It Takes a Village: Get Your Hands Dirty and Build It From the Ground Up

Amy shares how important it is for families of special needs children to have a support system and offers practical tips on how to accomplish this.

Raising a child with developmental disabilities is often overwhelming for parents and they need all the help they can get.  I know.  I am one of them. Continue reading “It Takes a Village: Get Your Hands Dirty and Build It From the Ground Up”

An Apology Letter to My Former Students

Amy shares a letter she has written to her former special needs students sharing with them a heartfelt apology for not understanding how to reach their individual needs and her promise that going forward she will be an advocate for children like them.

Dear Former Students,

I am so sorry.  I didn’t understand that your little body needed to move and that it actually helped you learn.  When you kept getting out of your seat during a test and I took away your recess I didn’t realize what that did to you.  I took away something that you NEEDED to be successful.  Please forgive me.

I am so sorry. I didn’t understand that a side effect of your medication meant you weren’t hungry at lunch time, but by the afternoon you were starving.  No wonder you had difficulty concentrating.  I wish I would have let you have an afternoon snack.  Please forgive me. Continue reading “An Apology Letter to My Former Students”

What Parents of Children with Disabilities Wish You Knew

My 3 1/2 year old son, Barclay, has a trio of disabilities: Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

I am pretty outspoken with family and friends about how these disorders affect him and our family dynamics.  His success stems from the people in his life understanding how he functions in this world, not how this world expects him to function in it.  I try to educate them to not compare him to “kids his age” but rather accept where he is in his development.

I recently asked a group of moms, who have kids with special needs or know of kids with special needs, what are some important points they believe friends and family members need to know.

Continue reading “What Parents of Children with Disabilities Wish You Knew”

Using ABA Strategies at Home: Part 2 – Analyzing the Data

 

In Part 1, I walked you through how to collect ABC data for the purpose of replacing undesired behaviors with desired behaviors.  Now that you have the data, let’s do something with it! Continue reading “Using ABA Strategies at Home: Part 2 – Analyzing the Data”

Creating Your Child’s Childhood

Amy shares 10 things all parents can do to help create a positive childhood for all their children regardless of whether they have developmental differences or not.

Think back for a moment on your childhood. You probably can conjure up many happy memories and most certainly a few you’d rather forget. What causes one event to become a long-term memory versus another is a question developmental psychologists can’t answer. But one thing they do know is that a person’s childhood does have an impact on shaping their adult life. According to a recent study published in Child Development, researchers found that “the type of emotional support that a child receives during the first three and half years has an impact on education, social life, and romantic relationships even 20 or 30 years later.” Continue reading “Creating Your Child’s Childhood”

Using ABA Strategies at Home: Part 1 – ABC Data Collection

What is ABA Therapy?

Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is the term used to describe specific behavior modification techniques used primarily with children on the autism spectrum.  These techniques find their ground roots in the research of behavior psychologist B.F. Skinner, who is often referred to as the “Grandfather of ABA.”  Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning is the belief that desired behaviors can be encouraged through positive reinforcement and discouraged through either withholding positive reinforcement or punishment. ABA also subscribes to the notion that all behaviors have an antecedent (what happens before the behavior) and a consequence (what happens after the behavior) and the combination of the two will determine if that behavior is repeated or not.  The theory is when the undesired behavior is successfully modified through ABA, then it will be replaced with a desired behavior. Continue reading “Using ABA Strategies at Home: Part 1 – ABC Data Collection”