchers and psychologists are concerned that this growing fad is dangerous to humans and dolphins, overpriced and unproven scientifically. With that said, it is essential to understand the basics of DAT which lies within the communication of the dolphins.

A Dolphins language consists of a series of clicks, whistles, meows and barks. These sounds produce powerful sonar. Although complicated, the basics seem relatively simple: the waves of sonar resonate between the skull and the sternum, moving up through the spell, creating a relaxed state (similar to the brain wave called Alpha) where our bodies produce major infection and disease fighting T -Cells and endorphins. It also triggers a “phenomenon called cavitation, (a ripping apart of molecules).” (RB.Blow, 01, 1995). Appropriately this hole created by caviation fills with these critical healing molecules, and sends them out in force through the body.

LifePositive gives an example of the income: In 1995, “a child suffering from leukemia … with only a few months to live …,” received the therapy and is “enjoying a complete remission to this day.”

According to, working with dolphins increases learning for children with autism or Down syndrome from 2-10 times more quickly than those without DAT. Upon successful completion of targeted tasks, the children are rewarded with dolphin interaction. Because the children enjoy being with the dolphins as much as possible, this reward becomes an effective tool, which in turn creates positive memories associated with the task, resulting in long term retention.

With over 150 Dolphin Assisted programs worldwide, it would seem that this therapy is beyond criticism. That is not the case.

In 2007, Lori Marino, a researcher at Emory University, and Scott Lilienfield, a clinical psychologist, began campaign against DAT, stating, “DAT is bad for People and for Dolphins”. Their ratione is logical. No long term studies have proven the effectiveness of DAT, and “five studies [reviewed] for efficiency of DAT were invalid.” (From Wildlife Extra website)

Although sonar is used in modern medicine to break up kidney stones and gallstones, their contention is that the sonar used by dolphins is far less powerful, even if dolphins communicate regularly during therapy, which many do not. Their well-being is vital for their behavior and communication. But, with the demand of DAT, that is jeopardized very much. Currently, regulations' regarding the capture of dolphins is either non-existent or loosely enforced. Although most dolphins are bred in captivity in the United States, many are captured in the most brutal and tortuous ways and purchased by US facilities.

It is estimated that as many are caught, an equal amount are killed or wounded. Many are separated from their mates and / or calves. This can lead to aggressive and unpredictable behavior. This creates great risk for everyone involved, especially the children.

Dolphins are also highly social mammals. Captivity, separation, isolation and stress often lead to sickness and / or death. Putting children in a tank with a sick or dying dolphin may increase the risk of infection for both the child and the dolphin (s) involved.

Dolphin Assisted Therapy is clearly controversial. Sonar is a medically proven therapy and rewarding children with such a delightful adventure as swimming with dolphins would clearly promote effective teaching and learning strategies. However, the risks to these gentle and intelligent mammals, and those they are purportedly healing, should be carefully considered by all interested DAT. The risks involved are not without warrant, and are most certainly more clearly documented than the benefits.

In conclusion, before considering DAT, do your homework. Research the facility, and know how they attain and care for their mammals, as this will directly affect your child. Talk to professionals, as well as those who have completed the therapy, and be open to both the positive and the negative feedback. Remember that the goal of many facilities is not necessarily the care of your child or the dolphins involved.

These children and the dolphins are both at great risk and should be protected. Neither should be sacrificed in the name of therapy.

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What is Dyslexia? Dyslexia Types and Symptoms

There are some people in this world that face such a disease as dyslexia. The word “Dyslexia” originated from the Greek word that means “Dys” – impaired and “Lexis” word. Dyslexia can range from easy to severe conditions. There are many forms of this disease, therefore there are several types and symptoms of this illness. Every type is specified by the individual features of every human being separately. There is not such a “typical dyslexia”. In general, dyslexia is a learning disability of the brain, especially it manifests in reading and writing or spelling. Dyslexia is the result of the neurological disability, as people could not remember the name of the things, or to “connect” the name of an item with the definition, or mix words, numbers. Girls are less dyslectic than boys. There are two kinds of dyslexia- genetic and acquired:

1) genetic – transfers with the genes and

2) acquired one that occurs to brain damage in the left hemisphere that is responsible for language areas. So, that is why investigation of the disease reasons and after-effects has a great importance nowdays. It may bring to the knowledge in order to help people with dyslexia.

However, we must understand that is very significant to know on how to treat it and what the ways to prevent development of this disease are. What is difficult in this situation is that thing training. This notation has two sides. One is that people affected with those diseases are hard to understand, remember, and combine things, sounds, colors, meanings, definitions. And the other side is there is a need to train healthy people in order to help people with the dyslexia. First of all, let us have a look at the first side of this disease. Here is a sort of classification on the common types of dyslexia as well as their difference.

What are the symptoms of dyslexia?

It is rather simple to distinguish children affected with the dyslexia. They demonstrate difficulties in obtaining writing or reading skills. For example, let us have a look at the terms “dysphonetic” (or auditory) and “dyseidetic” (or visual) dyslexia. These two terms belong to different group. The first one relates to the person`s hearing, means that people can not connect the sound with the symbol, brain does not comply with the heard words, language. They hear the word, but can not match it with the thing, but can describe it. Also they can not spell the word. For instance, they spell “deen” instead of “need” All sounds are the same but in the incorrect order. As for the second type – dyseidetic dyslexia, it describes symptoms of visual deflection and refer to persons who have good phonetic perception, but have substantive trouble with the how person sees the words and mental processes, whole word identification and spelling.

Nowdays almost all types are treated in the same way. So, investigating and understanding the symptoms of dyslexia, it may, however, help the treatment of this disease. Thus, we can avoid any cases of poor teaching methods.

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How Can Cerebral Palsy Be Diagnosed?

Doctors and Scientists are amazed at the way the brain works and its growth is even more unbelievable. This is what nature has given us a startling piece of mini computer fitted neatly inside our tiny cranium. It is when this tiny piece of matter happens to have a small problem that a human being gets affected with some disorder. It so happens, that when a baby is in the neo natal stage or is just being born, there are chances that the area of ​​the brain that is in charge of muscle control can be damaged and this leads to what is called Cerebral Palsy. While “Cerebral” refers to the brain, “palsy” refers to the condition of the muscles.

Many parents want to know what symptoms they should look for in their child if they need to find out if their child has cerebral palsy. There are various symptoms, which children who have cerebral palsy are likely to exhibit. These kids may appear clumps or they may not be able to walk steadily. It happens that many children with this disorder will find that use of their hands and feet become difficult. Some find it hard to breathe and can even struggle to say a few words. Children with cerebral palsy will not be able to have full control over their limbs, mouth, throat and tongue and that's why they are slow I what ever they do be it speech or walk or even moving their hands to hold anything. These are some ways through which cerebral palsy diagnosis can be done.

If you have a baby who is just a few months old, you will realize that your infant tends to become stiff or keeps arching its back or even keeps stretching out its neck whenever you happen to hold this child in your arms. Older infants will find it difficult to hold an object in their hands and may keep dropping them. They also show signs of slow growth in reaching the milestones like turning over, crawling; sitting which normal infections would do with ease. Most children also have seizures if they have cerebral palsy and have jerky movements that appear clumsy.

Most parents often notice that their children are exhibiting unusual behavior and so seek a pediatrician's advice. This will give them an insight that they have an abnormal baby in their hands and this child needs special care. Medical fraternity is yet to stumble upon any clear-cut diagnosis for cerebral palsy as there is no single test available for it yet. Only doctors after running a series of tests would be able to confirm if your child has cerebral palsy.

It is advisable for parents to seek medical help and advice immediately if they happen to notice any unusual behavior in their child. In addition, parents should notice if their infants have proper alignment of their eyes, as this is another important symptom that children with cerebral palsy exhibit. Doctors can diagnose cerebral palsy before a child is eighteen months old.

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On Disability, Work-at-Home and Internet Rip-Offs

The Quest for True Value

There must be many thousands of people out there, who, like me are in search of legitimate opportunities to work from home. Not because we are too lazy to get up early for work, or because we are greedy or opportunistic, but simply because we are compelled by our unique personal circumstances to work at home, and more specifically, to do something that is internet based.

The More Vulnerable

Who are these people who have a very limited choice about their work environment and the type of work they are capable of doing? Perhaps it is a single mother with a special needs child; despite a middle-aged man who was retrenched from his job and is unsuccessful in finding alternative employment due to the specialized nature of his qualifications and experience. Or sometimes it is someone, like me, who is betrayed with a disability at a later stage in his life. A disability preventing him from practicing his profession any further. A person who dreams were shattered when he was at the pinnacle of his career. A person forced to go on disability retirement prematurely without the financial security to afford retirement. That is me and I'm convinced I'm not alone. At the age of 48 I unexpectedly and abruptly suffered a loss of hearing with such rapid progress that at 50 I had less than 30% hearing left. I am a highly qualified social services professional and my entire career had been all about working with people for people. Not the type of work you can do when you can not communicate verbally.

The Potential behind the Disability

I like my computer, though, and I am fascinated by the potential and power of electronic information and the internet as an information source and marketing tool. Moreover, I have the ability to string a few good sentences together and enjoy it to put pen to paper, or fingertips to the keyboard, for that matter. Here is my venture into a search for a work and income generating opportunity which is internet marketing related.

The Disgrace of Internet Scams

I have spent days on the internet searching for something legitimate, but have been mainly dismayed at what is being flaunted as instant roads to riches schemes, requiring you to subscribe and pay without knowing what you will be marketing or what the strategy would entail. Once you've subscribed (yes, I have been conned out of desperation to find something real), you discover that it is nothing less than a groundless pyramid scheme with no substance whatever. Shame on the fraudulent inventors and perpetrators of these scams! The fact that I have been exploited and conned is of little relevance, what is of more concern to me is that there must be many vulnerable others whose situation is more desperate that mine who have been abused and defrauded by these con men and women. As much as I stand for freedom of speech and the liberty that the Internet provides, as much do I believe that the lack of control over internet fraudsters erodes the moral fiber of the online community and stains the enlightenment of the age of information technology.

The Good News: Legitimate Opportunities are Available

At this point I need to caution, however. My tirade must not be construed as a blanket condemnation of all internet advertised work at home programs. This article should rather be interpreted as a call to caution, especially for those who are in a similar situation to me and are there before sometime more vulnerable than those who have broader career options.

There are indeed some highly legitimate work at home programs offered on the internet.

Opportunities through which you can strengthen your knowledge and skills and use it in internet marketing with the potential to produce significant income. They are often of an affiliate marketing nature, which means you become an affiliate of a company to market that company's products or services via the internet. These good companies not only provide you with all the information you need to market their product, but they also share the knowledge, skills and tools to embark on an effective internet marketing campaign. One site that I can highly recommend identifies and describes a limited number of real and legitimate work at home opportunities.

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Development Disabilities

This phrase is used for the description of people who have been subjected to a long term disability following injury to the mind, the body or a mixture of both of them before coming of age. Sometimes it is also employed as a phrase for the learning disabilities.

In fact this phrase is commonly employed in the United States; where it is used for reference to people who are impaired in three categories previously theability of independent living, personal care and economic insufficiency. In the West almost two percent of the people are affected with this disability. Whereas the statistics show that this ailment affects a little less than two percent people all around the globe. It is more prevalent among the males in contrast to the females. And as far as the location where this ailment strikes more often are the underprivileged areas where the rate of poverty is quite high.

The main causes that attribute to this ailment differ broadly and can be subcategorized into the social, physical and last but not the least the environmental factors. Amongst the very common causes are the injuries to the brain owed to natural disabilities following the complications during or post birth, problems in development because of nutritional nutrition, natural abnormality, over dose of medication and alcohol during pregnancy and last but not the least child abuse that may have an adverse reaction on his overall mental and physical health.

The education for people being afflicted by this sickness is very necessary along with the pre requisite training that will aid them later in life. Much focus and attention is being paid to the development of prospects for their inclusion in regular schools instead of the special ones, and the expansion in the later times is a testimony to this statement.

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ADHD – How NLP Gives Back Control to the Child

More than 4 million American children ages 4 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD; more than half diagnosed are being treated with drugs. (Source. NCQA – National Committee for Quality Assurance)

Additionally almost 50% of children with AHDH have been suspended from school at some point.
ADHD is a neurobiological condition and a developmental disorder which results in problems with impulsiveness, attention span and hyperactivity.

It does not have to be that way. Neuro-Linguistic Programming offers amazing tools for children to take charge of their 'brains' and hence their actions. Misunderstood … certainly, drug treatment – not necessarily.

J … had a diagnosis of ADHD, was in Year 5 (aged 10) and had been excluded yet again for the day when I arrived at school. It was lunchtime and he rarely managed an afternoon. I had only read an article on NLP and ADHD at the weekend.

J … was not on my caseload of children at this school, but I needed to wait until lunch was over. I could not believe I had the opportunity to try out this stuff so soon.

I sat with J …, built rapport with him and engaged him in conversation. All the time he was playing with a 'Rubiks cube' and giving me virtually no eye contact. During the conversation he told me he had 'kicked off' in class. I went through the process I'd only read about at that time. I asked him about the images, sounds etc. he experienced in his head when he was 'kicking off.'

He told me they were Dexter cartoons, and that the sound was kind of slurry. We deal with his inner images and his slurry sound until he had one fixed color picture and sound was a normal speed.
He even tried to get back his old images, just to check it out for himself.

As we went through the process and 'chatted' he fiddled less and less with the Rubik's cube until he placed it on the table in front of him. Wow, he thenave me full eye contact and we just talked a normal conversation.

I told the Head teacher about our experience and she totally took it on board. When a 'kicking off' was anticipated she asked him, 'Do you remember the work you did with Mrs. O.? How many pictures do you have now?

He was able to adjust his internal images and calm himself down. With this input and a change of teacher the following year, not only did his exclusion stop – he was able to go on a one-week residential trip with his class.

Some say their brains do not work properly. Maybe no one has shown them how!

Following that I became a NLP Master Practitioner and NLP Life Coach, using my NLP tools extensively with children and adults in and out of school.

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Music and My Beautiful Mind

One of the really cool things about being autistic is that I am incapable of focusing on the lyrics of a song at the same time that I am listening to the accompaniment music. Why is that cool? It's cool because I am not bound to appreciating songs only in languages ​​that I understand or that have lyrics that I like. I can really appreciate music for what it is without filtering what I like and do not like through the lyrics. This often leaves neurotypicals (not autistic) scratching their heads trying to understand how I can be enamored with a song in Korean, a language for which I only have a rudimentary understanding. However, the answer is simple. It would not matter if the lyrics were in English or Spanish. I would not pay paying attention to them either way.

This is a very common autistic trait and it does not just apply to music. While many of us are capable of intenet focus, it tends to be difficult, if not impossible, for us to focus on two or more separate tasks simultaneously. In my case, this affects me in a variety of different ways, the largest probably being eye contact. My ability to make eye contact with a person is very limited. The closest I can get is watching peoples' lips. Think about it. Eye contact is a task that is separate from listening to a person speak. I am completely overwhelmed by trying to do both. On the other hand, watching a person's lips as they are speaking is intricately connected to listening to them. This is easier for me.

Another way in which this affects me is that it is very difficult for me to watch a movie in a theater. The reason why is that people talk during the movie. They move around. They eat and drink. They get up and go to the restroom. All of these things serve as distractions that make it more or less impossible for me to watch the movie. Similarly, no one can talk to me when I am watching the television or reading. I can either listen to you or I can watch or read, but I can not do both.

You might be thinking, “I'm not autistic, but I experience similar difficulties.” Of course you do! Multitasking in my opinion is highly overrated. It has become the default mode when it really should be employed as a last-resort strategy. The difference between autistics and neurotypicals often is in matters of degree rather than distinct hits or behaviors. Let's consider eye contact again. Most neurotypicals from time to time experience difficulty making eye contact with certain people or in certain contexts. The difference between me and you is that I I experience difficulty all of the time and in all situations and contexts. Many neurotypicals are annoyed by the behavior of others in movie theaters but they still are able to watch the movie and at least get something out of it. This same situation is so overwhelming for me that I no longer can even see the screen. The closest analogy that I can use to describe it is that the distractions, no matter how seemingly unconsequential, cause what amounts to a panic attack in me. It is like seeing the picture degrade until it finally is just white noise. I must leave.

Returning to music, my unique listening style has caused me problems with friends and particularly romantic partners. For example, in the early 1990's, I was in a relationship with a controlling and insecure partner who was neurotypical. I had fallen in love with a popular song at the time by the group Zafra Negra called Sufriendo por Ella . In English this translates to Suffering because of her. I was obsessed with this song and listened to it constantly. Well. . . it is easy to see how my partner might feel threatened by this. She viewed it as a passive-aggressive way of telling her that I hated her. I was completely bewildered. I could not understand why she did not like that song. It had a catchy beat and great vocal harmonies. How could anyone not like it? Of course, I had no idea what the lyrics were conveying. I was enamored by the music. When I read the lyrics several years later and long after the relationship had ended, I understood why her reaction had been so strong. But I still like the song to this day!

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Special Education – What Are Positive Behavioral Supports, and Can They Help My Child?

Does your child with autism or ADHD have behavioral issues while at school? Does your school district continue to punish your child, rather than find a way to decrease their negative behavior? This article will discuss the use of positive behavioral support to increase positive behavior thus decreasing negative behavior.

Punishment only works in the short term to decrease negative behavior. Positive behavioral supports are research based and best practice, to change a child's behavior for the long term.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA 2004) requires: The IEP team in a case of a child whose behavior imposes his or her learning, or that of others to consider. . .strategies including positive behavioral intervention and systems to achieve positive change.

So while many special education personnel continue to punish a child with a disability for negative behavior, the use of positive supports are required by IDEA 2004, and they are also effective long term.

A summary of Positive Behavioral Supports:

1. Positive behavioral support is the application of positive behavioral interventions and systems to achieve positive change.

2. Positive behavioral support is an approach to discipline and intervention that is providing both effective and practical in schools.

3. The emphasis is on behavior change that is durable, comprehensive, and linked to academic and social gains.

4. The development of positive behavioral intervention and plans, are guided by functional behavioral assessment and is a foundation on which positive behavioral support is delivered.

5. Functional Behavioral Assessment is a systematic way of identifying problem behaviors and the events that predict occurrence, and maintenance of those behaviors.

6. A proactive perspective is maintained along a continuum, using prevention and interventions.

A few things to keep in mind:

In my experience, a lot of children that have a disability develop negative behavior, because of frustration with their academies. There is a huge connection between academic difficulty and behavioral difficulty. If your child has negative behavior at school, you must investigate and make sure that the academies that they are being taught are at their academic level. Make sure any change in academic curriculum, is included in your child's individual education plan (IEP).

Also, children with negative behaviors must be taught new acceptable behaviors, to replace the negative ones. Identify other appropriate behaviors that can be taught, that will serve the same function for the child. Make sure that any new behaviors that need to be taught to your child are listed in their IEP.

By focusing on positive behavioral support rather than punishment you can help your child increase their positive behavior. This will in turn will benefit their education, and their life!

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Special Education – How to Determine What the Function of Your Child’s School Behavior Is!

Does your child with autism, ADHD, or another disability, have problems with negative school behavior? Have you driven yourself crazy trying to figure out why your child is behaving badly? You can relax, this article will discuss a process which is known as a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) that can help you figure out what your child is earning from their school behavior. You can use this information to develop a positive behavioral plan, and increase your child's good behavior.

Before special education personnel can conduct the FBA on your child, they must pinpoint what the behavior is and describe it in concrete terms. For Example: Mary hits other children when she can not be first in line.

Next you must determine what the ABC's of specific behavior are. A stands for Antecedent; what is occurring in the environment at the time of the behavior. B stands for the specific behavior. C stands for the consequence of the behavior; what happens in the environment or to the child because of the behavior. Have special education personnel track the ABC's of the behavior for one week. This information can be used to develop the FBA.

Now special education personnel are ready to conduct the functional behavioral assessment, on your child. The definition of an FBA is: A process for collection of information. The data the team collects is used to help determine why problem behaviors incidence.

Once you determine why the problem behavior occurs, the information from the functional behavioral assessment will be used to develop a positive behavioral plan. A positive behavioral plan is not punishment for negative behavior, but a plan to increase positive behavior, which will in turn decrease negative behavior.

Appropriate steps for conducting a FBA:

1. Identify the problem behaviors that most need to change. Isolate them and describe them in concrete terms.
2. Determine where the behavior occurs and where it does not.
3. Identify what may contribute to the behavior. Is the child ill, are the child's academies too hard, avoidance of something, attention getting etc.
4. What is unique, about the environments where behaviors are not a concern.
5. What is different, in the places where the problem behaviors do occur.
6. Is the work that a child is asked to do cause the problem.
7. The time of day could affect your child's behavior.
8. Is the problem linked to a skill deficiency?
9. Come up with a list of new positive behaviors that can be taught to the child, that have the same function as the negative behaviors.
10.Develop a theory about why the behavior is occurring! Some people call this a hypothesis, about why the behavior is happening.
11.Test your theory. Develop a positive behavioral plan and track to see if your child's behavior is improving.
12.Occasionally meet with school personnel and evaluate whether the positive behavior plan continues to be effective, or if the plan needs to be updated.

By following these steps in conducting the functional behavioral assessment, you will finally understand what your child is gaining, from the negative school behavior. After you and special education personnel develop a positive behavioral plan, your child will be well on their way to improving their school behavior.

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Dyslexia Treatment

Nowadays is vital to know what this thing dyslexia is, its symptoms, types and categories. What is important is the way to cure this disease. You can complete some professional and practical courses to help and support people affected with dyslexia. Good training will be very useful to widen your horizon about this disease, to understand its reasons and aftereffects. The aims are: teaching, supporting and care in order to create confidence in these people. You can answer some significant questions like what dyslexia is, how to define this syndrome and to describe the difficulties as well as what can you do to support individuals. Any dyslexia course includes lectures as well as some practical activities. After graduating the course everyone awards the Dyslexia Action Certificate of Attendance. If you decide to take a course then you can find it at your school, college or place of work. What a person should know about dyslexia and its treatment.

Dyslexia Training and Treatment.

Let us define some considerable points. In general there is no just one and ultimate treatment for dyslexia due to the fact that there are many different children with their own individuality and characters as well as learning abilities for cognition and obtaining skills. A teacher has to create such an atmosphere and conditions in order to facilitate children cope with the tasks. A good tutor must use some strategies to turn a normal learning into interesting, gripping and easy process of discovering new things.

Dyslexia can be very tackled with the suitable training, therapy and equipment. If dialectic disabilities are not properly treated by the age of 12, those children may never obtain a right and positive sense of themselves. It can lead that they may completely fall out of school. Consequently, it is important that dyslectic disabilities are recognized at a very early childhood age and addressed to the doctor. The most efficient and successful treatment for dyslexia is educational one to tutoring one. First of all the teacher should focus on phonetics, especially on phonetic decoding. This practice involves breaking words into separate sounds and then again rearranging these sounds into different words. This method improves phonetic as we as reading decoding skills. Another treatment can be done by formation and developing software and modules skills. Here can help a variety of software available in the market. Also musical therapy or musical treatment can help in remedying dyslexia. In some sever cases medication is prescribed by the doctor. Here a piece of advice on how to tackle with the dyslexia:

1) measures should be taken by parents, teachers and professionals

2) it is very good to share experience among different countries and schools

3) it is exceptionally vital a dyslexia child being closely cooperated and associated with healthy children

4) dialectics require assistance and guidance as well as a lot of psychological attention

5) need to concentrate on structured, organized, systematic and collective work and teaching

6) it is necessary to supply a child with some extra reading.

All these factors will help a child to fight against dyslexia and over it. Many charitable organizations around the world support and lend a helping hand in struggling dyslexia by subsidy, equipment and training. Many efforts and a lot of research have been done internationally on this issue. International Dyslexia Association is also in the front position of dyslexia treatment and training.

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Learning Disabilities – Is Your Care Provision ‘Dementia Care Ready?’

It is well documented that with the advances in medical science and social care, people with Learning Disabilities are living longer. However, an emerging body of evidence suggests that care commissioners and service providers are ill prepared for the increasing aging population of people with Learning Disabilities. Living into old age marriages about its own challenges such as the increased risk of developing dementia.

So how can you ensure that your service provision is ready to face the challenge of meeting the needs of service users who go on to develop dementia?

The most basic and important consideration is training for your staff. All staff in Learning Disabilities settings must receive training in dementia awareness. It is crucial for staff to be alerted to the fact that people with Learning Disabilities are at an increased risk of developing dementia.

The dementia awareness training must be complimented with training in other areas such as:

o Life story working using talking photo albums
o Treatable causes of confusion
o The Mental Capacity Act
o Sex and sexuality in dementia
o Person-centred dementia care
o Maintaining a safe environment
o Pain assessment and management in dementia
o Meeting the nutritional needs of people with dementia
o End of life care for people with dementia
o Protection of vulnerable adults with dementia

However, training should not be limited to paid staff only. It is important to involve service users and family carers in the training program.

Involving family carers in the training programs is crucial as it will help them in adjusting to the fact that their loved one now has to live with a dual diagnosis of Learning Disabilities and Dementia.

The benefits of involving service users in dementia awareness training are numerous. However, the most important one is the support they would be able to offer to a fellow service user who goes on to develop dementia.

So do not leave the future needs of your service to chance. Organize a dementia awareness training program.

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