•March 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment
These are SOOOO cool!! A friend and co-worker of mine posted one of these videos on facebook and I found the others on youtube. There are several others if you find them as interesting as I do. Interesting twist on perspective taking is to mute the video and watch it. Gives you an idea of what it would be like to see and interpret the world through pictures rather than words. Enjoy!
Where Good Ideas Come From~
Drive: The Surprising Truth About Motivation~
Language as a Window into Human Nature~ **Rated PG — Adult Oriented Language, Innuendo, Illustrations and Discussion**
~Interesting video on youtube that explains the complexity of language and why it can be so confusing to some of our students.
•February 3, 2011 • Leave a Comment
Problems. We all got ‘em and some of us have an easier time solving them!! Here are some mneumonics and templates that are used in classrooms when students run into difficulties solving their problems.
S – Define the situation
O – What are the options available to deal with the problem
D - What are the disadvantages of each option
A – What are the advantages of each option
S – Decide on a solution and practice.
Z – Zip your mouth
I – Identify the problem
P – Pause
P – Put yourself in charge
E – Explore choices, and
R – Reset
S – Stop
T – Take a break
O – Options
P – Proceed with a Positive Plan
Michelle Garcia Winner has a problem-solving template too.
•December 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment
This is a great article that does an incredible job explaining the physiological reactions of the brain and body to stress. The study is focused on the autism population and how stress and anxiety may be magnified for some people within this group. The physiological response of the brain and body is the same across all populations. I thought about it and 2 of my dogs are fighters and 2 of my dogs are flighters…unless food is involved. Then 3 are fighters and poor Romeo is a very whiny flighter. I recently learned at a conference that by age 5, our brain’s response to flight or fight has been programmed and it becomes instinctual to respond dominantly in one way or the other. I’m the oldest of five and definitely a fighter. ;-) What are you?
Stress and the Student with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Strategies for Stress Reduction and Enhanced Learning
•July 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment
A friend of mine shared this site with me. She was looking for a group of people who enjoyed mountain biking. It’s called Meetup and you can search for things by city and by topic. I typed in Autism, Asperger’s and Downs Syndrome and came up with these groups. I don’t know anything about them. Please let me know if you have had any experience with any of them or know of any other groups to list. You may either post information by posting a reply or email me privately and I will add the information to this posting. Thanks!
Austin Autism Playdates
The Austin Asperger’s Syndrome Meet Up!
The Austin Parents of Special Needs Kids!
Special Needs Support Group
•June 27, 2010 • 1 Comment
I’ve been having a similar question keep popping up from house to house as I visit for in home training sessions. What can we do?!?! Below are different things I have heard about as well as a flyer of “100 Things To Do In Austin, Texas”. I will also be adding links of things and places as I have time.
Feel free to add links and/or things you know about in the comments or email me the information and I will add it to this post. Thanks!
Summer Reading Programs
•May 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment
This is my view of the world for about 6 hours each week. I took this picture because I thought it was funny…dog butts. When I downloaded it and looked at it more closely, I thought it was interesting because I think each of the dogs are saying and thinking something different. It made me think of something I heard at an autism conference. The speaker was referring to a Native American custom of looking at a single problem three different ways in order to fully understand the problem. First, look at what you are wanting to observe. Second, look at the environment and everything surrounding what you want to observe while blocking out what you want to observe. Thirdly, look at everything together. By applying this strategy, you are able to see things that you might not normally notice.
From left to right: Hallie, Romeo, Decker and Bella
With the picture of the dogs, on first glance it seems as though all of the dogs are happily waiting to start walking. I wish I had a wide angle lens on my cell phone so you were able to see what was going on in the environment, but I will try to describe it clearly to you. By looking more closely at each dog, you can see little idiosyncries that tell a completely different story. I will got through the dogs from left to right. By looking at all of the pieces of information that are occurring, this picture has a different meaning.
- First look at Hallie. Her ears are held close to her head. In Hallie talk, this means she is feeling impatient and ready to go. She’s got things to sniff and places to see!
- Romeo’s tail is wagging quickly and his head is looking slightly to the right up the sidewalk. He is actually excited because a 3rd grade boy is running down the sidewalk to say hello. Romeo yodeled his legendary “hello” just after I took the picture.
- Decker and Bella could care less about the boy because they are focused on a cat to the left and just out of the picture.
- Look closely at Decker, her tongue is out and her collar is being pulled tight. She is excited and still learning that in our family cats are not chew toys nor are they meant to be chased.
- Bella has learned that cats have no positive purpose in her world and is far less excited about the sighting. Her tail is low and uncurled (it’s usually curled tight) and she seems to be saying, “Oh no.” My best guess is that Bella is silently praying that Decker doesn’t charge at the cat and get everyone in trouble. Bella is a firm believer in the “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” theory of life.
Often times, I am called to a difficult behavior situation and given the low-down from an adult’s point-of-view of a problem situation. In their point of view, it is being caused by a child. I give the information credit and then observe the situation. First, I watch the child. Next, I focus on the environment and other people while trying to ignore my thoughts which are actually judgments about the child in question. Lastly, I watch and see how all the pieces interact. If it is possible I might talk with the child in question, siblings or peers to get more information.
It’s amazing how some of the smallest details can suddenly become flashing neon signs. I think the trick is to ignore the direct problem at hand and not allow it to overpower the situation. It is also important to simply take in the information and try not to reason, judge, explain or speculate. Just observe with open eyes, an open mind and an open heart. Often times, child behavior can not be explained by adult reasoning. However, if you listen purely with open eyes, an open mind and an open heart, the child’s behavior speaks loudly and clearly, and will give you the answers for which you are searching.
•February 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment
When I was watching an interview of Apolo Ohno during the Olympics this week, he was describing one of his gold medal performances. It was the 500m in Torino which he dubbed “The Perfect Race“. He said that as he went into the final lap everything got absolutely silent and went into slow motion. All he could hear was the crunch of the ice as his skates pressed down on each stroke and the wind of the air as he flew down the ice. Visually, everything became amazingly vivid and clear as he glided down that final stretch to capture the gold.
I thought to myself, “That’s mindfulness!! He’s describing mindfulness in action!” I’ve had this quote taped to my computer monitor or on my bulletin board for years and revert back to it when I start to feel frustrated, burned out or fed up. I know that I have mastered mindfulness when it comes to deescalating and understanding behavior problems in children. It is an amazing feeling to zone in on a child and zone out on all the chaos that surrounds the majority of situations I encounter.
How does one master mindfulness? I’m not entirely sure, but I think it definitely takes experience as well as a strong mind to maintain deep concentration and intense focus. For me when it happens, it feels as though you are on auto-pilot and nothing has the strength to interfere with the task at hand. In the midst of everything, there is no doubt in my mind that I will achieve my goal. I wonder how Apolo would answer that question.