In previous posts, we have talked about what classroom integration is, examples of classroom integration, collaborative consultation, and natural environments. In part 5 of this discussion on school-based practice, we take on another factor that influences successful classroom integration of related services: parent perception. Parents are experts on their own children, and are key members of the IEP team. As such, it is very important that the relationships between therapists and families are mutually trusting and respectful. Maintaining open communication is a way to form and maintain a relationship with parents.
Preschool Classroom Processes as Predictors of Children's Cognitive Self-Regulation Skills Development An article to be published in School Psychology Quarterly describes the findings of a large study of preschool classroom in the US Southeast. The researchers found that preschool classroom environments had an impact on the development of executive functioning. More specifically, they found that positive interactions in the classroom supported the development of self-regulation skills. The researchers discuss the need for more preventative classroom management, rather than using "behavior disapproval" to correct young children. The Influence of Childhood Aerobic Fitness on Learning and Memory
As we return to school, everyone starts feeling the stress. Students, parents, teachers, and therapists, all experience the seemingly abrupt transition from summer fun to the classroom. But there are ways to manage the stress and ease the back to school pains!
Welcome to the third part of our discussion on classroom integration - check out part 1 and part 2, where we talked about the different models of integrating therapy services into the classroom, and the factors that can support more integrated services. Now that we have talked about the factors supporting integration of related services into the classroom - how do we engineer these factors into our environment?
1. Camera and pictures as positive reinforcement. Kids love pictures - looking at them, taking them, being in them. Photographs of pets and children can be an ice breaker with a new student. You can reward a great job by letting the child take a picture of his work, and allowing the child to bring pictures from home to show the therapist can be especially rewarding - which bring us to number 2! 2. Photos as a conversation starter. Portable, interesting, and universal, bringing in a few photos of family and pets can be a great starting point for a speech group activity! Having a "show and tell" provides an opportunity to practice social skills as well as language use! Turn taking, adding details, and pronoun use are just a few ways a photo can get our students talking! On his blog, speech-language pathologist Erik Raj recently posted an entry in his blog titled "Using Your Cell Phone Photos as Speech Therapy Story Starters", check it out for more ideas! 3. Photos as data collection. Because digital cameras are so easily accessible, including cell phone cameras, it is both inexpensive and convenient to take photographs of student work. This can be a way to be greener, and use less paper. Use a dry erase board for writing practice, snap a quick picture, and erase! Photos can record writing samples that may be completed during a push-in classroom session, when student work may be handed in to a teacher. Also, taking a picture can support a school-based therapist's memory when a prized piece of artwork is brought home before the note is written!
Breakthrough Study Reveals Biological Basis for Sensory Processing Disorders in Kids Researchers at USCF have completed an important study about the biological characteristics of Sensory Processing Disorder. They matched boys…
The Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland has recently begun offering a new resource to families with children on the Autism spectrum. They are currently offering free developmental screenings for…
Salk scientists discover previously unknown requirement for brain development Salk researchers are publishing an article this month in Science magazine. Their experiment on mice found that when the thalamus is disconnected from the cortex of the brain during development visual processing was affected. The thalamus is a centrally located area of the brain primarily involved with connecting other areas of the brain involved with sensory processing and movement. It also controls sleep and levels of consciousness. When this area was separated from the cerebral cortex at birth in the mutated mice, differentiation between higher and lower level visual processing areas did not occur. This resulted in deficits in visual perception and other higher level visual tasks. This is new information, as it was previously thought that this differentiation was determined solely through genetics and predisposed to occur. Researcher Dennis O'Leary and his team are planning to continue researching areas of the brain related to autism and other developmental disorders.
Nearly One-Third of Children with Autism Also Have ADHD A new study from Kennedy Krieger Institute researchers found that a significant number of children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder also have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. They found that 31% of children with an ASD also had significant symptoms for ADHD. This is especially relevant because the new Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM-5) has revised the diagnostic criteria for these conditions, and a dual-diagnosis is now permitted. The researchers also found that the children with this dual-diagnosis tended to have more negative outcomes in regards to cognition, social participation, and activities of daily living, as well as more severe symptoms of ASD.