Sunday, October 28, 2012

Get On Board!

For years, I have been upset when a family member or friend has used the "r word." I explained that working with Special Needs children I don't appreciate when people say the word. It is a word that is unnecessary to use, and is offensive. So today, I am asking you to take the pledge too! If you're not on board already, check out this video from Love That Max, blogger Ellen. Just scroll down and get the tissue box ready.

Talking Does Matter!

While working with students who are in Early Intervention, it is important to focus on building their language and communication skills for those with delays. In order for the child to better interact with other, as well as their peers, we need to boost communication skills. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, I must give Kudos to There is a wonderful variety of printable downloads you can use with your children. Currently, I use their action pictures to work on identifying (Tact).

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Halloween Edible Treats

While working with special needs children, making easy Halloween treats can be hard work! Check out some simple recipes below that were a lot of fun!

Apple Mouths

1) Apple
2) Nuts (we substituted them and used mints)

You can pre- carve an apples, and sprinkle lemon juice to avoid browning. The children worked on fine motor movement, placing the teeth, into the pre-made holes. We also practiced counting the teach each child used for their very scary mouthes!

Halloween Oreo Spider Web:

1) Oreos 
2) Frosting
3) M&M (This can be used for the spider, or fly that got caught inside the web)
For the spider webs, the children practiced squeezing the frosting onto the oreo cookies. They had a lot of fun creating the perfect web, and eating it afterwards!

Oreo Halloween spiders:

1) Oreos
2) Frosting
3) Pretzel sticks
4) M&M's (we used skittles)

I suggest buying double stuffed Oreos to hold the pretzel legs better. The children enjoyed breaking the pretzel legs to make them the smaller and sticking the eyes on using the pretend glue (frosting).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Increase Novel Use of Language

How can you increase novel use of language? Through pretend play, I am able to build language and increase vocabulary repertoire. Oftentimes, when I fade back on cuing, the child's use of novel, spontaneous utterances increase dramatically! Working with motivation which is trains, I asked the Conductor last Sunday (on metro north) if I can have extra tickets to use with one of my clients. Using these real tickets became even more motivating during train playing. We added in the conductor who says "all aboard," "get your tickets ready!" To increase language I would have the child echos the language I model, and I would anticipate an increase of commenting during play, and increase novel use of language. See pictures of the train station built, and the tickets the pretend people carry.

Creative Fine Motor Activity - Halloween

I wanted to work on fine motor movement and make something fun with my client. Together we created a wonderful display of our very own Play-doh monsters. What I liked about this activity was each creation was imaginative, and no two play-doh monsters looked alike! Some were flat, some had one eyeball, or many eyeballs or many antennae.
Materials: Google Eyes Play-doh Pipe Cleaners

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Halloween And the Spectrum!

It is that time of year again where every child wants to be part of Halloween. In working with children with special needs, I would like to give some tips for the big night out. Some of us out there may have forgotten how itchy those costumes in a bag truly are. Yes, they are simple and easy, just a credit card swipe away and the costume is 'ready.' However, it is not worth trying to fight your child to wear a costume he/she doesn't feel comfortable wearing. Halloween may be outside your child's comfort zone, and the costume nightmare can be avoided.

1) Make it easy for everyone. If your child wants to be a skeleton, he/she could wear pajama bottoms, with a taped on cut out skeleton. A painter: could wear a white apron and hold paintbrushes. Children can also use wear just a fun Halloween headband, Halloween t-shirt or a Halloween hat!

2) If your child is scared of the dark, feel free to stay home and have them pass out the candy. If you do venture outside, give your son/daughter their own flashlight. They even make flashlights that go around your neck to avoid holding another item.

3) I find that preparing children ahead of time, about the events of the night can avoid anxiety and unexpected tantrums.

If you decide to go the opposite route and make an elaborate costume,  you may want to check out Carter's Halloween costume from last year. The Huffington Post's, "Dad Makes Ice Cream Truck Halloween Costume For Son Who Uses A Wheelchair" By  
will truly amaze you! Carters father decided to build a Halloween costume around his wheel chair.

I am truly speechless, and cannot imagine what Carter will be this year. Can you?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sensory Processing Disorder

SPD- Which stands for Sensory Processing Disorder. What is it? Oftentimes children's brains are not properly integrating information coming through their senses which can cause tantrums, screaming, and anxiety. They may even gag from a whiff of a bad smell.  Dr. Randi Hagerman, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician who is medical director of the MIND Institute at the University of California said: Many of the behavioral difficulties that are being labeled today as anxiety or A.D.H.D., for instance, may be due to sensory disorders, and that forces you to rethink the treatments,” as well as diagnoses.

Sensory symptoms are most commonly treated with Occupational Therapy. Sometimes when parents are told about SPD, they may look at their child's behaviors differently, and gives them a different perspective. I recently came upon a great Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support Group. Since I work with many kids who have SPD, I found this site helpful to buy products, share stories and learn about this disorder.
Check it out here: