Archive for February, 2011

Best Positions for Feeding

Something that we don’t always think about and take into consideration is how our children are  positioned when we are feeding them.  For children who are having difficulties eating a variety of foods, how they are sitting can make the difference between success and failure, (i.e. aspirating food into their lungs, choking, gagging, vomiting).  There are three basic positions that I like to use.  The first one is illustrated below.  Pay attention to the ANGLES of the body; the hips and knees are at 90 degree angles, the back is straight, the feet are firmly planted on the floor and the hands rest upon the table. The feeder is presenting the food at the lower lip, so that the child does not have to look up,which creates a bad angle that is condusive to improper swallowing patterns.

Perfect Feeding Position #1

Posted by on February 27th, 2011 No Comments

 

Tired of turning socks inside out….turn no more

I remember vividly all of the times that I neglected to turn my children’s socks inside out and the tantrums that ensued….stumbled across this site and thought you might take advantage of their products:

http://www.smartknitkids.com/

Posted by on February 22nd, 2011 No Comments

 

Visual Supports That Really Do Work

SUPPORTING COMMUNICATION & SOCIAL SUCCESS

WITH VISUAL SUPPORTS

Visual supports are tools that increase a person’s ability to understand language, clarify the expectations in a given setting and/or to provide reassuring structure to the lives of individuals who have stronger visual skills than language or auditory skills. (Quill, 1995, 1998) Since visual images, in this case visual supports, are static and constant across time, they are easier to process and understand that fleeting verbal information.  Visual supports are helpful in increasing positive behaviors and reducing frustration because they are concrete, provide a point of reference to support linguistic memory and illustrate vocabulary.  For some individuals, visual supports make the difference between success and failure in acquiring and using critical social, behavioral and communication skills.

Some of the many effective visual supports are described below in alphabetical order:

Boundary Settings are physical environmental visual changes that support appropriate behavior by eliminating visual clutter and clearly delineating visual spaces.  Clearly established boundaries help teach the child to set their own physical boundaries.

Comic Strip Conversations help children who have challenges with interpreting social situations, understanding speech as quickly as produced in social situations or reading non-verbal cues. (Gray, 1994; Rogers & Myles, 2001) They can also be used from problem solving and conflict resolution and communicating perspectives or feelings.

Conversation Cue Cards or Conversational Starters list a series of phrases or questions that can be used during conversations to assist in reciprocal dialogue.

Daily Schedules take the abstract concepts of events occurring in the future and represent the chain of events in a concrete way.  This increases one’s ability to predict what will be upcoming, thus reducing anxiety, increasing flexibility, improving adaptability, teaches an understanding of time and the ability to predict changes.  (Myles, 2005)

Graphic Organizers enhance learning by organizing material into ways that make it easier to understand and remember.  They visually illustrate abstract concepts and relationships.

“Home Base” Cards illustrate designated safe places for an individual to go to when they are in need of regulating their own behavior and gain control over their emotional state.  (Myles & Simpson, 2003)  These places are useful for planning what to do next, reviewing information/rules, coping with stress, de-escalating, and reorganizing when the child is feeling overwhelmed by events, sounds, lights, smells and other sensory experiences. (Faherty, 2000)

Labels increase functional independence and participation by reducing the demands of the brain from having to visually scan an entire area while keeping the target item or location in mind, to just focusing on searching for a specific word or image

Lists greatly assist personal organization and retention visually organizing information.  (Myles, 2005)

Option Cards provide the child with choices of language or behaviors for specific situations.  This decreases reliance on others to verbally prompt choices.  (Moore, 2000)

People Locators decrease anxiety by providing information about:

  • Who will be somewhere
  • Who will be absent
  • Who will be arriving later on
  • When someone will come
  • Where someone is
  • When someone will arrive

Reminder Cards give direction in order to increase understanding, independence and appropriate social behaviors.

Reminder Signs are used when several children benefit from the same cue.  Teachers can hold or point to a visual symbol instead of having to verbally redirect children to behave more appropriately.

Routine Schedules break larger tasks or activities into their components, much like creating a recipe.  This makes the routine easier to follow and independently complete with success, thus improving self-management skills.

Social Stories are concrete word and/or picture stories visually describe the steps and implications of a specific social situation.  They clarify concepts that

might be confusing and thus aid the comprehension of, and guide the use of a specific social situation.  (Quill 1995)

Task Cards are recipes for improving social skills because they increase the accuracy of recalling concepts and rules in the presence of social distractions.  Task cards outline the steps that needs to be followed and are written as directives.

Token Economies expand attention spans to tasks, increase the amount of work that is accomplished at a single time and improve one’s ability to delay gratification thus enabling them to more readily participate in social, educational and work settings.

Thought Cues help people understand what others might be thinking during social situations.

Travel Cards briefly lists academic, behavior, dietary, sensory and communication strategies that support the child’s success so that unfamiliar individuals have a recipe for successful interactions.

Within Activity Schedules effectively increase independent completion or work and daily life skills.  (Hall et al, 1995)

Why Lists are useful to post in a classroom or at the dinner table to remind children why certain rules are important.  (Quill, 1995)

Posted by on February 11th, 2011 No Comments

 

Developmental Milestones

This is a nice little article from Parents Magazine this month about developmental milestones:

(Parenting.com) — Although your baby won’t say much during her first year of life (at least not in words you understand), her language skills begin to grow the minute she’s born. Here’s how the process unfolds:

Age: Birth to three months

What your baby does: Your little sweetie is learning about voices by listening to yours. The coos and gurgles that emerge at the end of this period are her first attempts at imitating the sounds you make.

How to help: Sing and talk to your baby often, but also keep other distracting background noises (the TV, radio) to a minimum so she can hear and focus on the sounds she’s working on.

Age: Three to six months

What your baby does: Your child is beginning to notice how people converse with each other, and wants to join in on the dialogue.

How to help: When you talk to him, pause after saying something (“Would you like to play with this pretty red rattle?”) so he has a chance to respond in his own language. If he tries to make the same sound as you, repeat the word for him.

Age: Six to nine months

What your baby does: The vocalizations your baby makes are be- ginning to sound more like words now — baba and dada, for instance. She’ll also express emotion in response to the tone of your voice, smiling if you are talking happily, showing distress if you are yelling or expressing anger.

How to help: Talk her through her days: “Where did the puppy go? Oh, look, here’s the puppy on the sofa,” labeling and showing her what you’re referring to as much as possible. Use a mirror to show her who she is: “Who’s that little girl? It’s Rachel!”

Age: Nine to twelve months

What your baby does: His receptive language skills are exploding now; that is, he knows what you’re referring to even though he can’t repeat the words himself. He may scamper to the high chair if you say it’s time to eat, or look around for a toy when you ask him where a favorite plaything is.

How to help: Begin to label body parts (“nose,” “eyes,” “tummy,” “toes”), spend more time reading books together and talking about the pictures, and teach interactions such as waving bye-bye and blowing kisses.

Age: Twelve to fifteen months

What your baby does: Here come the words. Though the number an individual baby can say varies greatly at this stage — from one or two to a dozen or more — you can expect your child’s spoken vocabulary to pick up speed during this period. Even when he can’t say something, he knows how to tell you what he wants through gestures.

How to help: Continue to label for your child, but also use more simple sentences so he can hear how to string words together. Respond enthusiastically at each new word development or attempt at communication.

please see parenting.com for more information

Posted by on February 8th, 2011 No Comments

 

Starfish “poop” from the top!

Just a crazy fun fact that I thought you might enjoy sharing with your children the next time you are out for a beach walk.  Enjoy!

Posted by on February 2nd, 2011 No Comments