Happy Friday everyone! We wanted to talk, specifically, to all of you moms, dads, grandparents, and caregivers this morning. We know first hand how being a parent of a child with special needs goes hand in hand with receiving more negative comments, judgmental statements or feedback. Sometimes those comments come from your child’s school. Sometimes it comes from a neighbor. Maybe it’s a look you get from a stranger while just trying to accomplish your grocery shopping. At times, it’s delivered from a friend. We do believe those negative comments are a reflection of where that person is in their lives; their own personal level of awareness. Even when understanding this, your heart doesn’t sting any less when being on the receiving end.
It’s so important to find the positive moments in each day and note them. Write those moments of positivity down in a journal, state them out loud, or say them quietly to yourself. Even if you start with just one a day. There is always something positive to be found. At first, you may have to look deeper. For example, yesterday I said a moment of “thanks” for not having to drive on I-85 for the day. This morning I said “thanks” for the amazing, wonderful and rare morning we all had before school. What we can promise you is, once you start noticing a positive moment in your day, you begin to shift. You begin to notice more of them and, over time, the negative comments do not sting or stick to you like they once did.
Give it a try. Set a goal. For 30 days notice at least one positive thing in your day.
What are you thankful for today?
Christina and Wendy
Happy Friday! Our Middle School OTB Club is meeting tonight from 6:30-7:30. We are very excited! The kids will help create and form the type of group they want/need while working on necessary social skills. The mini lessons will be imbedded within their groups of play and interactions. If you’re interested in joining us, please check out our original post here Middle Schoolers OTB (Outside The Box) Club or check out our tab of “Upcoming Events” found at the top of our website. If you are paying at the time of dropping off your child, we will have extra registrations forms printed for you to fill one out.
We’re looking forward to seeing you tonight!
Do you know that we have written over 55 posts? There is a lot of great information on our website but we are still navigating an easier way for you to find it. For now, if you go to our homepage and scroll down slightly you will see a sidebar on the right hand side that says “Archives.” August through January will be listed. When you click on a specific month, the posts that we have made during that time will be listed.
For August, we have written information on knowing your forms, differences between 504s and IEPs, what to do if your child is struggling in school. Here are a couple of direct links from August 504 and IEP’s: What’s the difference? and Know Your Forms-Referral For Help
In September, you can access posts about how to make connections with students, resources for schools, and our mission. Here are a couple of direct links to September’s posts Please Don’t Say “It Will Be Okay” and Know Your Forms-IEPs
When you browse through October’s posts, you will find information on how to teach our children to be includers, what can you do if your Team doesn’t agree on a decision in a meeting, what schools can’t tell you in meetings, and who benefits from social skills classes. Here are a couple of direct links Who Benefits From Social Skills Classes? and Executive Functioning Skills
November we introduced our Middle School OTB (outside of the box) Club and wrote details about what and how to perform a Functional Behavioral Analysis. You can find those here Middle Schoolers OTB (Outside The Box) Club and Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA)
In December, we wrote about the importance of assuming positive intent first Assume Positive Intent, school choices in North Carolina School Choice and how to formally request an evaluation from your child’s public school Requesting an Evaluation.
Also, as you browse through past posts, you will find photography paired with inspirational quotes. We also offer a free monthly parent/ guardian class on understanding the components to an IEP. We are excited to be hosting a Mindfulness class taught by Maria Hartemann once a month. Our six week session of social skills classes begin this upcoming Sunday. All monthly events are listed under the tab “Upcoming Events” at the top of our website. Check us out on FB as well! We are trying to “go live” once a week with answering questions that have been e-mailed to us. Do you have a topic that you would like to hear more about? Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love connecting with you!
Christina and Wendy
Every child, with his/her unique strengths, learns in a different way. Some children excel at math, while others struggle. Some children learn to read with ease, while others find it to be frustrating and difficult. One child may learn the proper way to say /k/ while others need to be specifically taught place, manner, and voicing. Social skills are no different.
Children who have difficulties understanding social situations often do not see the “rules” on the playground. They are typically the children that have to “pull their clip”, “go below the line”, or get a letter or phone call home. Often times, these children need specific instruction to learn what their peers, parents, and teachers expect from them. To those of us who have never had trouble understanding social expectations, this may seem absurd.
What we know is every behavior happens for a reason. For example, one child hits another during recess. He/she may not intend to be mean but really is looking for a way to be part of the group. Hitting has been a way this student has gotten a response in the past to get another child’s attention. When we take the time to teach that child appropriate ways to enter and exit play with another would help prevent him/her from hitting in the future. The child has now learned skills and has a “toolbox” to pull from instead of hitting. Another example is for the child who consistently comes home with a “bad” report (clip pulling, red cards, etc.). Why is this behavior happening and what skills need to be taught instead of “managed”? Usually the behavior happens because the child is receiving some type of feedback before, during, or after. What would happen if we understood the behavior, taught them a new way to receive their feedback, and then offered positive reinforcement every single time we saw them do it? When we help children learn these skills in a non-judgemental way, we begin to see an improvement in their behavior and an increase in self-awareness.
The process of teaching children how to think socially does not change behavior overnight. Instead, it is a slow and deep process that requires time and patience. It also requires a village. When a therapist, teacher, etc. is teaching a child social skills, it’s important to carry those skills into his/her other environments like school and home. Communication is key. Communicating with your child’s teacher and school and letting them know what he/she is learning and how they can help support your child during the school day is important. If you sign your child up for a social skills class, please ask how you can learn the vocabulary. Also ask how they communicate with your child’s teacher. When there is a lack of communication outside of the social skills group room, then you will typically only see improvement within the social skill group but limited progress in other environments. One sentence from the Social Thinking! curriculum really stood out to us. It said “Generalization is not an endpoint; it is simply part of the journey.” We need to make sure the child has adults who support him/her on the journey in learning social skills.
Wendy and Christina