Sunday, November 2, 2014

Teaching Communication

This is a youtube video that showcases the necessity of communication in the development of a young child.  This child, Maya, is functionally non-verbal and uses a combination of signs, word approximations an gestures to communicate with others.  Her Mother demonstrates Maya's development as she is given the opportunity to use new and more effective methods to communicate with others.  She also shows the difference in developmental scores give to Maya by professionals after she has had the opportunity to more effectively communicate.

I typically teach children who are non-verbal and currently am teaching preschoolers.  This is a good shot in the arm to keep me pushing for more effective communication strategies for my students.

Maya Finds Her Voice

Maya's mother can also be found on Facebook under a closed group called; Speak for Yourself.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Here is the article that was posted on Angelman Today :)

Now if I can only live up to it :)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

And So it Begins...

The new year has begun.  Unexpectedly, I have only two students in my class right now!  Fortunately I have had plenty of time to create data collection sheets and get the beginning of the year paperwork done because of my low numbers and my two students are getting plenty of individual time and teaching.  Unfortunately, in some ways it is much easier to teach a "class" of students.  Hopefully a few more will filter in as they are entered into the preschool system.  In our county, students can begin early childhood special education classes at the age of two and start as soon as they reach that birth date.

For the first time since I started teaching the preschool class for students with multiple disabilities, I have been able to set up a field trip!  We will be going to the "Circus of the Senses" which is held by the Big Apple Circus.  Every year it comes to our area and holds this special show for children with disabilities.  It is a one hour show and typically has acts such as the clowns, the trapeze and trained animals such as horses and dogs.  It features braille programs, head phones and sign language interpreters for those who need them.  I used to go regularly when I taught middle school and elementary school special education students and I am so excited to be able to go again :).

In other news, I am now a published author!  An online magazine called "Angelman Today" has published my article "Does Your Child Have a Good Teacher". in it's back to school issue (it's on page 13 :).  After reading it again, I wish I had done a better job of writing it, but I do believe in what it says.

Gotta love that face :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Great Thing About Summer Break!

Summer is almost over for me :(.  Unexpectedly, I have actually gone in a few days, to do some work and set up my room.  This is something I have never done before, since my school is an hour away from my home. I will miss this summer, especially because.....

I got to spend some time with babies

Only the furry one kept me up at nights, the patriotic one lives with his parents :).  And I spent some time with their big brothers.

My darling husband took off the last two weeks so we could spend some quality time together :)

And we spent some family time together celebrating my eldest daughter's birthday.
We had a new deck put up around our above ground pool and enjoyed basking in the sun while reading and listening to audio books.
All in all a pretty good summer minus all the dental surgery :(. 

But a new year beckons with a lot of new ideas, and with the help of Pinterest I hope to make it a "craftier" year as well :),

Thursday, August 1, 2013

No Time for Posting:)

Of course I have never been the best of posters :).  I read so many insightful and interesting posts from others, especially Parents of kids with special needs and the pictures, OMG the pictures!!  It is more than a little intimidating!  As a matter of facts I just realized that I had comments on a couple of my posts, so I had never published them.  That's how often I get comments 😯.  Thank you all were kind enough to let me know you felt about what I had to say!  Rest assured they have now all been published.

I admit I am not a great (or even very good) writer, but I am extremely interested in and dedicated to what I write about.  Some people seem to feel I am an idealist.  That I should stop caring about my students when they leave my classroom, but I find that difficult to near impossible.  Most of my students are non verbal and their parents are in a situation they probably didn't plan on.  On the other hand, this is what I do for a living because I choose it, it excites me and I enjoy what I do.  It's like that adage, "enjoy what you do and you will never work a day in your life".  Except when I have to get up at 5 in the morning and we get NO snow days 😁.

Anyway, I have also not been blogging because I got a new puppy for my birthday.  My birthday was in May, but I had to wait until near the end of July.  Wow!  You forget how much an 8 wk old puppy is like a young child, middle of the night feelings and he puts everything in his mouth!!!  Fortunately and unfortunately, they grow up much quicker.  I love the smell of puppy breath and the feel of soft puppy fur, even at 3 in the morning 😊.

Friday, July 19, 2013

My Sweetie is Famous!

My husband, Chris just became part of an ad campaign for a back up company called "Spanning".  Chris is the Manager of  Messaging and Collaboration for the R.H. Smith School of Business at the University of MD.  Spanning is thinking of doing a "white paper" and interviewed Chris as someone who was successfully using their services.  So now, when you go to their website, his smiling face is the first picture you see.  Pretty cool!  I'm just saying :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Magical Chromosomes???

When I was getting ready to go the the periodontist this morning (yay! not:), I heard a piece on the News about "Tim's Place", a restaurant in Albuquerque, NM.  This was one of those "feel good" pieces you sometimes hear on the news.  The hook concerning Tim's place is that the owners' son, Tim, has Down Syndrome and offers free hugs to all of his customers.  He is evidently at over 32,000 and counting.

Now, while I think this is a great concept and I would certainly go to Tim's for the camaraderie and one of his famous hugs, I kind of resented what the news commentators were saying about Tim.  Evidently they felt that Tim was so loving and friendly because of that mysterious extra chromosome he just happens to have.  You know, that extra friendly, loving chromosome.

I resent this supposition because it seems to be saying that the addition of a single chromosome automatically means that you are going to be a loving, happy individual.  There is no respect for the individual himself.  No respect for how his family nurtured him and raised him or how his life experiences manifested themselves on his personality.  In short, you are basically saying he has no control, no self determination on the kind of person he is or will be.  Ouch!  That's pretty condescending.

Personally, as a teacher, I know some kids with Down Syndrome who can be kind of cranky, even spoiled!  Horrors, that would mean they could be just as wonderful and awful as any other kid.  That would also mean that if they are horrible, it doesn't mean that every child with Down Syndrome is horrible.

No two persons with DS is any more alike than any two persons without it.  Yes, there are some medical issues and learning styles that are more common with individuals with DS, but there are other people without DS who have some of these same medical issues and learning styles.

 Stop using that broad brush people!