Tag Archives: Resources

Teacher Trainings

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While students enjoyed the summer vacation many teachers spend days building their teaching skills. Summer is a time for professional development and growth for those of us in education. This is one reason why it is so frustrating to hear, “Teaching is easy, you get all summer off”. Teachers really don’t get ALL summer off.
But professional growth doesn’t stop when the kids enter the classroom. No, that’s when it just begins. Teachers get a new set of students every year and every group brings its own trials and rewards. So this year during the first week while kids are adjusting to teachers and schedules, teachers are also adjusting to kids. On day one teachers start to calculate and make an ever growing list of what they need to educate this diverse population of students. So as you embark on a new school year, let me say Good Luck! You do this for a reason and YOU make the difference.

Now, to offer what I can to help prepare for this new world of new students, here’s a list of some upcoming workshops offered through Region 15 Education Service Center that may help you grow, learn and teach.

9/20- For the new Special Ed teacher’s out there, this is a basic overview of PLAAFPs and IEPs. It is an introduction course designed to give you the knowledge needed to feel comfortable writing PLAAFPs and IEPs, but also to prepare you for the two day more intense workshop offered later in the semester.

9/25- MAKE AND TAKE!! All students need social skills not only to be successful in school, but to be successful in life. But with everything you are required to teach, how do you fit in social skills as well? This workshop will look at easy and effective ways to address social skills on a daily bases as well as specific strategies for your students with more challenging behaviors. You will get a chance to make and take everything needed to implement these strategies the very next day!
You will walk away with a cool down kit, visual timer, brain break games, reward cards, supplies for visual schedules, check in cards, social skills lesson plans and materials to teach the lessons.

10/21 Reading Accommodation Assessment: The PAR or Protocol for Accommodations in Reading is a FREE tool that helps assess the need for reading accommodations. Do students need accommodations? Do they need a text reader or an adult reader? How do I show students what they need? This FREE tool can help with all these questions. ANYONE can give this!! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A DIAG OR READING SPECIALIST! This workshop will show you how to use this tool and provide an opportunity to practice.
You will get a bound copy of the PAR assessment that you can use to test with IMMEDIATELY!

11/19 20 Strategies for ANY student!! Teaching is no longer one size fits all. As more students are moved into inclusive settings, teachers face new challenges with how to address the needs of GT, Special Ed, ESL, ELL, slow learners and average performing students all at the same time! This workshop will look at 20 strategies that are effective for engaging and teaching ALL students in ANY classrooms. We will also look at how to imbed these strategies into your differentiated instruction.
You will walk away with Marcia Tate’s book, “Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites,” and the confidence to implement a new engaging strategy the VERY NEXT DAY!

To register or for more information click Region 15 ESC.
Have a Great Year!

Special Ed-The equivalent of acronym Hell!

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There are so many things about Special Education that are tricky or hard to decipher. Laws that don’t always make sense, rules that only apply under certain circumstances and to make it worse, Special Educators often speak in their own language.

Have you ever heard one Special Ed teacher say to another, “I need to finish the FBA as part of the FIE. Then I can work on the BIP and PLAAFP. The student will qualify as LD and OHI. I’ll work on draft IEPs before the ARD”.

WHAT? It’s the equivalent of acronym hell! The link below will take you to a document that lists some of the most common acronyms and what they mean. I hope this helps you to have a better understanding of Special Ed and the crazy language we speak.

Special Ed acronyms

Research Based Strategies for Autistic students.

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Sorry it’s been so long between posts.  Wrapping up the end of the year was CRAZY!  I’ve recently started a new job in the Special Ed department of the Region 15 Education Service Center.  I will be working primarily with access to the General Ed curriculum and accountability.  During my first week, Region 15 was hosting their second annual Autism Conference.  There were some GREAT presenters!  The objective of this post is to share information and resources gained during this conference.

REMEMBER:  Just because the conference was geared toward Autism does not mean this info applies only to Autistic children.  Every child is difference and these strategies would apply to many kids, no matter their label!

I set in on a presentation called “Practical Strategies for Teaching Students with ASD: focus on HFA & Asperger Syndrome”.  It was presented by Dr. Lori Ernsperger, Ph.D., BCBA-D.  You can find more information about her on her website www.loriernsperger.com

It’s important to remember that teachers are required by law, No Child Left Behind and IDEA, to use research based practices and strategies.  As a teacher I didn’t always know what this meant or where to find these researched based strategies.  http://autismpdc.fpg.unc.edu/content/briefs this link takes you to The National Professional Development Center on ASD.  Here you can find specific info for over 24 Research Based strategies for students with Autism.   Below are links to the specific strategies.

 

You can also watch training modules at www.autisminternetmodules.org  These are free modules on an array of topics.

Dr. Lori really stressed the ABC’s of behavior.  If you’ve had any training in behavior you know these, antecedent, behavior, and consequence.  If you can pin point what is “triggering” a behavior you have a better chance of changing that behavior.

It’s also important that you give replacement behaviors.  Simply telling a child to “stop” without giving them a replacement behavior will not help change the behavior.

Dr. Lori also stressed the importance of teaching social skills to ALL of our student, but especially those with Autism.  She explained it in a way that will make sense to any educator.  If you have a student walk into your class who can’t read, you teach them to read.  If they can’t add and subtract, you teach them to add and subtract.  But for some reason when they lack social skills or social thinking we do nothing about it.  This has to change.  But you need a plan for teaching social skills.  It’s easy and can be done using VERY little class time.  (As little as 5 minutes a day)  But you need some resources. www.socialthinking.com has some great resource for teaching social skills.  There is also a post on this blog and a page dedicated to social skills.  Take a look and get some FREE resources.

Below are some addition resource that I found helpful. I look forward to posting more ideas and resources as I learn.  Enjoy your summer!

 

Additional Resources

Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism

ASD Video Glossary

Division TEACCH

National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC) Autism Topic Page

Office of Special Education Programs

 

 

 

The Monday Blues :(

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kids-funThe weekend is over and it’s time to get back to work.  It’s a bummer for everyone.  When you walk into school on Monday remember you aren’t the only one who wants the weekend to continue.  You set the tone; so put on your happy face, smile and greet your students.  Make them feel welcomed.  Give them a minute to tell you about their weekend.  This is a great chance to make a connection.  Here are some ideas for fun Monday morning activities.

Check out Jumpstart.com for fun activities at every level.

Check out ClassroomConfection for fun, free printables.

Check out objectiveanalyst.com for word games, puzzles and more.

Check out ESLkids for fun games and activities, great for low language kids!

And as always you can turn to Pinterest, twitter or facebook for good ideas.  Just take a minute to have some fun.  It can still be educational, but a minute or two to be a kid will help relieve stress for you and your students.  Start the week off right!

 

I don’t give a sh**!- motivating the unmotivated

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441105-Cartoon-Bored-School-Girl-At-Her-DeskOk so that’s a very dramatic title, but I know many of you are facing students who are thinking, if not saying, just that. I remember the first time a student said this to me. I would love to say that I put on my cool face, walked away as if it did not affect me and addressed it in a calm, your attitude doesn’t ruffle my feathers way, after I cooled off. This would have let the student know, your words don’t hurt me, but have serious consequences for you. But I was 21 years old with about 2 months teaching experience and I LOST IT. Red faces, hair standing up, stomped to his desk and dragged his juvenile delinquent butt to the office. “You won’t talk to me that way I’m an adult.” Unfortunately I didn’t act very adult. I got in an argument with a teenager.

Now, this extreme example goes beyond simply unmotivated and enters the realm of defiance/discipline. But many your unmotivated students have this same “I don’t care” attitude, even if they don’t express it in such a disrespectful manner.

As teachers we have the overwhelming task of taking information that does not appeal to everyone and making it interesting. I know when I was in high school Geometry didn’t exactly light a fire in my heart, but I was nonetheless stuck in that class. So if you have a classroom full of unmotivated students, or maybe just that one who brings down the rest of the class, then this post is for you!

Now I know some of you are on the edge of your seat with anticipation, thinking you’re about to read about the magic trick to motivating the unmotivated. You want the key that unlocks young minds and keeps them hanging on your every word like your teaching Twilight 101. Well I’m sorry but there is not such key. There is no sure-fire trick to motivate all students. It’s all about changing up your game, knowing your students and making connections that matter.

Don’t close out of the page just yet. While I don’t have the quick fix to motivate all students, I do have several strategies and resources that you may find helpful. I’m going to put the ideas into categories so you can skip around and skim the categories that interest you.

CLASSROOM

-Make your room a safe place. You can do this by listening to students, even if they are not always honest.

-Give students space if needed. Set up a “cool down” spot in your room where kids can go if they get frustrated or mad. If you see a kid start shutting down give them a visual cue (such as a cool down “Pass”) so they can take a step back and calm down before they shut down.

-Be very structured. Students crave structure, whether they are well behaved or in the office every other day kids always like knowing what to expect and what is expected of them.

TEACHER/STUDENT RELATIONSHIP

-Know your students. This is so important. Try to remember that you dislike BEHAVIORS not students. If a kid feels like you don’t like them they’re not going to work.

-If you know a student struggles create a secret signal so they can let you know they need help without letting the entire class know. This may increase the chance that they ask for help before shutting down.

TEACHING STRATEGIES

-Break material into smaller chunks, it will be easier for kids to follow.

-Try to incorporate student interest into the lesson and let them know how this applies in real life.

-Set up struggling students for success. Give them a chance to answer questions you know the already know. This may not be a good measure of what they’ve learned, but it will build their self-esteem, which will encourage them to keep trying.

-Give choices. Some students just want to be in control, so give them control. On a worksheet let them choose the 20 questions they want to do. This way the get some work done, but feel like they have a choice it the situation.

-Catch your students being good and reward positive behavior. Focus on positive over negative and you will start to see more positive behavior.

You may already be doing a lot of these and still have students who just don’t seem to care. I hate to be the barer of bad news, but there have always been a few students who just honestly don’t care and they’re never going to let you know that they might be slightly interested. But a good teacher NEVER stops trying to motivate those students. For every kid who’s stone faced and not letting you in, there are two others who have started listening. So keep pushing and you may be the teacher to finally get that one stubborn kid to set up and take notice. You will surely touch the lives of many while trying.

For more strategies and ideas to Motivate the Unmotivated check out these links.

Strategies for Students Who Refuse to Work

Motivating Students

Some Ideas for Motivating Students

Top 12 Ways to Motivate Students

Fight against Social Impairment-teach important skills in every classroom.

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Christmas break is almost over and we’ll be returning to school. There will be some who are excited to return and tackle the spring semester and some just hoping to survive. Everyone will have the BIG spring tests moving closer to the front of their minds as we stress and cram before the big day. I know that the state assessment is more strenuous than ever before; unfortunately the state assessment does not measure some of the most important skills needed to be successful. I’m talking about social skills.

These are the skills that we use everyday without stopping and thinking about how we learned them. How to ask for help, make a friend and speak to an adult. These are skills that fewer and fewer students are learning, leaving a large portion of our population with a “social impairment”.

I understand the pressures of the classroom. Teachers are stressed due to higher expectations and fewer resources. Our kids are expected to learn more at a younger age with more kids in the class and more diverse needs to be met at once. But when we skimp on these important skills we create students with HUGE gaps that are often harder to fill as they get older.

So here’s what I’m asking. As we start to prepare to go back for another semester of class, think about your classroom structure. Most of you already work on social skills in some way. Think about how you can continue to help develop your students socially.

Most social skills can be taught as part of your class routine. Look at the suggestion below and get creative. Talk to a Pre-K or Kindergarten teacher, they work on social skills more than other grades. Unfortunately for some of our kids that’s not enough. Look on Pinterest, that’s were I get a lot of my ideas.

The ideas below were found in various places. They are not appropriate for all ages, but I think there is something listed for every age. Most of these ideas can be blended into your class routine.

Social Skill of the Week: Pick social skill and use it for the focus of the week. For instance, if your skill of the week is showing responsibility, the word responsibility goes on the board. The teacher introduces the words and talks about what it means to be responsible. Students brainstorm ideas of what it means to be responsible. Throughout the week, students are given opportunities to comment on responsible behavior as they see it. At the end of the day or for bell work, have students talk about what they’ve been doing or what they did that showed acting responsibility.

Social Skill Weekly Goals: Have students a set social skill goal for the week. Provide opportunities for students to demonstrate and tell how they’re sticking to their goals. Use this as the exit dismissal key each day. For instance, children state how they met their goal that day “I cooperated today by working well with Sean on my book report”.

Set Goals: After you’ve reviewed the essential character traits. Ask students to set goals about improving the traits they feel they need the most improvement in. Have each student fill in a goal sheet that identifies at least 3 steps that they will take to improve the goal. At the end of each week, review the goals and steps with students. Have students revise and edit goals as necessary.

Good Character Submission Box: Keep a box with a slot in it. Ask students to put a slip in the box when they observe good character. For instance, “John tidied up the coat room without being asked”. Students that are reluctant writers will need to have their compliment scribed for them. Then the teacher reads the slips from the good character box at the end of the week. Teachers should also participate.

‘Social’ Circle Time: At circle time, have each child say something pleasant about the person next to them as they go around the circle. This do can be themed based (cooperative, respectful, generous, positive, responsible, friendly, empathetic etc.)

Mystery Buddies: Put all the student names in a hat. A child draws a student name and they become the student’s mystery buddy. The mystery buddy then offers compliments, praise and does nice things for the student. The students can then guess their mystery buddy at the end of the week.

Good Solutions: This activity takes some help from other teaching staff members. Have teachers leave you jot notes of the conflicts that have arisen on the yard or in the classroom. Collect these as often as you can. Then within your own classroom, present the situation that have happened, ask the students to role play it or to come up with positive solutions and practical advice to avoid repeats of the incidents.

The Button Jar: For this activity, you ask the students to catch somebody exhibiting great social skills. When students see another student sharing or helping out, they will ask if a button can be put in the jar. Likewise, the teacher puts buttons in the jar for targeted behaviors. There should be a small celebration each time the class reaches a defined number of buttons within a time period. For instance when a teacher says “Oh, I really like the way Jenny is cooperating”. A button then goes into the jar. This strategy really hooks kids providing they have opportunity to celebrate.

Good News Box: A box is displayed prominently in the classroom. You explain to the students that each time you see acts of kindness, consideration, patience, cooperation, encouragement, helping hands etc. the student writes a praise note stating who and what and then places it in the box. At the end of the week, the teacher reads out the praise notes to the classmates and gives them their praise notes. Teachers need to make sure that all students at some point receive a praise note for the desired behavior.

Seize the Moment: During lineup times for recess or lunch or other times when you have a few minutes to spare, have students select something nice to say about other student and why. For example: “Tara was helpful today because she lent me a pencil would I couldn’t find mine”. Sometimes start at the back of the line, sometimes at the front.

Random Acts of Kindness: At the beginning of the week, tell students to watch for random acts of kindness. Brainstorm acts of kindness to ensure all students understand. At the end of each week have a vote for the best random act of kindness.

Conflict Resolution: Give students opportunity to be mediators in conflict resolution. Teach the value of give and take. Have a role-play each week on conflict resolution, which enables you to have a different child act as mediator.

Newspaper Scrounge: The newspaper is a great source to find both good and bad character traits. Have students work in pairs to locate various articles about good and bad character. Have them explain why the article shows good character traits and what they are, and for the articles that demonstrate inappropriate traits, decide how could they have been prevented.

Here are some more resources for GREAT social skills ideas!

http://www.autism4teachers.com/autism4teachers_060.htm Interactive lessons for teaching social skills

http://www.mrdonn.org/sociology.html Lesson plans for teaching social skills

http://www.wingsforkids.org/experience/hot-wing great pre-made lessons

http://www.cccoe.net/social/SAdirectory.htm computer based activities

http://pbiscompendium.ssd.k12.mo.us/ResourcesSchools/SSD/SocialSkills/activiti.htm pre-made, age appropriate lessons.

Last post for 2012-check out the extras

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EFEdImplications

Before the New Year I wanted to add a couple of things to my posts from 2012.  I wrote about executive functioning and how important it is to our students, Executive Functioning: How is it affecting your students?  Yesterday I ran across this article and wanted to share it as well.

Executive function: A new lens for viewing your child.

The author of this article does a great job of explaining what executive functioning is and how it affects our students.   I particularly like the chart that shows how executive functioning affects academic areas like Reading and Writing.  Check it out.

I also want to add to the post I wrote on Educational Apps .  Click on Apps in Education to access a blog about apps you can use in teaching.  This blog breaks the apps down by subject and purpose.  It is VERY useful.ipad

Finally, I wanted to share this article by Angela Watson, How to work a 40 hour week as a teacher.  teacherAngela Watson is an educational consultant in New York and the creator of thecornerstoneforteachers.com.  She has a lot of useful resources on her website and I think this is one article that any teacher can appreciate.  Teachers are overworked and underappreciated.  Teachers go beyond the 7:00-4:00 teaching time.  They work nights and weekends often sacrificing time with their family.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog in 2012.  I hope to make 2013 even better.

ADHD Information for teachers and parents

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a medically diagnosed disability that affects both attention and hyperactivity.  The disorder can come in three forms, attention deficit only, hyperactive only or combined type.  However, since 1994 ADHD has been used as the term to describe all three forms. While a school district cannot diagnose ADHD they can provide valuable information that can lead a physician to make the correct diagnosis.

What teachers and parents need to understand about ADHD is that it affects different parts of the brain making it hard for students to focus, sit still, listen and pay attention.  It comes in degrees from mild to sever, so it may look different from student to student.  There is medication that can help with both hyperactivity and focus, but this is a discussion that the parent would need to have with the child’s doctor.

With or without medication, students with ADHD are capable of completing assignments and being productive members of a classroom.  But depending on the severity of the students ADHD and whether or not it is accompanied by another disability, the teacher may need to make some accommodations to the student’s work and or environment.

As a teacher what can I do to help my ADHD students?  First and most important be patient and try to understand that some of the behavior may be out of the students’ control.  That doesn’t mean you have to let the child get away with whatever they want, but it’s hard to punish something they can’t stop.  So instead of thinking about punishment, think in terms of prevention.  Here are some ideas for common problems.

Won’t stay in their seat:  Watch the student for a few days to get an idea of how long they typically stay in their seat. ( you can track this data using forms from The Data Dilemma) Then, get a timer.  Let them know they have to stay seated for X number of minutes (time will vary based on age) and when the timer goes off they can go sharpen their pencil, get a tissue of what ever excuse you can find to let them get out of their seat.  Then slowly increase the time.   This keeps the power in your hands.  You are deciding when and how the student gets up, but they are getting the movement they need.  For older kids who have more self-control, put them in a seat that is in a less distracting location (possibly the back row or off to one side) and tell them they can get up whenever they need as long as they stay within so many feet of their desk and do NOT disturb other students.  You can use tape to mark the “safe” area around their desk it needed.  Or even give them a tall table or podium and let them stand while they work, as long as they aren’t districting to others.

Won’t stay on task: This is the number one concern I hear from teachers of all students, ADHD or not, “I can’t get them to focus long enough to learn.”  Obviously the first thing you need to do is make sure the student is capable of completing the work.  If the work is significantly above their level they aren’t going to stay focus.  You need to differentiate the assignment based on educational need.  (That’s a topic for another post.)  So assuming they are capable of completing the work ,here are a few ideas.  Put the student in an area that is less distracting.  This can be done by putting up a folder to block the other kids, turning the students desk around of putting up a divider between desks.  I know you don’t want to isolate a student, so start with something that can be moved once work is completed.  But don’t be afraid to move a student’s desk to a new location if it will help them learn.  What you DON’T want to do is put the student in the hall.  This takes away instructional access.  Also try listing out steps.  If the student can mark off the steps as they go it will help them stay organized and keep moving forward.  Also think about using a reward system like  picture rewards.  Have the student work to earn or remove puzzle pieces.  When all the pieces are either taken away or put together, depending on how you set it up, they earn what the picture makes, like free time or computer time.  (Make it so they don’t earn all the pieces unless the work is complete).Also the timer in this case can help; focus on not only staying in your seat but also being productive.

 

Loses everything: Students with ADHD sometime also struggle with executive functioning skills, like organization.  Because of this, they will lose everything you give them.   The key is to help them get organized in an age appropriate way. First graders may have homework folders that they have to bring in and put in a bucket.  Then the teacher later takes out old homework and puts in new.  So all the first grader has to do is remember to give the folder to their parent.  But high school students will be responsible for homework in several classes and every class will expect them to turn it in a different way.  So you may need to help them with a folder system.  Then if they will get in the habit of putting all homework in the folder system they’ll know where it is; of course this doesn’t guarantee they will take it home and complete it.

 

They’re not listening:  I hear from teachers all the time that students aren’t listening and in some cases they aren’t.  But sometimes they are listening to more than we know; it just doesn’t look like it.  I was observing a 7th grade boy with moderate ADHD in Math on day.  He was extremely off task, signing and making noises.  The teacher (who was a sub and did not know this student) was asking kids to give answers to questions that were written on the board.  While the student did not understand the concept of raising his hand and waiting to be called on (a much-needed social skill that will be discussed in a later post) he did shout out 5 answers and 3 of them were correct.  Three out of five! For a student with ADHD and a Learning Disability that isn’t bad.  My point is he didn’t appear to be listening, but apparently he was catching on to something.   Now this is not to say let your students sing and shout out answers, but understand that they may listen and fidget at the same time.  For fidgety kids try a pipe cleaner or shoelace they can twist around their finger.  Also try other fidget tools like stress balls and different textured strips of fabric.  Click FIDGET TOOLS for more ideas.  And remember, listening skills are LEARNED SKILLS.  So no matter what grade you teach you may need to review how to be an active listener.  Post rules such as eyes face front while mouth is shut and hand up mouth shut to remind students what they need to be doing.   If you start this way on day one after a few weeks you may not even need to stop teaching to correct a talkative student; simply get their attention and point to the appropriate rule.

Can’t follow class rules:  Often time’s students with ADHD get into trouble in school.  There is NOT a disability or disorder that makes you incapable of following classroom rules!!  ADHD is not an excuse to act however you want.  It is important that teachers are firm and fair.  The rules need to be set from day one and enforced.  That is why the teacher needs to keep the control.  If you know an ADHD student has trouble sitting for long periods of time give them an excuse to get up.  Then YOU gave the permission therefore they aren’t breaking a rule.  As a teacher I can tell you when it comes to ANY disability you will either figure out what the kids need and get it to them or fight it all year.  You don’t want to waste a year fighting a loosing battle.  Instead make some modifications, keep control in your hands and allow everyone in your class to learn.  ADHD is not a free pass to run around the class and never complete assignments.  But it is a disorder that may require some adjustment in assignments and environment.

For more information on how to keep your student’s attention check out this article,

“20 Ways to keep your Student’s Attention”

Now from the other side, as a parent what can I do to help my student with ADHD?  Patients and understanding are going to be key from the parent’s side as well.  Remember to be patient with your child; they may struggle, but also patient with the teachers as the work with you through the years.

Know what’s going on at school: Talk to your child’s teachers.  Let them know your child has ADHD and give them information about what you do at home.  Find out what they are doing at school.  IF they are using a timer and working on staying in your seat, then you use a timer at home and work on the same thing.  Reinforce what’s happening at school.

Be mindful of other students:  Keep in mind that your child’s teacher is also working with other students.  There may be 20 other kids in that class who also need to learn.  So if there is an idea you think is awesome, share it, but remember it may need to be modified to fit into the classroom setting.  The key is figuring out what your child needs and finding a way to integrate it into the classroom.

Don’t assume the teacher knows:  Don’t assume your child’s teacher has worked with kids who have ADHD before.  They may not have training in this area, so don’t be afraid to offer resources such as helpful websites and give them a chance to learn.

Talk about medication: While the school cannot and should make medication recommendations; it is important for them to know what meds your child is on and if they change.  If you plan on taking your child off their medication or changing meds or dosage let the school know in advance.  This may affect behavior and the school needs to be prepared.

Listen to the teachers: Sometimes when parents get frustrated with teachers or schools they want to discredit everything the school has to say.  This is a mistake.  Listen to one and other.  Just like you have valuable information about your child the school has valuable information about their educations.

For more information on ADHD including diagnosis, medication and strategies click on ADHD. 

 

 

 

Transition and Challenging Behavior

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Many students, both with diagnosed disabilities and without, struggle with transition.  We often see this in school when students start a new year and they are adjusting to a new situation or when they go home for a long holiday break and have to adjust back into the school routine.  Sometime the anxiety and confusion caused by these times of transition can create challenging behaviors.  These behaviors may seem defiant or disrespectful and once they occur in the school setting they must be addressed.  This often leads to punishment that the student doesn’t understand or respond too.

In an effort to head off some challenging behaviors in the classroom or at home consider looking into transitional strategies to help during times when the students schedule will change.

1.  Calendar-Many parents of Autistic students keep a calendar to review with their child every day.  This calendar will have days that school will not be held as well as appointments or family events.  They review it at the same time everyday.  By making this calendar part of your daily routine, your child will get use to the pre-warning of change.  (This works for ANY child who struggles with change.)

2.  Visual Schedules- Some students require a visual schedule to be successful both at school and at home.  The student would have a schedule of their day with pictures of each activity and as they go through activities they would remove the pictures.  This is can go from home to school and can help with everyday transitions like, coming to school and going to lunch.

3.  Timers- Some students need a pre-warning before they change activities.  Especially activities they are working on independently.  A timer can be of great use.  Set the time and pre-warn the child that in 5 min* they will change activities.  This also works well at home if you want to transition from computer, TV or outside time.  (*The amount of pre-warning time may vary from kid to kid based on need.)

4.  Count down– As students go home for long breaks, like Christmas, it is important for them to remember that they will come back to school.  You can create a count down to monitor daily.  This can be done on the computer or it can be part of you calendar.  Also as something special, if your school would help, give Christmas cards to teachers to fill out.  One for every day the child will be out of school.  EX: If you are out for 14 days, then 14 different people will write a simple card. “Merry Christmas, hope you are having a great break.  See you in 14 days.”  The child will open a new card everyday and the cards will count down until the last card says “see you tomorrow”.

These are a few of the most common transitional strategies.   If you have a student or a child who struggles with transition check into strategies that can help them be more successful.  If you wait until after the transition then you may see an increase in challenging behaviors that can be hard to handle.

Check out these web sites for more ideas:

Moving right along!

Child Behavior Guide

Educational Apps

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Technology is everywhere!  My two year old can work my phone as well as I can.  If you have students in class or kids at home who are struggling with behavior, speech, communication, routine or social skills you may try using technology to teach them.

Click on the link to  access a document containing apps for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. ASD Wheel These apps are good for any student struggling with any of the listed skills.  You DO NOT have to be Autistic to benefit from these apps.

How it works: the inner ring describes a behavior, the next ring has common learning traits, the next has app categories and the outer ring has links to more information about specific apps in that category.

This is a cool tool that was passed along from Region 15 ESC.