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Autism Awareness Month

April 3, 2014

By Jessica Vician

Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month, which serves as an opportunity to educate the public about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). There are various degrees of autism, which is a brain development disorder that can cause communication and social-interaction challenges, along with some physical difficulties, depending on the severity of the disorder.

While there is no known cure for autism or ASD at this time, it is helpful to know the symptoms. If you believe your child may be autistic, note the symptoms and discuss them with your doctor. Early diagnosis can help you find an appropriate treatment sooner while also giving you the tools to modify parenting techniques as necessary. Early symptoms include:

For a detailed infographic on ASD, including how to treat it, various levels of the disorder, more symptoms, and celebrities with ASD, visit the Global Medical Education website.

Autism affects us all, even if your children are not autistic. Many of our friends and family members at YOU Parent are affected by the disorder. Research is critical to earlier diagnosis and better treatment plans, which is why we support Autism Speaks throughout the year.

During Autism Awareness Month, we support our YOU Parent staff member’s family team, Darryl’s Cheerleaders, for their annual fundraising walk in Florida. Please consider a donation to either Autism Speaks or Darryl’s Cheerleaders this year to help further research on this disorder.

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Find Your Child’s Learning Style

March 12, 2014

By Lorena Villa Parkman

Tweens use magnifying glasses to examine objects.

Helping a child with his or her school chores is usually a challenge for parents. There are many things to address in order to help a child be a well-rounded student: time efficiency, best test-taking strategies, smart study tips, and overall helping your child acquire good academic habits.

But even with all of these skills, your child may still need a head start in school, which you can provide through one simple task: understand how he or she learns.

Figuring out your child’s learning style can make his or her education a better experience. Children have different ways of learning, so when parents know their child's best way to learn, they can help him or her more effectively with homework, tests, and overall academic chores.

Test your child

There are many online resources to determine learning styles. Here are some of the best ones:

Study tips for each learning style

Once your child figures out his or her preferred style, you can create a study plan to help him or her understand concepts better.

Include your child’s counselor or teacher

It would be great if each teacher could adapt to the different learning styles that each of their students have, but in today’s school system that is almost impossible. However, sharing this information with your child’s teacher might be useful.

When you talk to your child’s counselor or teacher, let him or her know about your child’s preferred learning style and how this can be taken into account when assigning homework or tests.

If it turns out that even after you have pinpointed your child’s learning style, none of the study strategies are helping, you may want to rule out a learning disability. Seek help from his or her teachers, school staff, or your healthcare provider in order to eliminate this possibility.

Remember that information and engagement is the key to successful education. Knowing your child’s learning strength before you begin a study or educational strategy is important for his or her progress.

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My special needs child is falling behind in school. How can I help?

March 7, 2014

By YOU Program Facilitator

F on a test

Question: My daughter is special needs and is falling behind in school. I don’t think she’s getting the extra attention she needs in the classroom. How can I help her succeed?

Answer: With any child, it is important that you as the parent are involved in your daughter’s education. Since she has already been diagnosed as special needs, it is important that you follow up with the school regarding her declining progress. Both public and private schools are required to educate every child who enrolls in them. There are many rules and regulations in place for public and private schools. In either case, to help your school make the best accommodations for your daughter, talk to the administration about adapting your daughter’s curriculum using these five techniques:

  1. Scheduling. The teacher may need to allow your daughter extra time for assignments.
  2. Setting. Your daughter may perform better if she works in a smaller group or one-on-one with her teacher.
  3. Materials. The teacher may need to provide class material in various formats or include extra notes.
  4. Instruction. The teacher may need to reduce the difficulty of assignments or reading requirements.
  5. Student Response. Depending on your daughter’s needs, the teacher may be able to accept her responses in a different format, such as verbally instead of written, or in an outline instead of an essay.

You may also need to speak with the school regarding an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which would provide a different level of special education services. If your child is enrolled in a private school and the above options are not adequate, you will need to speak with your local or state educational agency (LEA or SEA) about further accommodations.

You can learn more about special needs education and an IEP in our YOU: Your Child's First Teacher books, specifically on pages 16-17 in Through Elementary and Middle School and page 23 in Through High School and Beyond.

Do you have a question you would like answered and featured on the site? Submit it here.

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NPR of Ohio Answers How the Common Core May Meet Special Needs

January 7, 2014

By Amanda Gebhardt

In 2010, a coalition of states, led by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), released the first national set of education standards in the U.S. Referred to as the Common Core State Standards, they define, grade-by-grade, the skills that students should be able to demonstrate in order to be college and career ready.

Many have criticized the standards, and there is still much debate about how the they will be assessed, but the standards themselves may offer enough instructional flexibility to support students in a variety of ways.

We read this article about how the Common Core may be used to support special needs students and wanted to share it with all of you.

Read through the article and let us know what you think in this forum.

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