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Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Help us beat the postal strikes.

Dear Colleagues,

I’m sure you’re aware of the recent postal strikes happening in London and other parts of the country. Communication and Workers Union (CWU) members have now voted in favour of national strike action so we thought it important that we contact you.

If you don’t already and have the facility, why not pay us by BACS (bank transfer) and help us to beat the post strikes? Payment will reach us guaranteed within 3 working days or same day if your bank offers the new faster payments.

If cheque payment is the only option for you then rest assured that we are processing cheques on the same day we receive them to try and ensure there is little or no disruption to your accounting systems.

Please see your invoice or contact us for banking details.

If you don’t pay the bills please forward this information to whoever has that unenviable task.

Confused? Need some help? Just give us a call on 01427 667 556 / 0794 383 8819.

Thanks for your help,

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Trick or Treating Guidelines

Preparing Children for Trick or Treating
Dressing up to go trick or treating is very exciting for children and it creates lasting memories for both children and parents. Help children prepare for trick or treating with these five strategies.
1. Select a Costume – Help children select a costume that fits properly and is safe. Children may be uncomfortable with anything on their face especially make up. Some children may not like masks because of sensory issues or limited vision. Keep these factors in mind when selecting an outfit. For children who have difficulties with masks, holding a mask rather than wearing it or not using one at all may make the evening more enjoyable.
2. Set Costume Guidelines – Children often want to wear their costume other times than trick or treating. Let them know if/when they can wear it besides trick or treating. Be sure to tell them this before they buy the costume and after it is purchased. Explain why they can wear the costume only at certain times. For example, “You can put it on in the evening for a few minutes to see how you
look, but you can only wear it for a little while so it doesn’t get dirty before Halloween.”
3. Practice Going to People’s Doors – Role play going to someone’s door, saying “Trick or treat,” holding a bag out, and saying “Thank you.” Remind children to be polite, wait their turn, and take only one piece of candy when they are asked to select something. It is tempting to rush to a door and take a handful of things when offered a basket or bowl to select from so multiple opportunities for review are important. Be sure to practice other things that may happen such as someone not
being home or someone complimenting them on their costume.
4. Establish Guidelines in Advance – Prepare children for factors such as: What time trick or treating starts and ends; How they know when it ends; Where they can trick or treat (e.g. only houses with lights on, only people the child knows, only homes in a four block radius, etc.); and What the rules are such as staying with a sibling or parent. Be sure to review these guidelines days in advance with a story, visual cards, or written rules. Before trick or treating, review them again so children clearly understand expectations.
5. Set Candy Guidelines– Children become very excited about getting candy and other treats while trick or treating. Set rules in advance about eating candy. Let children know before trick or treating that they need to bring all of the candy back for you to check before they can eat it. Make sure children have dinner before trick or treating so they are not hungry. Have guidelines about the number of pieces they can eat per day and create a schedule for when they can eat their candy. Display the candy plan where they can easily look if they have questions.
From: Sandbox Learning

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Twitter on the Blog

"What?" I hear you say!
Well it's not as geeky or complicated as it sounds. Purely a way to save looking at two web pages at once. Those of you who visit our site regularly will know that we use twitter to share resources which we feel may be useful. Well, now you don't need to open twitter for the latest updates because if you look to your right, you'll see they are here on the blog.

And to get back to the main website...
Just click on the 'Good Teaching Practice' logo on the right.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

The ADHD Triad of Impairments

Forward Thinking Practice in Sheffield

School to allow use in class while union rages at ‘potentially offensive weapons’#

Mobile phones: 'untapped learning resource'

Original paper headline: Say hi to mobile phones, the ‘untapped learning resource’

Pupils at a school in Sheffield could soon be allowed to use their mobile phones in the classroom, despite one teaching union describing them as “offensive weapons”.

The radical move is being proposed at Notre Dame High School by assistant headteacher Paul Haigh, who believes pupils’ phones are a huge “untapped resource” for teaching and learning and an important cost-saving measure.

“We realise as a comprehensive state school we could never afford to buy every student all the IT and mobile devices we would like them to have. We already have 800-plus computers and, much like adding lanes to the M25, when we buy more we use them all,” Mr Haigh said.

“It would be great if students could have access to a range of tools, PDAs, cameras, voice recorders, laptops and netbooks, but it would be very expensive and wasteful to maintain and upgrade all the equipment. Most students own many of them anyway - they’re just hidden away in their school bags.”

He added: “What’s more they are experts in using them, knowing all of the short cuts and characteristics of their own devices as they use them every day.”

But the move has been blasted by the NASUWT, which claims mobile phones give pupils the opportunity to “bully and abuse” teachers by uploading comments on social networking sites.

Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said: “These sites are fed by pupils’ misuse of mobile phones. The time has come for mobiles in schools to be placed in the category of a potentially offensive weapon and action taken to prevent their use by pupils while on school premises.

But Notre Dame says wants to create a “robust policy” that will enable teachers to dictate when and where mobile devices are used.

Mr Haigh added: “It should be completely at the control of the teacher; if its not the policy isn’t clear. It’s being made plain to students that having a phone out and checking messages throughout lessons is not acceptable and we would still confiscate the phone. If it’s not being used to support learning we don’t want to see it.”

And despite the NASUW’s criticism, a spokesperson for government IT agency Becta said: “It is very encouraging to hear of schools tapping into the technology that is sitting in virtually every student’s pocket.

“Today’s mobile phones are capable of so much more than texting and can - with the right kind of school-student agreements in place - be an excellent tool for learning.

“Students can download their homework, do research on the internet as well as collaborate with other classmates.”

From TES 9th October

Friday, 9 October 2009

Warning on liquorice in pregnancy

Pregnant women who eat large amounts of liquorice could negatively affect their child's intelligence and behaviour, according to research.

Experts from Edinburgh and Helsinki universities studied eight-year-olds born in Finland, where consumption of liquorice among young women is common.

The children of women who ate a lot of liquorice when pregnant did not perform as well as other youngsters in tests.

Researchers said a component in liquorice may impair the placenta.

They said the component - glycyrrhizin - may allow stress hormones to cross from the mother to the baby.
High levels of such hormones, known as glucocorticoids, are thought to affect foetal brain development and have been linked to behavioural disorders in children in previous studies.

Of the children who took part in the Finnish study, 64 were exposed to high levels of glycyrrhizin in liquorice, 46 to moderate levels and 211 to low levels.

They were tested on a range of cognitive functions including vocabulary, memory and spatial awareness.

Behaviour was assessed using an in-depth questionnaire completed by the mother.

Shorter pregnancies

The results suggested that women who ate more than 500mg of glycyrrhizin per week - found in the equivalent of 100g of pure liquorice - were more likely to have children with lower intelligence levels and more behavioural problems.

The eight-year-olds were more likely to have poor attention spans and show disruptive behaviour such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the researchers said.

Professor Jonathan Seckl, from Edinburgh University's centre for cardiovascular science, said: "This shows that eating liquorice during pregnancy may affect a child's behaviour or IQ and suggests the importance of the placenta in preventing stress hormones that may affect cognitive development getting through to the baby."

The research comes after a study which suggested that liquorice consumption was also linked to shorter pregnancies.

The results of the study are published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

A Little Bit of Knowledge???

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom 'suffers from Asperger's'

The Phantom of the Opera's tormented leading character suffers from Asperger's syndrome, according to the stage actor who plays him.

Ramin Karimloo said he believed the Phantom showed clear signs of the condition, which is a form of autism. Sufferers often have difficulties with communication and social relationships.

According to Karimloo, who joined the West End production two years ago, the syndrome would explain the Phantom's eccentric traits, his musical talents and an inability to interact with others which led him to hide away beneath the Paris Opera House.

Daily Telegraph

Thursday, 8 October 2009

New ASD Dates

New ASD dates now online at:

In addition, we also will be in:

Cambridge 13th January 2010
Winchester 21st January 2010
Blandford 22nd January 2010
Darwen 2nd March 2010
Chippenham 4th March 2010

Get in touch for further details

Sounding Familiar?

Vaccines will ship in single doses and multidose vials.

By Rick Rouan

The vaccine preservative that some groups have claimed causes autism will be optional in the coming batch of H1N1 vaccines, the county’s health director said.

The injectable vaccines will ship in both single doses, which are thimerosal-free, and the multidose vials that contain the preservative, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thimerosal is a preservative that contains microscopic portions of mercury and is used in multidose vials of vaccines, said Dr. John Venglarcik, the Mahoning County Board of Health medical director.

Autism-awareness groups have tried to identify the preservative as a cause of autism in young children, but the medical director pointed out that there is no scientific evidence to support that theory.

“There’s really no evidence that this is harmful in any way, shape or form,” he said. “Quite honestly, you get more mercury eating fish.”

Although no scientific evidence has proved that thimerosal causes autism, the preservative was taken out of pediatric vaccines about five years ago, Venglarcik said.

“The fact of the matter is that since this has been taken out of all pediatric vaccines, there’s been no change in the instances of autism,” he said.

The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety supports Venglarcik’s stance. In 2006, the committee concluded that there was no scientific support for concerns about thimerosal. The committee was established by the World Health Organization to provide a scientific assessment of vaccine safety.

The mercury in thimerosal, according to the committee, is ethyl mercury, which stays in the blood for less than a week and is excreted. The more harmful methyl mercury stays in the blood for about a month and a half and accumulates in the body.

Terry Chapin, president of the local chapter of the Autism Society, said that he has seen anecdotal evidence of increases in autism rates, and if thimerasol was a cause, he would expect to see rates decrease.

“I’ve certainly seen enough e-mail correspondence and various articles that still are saying that it could have been a cause of autism,” Chapin said. “The concern that I have is that you have not seen a decrease in the rates of autism.”

Chapin said that a lot of current research has been done by companies with a stake in the argument. “I think there’s still a little bit more fact-finding that needs to be done to conclusively prove or disprove that one way or the other,” he added.

Venglarcik also said that the risk of getting the disease from the vaccine is “very small.”

The health department is trying to establish what is called “herd immunity,” Venglarcik said.

If the department can get about 80 percent of the population immunized, the vaccines tend to help eradicate the disease. This is the same tactic that was used to eliminate polio, Venglarcik said.

But the key is immunizing children, which “tend to be the vehicle to spread to a community,” Venglarcik said.

“It’s going to be critical that we get the kids. If we get the school-age population immunized, then we can start to get that barrier in the school system,” he said.

The vaccine will be available in a nasal spray form the third week in October, Venglarcik said, and the injectable vaccine will be available the fourth week of October. The department is working with local school districts to organize clinics to distribute the vaccine.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Net addiction linked to ADHD in teens

Children and teens with ADHD, or who are depressed or hostile, may be prone to becoming addicted to using the internet, a new study suggests.

Internet addiction is not an official diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association, but some experts consider it a potential problem if it interferes with everyday life, such as harming school performance, family relationships or someone's emotional state.

Signs include:

Spending more time on the internet than intended.
Inability to cut back on usage.
Symptoms of withdrawal such as anxiety or boredom after a few days of refraining from going online.
Researchers in Taiwan looked at the potential link between internet addiction and psychiatric symptoms such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), social phobia and hostility in 2,293 boys and girls from 10 junior high schools in southern Taiwan.

The students' psychiatric symptoms were surveyed using self-reported questionnaires, and internet addiction was assessed when the study began and six, 12 and 24 months later. Scores ranged from 26 to 104 on the researchers' scale, with a score of 64 or higher considered internet addiction.

Of all participants, 233 or 10.8 per cent were classified as having internet addiction and 1,929 (89.2 percent) were classified as not having an internet addiction, the team reported in the October issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

"These results suggest that ADHD, hostility, depression and social phobia should be detected early on and intervention carried out to prevent internet addiction in adolescents," Dr. Chih-Hung Ko of Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital and colleagues concluded.

Previous studies suggest that 1.4 per cent to 17.9 per cent of adolescents are addicted to the internet, with percentages higher in Eastern nations than in Western nations, the researchers noted.

In girls but not boys, depression and social phobia were linked to internet addiction problems.

Boys were at higher risk than girls, and those who used the internet for more than 20 hours a week were also at higher risk, the study found.

Adults over-check email
"Part of the failure to recognize this potential 21st-century epidemic is the simple fact that many of us, BlackBerry in hand, check email more than we would like," Dr. Dimitri Christakis of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development in Seattle, and Dr. Megan Moreno, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

"The inherent difficulties in defining internet addiction and our own need for rectification should not prevent us from recognizing an emerging epidemic."

If all children who are at risk are exposed enough to become addicted, the prevalence of internet addiction in Western countries could approach that of Eastern countries and rank as one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood, the pair said.

"Our intention in raising this concern is not to be alarmist but rather to alert pediatricians to what might become a major public health problem for the United States in the 21st century."

Online safety experts recommend monitoring children and teens' internet use and suggest putting home computers in a public place such as a hallway or family, instead of allowing children to go online in private.

The internet addiction study was funded by the National Science Council of Taiwan.

Source: CBC News

Thursday, 1 October 2009