Archive for December, 2009

The Medici Effect

December 23, 2009

I sell used books.  One of them attracted my attention because of an unusually realistic-looking bug on the cover.  I thought I’d use it as a prop for one of the kids I work with who has autism.  I would pretend that the bug was biting me and then pretend to step on it.  Joking with kids with autism, especially that slapstick kind of humor, has many benefits including enabling them to learn through imaginative play as well as to think abstractly instead of literally.  Plus it’s fun.

Anyway, I decided to read the book. Turns out Franz Johansson was preaching to the choir.  I wrote some related ideas in September (2009/08/22/the-age-of-specialization/).  My thoughts then were that the world had become too specialized – that people stay in their comfort zones and don’t venture out, but that there are a lot of gains to be made from branching out.  Though most people specialize in a narrow topic, the world is also interconnected more than ever.

The Medici Effect got its name from the Medici banking family in 15th century Florence, Italy.  The Medicis funded creativity from a wide variety of occupations.  There was an unusual amount of creativity – sculptors, scientists, poets, philosophers, financiers, painters, and architects.  They broke down barriers between disciplines and cultures and learned from each other.  This became known as the Renaissance.  The idea is that intersections of different disciplines or ideas come together to create new methods of doing things.

Brainstorming can yield great results if an atmosphere of openness is encouraged.  I’d rather have one great idea and five bad ones than no ideas at all.  Too often, people say, “No, we can’t do that,” without even thinking about it, not realizing that one idea might lead to another, or that having ideas that don’t work are necessary in order to have ideas that work.  People pass judgment on ideas too quickly.  I’ve even attended meetings in which the leader is more concerned with keeping power than fostering innovative ideas.

It’s important to have a culture in which creative ideas are accepted.  If you are afraid to bring them up, you will continue to get the same results you’ve always gotten.  People are often afraid of change to the point where they would rather continue what they are doing though it might be largely ineffective, than to try something new and risk a loss but gain the potential for something great.

When jobs become too specialized, people are afraid of trying something new because consistency and conformity are rewarded, but they also lead to complacency.  Instead, shaking your mind free from pre-conceived notions leads to great gains.  Unique insights can be gained when people perform different occupations and exchange ideas.

I’ve always bristled at the notion that a person is what they do.  Ten years ago I wore a tie to work every day.  Now I not only always wear sweatpants and sweatshirts, but I usually wear the same ones every day.  People look at my resume and say, “Oh, you’re an IT (Information Technology) person.”  I was anything but that.  You could have taken a dart and thrown it at any one of 20 topics, and I could have written about any of them, most of them probably better than I did about IT, though I was still the best at what I did, and could walk into any institute at NIH tomorrow, blindfolded, having had a few beers, and with no training on the topic write better than anyone else there.  If I had written about animals, I guess they would have said, “You’re an animal person.”  The ability to change careers is a good thing, not a bad thing.  I guess some people have such tunnel vision that they see themselves doing only one thing so that’s the way they perceive others as well.

Ironically, a network of like-minded people can create obstacles because they all think the same.  Creativity lies in taking risks.  Comfort and security are tempting but become boring.  Challenge yourself and don’t take the easy way out.  Be open to new ideas, even if they seem to be unconventional at first.

I like the brainstorming philosophy but I’ve been burned by trying it in an overly conservative atmosphere.  Once I was working at a school for disabled children.  I thought I could use my 10 years of experience by having a little bit of freedom to try new ideas – by adding some spontaneity to the structure.  The principal wanted a “drill sergeant,” though, which I believe doesn’t always work for children with autism.  Anyway, I had a solution that would have resulted in the kids learning more than they otherwise would have, the principal would’ve been happy, and the parent of a child trying to get into the school would’ve been happy because her child would have gotten a much better education than he otherwise would have by having a certain one on one instructor.  The idea was too out of the box, though, so everybody gets what they had before instead of the potential for spectacular results.

Do not be afraid of change.  Embrace unpredictability.

Progress of Children with Autism

December 23, 2009

How much can children with autism learn?  It’s a question I get a lot, as a person who provides therapy to kids with autism to improve their academic, social, and athletic skills.  The answer is that all children with autism can learn.  Some make amazing progress; for others the progress is much slower.

I’m listing below a couple of examples of students who have made excellent progress in all areas.  They are an eight-year old boy and a seven-year old boy I worked with who both made amazing progress in a short period of time.  (The greatest example of improvement that I am aware of is a teenage boy who I have been working with for five years.  I’m going to compile a before and after list of skills and behaviors.  This kind of progress is truly inspiring for parents who have young children who are worried about what the future holds).

It’s always the child himself or herself who deserves the most credit for learning.  The parents, of course, also play a huge role.  Other than that, it’s a team effort, with teachers and home therapists making contributions to the child’s success.

Experience has shown that children learn best when subjects are integrated, rather than splitting them up into different areas.  I believe that in the future, a typical session will be run like this:  one-third academics and cognitive skills, one-third social skills and functional life skills, and one-third sports, exercise, and motor skills.

Each area builds on the others and makes all learning more effective so that the child can use skills in a natural environment.  Pathways in the brain are developed to work in conjunction with each other, not in separate areas.  Interventions should be meaningful to the child, rather than just memorizing information.  Kids aren’t robots and neither are the people who work with them.  It’s not the number of hours that are spent learning.  It’s how efficient those hours are.

Area Progress for a high functioning 8-year old boy with autism during a 7-month period
Math Improved ability in:

  • place value
  • addition, subtraction and early multiplication
    • addition:  he improved from mastering sums of 9 to sums of 14
    • subtraction:  he improved from mastering 5 –x to 12 – x
    • multiplication:  he improved from nothing to up to mastering 3 x 4
    • Expanded notation
    • Word problems – he was terrible at them at the start, and by June he had mastered several different types.  He learned to draw to find answers to problems.
    • Learned the basics of fractions
    • Addition carrying the one
    • Counting mixed coins
    • Skip counting
    • measuring
English
  • Learned how to do opposites
  • Improved reading comprehension (I had time to work on this with him 20 min. a week.  The other company had 20 hours a week.  He would have made more improvements with me with the same amount of time).
  • Improved on capitalization.
  • Improved on spelling.
Maps Improved ability to find spots on the map.  Learned directions better than before.  Learned most of the states, which he didn’t have before.
Time Improved ability to tell time by counting by 5’s on clock.
Sports
  • The neighborhood kids respect him a lot more now than before because he can play sports a lot better and can handle his emotions better.
  • He had major tantrums at the start but improved a lot.  Showed him how he looks through video, helping him see how others see him.
  • He became very competitive, really wanting to win.  At the start he didn’t care if he won.
  • He learned to play defense where his role was to stop the other team so he became less reliant on needing to score to be happy.
  • He understood the rules much better in soccer, hockey and basketball, than before and he improved in his knowledge of football and baseball though he still has a long way to go.
  • He became interested in local pro sports after reading about them on the web and going to the Freedom game.
  • Learned not to run into the street after the ball.
  • Ice skating – though he can’t glide, the first time he fell 100 times, the most recent time he fell less than 10 times.
  • We did exercises based in yoga, relaxation, and balance to help him focus.
  • Most of the sports we did happened from April through June – we accomplished most of this in three months.
Emotions
  • He learned that mistakes help you learn.
  • He can self-regulate better by taking deep breaths, counting, exercising, or talking about it.  This is a very important skill to have.  One that many kids cannot master.
Strangers
  • He knows he can’t sit in the lap of anyone except his parents.
  • He still has a long way to go but has learned that you can’t say hi to adults who you don’t know.
Pretend and Abstract Play Improved spontaneity, imagination, and creativity by using jokes and pretend stories.  He improved his ability to make up stories and use symbolic play.
Games Improved ability to sit down and play scrabble.  He had a terrible temper at first but now can play an entire game somewhat independently.  Improved spelling through scrabble.  Introduced other games.
Social skills
  • Improved social skills through play dates.
  • Talked about bullying
Overall He had his best session ever on 9/21.  We had a lot of momentum and things were only going to get better.

Area Progress for 7-year old boy with autism with severe developmental delays including language
Overall He has made a lot of progress.  I have only been working regularly with him doing two-hour sessions for 3 months.  Before then we did 1.5 hours sessions sporadically.
Books He is able to sit for 15 minutes at a time reading books with me and is interested in looking at books (colors, foods) by himself.  Before he would not sit still at all.  He can now read different books with help, looking at words instead of just pictures.  Once we read 7 books back to back.
Flashcards Here are words he has mastered from my flashcards or bean bags.  They were not on the Verbal Behavior Team’s list of words he’s mastered (I realize he may have known a few of these before, especially the foods) – desk, table, chair, TV, fridge, wall, door, sink, soap, mirror, stairs; crackers, chips, salsa, nuts, onion, goldfish, beans, taco, broccoli, cheese, carrots; triangle, rectangle, square, oval, circle; three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten; Mom, Dad, his name, his sister’s name; sleepy, (he hasn’t learned sad, mad, happy, or sick, but I’ve made those flashcards because they are very important).

I also reinforced many of the words from the VBA team’s list by having him review flashcards.

Though he can read the words “Mommy,” “Daddy,” etc., he’s having trouble associating them with the pics on the flashcards, showing how important it was to make those flashcards.

Typing He wouldn’t do it at all at the start.  Now he has no problem sitting for 15 min. The work paid off as he knows where the keys are now.  Typing has helped him read his name and understand that the answer to how old he is is 7.  It has helped him learn to read Mommy, Daddy, his sister’s name and his name.  He has taken my finger and guided me to the letters before, showing joint attention, which is crucial to learning. Typing is NOT meant as an alternative method of communication for him, but it will help him spell and read words, then phrases, then sentences, and will ultimately help him speak better because he will understand language more.  Typing is one way to help kids generalize language – to learn words in several different ways rather than just reading sight words.  It also helps with fine motor skills.
Intraverbals In Aug. he mastered saying his name and 7 in response to “What’s your name?” and “How old are you?” but he lost them because of confusion with what VBA program has done.
Soccer He can kick back and forth on the grass. He can dribble the length of the field and then kick it hard into the net.  He can kick it into the goal over and over.  During the last two sessions I had him kicking back and forth with his brother, which is a huge milestone socially.
Basketball He can now shoot from several feet away rather than just dunk.
Trampoline He can play catch while jumping, kick the ball back and forth while on the trampoline, and stop and do imitative exercises, which he could not do before.
Imaginative and Pretend play He has a much stronger interest in stuffed animals now.  At first he had no interest.  Then he would smile and laugh and say “frog” or “bug.”This is very important to learn how to play and think abstractly.
Oral Motor He learned to imitate by using his tongue and lips.  In June he was able to blow bubbles but before he couldn’t.
Handwriting He is getting better at tracing numbers and letters.  Before he couldn’t do it at all.  He can’t do it independently but he in some cases is doing part of it himself.  He shows more interest in it.
Math He is very interested in counting though he loses track/needs help after about 15.  He has started addition.  His attention span has increased during math.
Numbers and shapes He has completely mastered numbers 1-10 and shapes with beanbags.  Determined he may be partly color-blind.
Spelling Spellmaster – He has chosen the right tiles to spell certain words. Using different ways to read is helping generalize (flashcards, books, typing, spellmaster, etc.)
Other He has been very engaged, with lots of two way interaction.  The rapport we have is very important to learning because kids will learn more when they are motivated and having fun.  He shows a lot of joint attention: Joint attention refers to the propensity of a child to engage another’s attention to share enjoyment of objects or events. Children display joint attention skills by initiating bids to others to pay attention to what they are attending to and by following the line of visual regard and point gestures of a social partner (Mundy & Thorp). Thus, children both initiate and respond to joint attention bids.

Joint attention behaviors represent a critical area in typical development. Joint attention skills have been found to be concurrently related to receptive and expressive language skills among typically-developing children. In addition, research indicates that joint attention is important for the development of a host of other, later-emerging, skills, such as more complex expressive language, symbolic play, and theory of mind.

Initiating joint attention, shared engagement, two-way interaction, connecting on an emotional level is how kids learn – this isn’t just from Greenspan but this is well known – this is taught at Johns Hopkins – and the relationship a child has with the therapist is very important to learning.  His words are very emphatic after we do something he enjoys.  He shows a lot of enthusiasm, also helpful to learning.  He has the ability to go with the flow.  These are all elements of RDI that he has shown for the past four months.  We have been doing RDI type games in a natural environment already.  He has not cried significantly with me since 6/21.

Health Insurance Fiasco

December 23, 2009

I’ve had some interesting conversations with my insurance company – Blue Cross Blue Shield’s CareFirst (or should I say CareLast) Maryland Health Insurance Plan.

Here are just a few of the issues:

7-15-08:  I fill out forms to apply for health insurance as my COBRA policy is running out.

8-1-08:  BCBS says I can’t get insurance until they document that they received a proof of residency, but they won’t say whether they received it or not.

8-5-08:  I say I’m worried about an insurance lapse but they say they won’t check whether they received fax and won’t tell me if or how much I owe or who to send the money to.

8-8-08:  They say they’ve received everything and will send me a payment letter.

8-9-08:  I receive a letter saying they need verification of address and certificate of insurance, though I faxed them two weeks earlier.

8-20-08:  I call them and they say they’ve received everything and I should have gotten a payment letter.  The representative says she will call me back today.  I make her promise to call me back but she doesn’t.  I call someone else but get put on hold for a half hour and disconnected.  Then I call again and they say I need proof of residency.  For the fifth time in three weeks, I ask to speak to a supervisor.

8-21-08:  They say I still need proof of residency.  Then I speak to someone else and she says everything is in.  My hospital Financial Coordinator calls them and says the ID number they’ve given me doesn’t exist.  The Financial Coordinator says she has been on the phone with them a long time.

8-22-08:   The social worker at the hospital suggests I go off the transplant waiting list until I get good insurance.

9-3-08:  I call MHIP/BCBS and ask why I should have to pay for August when I didn’t have insurance until the end of August.  They say write an appeal, which could take 30-45 days for the results.

9-4-08:  I ask to speak to a supervisor but am disconnected after 20 minutes.

9-08 to 10/08:  I send in a medical claim.  MHIP/BCBS says they need medical documentation.  I call doctor’s office who says they’ll send it.  I call MHIP/BCBS who says they didn’t get it.  Told doctor’s office to send it.  They said they would.  MHIP/BCBS says they didn’t get it.  Called and emailed doctor’s office saying mail it to the address as well as to me and call MHIP/BCBS.  MHIP/BCBS refused to tell me the fax number and refused to tell me what information was needed (I guess they don’t like dealing with patients).  The MHIP/BCBS automated system keeps hanging up on me.  Two people tell me they had no fax machine and didn’t receive any information.  The next day two different people told me they received a fax on the 14th.

I finally did get reimbursed.

Eastham’s Exxon and Auto Centro: The Best

December 23, 2009

I had a flat tire the other day.  I took my car to Eastham’s Exxon on Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda.  They patched it up and had me on the road again in 10 minutes.  That was great because they could have easily said they had people in front of me but went ahead and did mine fast.  It’s a concept taken straight out of David Allen’s book, “Getting Things Done.”  The idea is that even if you have items on your to do list that are more important than others, if you can get something done quickly even if it’s less important, go for it and get it out of the way.  Anyway, that was good service.  They also could have said I needed a new tire and I wouldn’t have known the difference.

Another great place is Auto Centro in Rockville.  Hidden in an industrial park about a mile behind the Rockville Metro, they always do great quality work.  They have the double check from “Consumer Checkbook” magazine for quality and price. Paulo and the crew will do a great job and even find a car for you to buy if you need one.  I’ve been going there for 15 years.

Sorry I’m Not Fat

December 23, 2009

Sorry I’m not fat.  I’m 6-5, 210.  Everybody thinks that’s too skinny but it’s actually right in line for the correct Body Mass Index (BMI).  Doctors say it’s the perfect weight to be for my height for optimum health.  Of course I’m always trying to gain muscle and lose fat.   But I think that our American culture celebrates people who are overweight.  Since so many people are obese, a person of average weight is perceived to be skinny.  6-5, 210 is normal in Europe.  Here, it’s a little thinner than average simply because there are so many people who carry extra pounds.

I have a couple of theories why we are so fat.  The first is football, our national pasttime.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big NFL fan.  But most NFL players, as well as many other professional athletes, take human growth hormone (HGH) to get bigger. I also think the football stereotype is celebrated.  Look at football coaches like Maryland’s Ralph Friedgen or the N.Y. Jets’ Rex Ryan.  They are very obese but I guess it’s ok for a coach.  You’d never see a hockey, soccer, or basketball coach looking like that.

Another reason for why we are so fat is because our diet is full of sugar, processed food, and fried foods.  So it’s normal to be 80 pounds overweight here.  Luckily people are slowly coming around. It’s not just the consumers’ fault.  Big corporations make the unhealthiest food the cheapest, so that’s what many people are forced to buy.

Jhoon Rhee: “Nobody Bothers Me! Nobody Bothers Me Either!”

December 23, 2009

One of the greatest commercials of all time was the Jhoon Rhee “Nobody Bothers Me” commercial of the late 70s and early 80s. Anybody who grew up in the Washington, DC area during this time probably still has the words memorized.  Nils Lofgren did the song (Nils, of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band fame, also did “Bullets Fever,” another local classic).  The commercial (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7PEMGuA6tw) was one of those commercials that was just played all the time.

Legend has it that the cameraman or producer suggested that Tae Kwan Do Grand Master Jhoon Rhee’s son and daughter do the ending to the commercial, they did, and the rest is history.  I got to meet Jimmy Rhee, Jhoon Rhee’s other son who was not in the commercial earlier this year.  We discussed strategies for kids with autism and ADHD.  Rhee’s website is http://www.smartcoach.us/.  He does coaching based programs for kids with ADD.

Back to the commercial – there was just something about it.  It was great but it was also cheesy.  It was definitely a part of the history of Washingon, D.C. 30 years ago.

When you take Jhoon Rhee self-defense, then you too can say

“Nobody bothers me.  Nobody bothers me.”

Call USA-1000.  Jhoon Rhee means might for right!

“Nobody bothers me.”

“Nobody bothers me either!”

Helping Kids (Autistic or Typical) Regulate Emotions

December 21, 2009

Here are some strategies that are good to teach children to handle their emotions.  These can work for kids with autism, who have a hard time regulating emotions, as well as for neurotypical children.

1.  Validate their feelings.  Don’t diminish what they say by saying they should not be upset.  Tell them you understand they are upset and that it’s normal to be upset.  Identify with them by saying that everybody feels badly sometimes – even adults.

2.  Give them strategies to self-regulate their emotions.  Examples include having them:

  • Take deep breaths.  Have them breathe into their hands or use a windmill or a leaf.
  • Count to 10 or 20.
  • Talk about it with a parent, teacher, or peer.
  • Exercise

3.  Use a video camera to tape them complaining about doing an activity and also tape them acting appropriately.  Show them both versions so they can understand how others perceive them (theory of mind).

By the way, if anyone has any other ideas, feel free to contact me (contact information is at http://www.coachmike.net).

What do you think about Vince Young now, Merril Hoge and ESPN?

December 20, 2009

So Vince Young is now 7-1 this year as a starting QB for the Tennessee Titans.  He replaced Kerry Collins, who was 0-6 as a starter.  Vince Young’s career record as a starter is 25-12.  Oh, by the way, at Texas he won a national championship and was 30-2.  He’s a winner.  Yet after he took over and started winning for the Titans this year, ESPN’s Merril Hoge said that Titans RB Chris Johnson had to do more for his team than any other player in the league.  Well, Johnson was playing when the Titans were 0-6.

A couple of weeks ago Hoge said he was going to “bury the hatchet.” Why the need to bury the hatchet if you didn’t have an axe to grind? Why not just be objective and unbiased?  Why the animosity against Young?  Earlier this year, Ron Jaworski, Trent Dilfer, Tim Hasselbeck, Mark Schlereth, Steve Young and other ESPN commentators talked about how Young was a bad QB and how he could only play outside the pocket.   The disdain they had for him was apparent.  They mocked him.  But eight games is enough of a sample to realize that Young winning isn’t a fluke.

It’s true that Johnson is the best running back in the league, but it’s not as if Young has great receivers.  Nate Washington, Justin Gage, and Kenny Britt aren’t bad, but DBs don’t especially fear them.  Maybe Young has improved his ability to make decisions and work habits. But even before this season he was 18-11.  He’s only in his fourth year, and he hardly played last year.

I think we have to raise the question:  was the media biased against Young because he is black?  Young isn’t the first black quarterback to be mocked by members of the white media.  Michael Vick has a career record of 38-28-1 as a starter, but the criticism about his ability as a QB has been unrelenting.  Take away the dogfighting controversy — that’s a separate issue.  You would think that Vick can’t read a defense by listening to some of the comments about him.  I have a pretty good idea that if a white quarterback was 25-12 or 38-28-1, he’d be getting a lot more praise. The standard is much higher for black quarterbacks.

At the same time, white quarterbacks are allowed to make mistakes. Look at Jay Cutler.  Basically, if you had listened to the media reaction, Cutler was the second coming when he was traded from the Broncos to the Bears. He has a career record of 22-28.  (He did have a winning record in high school, though).  I suggested earlier this year that he be the first player ever to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame while still playing: 2009/11/12/should-jay-cutler-be-immediately-put-in-the-nfl-hall-of-fame/

Interestingly, in that same blog, I talked about the fact that the Cleveland Browns needed to give Joshua Cribbs more playing time including at QB. Cribbs was a QB in college and set all kinds of records at Kent State, but was never given the chance to be a QB in the NFL.  He had two 100-yard kickoff returns for TDs today, and eight for his career — an NFL record.  He also runs for six yards a carry.  He also threw a perfect pass in the end zone that was dropped. I suggested that the Redskins trade for him earlier this year.  Cribbs is clearly one of the 10 best players in the NFL.

Anyway, another possibility of why ESPN hated Young so much was because he had depression earlier in his career.  Hoge and the others may have been discriminating against Young because of this.  They may have equated depression with weakness.  If someone has a concussion you don’t laugh at them for it.

Sorry, Hoge.  Young has won more than twice as many games as he has lost.  But I guess you don’t like winners.

Johns Hopkins University Graduate Certificate in Autism

December 20, 2009

A couple of years ago I completed a Graduate Certificate in Autism and other Pervasive Developmental Disorders at Johns Hopkins University.  The program provides an excellent education in autism from some of the leaders in the field.  The certificate is focused on autism, whereas a Masters in Special Education only has parts of the curriculum devoted to autism.  I believe the Hopkins Graduate Certificate in Autism is an excellent program not only for professionals but would also be a great way for parents of children with autism to keep up with the latest techniques on teaching children on the autism spectrum.

In a blog post earlier this year (2009/08/22/lessons-learned-from-autism-therapy/) I wrote:  “It is tempting for parents to say, ‘I’m busy enough already,’ and hand over the reins to the head of a home program and give them complete power.  However, parents need to periodically check up on the status of the program to see how much progress is being made and to make sure they agree with the strategies and subject matter being covered.”  Parents should be a part of teaching their children so that the kids are constantly learning.

I list below the classes I took along with the course description from the web site at http://education.jhu.edu/specialeducation/certificates/autism/. There are several other classes offered in the program.

SURVEY OF AUTISM AND OTHER PERVASIVE DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS

Providing a comprehensive review of current information about autism and other pervasive developmental disorders, this course draws on research findings and clinical experience from a number of related disciplines, including psychiatry, psychology, neurobiology, and pediatrics. In addition to exploring theories of causation, developmental aspects, descriptive and diagnostic characteristics, and legal and social issues, students are introduced to the primary therapeutic and intervention strategies employed with students who have autism. The theoretical basis of, and empirical evidence for, the diverse traditional and nontraditional therapies that have been proposed for persons with autism are also explored.

APPLIED BEHAVIORAL PROGRAMMING

Students investigate the principles and procedures of the field of applied behavioral analysis. Observational methods, single-subject designs, behavior promotion and reduction, and generalization strategies are reviewed in relation to the needs of students with disabilities. Participants develop individual projects that demonstrate their ability to design, implement, and evaluate behavioral support programs in an ethically responsive manner.

CLASSROOM PROGRAMMING FOR STUDENTS WITH AUTISM

Students examine the design and implementation of effective classroom programs, such as those based on the TEACCH model, for students with autism who differ in age and level of functioning. The course topics include classroom structure and organization, group instruction strategies, educational assessment and IEP development, record keeping, curriculum, instructional activities and materials, parent involvement, and staffing and support services.

TEACHING COMMUNICATION AND SOCIAL SKILLS

This course examines the assessment and instructional strategies that have been shown to be effective in promoting the development of cognitive, language, and social skills by students who have severe disabilities, including those diagnosed with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, or other pervasive developmental disorders. Participants examine the instructional adaptations needed to promote the development of cognitive, communicative, and social skills in students with severe disabilities, and review the relevant empirical literature.

EDUCATION OF STUDENTS WITH SEVERE DISABILITIES: AUGMENTATIVE COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

Students examine the design of augmentative communication systems that include use of graphic symbols for individuals with severe disabilities. Participants design and construct communication aids and develop strategies for integrating augmentative communication into the curriculum.

Photos from Snowstorm in Washington D.C.

December 19, 2009

The Washington, D.C. area got about a foot and a half of snow today. Here are a few pics – one from NW and three from Bethesda, MD.

Barnes and Noble at Bethesda Row

Christmas Tree on Bethesda Lane

Rita's Crepes on Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda

Chesapeake Street, NW


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