Friday, October 30, 2009

Geoffrey Won a Halloween Contest

Geoffrey dressed up as the "windy guy" for the church Halloween party on Tuesday. He won first place it was so great!
He won two free movie tickets and already a few friends are asking him who he is going to take. Including one girl who seems VERY interested. (I'm not sure I'm ready for that!)
Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What is the Wilbarger Protocol or Brushing Therapy?

The Wilbarger Protocol is a therapy program designed to reduce sensory or tactile defensiveness. Children who exhibit symptoms of tactile defensiveness are extremely sensitive to touch. This can cause a fear or resistance to being touched, difficulty transitioning between activities, and/or lethargy. The therapy was developed by Patricia Wilbarger, MEd, OTR, FAOTA.

There is not much documented research on the Wilbarger Protocol. However, many parents of children with autism have reported seeing decreases in sensory defensiveness and anxiety as a result of using this technique. Some of the benefits of the Wilbarger Protocol may include improved ability to transition between daily activities, improved attention span, a decreased fear or discomfort of being touched, enhanced coordination, and self-regulation.

The complete routine usually only takes 2-3 minutes.The first step in the therapy involves using a sensory brush or wilbarger brush which is run over the child's skin, using very firm pressure; it is like a deep pressure massage. Brushing starts at the arms and works down to the feet. The face, chest, and stomach area are never brushed because these are sensitive areas that can cause adverse reactions.

The brushing with the therapressure brush is initially recommended every 2 hours while the child is awake. Therapists usually re-assess the level of brushing after two weeks. At that time they may modify the program. The brushing continues as long as the individual benefits from it.
After the brushing therapy, therapists may also prescribe gentle joint compressions to the shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, hips, knees/ankles, and sternum for a count of ten. Self-administration of joint compression may also be obtained by engaging in jumping-jacks, push-ups, or jumping on a trampoline.

Finally, the therapist may also suggest the Oral Tactile Technique, or OTT. This technique requires a finger to swipe along the inside of the person’s mouth. This is helpful for kids with oral defensiveness. (These children may have trouble with foods because of their texture or hate having their teeth brushed.)

If you think that your child would benefit from the Wilbargar Protocol, it is important to seek guidance from an Occupational Therapist. The OT must be trained in sensory integration and know how to use the Wilbargar Protocol. Performing the therapy in a manner other than taught by a trained professional may not be effective and can be very uncomfortable for the individual.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

National Autism Resources Accepts Purchase Orders

Did you know that we accept purchase orders?

We accept Purchase Orders from:

  • Government Agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Universities

Using the prices and product names published on National Autism Resources, please fax all PO's to 877-259-9419 or email ( We will confirm receipt and ship out immediately.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Well it has been an exhausting few weeks, but God has been good. We moved and my son went back into school. The transitions was great. The first day was hard, but then my son was able to meet up with a boy from our church who introduced him to several other kids. Now G has a whole group of kids to eat lunch with. Nick, the boy, told his mom, "Geoffrey is quiet but he's nice we like him." Hooray! He has no assistant because he wants to do this himself. My heart is so overwhelmed with thankfulness. I am amazed at how far he has come in the last eleven years!

Meanwhile, I continue to go back and forth to the hospital to visit with my Mom. She is now at a convalescent hospital and is learning to walk again. We still don't know if she will be able to walk unassisted, but we are so thankful her mind was not damaged.

I've been falling into bed each night because my days are so full. However, I have a peace from God that I am so thankful for. I read the following this morning: Psalm 27:13-14 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Sounds good doesn't it? Lets be strong together, take heart and wait for the Lord.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Doing better than expected

Well after almost a month my Mom has moved out of ICU. Its been up and down but she is on the road to recovery. She will need surgery on her neck, but no paralyses, thank God! Thank you all for the prayers and well wishes.
My whole family has been stretched, but at the same time God has been good. I've been praying that she would do better than the doctors expected her to. Friday, before I left the hospital I was talking with her Dr. and she said, "I'm really pleased with your mother's progress, she's doing better than we expected." I walked away whispering another prayer of thanks.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

Last Friday, July 3rd, my mom was in a terrible car accident. She was traveling down highway 99 in California near Bakersfield when something happened (we don't know what) that caused her to lose control and roll her car 5 or 6 times. They had to cut her out of her car before they could get her to the hospital. All of her ribs are broken, her lungs are badly bruised and punctured, her heart is also bruised and beating irregularly.

I found out at around 10:00pm, jumped in the car and at 2:30am I made it to the hospital. When I walked in I must have been a mess because a security guard came right up to me and said, "how can I help you?" I could only whisper, "ICU" and he left his post and escorted me there. I was so thankful for that.

The next morning after about two hours of sleep I got lost on the way to the hospital. At a stoplight I waved down an Asian man in the car next to me and told him I was lost and needed to find the hospital. He said, "its OK just follow me" and then he drove his car to the hospital and let me follow him.

Back at the ICU the nurse informed me that I had to formally admit my mother to the hospital and gave me directions. By the time I got to the elevator I had forgot them. I turned to an African American nurse and tried to ask for admitting, but the tears just came and I could hardly speak. She took me in her arms and gave me the biggest hug. It felt so good because at that time all I had wanted was to hug my Mom, but I can only touch a small part of her forehead and her feet because she is so injured. After the hug, the nurse scooped her arm under mine and just about carried me to admitting. When I apologised for the tears, she told me everyone cries at the hospital and they never apologise for it.

Later on I went back to my hotel room and when it was time to go back to the hospital I got lost again! This time I flagged down a large Hispanic man on a bicycle. When he came up to my car I was a little taken aback. His head was shaved, he was extremely muscular, tattooed and he looked tough! I told him I needed directions to the hospital. He was so kind. He said, "wait a second let me think of the easiest way to get there." Then he gave me directions. These directions are so good that I have been using them ever since.

These are just a few stories, so many more people have all extended so much kindness and have been praying for my Mom. Its a miracle she is still alive. I'm thankful God continues to keep her heart beating. I'm also so thankful for the kindness of strangers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mean People Stink!!!

G has been watching me drop off mail and priority orders for National Autism Resources for quite awhile. I thought since we do this regularly this would be a good place for him to work on doing things independently. So first we started by G helping me carry the orders to the desk. Then I let him carry all of the orders to the desk while I reminded him to say hello to the postal workers.

For the last few weeks I have walked into the Post Office and watched G drop off the orders until last week I waited just outside the door.

Today I waited outside in the car while G went into the Post Office by himself... Hooray! This should have been great...

When G came out He was agitated and didn't want to talk. So he waited in the car while I went in to find out what was wrong.

Inside Gene, one of the postal workers, yelled, "Hi Bonnie, why don't you come up here."

Then he explained that when G came in to drop off the orders, some rude and impatient lady yelled at him to quit cutting in line. G didn't know what to do and froze. When Gene saw what was happening he told G it was fine and that he could come to the front and drop off the mail.

Can I just say that if looks could kill, I would have killed that lady with my eyes. I had laser eyes bugging out of my head. GRRRRRRRRRRRR...

So I went back to the car, told G sometimes people are rude and that he did nothing wrong. Tomorrow when he feels better I'm going to talk to him about what he can say if something like this should happen again. We are going back to the Post Office and we are going to get this down!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mild Autism

Recently I talked to someone who asked me, "how do you help a child with mild autism?" The term mild autism does not appear in the DSM. From what I can gather this is a term people are using (along with high functioning autism) to describe people on the spectrum who meet the criteria for autism but have higher functioning skills.

No matter what the child's diagnosis is, the first step to helping them is to carefully look at the evaluations used to diagnose the child. Evaluations contain a wealth of information specific to the individual child. Evaluations can help you choose appropriate interventions. For example, most likely you will be working with a Speech & Language Pathologist. If their evaluation states that the child has primarily pragmatic or social language impairments look at social skills groups or products that address this specific area of language delay.

On the flip side if in the evaluations you notice a reoccurring comment like "the child is overstimulated by busy environments" you may want to look into sensory integration therapy. If you notice this reoccurring comment and it doesn't seem to be addressed ask the people who evaluated your child, "how can we address this?"

However, the best advice I can give is this: don't get caught up in the label. At the end of the day its important to remember that each child is a unique person who has unlimited potential, needs love, lots of encouragement and acceptance.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

ARC Solano Meeting

I was invited by my real estate agent Eilleen to the ARC Solano annual meeting tonight. They had several pieces of the consumer's art on display for sale.

This picture was my favorite, it was only $50. Unfortunately, my photo doesn't do it justice. Inside of each of the color spots are penciled pictures of people smiling and other things that make the artist feel happy. I felt happy just looking at it.

While at the meeting I met Loida. Her son Anthony is 25 and on the spectrum. She is standing by one of his paintings. The colors are so vibrant in real life! I wish my camera took better pictures!

This is the art director Tim Park. He is getting this art work out into the community for sale. The cool thing is the proceeds go to the consumers who painted them. You can follow his tweets here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

DMV Meltdown

I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles today without an appointment. It was a bad, bad, bad idea. The place was noisy, crowded and had an estimated wait time of at least one hour. I should have walked out, made an appointment and paid the late fee. But, I didn't...

I was fine the first thirty minutes. I sat in a somewhat dirty chair and was careful not to touch it with my hands... I positioned myself by a screen and watched for my number it was on B089 and my number was B216. While waiting more and more people took seats around me. It wasn't too bad until an elderly lady and her husband sat down right next to me.

It smelled like she was wearing expired perfume. The thought that came to mind was decomposing roses and alcohol. I started to feel sick, I looked around the room. It was crowded, I was surrounded by people. If I stood up I would lose my chair and move into undefined space... and then someone could definitely invade my personal space. I was frozen in stink and couldn't decided to move or not. So I went into my defensive position, I covered my nose with my shirt. OK I totally admit I'm a weirdo, but its better than a freak out.

I started to distract myself by finding something nice to look at. Unfortunately, there is nothing visually pleasing inside the DMV. All the cubicles, counters, and chairs are either grey or blue - its depressing. The floor has orange flakes in it (my favorite color) it also has black flakes in it (a nice contrast to orange...), but it was surrounded by fake cement? Yuck who would pick this flooring and why? Did they purposely try to make it ugly... As I contemplated this the elderly couple moved on, but now I had a headache starting...

Forty five minutes into my wait even more people are crammed into the room and it is so noisy. I have to keep looking at the floor because I can't stand to look around even at the number screen. So I can't plug my ears because then I wont hear my number...

And then IT happened.

A lady with exposed feet came and stood right in front of me. It was ghastly her feet were over flowing out of her flip flops and dirty.

I couldn't handle it I closed my eyes and covered my face with my paperwork just in case my eyes unconsciously should open and I would see the feet again. I felt like humming to help with the noise, but I had to hear my number and I didn't want anyone calling the loony bin... I could hear them call number B209. I started to tell myself I would be up there soon. But seriously, it was all I could do to keep from running out of the door.

When they called my number I felt shaky and my head was pounding. I jogged to the appropriate cubical and found I couldn't register my car because it needed to be smogged.

Oh sweet Jesus please let my husband finish this for me, thank God he puts up with me...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Visual Fun

My friends Katheryn & Gary visited last night. We had lots of fun eating, talking about favorite movies and playing with a new Blue Fiber Optic Lamp that we are selling at National Autism Resources. Here it is with the lights on. Its cool to touch and the picture doesn't do it justice...
We turned off the lights and then started touching the lamp it looked awesome and was really hard to stop playing with. Here are a few pictures:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


OK last week I finally did it I got my first Mammogram. Let me just say instead of mammogram they should call it mam-o-grab! The technician grabbed my mammies and did things with them I didn't think were possible!!!

Just kidding - ladies take a deep breath - it wasn't that bad. My Kaiser Tech Sheila was awesome, very friendly which made the whole process much more bearable. It turns out she has a nephew with autism and it was somewhat nice chatting with her given our unusual setting...

I had put off my mammogram, as usual I was too busy taking care of other things instead of taking care of myself. The good new is everything is all clear. That got me thinking though, what if it wasn't? I would have kicked myself for not doing it sooner. These really are important my grandmother died at 43 from breast cancer. So if you are a woman over 40 as the old Nike saying goes... Just do it!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

G Won Another Art Contest

G came in fourth place in the Mt Diablo Peace and Justice Center's Peace Through Art and Writing Challenge. We went to an award dinner on Saturday May 2nd and saw all of the art projects. The picture above is the one that won.

We didn't know ahead of time that they would ask each artist to come up and explain their art project. I didn't prepare G, but he watched others explain their picture. By the time it was his turn he was so excited that he went right up front and talked about his picture. He did a great job, I was sooooo proud!
Hard work, lots of love and encouragement make a difference. Let's keep supporting our kids!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Meet Monica

I recently met Monica Fliehmann at a local special needs conference. My ears immediately perked up when she mentioned that she is a reading specialist using the Linda Mood-Bell Visualizing and Verbalizing curriculum.

We have used this with Geoffrey after hearing great results from friends. I would like to start again, but the Arnwine budget has to stay balanced, I bet you can relate!

Anyhow, Monica mentioned that her students have been averaging over 5 years of progress after 12 months in the program. After talking awhile I realized Monica not only has a fascinating professional story, but an inspiring personal story as well.

I asked her to share it, this is it in her own words:

My husband, Ben, is unlike anyone else I've ever known. Most people have trouble “thinking outside the box.” He hardly ever thinks “inside the box.” He has an amazing ability to hold to his own perspective, regardless of the thoughts and opinions of those around him. He’s creative, innovative and eccentric.

Leaving the security of our jobs for the unknown of self-employment was Ben’s idea. During the first few years of our marriage, we both worked for our local school district. We loved working with the kids, but felt it wasn’t quite the right fit for either of us. I thought, “Nothing’s perfect. We should make the best of the situation we’re in,” but Ben said, “The right thing is out there.”

Ben did a great deal of searching until he found Shannon Jenkins, a Lindamood-Bell® reading tutor who specialized in serving kids on the autism spectrum. She was moving out of state to pursue her own dreams and was looking for successors to carry on her work. We met with her in July of 2007 and everything fell into place. That fall, Phoenix Education Specialists became our new business and an amazing new chapter of our lives began.

Ben has always had a unique ability to connect with students with special needs, especially kids on the autism spectrum. Over the last year and a half, we’ve both been amazed by the progress our students have made, especially in the area of reading comprehension . On average, our students made over 5 years of progress after 12 months of working with Ben. I believe this is largely due to his ability to bring out the best in them.

Last fall, Ben and I began talking seriously about something we’d both been wondering about for quite some time - why is it so easy for him to connect with the kids we serve and yet so difficult for him to connect with others. Social interaction is a strain for him. He communicates in ways that others often find difficult to understand and vice versa. And yet, all of this seems to melt away with our students.

Ben and I started looking at the characteristics of individuals on the higher functioning end of the autism spectrum with new glasses. We both saw Ben. We sought the help of a clinical social worker we know and she confirmed what we suspected. Ben has Asperger’s.

Ben’s diagnosis has confirmed my sense that we’re doing what we’re called to do. He recently told the parents of one of our students, “I want to give Alex* the help I wish I’d gotten.” I’m grateful that he’s able to do this for our students, and I’m honored to have a role in making this possible.
*not his real name

Lindamood-Bell® is a registered trademark.

I love Monica's story and am so grateful that she was willing to share it with everyone. I also want to introduce National Autism Resources new t-shirts:

Neurotypical is Overrated

The Neurotypical is Overrated t-shirt was inspired by my son. When he hit Junior High and realized how different he was from his peers it was very hard for him. We spent a lot of time talking about his strengths and weaknesses and the strengths and weaknesses of others. Over time he came to accept that he like everyone else has things he is good at and things that are challenging. During this time he became inspired by Einstein and we came up with the saying, "Neurotypical is Overrated." I hope you enjoy our design.

On the Spectrum - Outside the Box

This design was created by a close friend of our family. After learning about autism he was inspired to design a shirt that reflected the original thinking of many people on the spectrum.

Both t-shirts are available now at National Autism Resources and if you order by May 15th you will receive a free gift with your order!

Friday, April 17, 2009

You've Gotta See Susan Boyle Sing

This is absolutley incredible and inspiring. Susan Boyle is a 47 year old quirky woman with an incredible voice. Click here to watch her sing on Brittan's Got Talent.

Speaking of talent, I have none when it comes to singing. So for those of you like me, may I suggest our Bubble Mic. It blows bubbles anytime you make a sound. So its a party no matter what you sound like! OK just kidding, we carry them to encourage kids to start vocalizing. Kids make a vocalization and they are instantly rewarded with bubbles.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Looking for a House

Well the Arnwine family is looking for a new house. Yesterday we visited Benicia, CA. Its a smaller town that is known for its art glass. They have great schools and the Realtor we are working with is very involved with Solano County ARC. Here is what we looked at so far...

This house was very old and needed a lot of fixing up. Fixing up wouldn't be too bad, but the neighbors have some dogs that were barking the whole time we were there. That definately would not be workable for us.

This house is sort of interesting. Its older, and kind of OK. I'm not sure why, but I'm not excited about it. The rest of the family seems interested so far.

This house looked good, but no garage! No garage would mean no place for me to do my product testing - OK no place to play with the new sensory toys w/o looking like a wierdo...

This condo was a possibility, until we drove by. Its near the water, and a water treatment plant. The area smelled funky. We decided not to even get out of the car...

We will be looking again Sunday like anything with us slow and steady wins the race.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Faith in what is Unseen

Bonnie & Bev at the Japanese Tea

I had an interesting talk this week with a wonderful professional woman. As we talked it became clear that she was a christian. She made the comment that as a professional its hard to know if one should or shouldn't associate themselves as "christian" since being a christian has a negative stereotype associated with it. I've met a lot of people like myself, who are not what a stereotypical "christian" is suppose to be. They are regular people who have fallen in love with Jesus. OK reading that I know it sounds weird, let me put it this way, the more I learn about Jesus the more I want to learn about Him AND there are a lot of people out there who feel the same way I do.

The thing is I don't know how to be different. Sometimes my life is a train wreak and the only way I can get through it is through the strength and help my faith provides. One of my closest friends died this week. I've cried like crazy because I'm missing her sooooo much, but I'm comforted because I know I will see her again. This comfort allows me to be thankful in the midst of my pain. I'm thankful because the last time she got out of the house was with me and we went to an amazing Japanese Tea together. I'm thankful that a couple days before she died I made a cake she loved and she was able to eat some of it. I'm thankful we visited together on her last day inside her earthly body. I can't get through these things without Jesus. I wish this didn't offend people, but I can't live any other way.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

World Autism Day

Today, April 2 has been designated by the UN as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD). This UN resolution is one of only three official disease-specific United Nations Days. The other two are diabetes and AIDS. The goal of WAAD is to raise awareness about autism throughout society and to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention.
This is a good, but why just encourage early intervention? Don't get me wrong early intervention is important. However, as I have stated before time and time again, there is no cure all for autism. While many people respond incredibly well to early intervention, many don't. As a society we need to support individuals living on the spectrum. They don't need pity - who wants to be pitied for who they are??? However, depending on the individual, they may need services, accommodations and a little understanding to be successful.
In the end we are all better off if everyone has the support to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Happy World Autism Day

Friday, March 27, 2009

To embrace autism or not to embrace autism that is the question... or is it?

Right now there are two groups advocating for autistics, one is committed to doing all they can to find a cure the other is fighting for neurodiversity. Those fighting for neurodiversity don't see autism as tragic, but as another way of being and think that those focused on a cure are rabid "curebies" who don't appreciate autistic people. Those focused on finding a cure feel the other group is crazy and counter productive.

So what do we do? Embrace people with autism as they are, or do all we can to find a cure and provide as much intervention as possible? I don't have the answers but I can say I've been walking down this road for over 10 years now. As I grow in my understanding of myself, my child and my autistic friends my perspective has changed a little.

First off let me say I have done everything I could to help my son. We've tried many approaches some worked and some were a waste of time, money and energy. My son is doing incredibly well, he no longer exhibits self injurious behavior, he is verbal, high functioning, and probably would be considered to have Aspergers at this point. I continue to work with him on social skills, I continue to work with him on self help skills. Possibly one day he may be able to live on his own we don't know yet. As my son and my friends kids have gotten older I have seen some kids respond amazingly well to interventions and some didn't. My son is going to be fully mainstreamed into high school next year. My dear friend's son just went into a group home for the safety of herself and her son. Another friend's son is a little quirky but wouldn't be considered on the spectrum.

The therapies that my friends and I fought for and lost our homes, marriages and sanity for are now considered routine, safe and effective. There is now irrefutable evidence that shows kids on the spectrum can learn if given the right tools and mode of instruction. (G did not turn into a robot after participating in ABA...) Are all kids getting all of the services they need at this point, no. Does more need to be done, absolutely. Do we need to research why the incidences of autism are increasing, I personally believe yes we do.

However, there is another side to this. I want to remind everyone, despite the claims being made by a variety of people, at this point there is no cure for autism. My son is not neurotypical and most likely never will be. My focus has begun to change. I'm not looking for a cure, I'm looking for understanding. I love my son, I love his personality. He is a visual thinker who has a fascination with flight, air flow, and wing design.. he is 13. (BTW Math is his favorite subject.) I have a feeling he's going to make an incredible contribution to society some day. I love the person he is becoming. He's going to need extra help in life, but my desire, my passionate desire is that people will embrace him as he is.

I also want him to feel proud of himself, of who he is. He doesn't need pity, he needs understanding, and some accommodations. At this point do I want him cured? No way, as my friend Temple Grandin once stated, "why would we want to cure all of the autistics? We would lose all of our scientists, engineers and computer nerds."

My bottom line is this. Yes let's keep looking for a cause, and fighting for appropriate interventions. At the same time as our kids get older let's celebrate who they are becoming, be proud of them as they are, celebrate their neurodiversity, and continue to support them in any way possible. I also say lets support the autistic adults who are now speaking for themselves. They are people, who deserve to be listened to. Their perspective is important and if we let our defenses down we may be able to learn from them.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mini Conference in Concord

I had the pleasure of speaking in my hometown of Concord CA. The group I spoke to were all parents and it was such fun. The only problem (as usual) is we didn't have enough time to talk together and swap ideas. I spoke about Fun Sensory Activities based on my book.

Afterwards I had a table set up and sold some of our products. I had no helper because the Hubbo hurt his back. So it was a little hectic, but over all everything went fine. Our two big sellers today were....

The Moody Face, which in my HMO is an awesome stress ball w/ Koosh style hair.
I demoed one of my all time favorite sensory products Insta-Snow aka Suddenly Snow

Afterwards I came home and found out G had a 102.7F fever. Poor guy he was so miserable. I wanted to go to church tonight, but we stayed home and took care of G instead. I hope I can catch a service tomorrow, its been awhile since I've been able to go.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Don't Stress Out

For the heck of it I took a stress test and scored a 14. The results said:

Scores of 13-17 Danger Zone. Watch out!
Well I can't always escape stress, so the way I deal with it is to have a little fun. So here's my day in pictures.

I get up and take a shower...

Have some coffee...

Make some breakfast...

Go to work...

Come home make dinner...

And if I have time walk the dog.

I love that all it takes is a walk around the block to make Penny the Super Dog happy!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Shock and Awe!!!

I came back from the Kern County Autism Conference and planned to blog about it today...


When I came back my husband was bald!

(Did I mention I have some issues with change...)

More to come on the conference tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Strongest Chewy Necklace Ever

I just found the strongest chewable necklace ever. They have extra thick medical grade plastic and fit snugly around a child's neck. They should be great for younger kids with an extra tough bite and they look cool. The only problem is they won't work for older kids and adults. Oh well, I'll keep looking...

For this item and more chewy products please visit National Autism Resources autism shop!

Note: the original chewy tube necklace show below has been discontinued because the manufacturer changed the design and the quality is now terrible.  I updated the picture with the Mega Chewelry Necklace which is the strongest necklace I have found thus far.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

IEP Goals for Adolescents on the Spectrum

I just read a new paper from the Journal of Special Education, Individual Education Plans, Goals and Services for Adolescents with Autism (Kurth, Mastergeorge 2009).

In a nutshell what the researchers found was:

  • Students on the spectrum who had general ed for math and language arts instruction had fewer overall IEP goals, but goals focused more on applied skill development.

  • Students in non inclusion had goals addressing primarily rote and procedural skills.

  • For both groups IEP goals rarely moved above fourth-grade standards.

  • For both groups most IEP goals addressed core symptoms of autism (e.g. communication skills) as opposed to academic skill development.

  • The researchers then considered the emerging research on positive student outcomes when instruction and IEP goals are tied to state standards. They draw some interesting conclusions:

    In this study, we found that, regardless of age, students in non inclusion settings were more likely to have goals addressing procedural skills rather than applied skills, suggesting they were likewise not receiving instruction in the applied use of these skills. In terms of quality-of-life outcomes, the ability to solve problems and apply knowledge has broad implications. Applied instruction and learning advances competence and independence in that students learn to identify, solve, and self monitor the problems and potential solution in their own lives...

    By providing instruction in IEP goals along with instruction in core curriculum, students with autism are provided instruction that targets individualized, functional needs, while accessing and participating in a challenging curriculum. Thus, aligning IEP goals to content standards is not inconsistent with providing a unique, special education to students with autism, nor is it an expectation that students with autism should perform at grade level. Rather alignment ensures that instruction is based on a challenging core curriculum that will enable the student to make academic progress at his or her individual level.

    Friday, February 6, 2009

    I Am Against Thomas Perrelli for Associate Attorney General

    Well I don't dive into politics too much, but this situation really gets to me.

    Thomas Perrelli is being nominated for the number-three post at the Department of Justice. He argued on behalf of Michael Schiavo’ s right to withhold food and water from his disabled wife Terri Schiavo, which resulted in her death. You remember this, Mr. Schiavo was with another woman even though he was still married to Terri. Terri's parents wanted to take care of her, but Michael wouldn't allow it. Thus she died of starvation and dehydration. This case broke my heart as I watched it unfold. I can't imagine how Terri's parents must have felt.

    Subsequently, Perrelli was lauded by pro-euthanasia activists for his efforts.

    Perrelli's hearing is set for Feb 10. If you feel the way I do please call your senator and tell them not to accept this nomination!!!

    RDI Relationship Development Intervention

    I just came accross an excellent article and video on RDI...

    SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – One out of every 133 Utah children is Autistic. Utah ranks third in the nation for the number of families living with Autism. There are several forms of therapy available; the most common is Applied Behavioral Analysis, or ABA. Barbara Kalmanson, a Clinical Psychologist says "The goal of ABA is to get the child to comply with adults' wishes or adults' demands.”

    Kalmanson is proponent of a different approach called DIR, which stands for developmental individual difference relationship based treatment. “In the DIR approach we are interested in the internal capacity of the child. This treatment is focused very much on work with the child and helping the parents to understand the child’s individual developmental profile”.

    She says each child with autism has different needs, and any treatment program should be geared toward that individuality. “Some children with autism need and alternative form of communication like sign, or a device. Other children can speak very well; some of them can talk to you till the cows come home, but what they say is not meaningful in a back and forth interaction”. Once the child’s strengths and needs are determined parents are taught how to interact with their children in floor-time exercises. It’s essentially purposeful, meaningful playtime.

    Read more and watch the video.

    Sunday, February 1, 2009

    New Shoes

    These are my new shoes. They are very comfortable and they have a sparkly look to them. Finally I can wear some shoes that are sort of fancy without going crazy. The picture doesn't do them justice. Hooray for comfy shoes besides New Balance

    Monday, January 26, 2009

    A Few of my Favorite Things...

    Finding beautiful leaves in my neighborhood...

    Drinking coffee watching the sun rise in my back yard...
    My super wienner dog Penny

    Watching My Kids have fun...

    Admiring beautiful art...

    Admiring God's art...