Thursday, March 31, 2011

Light It Up Blue Help Autism Speaks Awareness

Owen Saunders and ten of his classmates recorded a song for Autism Speaks urging the world to Light It Up Blue for World Autism Awareness Day.

Visit to get involved.

For a family's perspective on dealing with autism on a daily basis visit this great blog written by Debi, a mom who not only has one child with autism but 8, yes that's right, 8 other children!

Sometimes it's critical to network with other parents who face similar challenges and who will face transition planning the same way you will. Head over to Debi's blog for an up close and personal look at day to day life with her great family.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Evaluating Your Child's Classroom

What is full inclusion? Some states see it as simply putting all the 'disabled' bodies and minds in the same physical space as the other students. Unfortunately, this type of inclusion does not enable an intellectually challenged individual or provide them with the support they need in a classroom.

Look for a classroom where special needs students are engaged in similar activities as the other children in the classroom BUT not necessarily doing the exact same assignment. Modifying a lesson plan may be time consuming initially for the teacher but will benefit the intellectually challenged student as they move through their classroom. 

Not every classroom is equipped to work with a student with intellectual disabilities and may need some tweaking in order to make it 'disability friendly.'  I still remember when my daughter, now an adult, was in a Child Development Class in high school.  The students were assigned oral presentations on color blindness.  Unfortunately the teacher wasn't supervising things too well, and my daughter's assignment? The genetics of color blindness! This for a student who had never had a class in genetics or high school biology and who had no idea what genetics entailed.  What it was was a major challenge!

Also when we had made the decision to put her in this classroom (she had never been in an inclusion classroom) we did not take into consideration that she had never had to speak in public or write even short papers. We just thought it would be useful information for her to have when she graduated from high school and moved into the adult world. This was a learning experience for my daughter, for me, and for the local school system. Fortunately that was over ten years ago and schools have evolved.  Work with your child's special education group to design an IEP program for them that will provide them with a learning experience that is tailored to their own special needs as well as provide positive inclusion experiences.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

iPads and Children with Autism

Fox News recently reported that families have had great success in using the Apple iPad with their children with autism. 

Stephen Shore, who wrote 'Autism for Dummies' and who suffered from autism as a child himself, said "the iPad might be the difference between communicating with the outside world and being locked into a closed state. Interestingly, he says it might be the first of several gadgets that actually free a child from some effects of autism -- and that additional devices, including those that augment speech, will also help." (, March 9, 2011)

"Mark Coppin, the AssistiveTechnology Director at the Anne Carlsen Center in Jamestown, North Dakota--which uses the iPad as part of their special education programs--said the iPad lets autistic kids have direct control over the interface, unlike a laptop that uses a keyboard and a mouse."

"Apps like Proloquo2go by Proloquo2go by AssistiveWare provide a way for kids with autism to communicate desires and feelings in a way that would not be possible otherwise.  Coppin said There are at least three dozen apps designs for autistic kids including one for music and reading. And the device itself supports spoken text and other aids for those with special needs."

For more info go to read the rest of the Fox News story to see if you think the iPad might help your child or young adult out.