Tag Archives: educational

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I’m very close to completing a significant year of my doctoral training to become a qualified educational psychologist. It is a tough and long journey, but it is worth every sacrifice. I am continually learning ways to enable pupils, parents and teachers to make their situations better.

I enjoy the challenge of this journey. I feel prepared as long as I have my coffee!:D

In response to today’s Daily Prompt: Journey

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I still have my towel

Today’s Daily Prompt: When was the last time you were ready to throw in the proverbial towel? Did you end up letting go, or decided to fight on anyway?

In the grand scheme of things, I still have my towel. About 9 years ago, I decided that I want to become an Educational Psychologist to help pupils with special educational needs and disabilities, and their families. Now, I am in the middle of my doctoral training to become one. It was not easy to get onto the course – it took me two attempts. Prior to that, I had to complete a 3-year undergraduate course, a 1-year Master’s course and work with children and your adults for a total of 8 years.

I found the journey rough, tough and challenging. There were times when I was ready to quit. After my first attempt at applying for the doctorate, I was so broken-hearted that I thought about changing my career path. But I was surrounded by children and young people who inspired me to go further. Through them, I saw strength that I have never seen before or since. They knew things were difficult, but they kept on going.

Now that I am in the middle of my training, I always wake up looking forward to the challenges ahead. I love Mondays! I love trying to find out the best possible way of helping each child, teacher and/or parent that I meet.

I am pleased that I carried on, thanks to my students, family and friends. I carry my proverbial towel with me – not because I plan on throwing it anytime soon, but to show people that anything’s possible but you have to work for it!

Voice Work: My Students

Today’s Prompt: Your blog is about to be recorded into an audiobook. If you could choose anyone — from your grandma to Samuel L. Jackson — to narrate your posts, who would it be?

My answer to this prompt is a no-brainer – I would chose my students (past ad present) to narrate my blog. After all, they are the inspiration for most of what I have done, let alone wrote, since the conception of this blog. I also have a feeling that they may add a little bit more to some of my posts, which would make listening to them more fun.

Stephen Conti: ADHD as a Difference in Cognition

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has been known to be characterised by an ‘inability to focus or concerntrate’, ‘restlessness’, ‘constant fidgeting’, and short attention span’. It has been found that between 2-5% of the population have ADHD, and to date, there is no known cure for it (although medications such as Ritalin are prescribed to suppress sympotms).

In the video below, Stephen Conti argues that people should change how they view ADHD. Instead of seeing it as a deficit in attention and activity, Conti proposes that ADHD is a difference in cognition. For instance, people with ADHD can hyper-focus on things that excite them. Stephen alludes to the fact that kids and adults with ADHD should be allowed to flourish, instead of giving them drugs just to keep them quiet.

Recent research offers hope for parents of Non-Verbal Children With Autism

A research conducted by Ericka Wodka et al. (2013) challenged the previously held belief that inidividuals on the Autism Spectrum who have not developed spoken language by age 4 will not be able to do so at all in the future. The research included 535 children aged 8-17, with a diagnosis of ASD and have severe language delays at age 4. At age 4, the participants’ language delays ranged from not speaking at all to speaking a few phrases.

The results showed that most of the participants were able to acquire spoken language after the age of four. In fact, 70% of the participants were able to speak in meaningful phrases while 47% attained fluent speech. One should note that the study also found that the ability to aqcuire speech is positively correlated to non-verbal I.Q. and social skills. In other words, the higher one’s non-verbal I.Q. is, and the higher their social skills are, the more likely they will be to achieve fluent speech.

This indeed is a great finding since it shows individuals with ASD, their parents and practitioners that language development does not stop when they reach four years of age. Guided by the data from this study, professionals should focus their interventions on improving children with ASD’s social and non-verbal cognitive skills.

SEE ALSO:

AUTISTIC PEOPLE SHOULD… 

Useful Tips for Teachers Meeting STudents with Autism for the First Time

Being Proud of Having Autism

What Would You Do If You Witness An Autistic Person Being Insulted?

Never EVER say these things to people iwth Autism!

He flaps his hands and screams a lot but he doesn’t mean to annoy you

Optimum Outcomes for people with Autism

DSM 5 and its implications to ASD diagnosis

Diagnosing Autism: What you need to know

Vote for Miss Montana 2012, Alexis Wineman

What does Autism mean?

What is PDD-NOS?

Communication difficulties in Autism

Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper: Asperger’s Syndrome’s Poster Boy?

Still unsure if Sheldon has Asperger’s?

DSM-V and Autism

The Autistic Me: BBC Documentary

Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of minds

Autism in the classroom:

Guide to parents of students with ASD on coping with the first day back to school

Common signs of Autism in the classroom

First day back to school: Top tips for parents of children with Autism

Practical tips to make your classroom Autism-Friendly

Inspiring People with Autism:

Dr. Temple Grandin

Jessica-Jane Applegate (British Paralympian)

Satoshi Tajiri (Pokemon creator)

Carly Fleischmann

More on Savants:

Simon Baron-Cohen on Daniel Tammet

The Psychology of Savants: Memory Masters

Artists with Autism

The Einstein Effect: Is there a link between having Autism and being a genius?

Does my student have Autism? Common signs to keep an eye on

Autism is a spectrum of conditions which affect different areas of people’s lives. Since its manifestation is very different from one person to the next, it is very difficult to tell whether a child has it or not, especially in the classroom. Students who have Autism but is not diagnosed are often labelled as ‘stupid’, ‘lazy’, or ‘odd’, amongst other things, which could lead to many different negative consequences such as bullying, and/ or depression. Therefore, it is important for teachers and teaching assistants to know what signs to look out for in order to determine whether a child needs to be referred to professionals to be assessed and diagnosed.

Below are a few common characteristics which majority of students with Autism present.Having worked with people of various ages (3-16 y/o) who have been diagnosed with Autism for a long time, I have noticed that they display some common behavioural patterns (AGAIN, REMEMBER THAT AUTISM IS A SPECTRUM OF CONDITIONS). I must warn you that this list is only a guideline and not an official diagnostic criteria. PLEASE NOTE that it is easy to go down the road of ‘home-based diagnosis’ and that teachers must remember not to do so.It is also important to remember that Autism manifests in different ways, therefore the magnitude of each characteristic, and the combination of characteristics WILL vary from one person to another. Students who exhibit these characteristics should be referred to the school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (or equivalent). I always tell my colleagues at work that it is better to flag up a student as possibly having Autism (or another Special Need) and be proven wrong, than to ignore the signs and risk not getting the right help and interventions for the student.

Here is the list of characteristics/ behaviours:

  1. Makes very little or no eye-contact. Some children may give eye contact but would only look at you from the corner of their eyes.
  2. Can only understand questions (even simple ones such as what the weather is), when phrased in a specific way. If certain words or if the sentence structure is changed, despite the meaning staying the same, they will appear clueless  and may not give any response.
  3. Has difficulties imagining a situation or ‘putting themselves in other people’s shoes’.
  4. Takes spoken language literally and has a very limited understanding (if at all) of metaphors. If told ‘would you like to come and sit on the carpet?’ because it is carpet time, a students with Autism may respond with ‘No’.
  5. Instead of talking to people, they talk AT them. Conversations are led by them all the time, and the topics only revolve around the things that they like. They may lose interest  (or ignore you) if you speak about something that they do not find interesting.
  6. Finds it difficult to read facial expressions and emotions. 
  7. Displays inappropriate emotions. May laugh even if someone’s crying. May ignore someone’s cry for help.
  8. Does not obey your instructions unless their name is mentioned or unless you are talking to them face-to-face.
  9. Gets upset when routines change, e.g. when a lesson is cancelled, when a substitute teacher is taking the lesson or when moved seats.
  10. Repeats phrases they have heard, even inappropriate ones.
  11. Has little or no interest in seeking out other children to play with or interact with.
  12. Play with toys in an unusual way, e.g. instead of rolling cars to pretend they are real cars, students with Autism may line them up.
  13. May be overly fascinated by patterns or strong visual stimuli, e.g. brightly coloured poster on the corner of your classroom wall.
  14. Can be overly active or much less physically active than their same-age peers.
  15. Develpmental milestones may be achieved in a pattern that is not the same as everyone else– can be noticed when placing them on Profile Points level (England, UK).

 

More on Autism:

Vote for Miss Montana, Alexis Wineman

What does Autism mean?

Communication difficulties in Autism

Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper: Asperger’s Syndrome’s Poster Boy?

Guide to parents of students with ASD on coping with the first day back to school

Inspiring People with Autism:

Dr. Temple Grandin

Jessica-Jane Applegate (British Paralympian)

Satoshi Tajiri (Pokemon creator)

Carly Fleischmann

More on Savants:

The Psychology of Savants: Memory Masters

Artists with Autism

The Einstein Effect: Is there a link between having Autism and being a genius?

How Social Networking Sites helped a girl with Autism ‘come out of her shell’: Carly Fleischmann’s story

Carly Fleischmann is a young woman with Autism and is unable to communicate verbally. When introduced to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter however, Carly began to develop more friendships, communicate with more people and feel more like she is a part of society (her own words- watch the video below).

More and more people with conditions that limit their ability to communicate face to face are turning into Social Networks and online blogs. On the internet, very few social skills are needed. For instance, we do not need to look people in the eye or read their facial expressions- two of the social skills which are most commonly lacking in people with Autism. In Carly’s case, social interactions are further limited by her inability to speak. Through the medium of the internet however, all of these barriers are eliminated. Now, she is actively blogging and in the process, helping people become aware of Autism and thus inspiring others who have the same situation as she was.

For more information about Carly Fleischmann, click these links:

Carly’s Voice

Carly’s Facebook page

Carly’s Twitter page

 

More on Autism:

Vote for Miss Montana, Alexis Wineman

What does Autism mean?

Communication difficulties in Autism

Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper: Asperger’s Syndrome’s Poster Boy?

Guide to parents of students with ASD on coping with the first day back to school

Inspiring People with Autism:

Dr. Temple Grandin

Jessica-Jane Applegate (British Paralympian)

Satoshi Tajiri (Pokemon creator)