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Archive for May, 2006

Summer Programs

Friday, May 26th, 2006

puz.jpgOne of the most difficult things facing families is what to do every year when summer comes!

Here are some useful sights to help you with the process:

1) This article gives practical advice for finding a summer program:

2) This article, written by a parent, is extremely helpful and talks about the importance of keeping up home programs over the summer:

teachstd.gif3) This blog talks about ESY (Extended School Year) and your legal rights. In fact, this whole blog is about Law & Education and it written by an experienced lawyer - it is well done - I recommend checking it out!

4) Research often shows that children with autism are likely to lose skills when there is treatment is removed - typically developing children do not show as dramatic of a drop in their abilities with breaks in education. This finding has been shown in many studies in which a treatment is shown to be effective and generalizes to the natural environment - but at follow-up - skills are no longer present. Here is an example of a study with these kinds of findings (you may have to to order the original article if you are interested in reading the whole thing):

5) Many parent organizations (e.g. FEAT), clinics (e.g. New Horizons), and even summer camps (e.g. MySummerPrograms) are also available!

6) If you are not able to obtain services for summer or if you are getting limited services and think your child would benefit from more - TeachTown: Basics is an excellent gap-filler for your home or school program.

Best of luck with your summer programs and hang in there =).

Organization for Autism Research (OAR)

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

ip_logo.gifThe mission of OAR is putting research to work providing answers to questions for those confronted directly and indirectly by autism and funding research studies that investigate treatments, educational approaches, and statistical aspects of autism.  What I like about this organization is their dedication to funding applied research.  Applied research is science that directly applies to children with autism today!

The web site offers valuable information about autism and research and they will be hosting a conference in October, 2006.

pics005.jpgIf you are interested in helping this organization, I encourage you to do so and this kind of research is very important for children who currently have a diagnosis and to pave the way for children who may receive a diagnosis in the near future. 

The purpose of OAR is to raise autism awareness and fund applied autism research. Your charitable donation helps OAR in multiple ways:

  • $1 supports sending a Life Journey through Autism resource guide to a parent or teacher.
  • $25 provides 25 copies of A Parent’s Guide to Research sent to a community support group.
  • $100 provides a full scholarship to OAR’s Applied Autism Research and Intervention Conference.
  • $250 enables an autism expert to participate in OAR’s Autism Research Convocation.
  • $1,000 provides a research grant for a graduate student studying autism.
  • $30,000 fully underwrites an applied research pilot study.

Parents Helping Parents

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

lp-c1d247bc54a4a5aa6868948844f41a20.jpgParents Helping Parents (PHP) is a 30-year-old nonprofit, family resource center that benefits children with special needs. This includes children of all ages (birth through life) and all backgrounds who have a need for special services due to any special need, including but not limited to illness, cancer, accidents, birth defects, neurological conditions, premature birth, learning or physical disabilities, mental health issues, and attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder to name a few.

PHP’s mission is to help children with special needs receive the resources, love, hope, respect, health care, education, and other services they need to reach their full potential by providing them with strong families, dedicated professionals, and responsive systems to serve them.

sharkie2.jpgPHP receives federal funding as a Parent Training and Information Center that serves families of children and young adults from birth to age 22 with all disabilities: physical, cognitive, emotional, and learning. Our Education Program Specialists help families obtain appropriate education and services for their children with disabilities; work to improve education results for all children; train and inform parents and professionals on a variety of topics; resolve problems between families and schools or other agencies; and connect children with disabilities to community resources that address their needs.

Additionally, PHP is a Family Empowerment Center (FEC) that provides information, resources, technical assistance, and systems change advocacy for a statewide network of local FEC’s who provide family education, empowerment, and parent-professional collaborative activities for families of children with disabilities ages 3-22 years old.

PHP is also the Family Resource Center for Santa Clara County’s Early Start Program. Families of infants and toddlers, birth to 36 months at risk of or with developmental delays and disabilities, can receive parent-to-parent support from Early Start Family Resource Centers and Networks. Family Resource Centers/Networks (FRC/Ns) actively collaborate with local regional centers and education agencies and help many parents, families and children access information about early intervention services. A listing of the Family Resource Centers is included in the Central Directory of Early Intervention Resources (PDF).

itechcenter.jpgThe iTECH Center is a preview and demonstration lab for Assistive Technology (AT). We offer parents and professionals the opportunity to gain “hands-on” experience with assistive devices and instructional software before making a decision on which ones best suit their needs. Let our AT staff assist you in exploring and accessing high/low tech options through a guided “Techsploration” in our AT Lab.

YOU CAN HELP!  PHP is currently having an online auction to raise money so that children in the bay area can be provided with assistive technology, social skills groups, parent services, and other technologies (e.g. TeachTown!!).  You can buy items or donate items or services through their very clever website.  TeachTown donated a 6-month subscription to the group - bid starts at only $110 for 6 months - great deal and great group to donate to!!

Radio Interview with Autism Speaks - May 13 & 14, 2006

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

vuvu.jpgI participated in an interview with Scott Ryan from Autism Speaks yesterday with Jim Kampmann.  The show is about autism, Autism Speaks, and TeachTown - I think it went really well!  It is informative for anyone interested in autism and we really focused on educating those who do not know much about the disorder.

The show will air on KKNW 1150 AM at 7am on Saturday (5/13), on KLSY 92.5 FM at 5am on Sunday (5/14), on KIXI 880 AM at 5:30am on Sunday (5/14), and on KWJZ 98.9 FM at 6am on Sunday (5/14).  More than 20,000 listeners are expected to tune in.  If you do not live in the Seattle area, you can still tune in - just click on the radio links to listen live on the internet.

IEP’s and TeachTown: Basics

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

School PictureIf you are interested in using the TeachTown: Basics program for a child in the school setting, you may need to include this in his or her IEP (Individualized Education Program).

Specific products can not be suggested in the IEP, but you can use the TeachTown: Basics curriculum (now available to view in Version 1.1 or higher) (if you do not yet have this version, please contact us ASAP). To find the curriculum, go to the main page (with lessons, etc.) and you will see a button that says “curriculum.” Push that button and you will see the entire curriculum. You can then see your child’s current mastered skills and determine goals for what you expect your child to learn from the TeachTown: Basics program in the upcoming months. I think the best strategy for writing new IEP goals is to have every member of the team (e.g. parent, teacher, behavioral consultant, speech pathologist, OT, etc.) write down their suggestions for goals and then have 1 person compile all the goals into IEP language (typically the teacher).

Adult ComputersClick on each skill and you will see a description of the lesson. You can use this description to write your IEP goals. We are currently working on writing suggested IEP goals for each lesson so watch out for that in the upcoming months - you will be able to copy & paste these goals into your IEP format!! For now though, you will have to write your own. Use your district’s guidelines for writing goals and the descriptions in the software should help facilitate writing new goals. As a parent, you can simply list the goals from the software program and take them to your teacher, who can assist you in putting the goals into appropriate IEP language.