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