Children with attention deficit disorder often struggle in school because of their short attention spans. Many quickly decide that they are “dumb” or “stupid” when the simple truth is that their condition is causing them to fail in the traditional school setting, which requires children to focus on one activity for an extended period of time. If you are a parent of a child with ADD or ADHD, you can actually use toys to help improve your child’s attention span and, in turn, performance in school. Here are some ways to use educational toys to improve attention deficit disorder.What Your Child Needs from YouAs you consider toys to use to help improve your child’s attention span, keep in mind that your child needs to be able to focus on one activity or task for about 25 minutes in order to survive the first year of school. This number increases as the child advances through the educational system. If your child is a preschooler, take the time now to help her increase her attention span so that she can succeed in kindergarten. If she is an older student, talk to her teacher to learn what her attention span should be, and work slowly towards that goal.Remember, your child needs to feel as though play time is play time. While you can, and should, reward good attention, you need to avoid making play time into school time. Keep it fun, even as you focus on improving the signs of attention deficit disorder.Use Books to Help with ADDOne of the best educational toys to use with children with ADD is a book. Choose books that are interesting to your child. Even if you do not like a particular book, use it if it appeals to the child with ADD. Even if your child is old enough to read, read aloud to him. Read as long as his attention allows, and then let him move to another activity. Gradually try to increase the amount of time spent reading.Play a Game with Your ChildAnother way to improve ADD with educational toys is to play games with your child. Any game that your child can understand is a great way to improve attention span. Your child will love the play time, as she likely relishes special time with mom and dad. Be sure the games require some thinking or concentration, rather than just allowing the child to move a piece after spinning a wheel or rolling a pair of dice.Pretend with Your ChildBecause pretend play allows them to get up and move while focusing on one thing, it is perfect for children with ADD. Buy educational toys that will encourage your child to pretend. Fake food, doctor’s kits, and dress up clothes are great additions to the ADD child’s toy box. These do not have to be complicated. Simply choose toys that will get his imagination flowing.Puppets are more great toys to use with these kids. Because they allow the child to use his imagination and create crazy scenarios, puppets are very appealing to an ADD child. Also, you can stretch your child’s attention span with puppets, as it takes time and effort to put on a puppet show. Be a good audience and reward and praise the effort!Parenting a child with attention deficit disorder is frustrating at times. The energy level of these children is simply exhausting for most adults. By finding ways to play with your child that require him to focus for longer and longer periods of time, you can help curb the energy a little while still enjoying one on one time with your child. In this way, both of you win, and your child will also benefit from increased performance in school!
Are you the parent of a child with autism or other disability that is considering finding an advocate to help you with your child’s education? Would you like a short list of qualities to avoid when choosing a special education advocate?This article will help you avoid certain negative qualities in a prospective advocate, so that you can help your child receive a free appropriate public education.Quality 1: Stay away from an advocate who has not received formal training in federal and state laws, and case law. Good advocates will have a working knowledge of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (federal law), and your state laws governing special education. Effective advocates do not have to memorize the law, but should know where to find any information that they need. Advocates must also know what due process hearings and court cases have already occurred, so that they can use the information to benefit your child.Quality 2: Stay away from an advocate, who has little to no experience helping parents navigate the special education system. Unfortunately there are people who call themselves advocates, who do not have the experience that they need, to be effective. You do not want the advocate learning at the expense of your child’s education. Try finding an advocate at a disability organization like a Parent Information and Training Center (PTIC).Quality 3: Stay away from an advocate, who guarantees you a certain outcome. While most advocates work hard and do their best, there are no guarantees in special education. You would rather work with an advocate, that has a realistic view of what can be accomplished for your child.Quality 4: Stay away from an angry advocate, who seems to have there own agenda. I have heard of advocates that target certain school districts, due to their own anger. Every person including parents in special education, become angry at some point. But the important thing is that the advocate can continue to be professional, even if the school personnel are not.Quality 5: Stay away from an advocate, that is not willing to challenge special education personnel, when the need arrives. Advocates must be willing to stand up to school personnel, for the good of the child, in an assertively persistent manner. This is the reason why it is so important to understand Federal and State special education law; you have the information you need to effectively stand up for the child.Quality 6: Stay away from an advocate that does not promise you complete confidentiality! Advocates must not share any information that they learn about parents and their children; and unfortunately this does happen on occasion. You want your advocate to keep things you tell them confidential, as well as any strategies that they will be using.Quality 7: Stay away from an advocate, that appears to be a know it all! No advocate including myself knows everything. You need an advocate, who is willing to find out the information that will help your child, if they do not know.Advocacy is an art and involves trying different strategies to help the child receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). By knowing what characteristics to avoid in an advocate, will help you make an informed decision about any advocate that works with you to help your child. Good luck!
Has your child recently been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, and you are struggling to get your school district to recognize the diagnosis? Would you like to learn some important information to help you in your special education advocacy efforts, for your child? This article will specifically address things that you need to know to help you fight for special education services for your child.Things that you need to know.1. Aspergers Syndrome has its own category in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM IV) that is used for diagnosis. It is under the umbrella of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD).2. The American Psychiatric Association is proposing changing Aspergers Syndrome from its own category to within the autism category for the DSM V. The intent is to try and make the diagnosis of autism clearer. The decision will be made within several months (middle to end of 2010).3. From an educational standpoint this is a wonderful decision, in my opinion, that will benefit thousands of children throughout the United States. Why? Many school districts have denied children with this disorder special education services because they state that the child does not have autism, and so therefore is not eligible. But in reality the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act state that a child must have one of 13 covered disabilities and have educational need. Aspergers is a part of the autism spectrum and should be a covered disability; though you may need to advocate for this.4. Many children with this disorder will require help learning appropriate social interactions and social skills. This should be provided as a special education services for your child if they need it. It could be working directly with a school social worker or participating in a small group social skills class.5. Small groups may help your child with their education and also to develop appropriate social skills.6. Modifications and adaptations in the regular classroom may help your child keep up with their peers.7. Sensory integration disorder is common in many children with this disorder, and shows itself in difficulty with lights, sounds, different foods and different fabrics. If your child shows this difficulty, ask your school district for testing by an Occupational Therapist who is SIPT qualified (has received specialized training in the area of sensory integration/processing disorder).8. Many children with Aspergers may need Occupational Therapy also for motor clumsiness. Ask for specific testing in this area if your child shows need.Keep these 8 items in mind when you attend Individual Educational Plan Meetings (IEP) for your child. They will assist you in trying to help your child receive a Free Appropriate Public Education!