Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Blow Your Nose, kid!

     Kid struggling with blowing their nose?

    Have them "race" with other learners where you need to blow a tissue across a table to a finish line... with their nose!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Simplicity In Intervention

     I have a 29 month year old client who has recently been crying for the majority of his session. I am not going to get specific, but today we shared a peaceful moment of quiet and companion -- over a balloon.

     In this field, at times we tend to over-complicate things. We look for iPads and toys that light-up, whirl, and speak. However, the truth of the matter, is that modified Occam's Razor can often prevail. That is to say, the simplest intervention is often the best intervention. An iPad may be terrible for a child who would prevail with PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) for an AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) intervention. And in my case, a balloon was the game changer, not the obnoxious light up toy.

     Especially with our early learners, we need to meet them where they're at, while at the same time setting our expectations high. Even if a learner is delayed by many years, we should set goals that are developmental age appropriate, while being actual age respectful.

     A balloon saved my rapport and instructional control with this learner. Not an epiphany, but remarkable nonetheless.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Growing Up & Milestones

You know your child best. If your child has developmental barriers, let's keep a few things in mind.

1) Even if your child is 6 months old, they are going to get older. Circumstances will change. The topography of behavior will change. Their preferences will change. The same is true for your child as they turn 1, 5, 11, et cetera. Some things will be messy, others will be seamless. Do not expect anything -- do your best to be proactive, but also take as they come. Learn from what has happened, and be proactive therein.

2) There is a terrible misunderstanding that certain diagnoses present in fairly predictable ways. Children with barriers are still individuals. If you and your friend had children around the same time, and they began to present with certain symptoms around the same time, this does not mean that your other friend's child will develop in the same way.

3) What worked over the Summer, may not work in the Fall. Read into and think about this statement.

4) What is a milestone for a similar child may not happen with your child until much later, but they may have met milestones that their counterpart has not.

5) Be careful what hype you buy in to. There are a few hundred therapies for children with disabilities, and less than a dozen that have empirical, scientific evidence that they actually prove effective.

Finally, people are not just one thing. There are always competing factors, other diagnoses, quirks, and preferences that need to be considered. Remember that. There is never a single root to any one cause.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Teacher Education

     The state of Iowa is proposing a requirement for candidates of teacher education programs to have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. An argument against this is that it would turn away potentially great teachers. The argument for it, according to Gov. Terry Branstad is that we need to have high standards for our teachers.

     Is it's a mixed bag. Both arguments have some validity. However, I am inclined to agree that minimum requirements are necessary. Most graduate teacher education programs in my state, Illinois, require a 3.0. And most Universities mention a minimum 3.0 GPA, even with some concessions made. So, the question becomes, is this proposed requirement a shock, or a step finally made in the right direction? I am inclined to think, when I do have children, that my children's teachers had at least a B level understanding of the high school material they may be teaching to my child.