What do you think of when you picture a self-determined individual? Do you see someone who is self assured, someone able to advocate for themselves, making choices and decisions that allow them to gain life experiences perhaps? Bailey Matthews is an eight year old who fits that profile. Using all of those attributes of self-determination he competed in a triathlon. He swam, rode his bike and ran to reach the finish line. He used bubbles for support when swimming, added bike wheels for balance when riding and finishing the last steps of the running without his walker.
The start of a new school year is a time of year filled with new experiences, friends, teachers and routines. For some student’s with autism all this newness can be difficult. Each new day may be met with sensory processing challenges, delays in language processing that impact communication and social skills that make understanding and following rules challenging. In Ellen Notbohm’s book, 10 Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew, she helps give children with autism a voice in explaining some of the characteristics that may impact their day. http://www.ellennotbohm.com/article-archive/ten-things-every-child-with-autism-wishes-you-knew/
Summer is a great time for some easy DIY projects. A summer pool noodle can be used in the classroom to help when working on literacy and math skills. Check out these quick and easy projects that can be created with pool noodles.
Looking for some ways to keep the kids up on science concepts this summer? Check out Google’s free online science camp. June Behrmann, an education writer-blogger for AIM-VA, writes about how combining multimedia with accessible text is a great summer learning experience for struggling readers. An example of this is: Attend Camp Google, add read alouds, and provide accessible text with learning supports to improve learning independence.
Visit the AIM-VA blog for more great information in June’s full blog post . http://aimva.org/teachers/blog/2015/07/07/camp-google/
Looking for a way to beat the summer heat while earning some professional development hours? The Assistive Technology Center at the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) has just the thing. Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative (WATI) and Assistive Technology Internet Modules (ATIM) have partnered to bring a set of new modules designed to provide high quality information and professional development on AT. They are provided at no cost for educators, professionals, families, person’s with disabilities and others interested in AT. So find your favorite summer spot and pull up a chair, lounger or beach umbrella while you explore what OCALI and ATIM have to offer. http://www.atinternetmodules.org/
As summer begins, you may be wondering what you can do to get ready for a new school year and how to get better organized. I ran across this nice idea for organizing visual supports in a handy binder. This was developed by Tabi Jones-Wohleber, an SLP in Frederick County Public Schools in Maryland. Check out this All-In-One-Visual-Support Tool complete with pictures and directions.
Schools out for summer! Kids everywhere are excited for the down time, trips to the pool, family vacations including potential visits to amusement parks. Jeremey Hunsicker, the father of two young boys on the spectrum, has written an article to help make the most of a summer trip to some popular amusement parks. In his article he explains the Ride Accessibility Program at several major theme parks which provides families with children with disabilities a “Virtual Queue” allowing families to have access to certain rides at a prescheduled time and bypass the line. The article also provides tips on how to plan out your routine ahead of time to help with transitions and expectations.
This heartwarming “story of a language without words, and an invention that seeks to bridge the gap between being heard and being understood.” Brotherly Love chronicles one brother’s quest to take what he learned at VCU’s Brandcenter to create a communication device that would enable his brother, who has autism and is non verbal, to communicate. Matt Reamer’s goal was to create an inexpensive, customizable device that could give a voice to people who are unable to communicate verbally. With his brother in mind he developed a device that allows each button on the device, when pressed, to send a text message to a caregiver’s phone allowing the caregiver to receive the message from somewhere else in the house or across town. Such an inspiring story!
Finding inspiration in the actions of others can be the spark needed to create change. Dr. Cole Galloway is one of those inspirational people. As the Director of the Pediatric Mobility Lab and Design Studio and Professor at the University of Delaware, he has created an unusual and inspiring way to unlock children’s social, emotional, and cognitive skills. He invents mobility devices to provide independence to children with mobility issues. Listen to his inspirational view as he talks about how “The same joy and excitement experienced by every dancer or musician, astronaut or athlete can be seen in newly mobile children.”
Dr. Cole Galloway, pediatric researcher and designer, from the University of Delaware, is a man with a mission. He wants to see all kids moving and having fun! This includes children with disabilities. In an effort to do this he looked at ways that children with disabilities could have access to toys that provide mobility, similar to their typically developing peers. To provide access and increase independence for our littlest kids he launched the Go Baby Go! project. Working with a team he modified off the shelf motorized cars, found in any toy store. Adding switches and buttons for accessibility he modified the controls to allow children with mobility disabilities to operate the same motorized cars as their peers. He then went a step further and provided information on how to do it yourself and in some instances provided his adapted toys to families free of charge. For more information on Go Baby Go! and Dr. Cole Galloway visit http://www.udel.edu/gobabygo/