Education — 5 Minutes for Special Needs — Page 2


Too Much to Ask?

I had a meeting today with various members of our support team at school. I was trying to understand more about what is going on with the child’s writing, and basically learned nothing. “She’s doing fine. Yes, we acknowledge the struggle that writing, and indeed any expression of language is for her, but she’s meeting benchmarks, or close enough, so…”

So basically she hasn’t fallen far enough behind to warrant further…whatever the next step would be. We have to wait until she’s flailing. Flailing is bad for this child…(well for any child, but this one tends to respond with physical aggression)…Why is this so hard to understand and avoid?

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Bite-Sized Homework

We’ve had our ups and downs with homework this year. Most weeks the child’s homework is a sweet routine of math drills and spelling practice. Since she thrives on routine more than even she would care to admit, this has been overall very good. Most days she can do her homework with minimal mom input, which is a good thing. The challenge then becomes some of the more extraordinary projects that come in and dislodge the routine.

Every five weeks they do a review spelling week, so instead of practicing spelling words we do a writing assignment. Usually they are short and seemingly simple: tell a funny story, explain how you drew something, write a letter…Working through these writing assignments put our “new” challenges into clear perspective.

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A few years ago, I fell in love with Signing Time. Jack was struggling to do much more than scream and I was increasingly frustrated. In a last ditch effort, I bought some DVDs and prayed that he would communicate with me. Slowly, he began to sign (things like more and done) and I felt like maybe I could communicate with him.

That’s when I decided that I was going to stalk Rachel Coleman (co-Founder and general all-around awesome human being). I followed her on Twitter and began to join the weekly Signing Time chat (sadly, they’re no longer doing it–because it was SUPER fun!).

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I Brake for School Bells

It all started last week, and probably has some bearing on why I didn’t manage to post anything last week…just couldn’t make it happen. Somehow I had the mistaken impression that the child would be happy to return to school. We had a pretty good break (stomach flus aside) and she had asked when she would get to go to school again. GET to go. I thought that was a good sign. Uh…no.

Maybe she was just tired and still recuperating from catching her sister’s tummy bug (which extended her winter break by one day). Maybe her increasing academic struggles make her less excited to go.

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Special Needs Learning Resources from PCI Education

As parents, we spend years focused on our child’s education. We want to know what they’re learning, how they are progressing, how it will all fit into their future endeavors, not only with later grade levels but with life. We want to do the best we can to help them succeed.

Which is why when a child has learning challenges, whether because of special needs, developmental disabilities, or other struggles with comprehension and retention, parents often look to professional resources for help.

PCI Education is one such resource.

PCI Education Your Special Education Partner

Billing themselves as “Your Special Education Partner,” PCI Education has been offering top-quality education products and services for more than 20 years.

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Christmas Chaos and Peer Advocacy

Family is visiting from out of town, it is the end of the fiscal year (lots of bookkeeping to do for clients), and to top it all off little girl is sick with some strange stomach bug that evidently is contagious since one of the cousins caught it, too. As I type I am also making lunch for the healthy ones and monitoring the sick ones and trying to keep the child on track routine-wise and social skill-wise. Not much time to write, in other words…

So for this week I’ll just share something that I wanted to share here anyway.

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Treading Two Paths

I was so hoping this year to focus on building social scaffolding for the child at school. I’m dreaming of setting up a circle of friends who will know, understand, and advocate on her behalf as her differences become more apparent to her peers. I am just beginning the process of working out what that might look like, but there’s a distraction looming.

It’s becoming more clear that in addition to her oral language challenges, my daughter also struggles to express her thoughts in written form. In second grade the writing assignments have ramped up, both in school and out. She often cannot complete the same amount of work as her peers, and there are some pretty clear signs of dysgraphia.

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Special Needs Toy Guide

I have been working on a toy guide for special needs kids for some time. I pitched the idea to and they were just as excited as I was about it. Basically, how this guide differs from others out there, is it is compiled 100% by a mom of a special needs kid. My son has been in therapy since he was 14 months old for a host of reasons. I was tired of spending hundreds of dollars on therapy tools when I could achieve the same goals with toys we already had on hand. I will be adding to this guide as time goes on and I find other great everyday items that can help in our multiple therapies.

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Post-IEP Discussion..

Wednesday was Jack’s IEP.

Let me give you a little back story here. Jack’s “teacher” is a special education professional, who routinely wears fake hair and loud (loud isn’t the best adjective, but that’s all I can come up with) jumpers/sweaters. We refer to her as The General, because, quite frankly, that’s how she acts. Things go her way or no way. So, you know about how well that works with special needs kids, right?


Anyway, The General had a death in her family and couldn’t make the IEP, so she sent her underling. Sitting in my living room, we had the SLP, the Underling, and us.

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Picture Exchange Communication System Hi-tech vs. Low-tech

I originally posted this on my own blog six months ago. I’ve gotten such a great response online and have had people asking me about our low-tech PECS so often that I thought I would post here as well.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is something we’ve been working on with Chewy. Since he’s non-verbal and has motor coordination issues, he cannot sign properly. He has plenty of signs that he uses, over 40 in fact, but they aren’t all the standard ASL or baby signing type signs. He often ends up making up his own due to his dyspraxia.
There are many options, both Hi-Tech and Low.

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