Thursday, May 31, 2012

Teaching and Learning Shapes—Why?

Because it's fun! Of course we all know that part, but did you know that learning shapes help children identify letters and help them with reading and writing later on? Letters are made up of circles, lines, and triangles. Look at the parts of a triangle in k, v and w or the circles in b, q, and p, also the lines of a square in l, q, k and so on. By learning to draw basic shapes children will have the beginning skills for pre-writing! Who knew you could have so much fun teaching and learning?

Wait, there is more, and this is going to be stating a bit of the obvious. Learning shapes at an early age exposes children to the world of math as well. The world of angles, geometry, numbers, puzzles, etc. is now open simply because you are teaching something so fun!

Do2Learn offers several ideas on how to begin to teach shapes and make it fun. We hope you have a great time with these activities.

  • Shape People—make a shape person with triangles, circles or squares. (click on link for complete instructions)

  • The Shape Book—Students learn shapes by decorating each shape with various textures. (click on link for complete instructions)

  • Shape Tracing—Practice drawing shapes. (click on link for printouts)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Do2Learn JobTIPS—Making Midtown News

What a pleasure it was to answer a call last week from Chelsea Kellner. Chelsea is a reporter from the Midtown Raleigh News and she was interested in talking to someone from Do2Learn about the recent report regarding the findings that 1 in 3 young adults with Autism have little to no paid job experience or college schooling after high school. 

Chelsea had heard about JobTIPS and wanted to know more and we were happy to oblige. So in today's Midtown Raleigh News (front page too!) there is a wonderful article titled “Job-hunt help for adults with autism, Raleigh-based site offers free services”.

Please check out a few of our previous blogs about JobTIPS.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Transition Toolbox—Transition 101

Transition services as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are intended to help youth with disabilities make the transition from the world of secondary school to the world of adulthood. A good transition plan should consider the individual’s strengths as well as needs in determining the best fit for the individual in terms of vocation, living arrangements, post-secondary education, etc.
It is important to understand that when the individual leaves public secondary school, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), not IDEA, becomes the law that guides access to rights and services for the adult. Inherent in ADA is the expectation that the individual will advocate for his/her own needs.
  • Can s/he evaluate and state his/her strengths and preferences?
  • Should s/he disclose anything about his unique learning and performance needs? 
  • Can s/he effectively self-disclose about his needs and define accommodations that will enhance his/her performance in post-secondary education and work?
  • Do the parents and the student recognize the importance of self-advocacy in post-secondary education and work?

Because of this law, it is crucial that the secondary educational program promotes the capacity for self-determination in the individual, supports the individual in self-identifying strengths and preferences, and helps the individual define accommodations and needs that will help him/her succeed in the adult community. 
(We invite you to follow our blog by email to be sure to get the latest information regarding JobTIPS Transition Toolbox and other great Do2Learn educational information.)
Previous Transition Toolbox blogs from Do2Learn.

Transition Toolbox—What's the Plan?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Learning Can Be Fun

Learning should not stop just because summer break begins. Studies have shown that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (and other special needs too) need continued structure and reinforcement of the goals they were striving towards during the school year.  Often teachers will send home packets of worksheets and handouts with ideas of how parent's can continue working on these goals during the summer break. In other cases the student may qualify for Extended School Year services during the summer to help prevent regression. In either case, it is always good for parents to have a plan in place at home for continued structure and ideas for fun and successful, meaningful activities during the summer.

Please take this opportunity to look over some of our previous blogs for some ideas:

Check out the Academics section of the Do2Learn website to discover lots of ideas to help you fill your summer with fun activities!  Here is just a sample of what you will find.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sequencing and Autism

Sequencing is the task of putting things in order, which can make sequencing activities very appealing to individuals who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. The ability to put things into sequential order demonstrates a number of skills including recognizing people, places and objects as well as concepts of time. Sequencing activities for students can help develop a number of different skills that are necessary for life skill tasks and communication.

What's the Order” is an interactive game from Do2Learn that helps students master the techniques of time sequencing. Players watch a video of a live person doing an activity and then are challenged to put the individual actions into the right order. This game utilizes both:

  • Linear time—first, then
  • Relative time—before, after

The videos are of actual people, there are printable activities, and teachers/parents can track progress with performance reports.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

JobTIPS Included In OCALI Employment Guide

Do2Learn recently heard the fantastic news that our JobTIPS program has been adopted for use in the OCALI Employment Guide!

OCALI or the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence serves families, educators, and professionals working with students with autism and low-incidence disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairments, other health impairments, and traumatic brain injuries. Please visit the OCALI website to learn more about their mission.

The Customized Employment Guide in which JobTIPS is featured in the Sensory section, recommends evaluating and preparing for the sensory environment of the employment setting. To do this they advise using the following:
We are thrilled to know that the Do2Learn JobTIPS program is being used to assist so many individuals as they are exploring career interests, seeking and obtaining employment, and successfully maintaining employment.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Transition Toolbox—Where Do We Start?

Transition planning is a methodical process that defines the core skills that will be priorities during a student's transition years of school. Transition planning requires that the transition team selects core skills on which the student can build a career and a meaningful life. Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continue to develop life and work skills throughout their lives so the goal is to define those core skills that will be a foundation for future success. Prioritizing these goals requires thoughtful assessment and planning as well as the recognition that the transition years only set the stage for future skill development, self-advocacy and career opportunities.

Because schools are setting the student's stage for a career, effective transition planning must be based on the individual needs, strengths and interests of each student. Individuals with disabilities who are served in special education are eligible for a free and appropriate education up to 21 years of age, or older in some states. During their high school years, extensive planning for the transition out of school and into the next phase of their lives should take place. This planning must begin very early in high school to assure that all of the process is completed.

If an individual is going on to post-secondary education or into the competitive work force, there are critical areas of instruction that must be addressed within the presentation of the standard course of study in high school. These areas include:

  • Specific job skills (vocational skills)
  • Social communication
  • Work behaviors
  • Social problem solving
  • Self-organization necessary for finding and keeping a job

Transition Planning must start very early in high school.

Transition Toolbox—What's the Plan?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Emotions Color Wheel—Part II

The Emotions Color Wheel has even more uses then we discussed in Part I of this blog series. The color wheel can be used to teach individuals with Autism about relationships to others. Also it can be used to instruct how much information to share (and the intensity of the emotion to show when sharing that information) with others based on the relationship the individual with Autism may have with them.

  • With a stranger you would keep all of your emotions in the outer levels of the Emotions Color Wheel because it is safer.
  • With friends that you are closer to and you know very well you can show more intense emotions.
  • With an authority figure you would show less intense emotions than you would with family members or close friends. For example, if you are upset by a grade you got on a paper, you might be 'distraught' when when talking about it with a friend, but when discussing it with a teacher it would be wiser to be 'disappointed'.

The less you know someone the further it is from the center of the Relationship Target circle, the less intense the emotional expressions should be and the further it should be from the black center of the Emotion Color Wheel.

Do2Learn also offers a Relationship Target worksheet, shown below that is FREE, that you can print and use in your home and classroom. This helps to visually illustrate the categories of people within a social system and to individuals with Autism determine the levels of appropriate social interactions for each classification.