High Functioning Autism: Signs and Perspective

High Functioning Autism, HFA, as of 2013 absorbed the label Aspergers. This is the result of the DSM-5 (the test to label it) replacing what it was labeled as. There is talk of another test changing these possibilities in 2017, but that is up in the air. This interesting link was sent to me. It compiles a bunch of different individuals with autism and gives you their insight as to what it feel like to have autism. As we know it is important to think what it feels like to walk in another persons shoes, and hearing it directly from them is the best source. Obviously it is a spectrum and each individual has unique experiences, but there is also something that binds them as a group. By understanding them better, we can be better educators, parents, advocates, therapists, and/or whatever other way in which we relate to one another. It is just part of understanding better how all the the puzzle pieces.

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Here are some signs of High Functioning Autism:

  • Inability to build friendship
  • Social awkwardness
  • Clumsiness
  • Hyper-focus
  • Extremely stuck on their routines
  • Lack of/forced eye contact
  • Lack of Empathy
  • Literal Interpretations
  • Difficulty with fine motor (writing, cutting)
  • Selective Muteness

All of these might not apply to your child or your child might have acquired skills to ‘fake’ some of these. Remember each child on the spectrum is different. Also the link above provides great stories that provide insight to adults with high functioning autism. It seems most are leading full lives, so although autism doesn’t fall in the ‘norm,’ and I do suggest getting your child as much help as possible…there are great possibilities ahead.

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teaching phonics

Learning Disabilities: Learning the Facts

Learning Disabilities cover a wide variety of symptoms, causes, outcomes, and treatments. This can make it difficult to diagnose or to pinpoint the causes. Learning Disabilities can be divided up into three broad categories. These include: developmental speech and language disorders, academic skills disorders, and Other (includes certain coordination disorders and learning handicaps not covered by the other terms). Each one of these categories includes a number of more specific disorders. Since each child with LD, learning disorders, is so different, there futures with the disability are different as well.

Learning disabilities

There are many early warning signs of future learning disabilities. One of which is speech delays. Kids with weaknesses in oral language have difficulty both with understanding what is said to them and with formulating responses. It can lead to further speech problems, like if a child often failing to understand what an adult say, missing important points, and misinterpreting directions. There are early intervention services available for many children, which can help the child to achieve their verbal goals.  Your local Division of Developmental Disabilities can direct you to the appropriate system to get a baby or toddler evaluated.

  • Although it is possible students will out grow this, there has been much research done on the correlation between speech-delayed preschoolers and students with learning disabilities.
  • Early identification is the best way to prevent further disabilities
Learning Disabilities affect many children and adults in our community.
  • Some students may be able to reach there full potential in a total inclusion environment, but many need extra assistance from resource rooms or special education classrooms.  The students needs should be truly considered in order for them to be best prepared for school and eventually for a successful career.  The child’s classroom needs and educational goals should be outlined in their IEP, Individual Education Plan.
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gifted children challenges

Gifted Children: Existential Depression and Other Challenges

Gifted children can face many unique challenges. This interesting article was sent to me on how children who are uniquely gifted are also more challenged because they are so in-tuned with so many things. Existential depression might be more prevalent to them as gifted children are truly great philosophers and thinkers, so it is natural for them to want to link meaning to their lives and search out bigger questions. Unfortunately existential depression itself has not been widely researched and does not have a specific known therapeutic approach that works well for it. It is good to know however that gifted children are more than just brilliant minds. They too face many challenges. Finding friends can be hard from a young age. Often they do not understand their peers because their peers do not keep up with their train of thought. Over-excitability and oversensitivity in general, to their environments are very common in gifted children. When your mind is going so fast and you are receiving so much information from your environment, it is understandable as to why you too would be overwhelmed. These children have a lot to sort out and even more that they want to create. It is hard for them to find the perfect balance. Studies suggest between 1in 50 to 1 in 200 of academically gifted students drop out before completing high school. Now the numbers might be high due to SES or some other outside factor, but the fact remains that brilliant minds are falling through the cracks.

gifted children challenges
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great toddler books

27 Great Picture Books: What to Read with Your Kids

Children’s picture books are a great way to engage kids of all ages into literature. They can teach so much. The illustrations can draw them in, while great text can truly add to it. You can start reading to your children before they are even out of the womb and can continue as long as they let you. Make sure to engage them by asking questions about the pictures and plot. Have the kids make predictions, and check to see that they are not only paying attention but also understand what is happening in the story. Here are some great stories:great series reads

These are all great series style reads

Who doesn’t love Froggy. This Froggy picture book is “Froggy goes to School” by Jonathan London, but the whole series is loved in our house. Mercer Mayer books are also great! This one is “Just Me and My Mom,” but my son loves them all. “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Joffe Numeroff is another classic. It’s repetitive, simplistic nature seems to be a hit with kids everywhere. “”The Night Before Summer Vacation” by Natasha Wig is similar to “The Night Before Christmas.” We also have “The Night Before Valentine’s Day.” They all are a hit and there are many more in the collection of the old school classic. Of course you can never go wrong with Dr. Seuss, and there are so many fantastic one’s to chose from I could of just had a section dedicated to him. I chose “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” but my son might of just went with “Hop on Pop” or one of the other classics.

Stand Alone Great Picture Books

big bad wolf “Big Bad Wolf” by Claire Masurel is the only picture book on here with a silly extra feature of page hole punch outs to see through to the next page. It is all about how people think the wolf is bad and scary, but really he just plays with his own kids. Very cutely written and a nice way to debunk scary monster myths with the kiddos.

picture books This is part of another book, but I just love it on its own. “Edward the Emu” by Sheena Knowles is an adorable rhyming story about an Emu finding appreciation for itself. Eric Carle’s Books could of also gone in the series ones as they are adored classics. This one is “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?” “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin, Jr. is an alphabet loving kids highlight.”The Caterpillar and the Polliwog” by Jack Kent” is a great story about discovering one’s true purpose. “Through the Heart of the Jungle” by Jonathan Emmett has both repetition and discovery as to what could be lurking around the corner of the jungle. “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch is sure to melt anyone’s heart.

picute books school

“I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More” by Karen Beaumont is a silly picture book fully of great opportunities to teach little ones about body parts.


“Wee Sing & Learn ABC” by Pamela Conn Beall and Susan Hagen Nipp is full of alphabet fun. “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown is a story of the ages. “The Little Engine the Could” by Watty Piper is great for anyone in trains. What is not to love. “Eggbert: the Slightly Cracked Egg” by Tom Ross is about an Egg that has to find its purpose in life and finds out the being different isn’t so bad. “Snug as a Bug” by Michael Elsohn Ross is as cute as it sounds. “On Top of Spaghetti” by Paul Brett Johnson is a fun book, especially if you like to read with accents 😉

picute books

“Cars Galore” by Peter Stein is great for your little cars lover. Pete the Cat definitely could have gone in series. He’s a classic series cat that kids are sure to love. “I Love you All Day Long” by Francesca Rusackas is an adorable story that let’s your kids know you love them even when when you are not with them.

picture books

“The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein is a story that lives for generations. “On the Moon” by Stan and Jan Berenstain is great for little explores. “It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny” by Marilyn Sadler explores why maybe life isn’t so bad at home.”Barnyard Dance” by Sandra Boynton is great even for the very littles. “Potty” by Leslie Patricelli was my child’s favorite potty training book. Years later, he still thinks it’s funny.

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peer mediation

Peer Mediation: How It Helps

Peer mediation can help to resolve an issue constructively with others while also being a tool for a preventative measure for anger management. It is used when trained students lead one another through problems to resolutions. Here are some steps for effective peer mediation:

    1. Agree on ground rules
    2. Each individual gets to tell their side/version of the story
    3. Verify stories
    4. Discuss stories
    5. Generate possible solutions
    6. Discuss solutions
    7. Select a solution
    8. Sign a contract

peer mediation

Things to think about if it is working correctly in order to evaluate the process:

  • Are the students working through it?
  • After the meeting, are students staying accountable for their contracts (adult guidance may be needed)
  • After meeting, each party should no longer be discussing issues and matters should be kept private

Peer mediation is a simple process in order to help students help themselves and become more accountable. It is used as a tool in preparing them for adulthood. It is also wisely used at a time when they are more likely to listen to their peers and less interested in what an adult has to say. It is important that they are always supervised however as ultimately they are still children.

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