Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Sensory Issues

It's no secret that anyone diagnosed with autism, can also have differing sensory issues. This blog post is going to touch lightly on the different sensory challenges that they may face.

Sometimes, many of the behaviours that people with autism display could be linked to sensory issues. By working with professionals you can help to work together to avoid any sensory related issues that could be causing stress to the individual(s) with autism.

So, today we are going to discuss;
  • sights
  • sounds
  • taste
  • smell
  • touch

Sight

If the individual is under sensitive; objects may appear darker than they are, they may have visual difficulties and differing eye sight - they may not be able to look at things straight on/central, but use peripheral vision instead, they may also struggle with perception of depth - i.e when throwing and catching an object.

If the individual is over sensitive; their vision may be distorted when thing appear to dance around/move, they may zone in and look at a piece of detail on an object rather the whole object i.e a petal on a flower rather than the full flower in flower pot, they may also struggle to sleep at night due to being extra sensitive to light.

Black out blinds are great to use in the bedrooms are any play room etc where the individual may spend a lot of their time, it blocks out any light and really helps to create a dark, calming environment in any room. Sunglasses are also great - especially when getting a good brand which will really help to block out the lights, there are also special light bulbs/lamps/lighting equipment available online and in some stores now that will help individuals who struggle with their sight that will help to create a more suitable environment for them.

Sound

If the individual is under sensitive; they may have poor hearing in one or both ears, they may not react or acknowledge some noises/sounds, they may like loud noises, loud environments, crowds, parties, noisy objects, musical instruments such as the drum etc.

If the individual is over sensitive; they may find noises louder than they are, be able to listen to noises from a far distance, they also may not be able to concentrate if there are noises in the background - not being able to block out sounds and having to have pure silence for concentration.

Communicating through sign and symbols are a great way to support students if they are struggling with their hearing, also providing 'choice' times where they are able to have noisy equipment. There should also be opportunity for students who have the opposite to have quiet time, work in a separate room where it's quieter and easier for them to concentrate.

Taste

If the individual is under sensitive; they may like strong and spicy foods, eat or place inedible objects in their mouth i.e toys, grass, sticks, faeces, anything they can get their hands on. This condition is also known as pica. 

If the individual is over sensitive; they may have a very restrictive diet where they do not like certain tastes, they may have very sensitive taste buds meaning some foods may taste too strong for them, they may also not be able to cope with certain food textures such as sloppy foods - mashed potato, lumpy foods, runny foods etc.

Smell

If an individual is under sensitive; they may have no sense of smell and struggle to smell certain odours - such as their own body odour, perfumes, air fresheners etc. The individual may also put things to their mouth and lick them to try and 'smell' them this way to work out what the object/item is.

If an individual is over sensitive; they may dislike people who have strong smells - strong body creams, hand creams, perfumes, after shave, deodorant etc. They may also find some smells too overpowering - air fresheners, sprays etc. and not be able to cope with these.

Touch

If an individual is under sensitive; they may like deep pressure and being held tightly. They will also most likely have a high pain threshold, where they may not even react at times should they fall and hurt themselves as they genuinely may not feel this. They may be unable to feel food in their mouth and they may also self harm - again if this is teamed with where they have a high pain threshold, they may not realise the extent of injuries/damage they are doing to themselves as they can't feel it. Another common part is smearing of faeces because of the texture and chewing on anything and everything that they can get their hands on.

If an individual is over sensitive; they may not be able to cope with any sort of touch or comfort, they may find this 'painful' and will shy away, flinch should anyone come too close or try to touch them. They may not like to wear things such as socks, shoes, gloves etc. on their hands and feet. They may also struggle with certain textures of food, and certain clothing types on their skin, as their skin may also feel sensitive. This can also cause issues when washing.

Chew toys are a great way to help the individuals chew on appropriate objects - instead of anything that they can get their hands on. Having different 'sensory' sessions in class may also help distract the individual away from smearing faeces by offering them an alternative sensory experience with similar texture. There are also a lot of great sensory equipment available everywhere which may help students such as weighted blankets to help provide them with the deep pressure that they may be craving. If an individual can't cope with touch, always show them what you are about to do - offer your hand first, move slowly, be in front of them, and let them come to you/accept before moving forward. Don't rush things - go straight in for a hug - do more simple things, this could be as simple as sitting close to the individual, then moving closer until you are next to them. There are also certain clothing companies out there who cater to individuals with needs like this, you can also cut off labels and remove anything that may be bothering the individual. 

One of the best ways that we have found to help our students with sensory issues is by introducing Sensology sessions. Sensology sessions are a great way for students to explore with all their senses - but also to the amount that they are comfortable with, nobody is 'forced' anything, they are all sat around and invited to join in, but they can also refuse anything. If an individual struggles with eating textures yet agrees to hold an individual food item - this is classed as progress because they are at least willing to hold/touch the item rather than totally dismissing it.

Nikki 

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Thanksgiving: Word to Picture Matching

If you follow me on social media you probably already realise just how much I love - and rave about - the word to picture matching activities. We've seen so many students progress so well with these type of activities that I just can't help but boast how great they are. Today I'm going to share a Thanksgiving themed one with you.


The word to picture matching activities are a fantastic resource for the autism classroom, especially with non-verbal students although can also be used within Spec Ed or General Ed Classrooms to promote reading.


It will allow you to be able to monitor if your students are able to recognise and understand different words and link them to the appropriate picture. Many students may learn to just read words but not understanding the meaning behind them, this will help to promote that. 

13 different activities boards in total. 


The first page in the PDF is the instructions page to help you use these to their best potential.

Instructions included on first page to help you set this resource up in your classroom and to use it to your best potential.

If you want any further information on this resource just click here or any of the images above to be redirected. If like me, you love these word to picture matching activities too, then you should totally check out my HUGE growing bundle of Word to Picture matching activities by clicking here that includes almost 900 pages of activities = over 400 different word to picture matching activities in 39 different themes.

Nikki 

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Thanksgiving: Where is ..? Task Cards

We all know just how great task cards are to use in the classroom, how easy they are to put away and store, and to pull them out the following year to save doing extra prep! Today I'm going to share with you my 'Where is ..?' Thanksgiving themed task cards.


These task cards are great for building up student's recognition of different items related to thanksgiving. 


Also includes recognising different color/colour leaves so great for color/colour recognition. 

Instructions included on first page. Comes as PDF. 

16 different task cards in total. 


I highly recommend cutting the task cards out individually then laminating them - this will make them stronger and it means you can continue to re-use them over a long period of time!

Appropriate for American & British classrooms.


If you want any further information on this resource just click here or on any of the images above to be re-directed.


Nikki 

Friday, 18 November 2016

The other side of Autism

Before working in an Autistic School I didn't really know much about Autism and all the different 'things' connected with it. All you see in the media are the 'great' sides of Autism - the boy with autism who became homecoming King, the genius with autism who can do any math sum in the World, the one who can draw absolutely anything in the World from memory.

Those things are great, they're things that should be celebrated for those individual children, but Autism isn't always sunshine and rainbows.



Autism can be hard.

When working with children with autism, you become more aware - you need to be, because all you want to do is help the children you're working with and their families, which means finding out the most you can about everything you can imagine.

Some of the things we see with our children are; non verbal, communication difficulties, no social interest at all, OCD, Prader-Willi Syndrome - never feeling full, taking food off others, no sense of danger sensory issues, anxiety, insomnia, ADHD, hearing impairment, down syndrome, dyslexia, dyspraxia, epilepsy, fragile x, hyperlexia, visual impairment, difficulty with toilet training, self harming, aggressive to others etc.

I think the most difficult thing when working with students with this level of Autism is their lack of communication, this means it can get very frustrating for them when they can't communicate their needs/wants with you. Frustration can often lead to them lashing out and self harming. One of the most important things for us to do is to try and build up a communication system with our kids that they can work with and we can understand - this really does help to minimise communication issues and frustrations as they get older.

Now Autism can usually be diagnosed alongside many other conditions, many of which I've listed below. With each additional diagnosis although it means that the individual may face more challenges, it also means that by getting the diagnosis they can get the help that they need specific to suit them to help them progress and reach their greatest potential.

Now, I said that this is the 'other side of Autism' that many of you may never see or experience. One of the reasons that you may not see them is because their families, carers and support works/staff in Schools help our students go out into the community but help support them, usually doing such a good job that others may not even notice the children's individual needs - plus as we all know, Autism is pretty much an invisible 'condition' - you can't usually look at someone - i.e in a photo or just a quick glimpse out and about - and be able to diagnose them with Autism. However, one of the other reasons is that many families/carers feel that they can't take their child out into the community anymore, they get anxious and worried about how their child is going to act as well as others around them - especially if their child currently displays challenging and aggressive behaviours. 

You may be surprised to hear the stories of how some of our children are - especially with their parents. A lot of the time we see the same behaviours in School as families see at home, however, there are few children who show very few behaviours in School, yet display a lot of challenging/aggressive behaviours at home for their families/carers.

What you may not see, is those autism parents/families/carers starting to struggle - both mentally and physically. Looking after someone with Autism is already a very large task for anyone, but to have the added aggressive behaviours, it really does start to pile on the pressure to families/carers. Let's also not forget the siblings of the children with autism - siblings often find it hard to cope with the attention that their sibling with autism gets - not because their parents/families favour them, but because they require full time attention, many of our children are 'runners' which means, they are pretty much escape artists - they can get out of anywhere in 1 second flat, which means they constantly need attention and having areas checked. 

If the child is a self harmer they are also going to need continuous support, when I say self harm, this is usually very severe - it can be head butting walls, floors, objects, hitting themselves with objects, punching themselves, pinching themselves, biting themselves and genuinely causing a lot of harm to themselves. Some of these injuries can be serious if the child is not being constantly supervised.

One thing that always makes me sad about the media, is how they tend to show glowing reports of people living with autism and how they are achieving anything and everything. This is one of the most discouraging things to happen to the family/carers of a newly diagnosed child with Autism.

When you or someone you love/care for are diagnosed with something, the first thing everyone does is go home and try to find out as much as they can about it - usually on google. There are some truly great websites out there filled with great information to help you realise where to go next, but there are also a lot of websites that can fill you with false promises and false hope, along with numerous different "cures". I must stress, that officially there is no known cure for Autism, however, this also does not mean there are no ways to help your child - there are plenty of ways for you to help your child with Autism flourish, it may just take longer than you may expect, but great things are achievable for them.

What you can do - is read blogs of teacher parents and join support groups on social media sites such as Facebook. There are a ton of support groups out there filled with parents/carers/siblings/families all going through similar experiences to what you may be going for. By having someone with you go through this journey together it really can help to take the pressure off.

To be able to help our children with Autism - of any level - progress and lead the best life that they can in communities, what we need to do is spread as much awareness as possible. People need to be aware of autism, the difficulties that the individuals diagnosed with autism face as well as their families/parents/carers. By becoming more aware of what autism is and what behaviours the individuals may display will help others to be more supportive and comforting of the parents/families/carers when out in the community - offering support. A lot of the time, when people see a 'behaviour' out in the community they may;
  • panic, not know what to do, avoid eye contact and rush past/away
  • be in shock over what they are seeing and stare
  • not understand the situation and label the child as 'naughty' or 'spoilt' - this does still happen.
However, there are odd times when someone, who is aware of the situation is able to bring comfort/help to the adult with the child and to help in any way they can. Sometimes a simple "can I help?" is all you really need to say, most of the time, the adult may decline, don't take it personal, it may just be that they don't really know at the moment how you can help - situations can get stressful quickly, but don't take this as ungrateful - the adult(s) will seriously be grateful for your offer, even if it's to move away a shopping trolley or help guide people away from the scene to give more space. Just remain calm, picture yourself in that situation and how hard it must be for the adult(s) with them, the reality is, this will most likely be their day to day life.

So please, when you read the lovely stories in the news of how the next 'Autism genius' is doing this, that and the other, congratulate them and celebrate their achievements, but also spare a thought for the parents/families/carers of those who are stuck in a rut, struggling to cope and at this moment in time not seeing a way out, there is a way out, just keep going through that tunnel until you see the light.

Nikki 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Thanksgiving: Turkey Tail Task Cards

Following on from my recent Thanksgiving themed blog posts, today I thought I'd share with you one of my Thanksgiving task card sets. These task cards are a great way for students to work on their size and colour/color recognition skills while still being linked to the theme of Thanksgiving and keeping students engaged.



These task cards come in 4 different styles;
♦ Which one has the biggest tail?
♦ Which one has the smallest tail?
♦ Which one has a ____ tail? (one color/colour i.e red)
♦ Which one has a ____ and ____ tail? (two color/colours i.e red and blue tail)


There are 24 task cards in total. 

Instructions are included on the first page of the download. 


These are great task cards for Thanksgiving as well as supporting students to recognise different sizes and colors/colours. 




If you want to find out more information about this resource click here or any of the images above to  be re-directed.

This resource is part of my huge Thanksgiving activity bundle where you save huge $$s! Click here to check it out!

Nikki 

Monday, 14 November 2016

Thanksgiving: Turkey CVC Sorting

So, yesterday I shared with you my Turkey Digraph Sorting Game and today I'm going to share with you my Turkey CVC Sorting Game.


This Turkey CVC sorting game is perfect to celebrate Thanksgiving. 

There are instructions included on the first page for you to follow to get the best use out of this resource.



Students will have so much fun matching the tails to the turkeys and won't even realise they are busy practising their cvc words!

The idea behind this game is for students to match the cvc words to the correct turkey. 



Each turkey has a different 'medial' sound on it - a,e,i,o,u. There are 6 tails for each turkey. 

I do highly recommend laminating each individual piece of this activity so that it will make the resource stronger and longer lasting - that means you get to pull it out each year at Thanksgiving and it's all ready! 


If you want any more information on this resource just click here or on any of the images above to be redirected.


Nikki 

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Thanksgiving: Turkey Digraph Sorting

It's almost the middle of November and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Why not have some fun in your classroom but continue learning with this Turkey Digraph Sorting Game.


This Turkey digraph sorting game is perfect to celebrate Thanksgiving

There are instructions included on the first page for you to follow to get the best use out of this resource.


Students will have so much fun matching the tails to the turkeys and won't even realise they are busy practising their digraphs!

The idea behind this game is for students to match the digraphs to the correct turkey. 


Each turkey has a different digraph on it - ch, ph, sh, th, wh.

I do highly recommend laminating each individual piece of this activity so that it will make the resource stronger and longer lasting - that means you get to pull it out each year at Thanksgiving and it's all ready! 


If you want to view more information on this resource just click here or any of the images above to be re-directed.


Nikki 

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Thanksgiving: Flashcard Story

Flashcard stories are a great way to read stories to students who may struggle with too much information, it provides a shortened and simplified version with matching visuals that follow the story line to keep students engaged and focused. Today's flashcard story I'm sharing is in the theme of Thanksgiving.


This download includes a 16 page mini story book of the story of Thanksgiving

Please note it is a simplified version.


Each mini page, is half an actual page size, meaning you cut each page in half. I recommend laminating each page individually and then binding together to make a book - it'll also make it stronger and longer lasting for you.

It has been simplified into a short story, with bright, eye-catching graphics. 

This download comes in colour/color or black and white option.

Perfect for a special needs/autistic class or pre-k/k.

If you want any further information on this resource just click here or any of the images above to be redirected.

This resource is part of my huge Thanksgiving activity bundle where you save huge $$s! Click here to check it out!

Nikki 

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Thanksgiving: Comprehension Worksheets

Thanksgiving is a great holiday to make resources for, and it will make the resources extra engaging for your students during this exciting time. Today I'm going to share with you this great comprehension packet that your students are going to love. 


This resource includes 8 different comprehension activities. Each activity comes with 1 x story page and 1 x questions page. 





There is a short amount of information provided on each page and then 4 questions on another page - you can see examples in preview/thumbnail pictures.

This is great for students to be able to read a passage and recall details from it, answering relevant questions.




It is related to Thanksgiving to give a twist on the usual comprehension activities. 

Comes in black and white for ink friendly printing. 

The images are eye catching and appropriate for young students who will find them engaged.



To find out more information on this resource just click here or any of the images above to be re-directed.

If you like my comprehension story activities, you may want to check out my growing bundle of comprehension packs available here, there will be comprehension packs that you can use all year round with your students to keep them motivated and engaged!

Nikki 

Monday, 7 November 2016

Thanksgiving: Spelling Boards

Spelling can be one of the hardest things to teach our kiddos. Many just don't understand 'why' they need to spell - which means they are more reluctant to engage in spelling activities, others just don't want to use a pen - so you have to think up activities that won't always require them to be writing when they are taking part in spelling activities, you've always got to be thinking up new and fun ways to teach spelling. This is where spelling boards come in! Plus, to make them even more fun and engaging, I have all different spelling boards available on my TpT to use year round.

Today though I'm going to share with you my Thanksgiving Spelling Boards.


These are great practice for students spelling and over writing. I recommend laminating each card individually so that it is stronger lasting. I would also recommend adding velcro to the boxes on the boards and the backs of the individual letters to avoid them getting lost.


Instructions are included on the first page so that you are able to put this resource into practice in your classroom easily and to the best of it's potential.


The boards come in color/colour and black&white option. 

A total of 12 different words/images. 
Each page comes with a spelling board and an overwriting board. 



If you want any further information on this resource just click here or any of the images above.


Nikki 

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Thanksgiving: Sentence Building / Adapted Books

My sentence building / adapted books are proving as popular as ever, especially with Thanksgiving just around the corner - my Thanksgiving Sentence Building pack has been getting some great reviews from teachers all around the World.



This pack includes 8 different sentence building / adapted books all related to Thanksgiving theme. All books come in b/w and col option but 3.



This is great for a Spec Ed or Autism Classroom / working with Spec Ed or students with Autism. It's a great way to encourage students to pay close attention to deal, become more familiar with sentence structure and symbols.



The books include;
♦ What? Object - one symbol
♦ How many objects? - two symbols
♦ What col - two symbols col only
♦ Easy prepositions - one symbol
♦ Harder prepositions - three symbols
♦ Full sentence prepositions - six symbols
♦ Col & Counting book - five symbols col only
♦ Turkey Tail Col - 2 levels in one PDF. col only



Each book comes with instructions included on the first page on how you can put this book together to get the best possible use out of it. 



The vocabulary is suitable for American or British classrooms. (Color, Colour etc.)



These books are great to help students build up and work on their sentences. It encourages students to select the correct words(symbols) to match the picture they are looking at as well as being able to place them in the correct order to build an appropriate sentence.



All images/vocabulary is linked to the theme of the Thanksgiving.


For any more information on this resource click here or any of the images above to be re-directed.

If you like this resource and are interested in more of my sentence building/adapted books then check out my Growing Bundle of Sentence Building/Adapted Books to get access to books to keep you going year round, and it's a growing bundle so there'll always be something getting added = more value for your money!

Nikki 

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Thanksgiving: Write the Room

Write the Room activities are a great way to keep your students moving and active throughout the day. We all know how frustrated and bored students can get when sat in one place working for too long, so this resource is a great way for you to mix it up, give your students a break from their desk yet continue their learning.

The extra bonus with this pack is that it's based around the theme of Thanksgiving, a great way to introduce the holiday into your classroom.


This activity includes 10 different write the room flashcards. 

There is a recording sheet and answer key included for students to take part in this activity, they can then either self mark their answers - or you can with ease with the answer key provided.

All flashcards are ready numbered so students are able to match the flashcard to their recording sheet - a great way for students to work on their reading, spelling and writing skills all in one great resource!

Instructions are also included on first pages of each PDF document. This download includes two PDF documents - one for the flashcards and one for the recording sheets.





I would highly recommend laminating each of the individual flashcards so that they will be stronger, therefore longer lasting.

You can hide these flashcards anywhere you want to get the students active and moving about. Some example are:
♦ Around the classroom
♦ Outdoor play area
♦ In a tough tray
♦ In a sensory tub
etc.


This is a great way to keep students motivated and engaged.


If you want any more information on this resource just click here or any of the images above.

★★★ If you like my Write the Room activities, you can purchase a Year Round Growing Bundle of all my write the room activities, just click here for more information! ★★★

Nikki 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Thanksgiving: Ten Frame Task Cards

Time is flying by, and Thanksgiving will be here before we know it! Although here we don't really celebrate Thanksgiving, we still try and introduce it and include it in our classroom celebrations to allow our students to experience different holidays around the year. I also love seeing what all my foreign friends are up to and how they celebrate Thanksgiving.

These ten frame task cards are one of the most popular resources in our class for any season, but these Thanksgiving themed ones mean we can continue along the theme of Thanksgiving.



Students have to count how many leaves they can see in the ten frame and then select their answer out of 3 possibilities at the bottom of the task card - either by using a dry wipe pen or a peg or similar object.

I recommend laminating each of the individual task cards so that they will be stronger, longer lasting and also re-usable for the future. Meaning once they are made, just simply store them away then pull them again the following year for Thanksgiving! 


For your preference the resource comes in b/w and col option.



 Just click here or any of the images above to be re-directed to the page to find out more information about this great resource.

Nikki 


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