Leveraging Visual Support for Neuro-divergent Children

Creative Ideas To Offer Better Visual Support For Neuro-Diverse Children

Leveraging visual support for neuro-divergent children entail using a visual item, such as a picture card or mood boards, to communicate with a child who exhibits a shortcoming in using or has difficulty understanding language. Visual supports can be in the form of lists, written words, objects, drawings and photographs. Ample research stands as evidence that visual supports provide one of the best communication mediums for children with developmental disorders. When employed for children on the autism spectrum, a visual support serves two main purposes: helping the child communicate with those around them, and aiding parents in communicating better with their child.

temple grandin

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Summertime is Here! What’s the Best Camp for Your Child?

Summer is here, and finding the camp for your child can be a daunting task. There are a plethora of options when it comes to summer camps, but how do parents choose what works for their child?

To ensure that your camps are up-to-date with the latest research and information to support your child, it is important that they receive training and certification. Be sure to ask for and check for their credentials. If your child has special needs such as autism, many organizations such as YMCA and even Beaches Resorts Kid’s Camps have received staff-wide training and are designated as Certified Autism Centers through IBCCES. See below for some important considerations when looking for the perfect camp for your little ones this summer.

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Special Needs and Transitioning into Adulthood

By Elayne Pearson, C.A.S., Special-needs Preparedness Specialist, is an award-winning writer, poet, presenter, advocate, author, and actress.

It’s May, and some nice graduation announcements have arrived at the house. While I’m happy for each student, it occasionally picks at an old wound from Heidi’s high school graduation (or the lack there of). I ponder if I did the right thing by not having our painfully shy teenager participate in the formal commencement exercises like her Special Needs Educators had encouraged.

It’s hard to know whose advice to listen to.…

Back when Heidi was in preschool, Kim Peek, the autistic savant who inspired the Oscar-winning movie, Rainman, was traveling around the country sharing autism awareness. Kim was a phenomenon. When he and his father, Fran Peak, were invited to speak to a nearby Christian youth group, I was strongly prompted to attend.

The peaceful drive through rural towns with their snow-packed fields, farms, and shaggy horses felt surprisingly at home to me.

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The Magic of Better Speech & Hearing Month

By Kerry Magro, Self-Advocate, National Speaker, and Author

When we think of the impact of Autism Awareness Month in April, we sometimes forget May’s Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) that had an impact on those with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Organizations have spearhead efforts to start a conversation for those with these communication challenges.

This month has a special connection to me as I was diagnosed with autism at four. Being in special education settings, I was often in classes with students with a wide range of speech, language and hearing disorders. Our supports were very challenging in our public school setting due to limited funding going to special education. Until 4th grade, before moving to an out of district school for those with learning disabilities, we only had one special education class ranging of students from the ages of 6-14. I often think about how this month could have truly benefited me as a student but also our educators. It’s the same way that I never knew about Autism Awareness Month in April as a child because it was never introduced to me or my classmates.

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To the Speech Language Pathologist of Those with Special Needs

By Kerry Magro, Self-Advocate, National Speaker, and Author

Dear Speech Language Pathologist: I don’t know how you got your start. What your role was in helping those with special needs. Some of you have helped pave the way to diagnose while others who are reading this may have assessed and helped those with a wide range of speech and language related challenges. You may work in a school, business, rehabilitation center, hospital, private clinic – you name it. You often spend countless hours of your time both giving all you can to see your students and patients succeed, and for that I wanted to say thank you.

Each day I see you help students swallow, pronounce different words, use text to speech software and speak without stuttering. You are also there with encouragement when you see them reach a new goal in their development. You provide encouragement to them when they are struggling which is just as important. And you do that because you care. You care because you have a passion for our loved ones. It’s a passion I’ve seen firsthand as someone who was diagnosed with autism at an early age.

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Special Thanks to Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists

Anita outsideBy Anita Lesko, BSN, RN, MS, CRNA

We do it every day, without thinking about it.  Talking.  It’s how we communicate with everyone, from loved ones to co-workers, business associates and total strangers.  It is our key to life.  If that key is somehow not functioning correctly, that door won’t open like it does for everyone else.  You may even be trapped inside your own body not knowing how to get out.  Thankfully, there are very special people who can enable the individual to “activate” that language key, opening the world for them.  Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists are the professionals who give the gift of a new life to those needing such help.

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Listen-Up: May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

What? Can you repeat that, please? Yes, May is Better Hearing and Speech month. Let’s participate by celebrating the two projections on the side of our head that do so much despite being so little. The importance our ears play in activities of daily living is often overlooked or taken for granted. From infancy, we utilize sounds to get our needs met and learn about the world around us. Hearing loss can have detrimental impacts on a child’s ability to learn and develop speech and language, as well as safety concerns.

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Dr. Theresa Regan Releases New Book and Discusses the Importance of the CAS

1) How hateresas earning the Certified Autism Specialist been meaningful and satisfying?

Earning my CAS has not only been a milestone in my own journey in autism specialization, but also a way of connecting with others in the international community who also serve ASD individuals and their family members.  Although the community of providers serving those with autism is experiencing needed growth, to have easy online access to an abundance of training opportunities, job openings, news, and best practices is essential to my own best practice.

2) How has the CAS credential affected your professional growth?

So many things have come together to help me grow professionally in the area of autism services. I have been an adult neuropsychologist at OSF Healthcare for 18 years and have grown in so many areas of brain behavior relationships. When I had my own son 11 years ago, my world opened up to many topics only pediatric specialists seemed to focus on. I began to recognize autism in the adult and geriatric patients within my own practice. Earning my CAS certification brought all my professional and personal experience together into a more cohesive practice model.  I have now published my book Understanding Autism in Adults and Aging Adults as a professional, a mother, and a certified autism specialist.

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My Son with ASD, a Stalker?

By Carol S. Weinman, Esq., Autism Legal Specialist

“My son didn’t do this. He wouldn’t even know how to do this.” These are the words I hear uttered over and over again in my work with criminal defendants on the autism spectrum. That’s when my challenge begins. My mission: to persuade others in power to understand why this individual could not possibly have committed the crime he is charged with. Of course, each case is as different as each individual. In certain cases, it is possible that someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may have knowingly committed such an offense.  But, in most scenarios, after reviewing all the information on this particular defendant, I arrive at the same conclusion – it just isn’t possible, at least not intentionally.  

stalker

Of course, that assumes you understand ASD. If not, well then, all bets are off. If the police officer, attorney, judge or prosecutor views this defendant through the lens used for more typical criminal offenders, then the situation looks very different. The behavior that resulted in an arrest is perceived as criminal under the law. For the court and prosecutor, it is that simple. But, is it? I would argue it is anything but. Because ASD is very complicated. It is at times often subtle and unrecognizable to the uneducated eye. That’s what makes it so imperative that those making what can be life-altering decisions for these offenders understand that it isn’t what it looks like. Which is exactly what I set out to do when I represented an individual charged with stalking.

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Study Released on Dreampad, a Certified Autism Resource

dreampadSarah Schoen, PhD, OTR of the SPD Foundation studied sleep and behavior in children with ASD using the Dreampad in a study that was published April 2017 in the peer reviewed Open Journal of Occupational Therapy. Dr. Schoen studied 15 children who used the Dreampad nightly for three weeks and analyzed the results of a pediatric sleep diary completed by parents. All 15 children showed improvements in sleep and every parent was interested in continuing use of the Dreampad. Parents reported reductions in bedtime resistance, sounder sleep and, importantly, better emotional, social and school functioning.

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