Lámh Sign For Please

Sign Of The Week: Lámh Sign For Please

Sign Of The Week: Lámh Sign For Please

Hi there,

Welcome to the sign of the week.

One of the signs that parents and teachers often ask me for is the sign for PLEASE.
So, I thought you would like to try it too!

While it is important for all children to learn manners and words associated with politeness, children with language delays might need more time to understand and learn how and when to use these words.

So, when is the best time to introduce social words to children with language delay?

It is best to wait until a child can communicate their needs and wants, make choices, and use basic language to interact with others (using words, signs or pictures).

Words such as please and thank you are associated with politeness, but those words don´t carry helpful and essential information to the child. It is crucial to focus on pragmatic language first before considering introducing words like please and thank you.

However, once the child can communicate basic needs and wants, they might be ready to learn social words such as PLEASE.

So, we´ll practice lots of politeness in the classroom, as the sign of the week is PLEASE.

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Lámh Sign For Please

Lámh Sign For Please

Sign of The Week – PLEASE
One of the signs that parents and teachers often ask me for is the sign for PLEASE. So, I thought you may like to try it too! It is important to focus on pragmatic language first before we consider introducing words like please and thank you…

read more

Subscribe to my newsletter and learn a new sign every week, read one of my articles or watch my video blogs where I answer questions I receive from primary school teachers, special needs assistants, and early years educators of children with autism.

Restricted Interests In Children With Autism

Restricted Interests In Children With Autism

Having restricted interest is a common characteristic of autism. Children with autism tend to focus in depth on an issue or activity and have difficulties shifting their attention from the area of interest to something else.

This is often a problem in primary education, as in primary education, we aim to introduce children to a wide variety of subjects. Many students with autism would prefer to study in depth specific topics rather than focus on a wide variety of subjects they have little interest in.

However, we know that many autistic adults have transformed those so-called “restricted interests” into their professional careers. So, should we continue to force autistic students to study the broad curriculum and ignore their passions?

Knowing our student’s interest can be a powerful tool for us teachers. Including their interests in the general curriculum can help them gain interests in certain subjects. For example, if a student is very interested in trains, how could we incorporate it into maths or English classes? Can we use train activities to help them interact with their peers?

My son Sebastian loves music and, before covid, he joined the school choir. It was so wonderful to see my son (who had just started joining his mainstream class on a more regular basis) being able to join the choir without any additional support. Using his interest (music) for inclusion worked so well for him. He met other children, same age kids, because of their shared interest in music.

I have also observed many times when working with my students that when we incorporate children’s interest (the so-called “restricted interests”) in their learning, we often see them becoming more motivated and needing less support doing school work.

When looking at children with autism, rather than seeing their “restricted interests” as a deficit and something that needs to be corrected, I invite you to look at this from a different angle.

Discover your student’s interest. They may be interested in flicking pages of a book, Pokemon, the Titanic, or computers. Now find a way to incorporating these into their school routine.

Use that interest as a starting point for learning about other things. Maybe they can write about it, draw a picture, learn history, geography, or perhaps you can use them to help them feel more comfortable and at ease in the classroom.

What are your student’s interests? Have you tried to incorporate their favourite topics in the classroom? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to know.

Silvia.

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How to organise preschool work for children with autism

How to organise preschool work for children with autism

Children with autism benefit greatly from learning in a structured environment. Order and routine will be your best allies when teaching children with additional needs.

Most preschools have a set daily schedule and have well-organised equipment for children, particularly Montessori preschools. Other preschools are more free play orientated, having a more flexible routine and environment where the learning is more child-led.

Regardless of which approach you use in your classroom, consider revising how you organise work for your student with ASD, as adding some more structure.

These strategies will help your students engage with the work and complete their work independently.

  1. Reduce physical clutter and visual clutter. Consider putting toys away and rotating toys every few weeks. This reduction in physical clutter will allow children to see the toys available, plus they might be happy to see new toys every few weeks. Having too many toys can easily distract children, particularly children that might have difficulties remaining on task.
  2. Organise equipment in trays or boxes so the child has all the materials needed for the task in hand when he gets the tray/box. If possible, label with pictures the trays and containers to help the child learn the name of the task or toys included, i.e. threading, pegs, cars, pouring, scooping, puzzle, etc. If your student is using PECS, make sure the pictures or symbols you use to label the work are the same as the ones available on his/her PECS book.
  3. If your student has difficulties remaining focused on a task, consider simplifying the tasks. Remove some of the work so that the child can finish the job quickly and successfully. For example, pegboards are normally presented with a bowl with many pegs. Remove some of the pegs; you might leave just a small amount so the child can finish the task easily. This will give the child a sense of achievement. You can add more pegs week after week as the child makes progress with this task.
  4. Consider having a quieter table for children who find it difficult to concentrate when working near other children. Find a quiet corner in the classroom, separated from distractions, if possible. Make sure you have space for 2-3 children at that table, as this will allow the child to do work with another child or a small group. Avoid isolating the child with the teacher or classroom assistant. We want to give the child the opportunity to work in a quieter place, but in the company of some peers.
  5. Consider having a mini schedule for work time. Some children work well just picking up work from shelves. Some others might benefit from a mini schedule. This way, they know what work needs to be done and how much work they have to do. You can also consider a choice board, where you give some work choices, but the child chooses what task he/she wants to do next.

I hope these ideas for organising preschool work for children with ASD help you working with your students. 

Are any of these ideas new to you? 

Which one would you like to try with your child?

Let me know in the comments below.

Silvia.

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Lámh Sign For Mother

Sign Of The Week: Lámh Sign For Mother

Sign Of The Week: Lámh Sign For Mother

Hi there,

Welcome to the sign of the week.

As mother’s day approaches, we are looking for new ideas for arts and crafts and poems that children can do in the classroom this week and bring them home on mother’s day.

This week, I will teach you the MOTHER sign to use when you do activities preparing for this lovely day.

I will also be sharing other sighs such as sister, cousin, aunt, grandmother, and friend on my social media channels. They often have mothering roles in our life, and it’s important also to honour and celebrate these wonderful ladies in our life.

So, the sign of the week, starting on Monday the 8th of March, is MOTHER.

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Lámh Sign For Please

Lámh Sign For Please

Sign of The Week – PLEASE
One of the signs that parents and teachers often ask me for is the sign for PLEASE. So, I thought you may like to try it too! It is important to focus on pragmatic language first before we consider introducing words like please and thank you…

read more

Subscribe to my newsletter and learn a new sign every week, read one of my articles or watch my video blogs where I answer questions I receive from primary school teachers, special needs assistants, and early years educators of children with autism.

Planning for your child’s future (An interview with Alan Cuthbert from Financial Wellbeing)

Planning for your child’s future (An interview with Alan Cuthbert from Financial Wellbeing)

Planning for your child’s future (An interview with Alan Cuthbert from Financial Wellbeing)

Hi there,

What is the biggest worry of parents of children with special needs?

It’s well known that all parents worry about their child’s future.
However, for parents of children with special needs, this is the biggest concern.
Silently, families question, “what will happen to my child when I am gone?
My husband and I had the same worries and the same fears, and of course, we still do. But a few years ago, we found somebody who helped us plan for Sebastian’s future and lessened these fears.

Three years ago, I attended a free seminar organised by Financial Wellbeing. In that seminar, I learned about benefits for my child that I didn’t know I could avail of, and I received a clear road map on how to protect our son’s future. I learned about everything we needed to know and put in place, from writing a letter of wishes to setting up a trust fund.

Many families, particularly those not linked to public services yet, are not aware of the type of benefits they are entitled to, benefits that could help cover medical costs, private intervention or allow one of the parents to reduce their working hours.

Furthermore, many families are not sure how to protect their child’s future and often get ill advice that doesn’t have the special needs’ child interest at heart.

I know how hard it is for families to gather information and the right advice to benefit and secure their child’s future. For this, I invited Allan Cuthbert to this week’s video. Allan is one of the three amazing people in Financial Wellbeing that three years ago helped my husband, and I plan for Sebastian’s future.

In this video, Alan and I discussed some of the essential pieces of information that families should have:

• What are the essential benefits all parents of children with disabilities need to apply for.
• Why having a special needs bank account is crucial if you are saving money for your child.
• Why people with disabilities are at higher risk of experiencing poverty.
• Why parents should include a child with special needs in their will.
• How a trust fund can allow for a better future for your child.

If you are a teacher or SNA, please consider sharing this information with the families you are working with, as they might benefit enormously from this information.

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Subscribe to my newsletter and learn a new sign every week, read one of my articles or watch my video blogs where I answer questions I receive from primary school teachers, special needs assistants, and early years educators of children with autism.