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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Ways to Increase Communication and Language

There are a variety of ways to increase communication depending on a child’s age and ability level. Below are some ideas for increasing language and communication throughout the day.

1. Expand Sentence Length – When children answer a question or request an item using one or two words, increase their sentence length by repeating their answer with an expanded phrase. For example, if you ask a child, “Would you like orange juice?” and they answer “Yes,” model a longer response. “Yes, I would like orange juice.” Then have the child repeat the phrase.

2. Use Books for Language - Reading stories is an excellent way to incorporate language into a fun activity. Ask questions about the pictures, the story, and the characters. Even very young children can identify colors, gender, words, or concepts (e.g. the boy that is the tallest/shortest) by pointing to pictures. Have children predict what is going to happen next throughout the story. After finishing the book, review what happened in the story.

3. Create Situations that Promote Language - Favorite toys, clothes, and foods can motivate young children to use language. Store favorite items in eye sight, but out of reach, so children have to use their words to request the items.

4. Provide Choices – Give children choices in activities, stories, toys, and foods so they communicate their preferences. You can create an opportunity for communication even if you know a child is going to select a favorite story or game.

5. Find Time to Communicate – Many children like being entertained by technology, but opportunities for communication are lost when families spend a good deal of time watching television and playing video games. Turn off the television during meals and refrain from using portable video games in the car. Time spent together at the dinner table and in the car are wonderful opportunities for learning about a child’s day and increasing communication and language skills.

6. Be Supportive – Children are more likely to communicate if they feel valued. Encourage language by listening attentively to children and asking them questions. If children answer questions incorrectly, teach them the correct answers using kind, supportive words. Repeatedly asking a question a child does not know how to answer or condescendingly correcting them can hurt their feelings and decreases the chance they will answer questions in the future. Instead, encourage them to say, “I don’t know,” and use the situation as a learning opportunity.

7. Be a Role Model – Children learn from the adults around them. When adults speak in full sentences, use correct grammar, and articulate well, children hear and are reminded of how words and sentences should sound.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Online Dyspraxia Testing

Three of the team here at People First Education took an online Dyspraxia test today. Guess what... that's right, we were all diagnosed Dyspraxic and presented with a solution (which obviously had dollar signs attached) to our 'problem'.

Three comments:
1, None of these people have Dyspraxia, diagnosed or suspected.
2, This kind of test reduces the impact of genuine Dyspraxia.
3, How can we diagnose those we have not met?

Comment four:
This kind of website is a disgrace.

Remember Hill St Blues 'Be careful out there'

Developmental disability on rise in U.S. kids: Why?

Developmental disability is on the rise in the U.S. Between 1997 and 2008, the number of school-age children diagnosed with autism, ADHD, or another developmental disability rose by about 17 percent, a new study showed.

That means roughly 15 percent of kids - nearly 10 million - have such a disability.

The numbers were based on information collected from parents, who were asked whether their kids had been diagnosed with a variety of developmental disabilities, including cerebral palsy, seizures, stuttering or stammering, hearing loss, blindness, and learning disorders, as well as autism and ADHD.

Boys were twice as likely to have a developmental disability, according to the study, which was published in the June 2011 issue of Pediatrics. And except for autism, developmental disabilities were more common among children from low-income families.

"We don't know for sure why the increase happened," study author Sheree Boulet of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Reuters. There is now a bigger emphasis on early treatment, she said, and greater awareness about the conditions among parents.

But Philip Landrigan of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, told USA Today that improvements in diagnosis can't fully explain the increase. Research suggests that environmental chemicals - including pesticides and the phthalates found in soft plastics - can affect kids' mental development, he said.

Whatever the cause of the increase, experts said the finding should remind parents to make sure their kids get screened. As Alison Schonwald of Children's Hospital Boston told USA Today, "It's great to diagnose them early, so we can intervene early and help them reach their full potential."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on developmental disabilities.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

A Hitchhikers Guide to Autism

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
After many months in the planning stages, the Autism training film 'A Hitchhikers Guide to Autism' is now coming to fruition. Filming took place last Thursday in the beautiful city of Lincoln in front of an invited audience of parents, professionals and students.

Everybody at People First Education would like to thank (in no particular order) the following individuals and organisations without whom this event could not have taken place:

Stuart McMorran from Fuse Design Ltd Nottingham
The Filming and Production Team at Blueprint Media
Vicky Fossett Illustrator and Artist
Matthew Pyburn ICT, Organisation and Logistics
Dr Claire Thomson from Bishop Grosseteste University College
Welton Kids Club
The Showroom Conference Centre Lincoln

and all those who attended the event

We now begin the lengthy task of post production and editing. It is hoped that the film will be available by September 2011