Disability awareness and being sensitive to the needs of children and adults with disabilities is not something we’re all born with. Some of us have children, siblings, parents, friends or other loved ones with disabilities and our experience has taught us about acceptance of individuals with different abilities. Without these experiences, children, teens and young adults may have difficulty with understanding what it’s like to have a disability and why it’s important for everyone to be caring, understanding and accepting.
The season for gift giving has once again arrived and ABLE United is in the holiday spirit! ABLE United wants members of the disability community to start planning for their future and jump-start their savings! ABLE United is offering savings account starters the chance to win $1,000! What a great way to jump start a savings account!
When most of us begin teaching our children about identifying their bodies, it usually sounds a little something like this:
“Touch your nose. Touch your arm. Touch your eye. Touch your cheek,” and so on.
Many parents don’t ever mention the penis, vagina, bottom, or breast - yet, they too, are parts of our anatomy. It’s important to teach our children as best as we can about identifying body parts and their changing bodies, as well as the difference between safe and appropriate touches from inappropriate and dangerous situations.
Some of us feel a little apprehension about starting a new school year alongside our children. This can especially be difficult for parents of children who struggle with reading, writing, math, staying focused or being organized.
Transition and change for kids of all ages isn’t always easy. Transitioning from a long summer break back into the old school routine is harder yet. For children and older kids with disabilities, the back to school transition can be intensely challenging for the entire family. Here are some tips that helped us get back in gear for school routines!
What does it mean to have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?
You may have heard the terms, “sensory processing disorder, sensory integrated dysfunction, or sensory related issues.” Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition that causes the brain to have difficulty with receiving and sending messages with other senses. You may have heard the term, “sensory overload.” This phrase is often used to describe what a child or adult is experiencing when there is too much information for one or more of their senses to process. Children and adults who experience issues with sensory processing disorder may struggle with academic performance, making friends, diet and eating, participating in the community, challenging behavior, and more.
My Journey to Improve my Son's Behavior with Positive Behavior Support: Part 7 - Managing the Positive Behavior Support Plan
I can’t tell you how excited I am to reach our final segment of this series. It has been an extraordinary experience for our family. Using the positive behavior support process, we have watched Richie’s transformation from being someone who only knew to express himself with aggressive fits of anger to someone who controls that urge and replaced it with other ways to communicate his frustration.
Managing the positive behavior support plan is a crucial component for it to continue to work successfully. From the beginning, all team members agreed to commit to fulfilling the expectations of the PBS process.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, but Efforts for Strengthening Inclusion and Acceptance Must Be Ongoing
Bullying has been around for far too long to be a passing fad. It’s an infectious direction that tends to spread quickly if the climate allows for it. It’s the end of October, and this is the month for which parents, students, educators, and members of our community work together to raise awareness about bullying and how to prevent it. However, our combined efforts shouldn’t begin and end in the month October, we must all work hard on bullying prevention throughout the year – every year.
Many of us have been anxiously waiting for the premier of the pilot episode for “Speechless.” The show debuted last night and I have to write that it didn’t disappoint. In fact, it was on-point! Speechless is about an American family of five that includes a teen with special needs. The story line is centered around their incredibly, resilient and humorous ability to cope with the many challenges faced by special needs families today. As parents of children with disabilities, we can all relate to Minnie Driver’s character, “Maya,” who is a relentless and fierce mother who will stop at nothing to protect her son JJ (played by Micah Fowler).
If you’re a parent of a child with special needs, then odds are you’re dozing off while trying to read this post! Don’t feel bad, you’re not alone. Raising a child with special needs comes with overwhelming love, but that’s not all. We experience incredibly stressful situations and we are in constant worry mode, which means our mind is always racing even when we’re trying to relax.
My Journey to Improving My Son's Challenging Behavior with Positive Behavior Support: Part 6 - Putting the PBS Plan in Place
Putting the Positive Behavior Support Plan in Place
It is very exciting times. We now have a plan of action for preventing, solving, replacing, and managing Richie’s challenging behaviors. What’s even more exciting is that we were also going to teach Richie new skills – skills that had never occurred to us until we started the positive behavior support process.
"My Journey to Improve My Son's Challenging Behavior with Positive Behavior Support: Part 5 - Developing a Positive Behavior Support Plan"
Developing a Positive Behavior Support Plan
In this process, we have taken the important steps needed for the development of a positive behavior support plan. So far in the Positive Behavior Support blog series, we have:
My Journey to Improve My Son's Challenging Behavior Through Positive Behavior Support: Part 4 - Analyzing Data and Goal Setting
Part 4: Analyzing Data and Goal Setting - What did we learn?
It was time to gather all the information collected from our PBS team members and begin analyzing the data. Some members of our PBS team were diligent about collecting data and information for two consecutive weeks. I gathered information received from Richie’s ESE teacher, PE teacher and myself. I didn’t collect data and information from all members of the PBS team, but remember we mentioned in Part 3 that even if this happened, we can continue to move forward with the PBS process. The information I did have was plenty for us to review and analyze. All of the forms, information and data we collected were going to help us understand Richie’s behavior. We were going to begin taking the next steps towards creating a successful positive behavior support plan that would work at home and at school.
My Journey to Improve My Son's Challenging Behavior Through Positive Behavior Support: Part 3 - Gathering Information and Data Collection.
Gathering Information and Data Collection
In order for us to learn about how we can improve Richie’s challenging behavior, we need to start gathering information and collecting data. This is the most important part of the positive behavior support process, because it’s going to help us to decide on what goals to set, how to avoid certain behaviors from happening, what strategies to use when behaviors happen, what new skills we want to teach, and how we can manage behaviors. This is a crucial part of developing the PBS plan.
My Journey to Improve My Son's Challenging Behavior with Positive Behavior Support: Part 2 -What is PBS and Who Needs to be Involved?
What is PBS and Who Needs to be Involved?
The differences in my parenting style between my two children are paramount. I learned quickly that the strategies and disciplinary actions used with my oldest, Samantha (who has no known disabilities), were useless with Richie. Thinking about it now, the strategies I used with Samantha were useless too. I used things taught to me culturally through my own family (spanking, yelling and punishing), then later I tried new strategies like “time-out.” Some strategies worked, most didn’t. How truly successful were my strategies if Samantha’s behaviors continued?
My Journey to Improving My Son's Challenging Behavior with Positive Behavior Support: Part 1 - Our Relationship with Richie
Being a parent to my son Richie changed my life in ways I never would have imagined. Richie is my fourteen-year-old son and second child. Richie is on the severe side of the autism spectrum. He is very handsome, tall, has a gorgeous smile and a contagious laugh. He loves to laugh and he finds it most amusing when we repeat the many sounds he makes. Richie loves to play tag - but he loves being chased, he won’t chase you back! He loves to be tickled and he’s kind of thrill seeker. He loves quite a few roller-coaster rides – Universal Studios is his favorite theme park to visit. My son is my joy in this world, but having a child on the spectrum does come with its challenges.
As our children get older, it’s time to think about self-determination, independent living, continuing education, career choices, financial literacy, relationships, and community involvement. All of these important topics whirl around in the minds of parents and students as graduation and the end of their public school years gets closer. Having a well written Transition IEP (Individual Education Plan) will help to increase successful post-school outcomes for the student.
My family and I have always been active members of our community. When people in the community see Richie with us, we’re often asked about how to approach him, professionals often ask for tips on how to work with kids like him. I appreciate the willingness of others reaching out to make a connection with my son. I most certainly welcome the interest in learning by asking questions, over staring and silence. For me personally, the blatant stare is so much more intrusive than just asking a question (take a look at my article on 10 things you shouldn’t say to parents of children with special needs).
Planning to attend an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting sometimes causes many parents stress and anxiety. I remember the days I dreaded IEP season. I can remember some IEP meetings that were so challenging, we needed to plan another meeting to revisit unsettled topics. But, there were also many successful meetings that were over in less time than the scheduled hour. Being prepared, confident, and well informed will help decrease feelings of anxiety, and the meeting may not be as dreadful as you might have expected it to be.
If your child is just starting to receive special education services in the public school system, it is extremely important to learn about special education processes, beginning with understanding the IEP (Individual Education Plan) document and all of its components. The IEP is important to your child’s education, but it can be as equally confusing to understand.
Author: Christine Goulbourne