The Graduation Struggles in Autism Education

For most parents, graduation is a common occurrence. Children grow up, complete their natural development and milestones and move on to the next step in their path. For parents of children with autism it is not that easy. Graduation time is always stressful, emotional and expensive. It is a time where a parent is reminded that the security and the safety of their child’s placement is coming to an end, and the emotional rollercoaster is about to begin. Continue reading

Visitors around the year at Shema Kolainu – Hear Our Voices

At SKHOV we receive many visitors throughout the year. Each visitor leaves the building with a better understanding of what children with autism face each day, and the miracles that happen as well here at SKHOV. They are able to see first hand the compassion and love that each teacher, therapist and administrator shows to the children.
The visitors learn about our ABA program and witness the tremendous effect this research based approach has on the children. Through ABA we chart and graph each child’s progress daily and with frequent periodic reviews of the data we are able to create individual therapy plans and programs for each child tailored to their specific needs. This way each child is getting the best care possible in order for them to reach their highest potential. Some of our distinguished visitors this year include Councilman Brad Lander, Dr. Randy Herman, Vice President, Council of School Supervisors & Administrators, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz and Ambassador Assaf Shariv, Consul General of the State of Israel in NY.

No Child Left Behind: At Shema Kolainu we live by this philosophy.

This year, Shema Kolainu conducted and submitted both Alternative and Standardized Assessment procedures as required by the state education department. The assessments measure the educational efficiency of schools that service students in New York State.

We are a center for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Our student population includes students with severe deficiencies across all domains to those with above average IQ. It is an ongoing challenge to individualize instruction to maximize educational, social and adaptive objectives, and an even greater challenge to reflect those achievements in standardized exams that feature set rules and guidelines. Continue reading

The Autism Spectrum – A Layman’s Guide to the World of Autistic Disorders

Key Facts:

Autism is the term used to describe a group of related disorders as well as one specific disorder within the group.

There is a lot of variation. No two individuals with autism will exhibit the exact same symptoms.

Autism is four times as prevalent in boys than in girls.

There are many confusing terms being used to describe the numerous psychological conditions and behaviors which are now referred to as autism spectrum disorders. We will attempt to clarify and correct some of these terms to arrive at a clearer understanding of the autism spectrum.

What is Autism? Continue reading

Autism: Questions & Answers

There are many baffling expressions used to describe the numerous psychological conditions and behaviors which are officially diagnosed as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Autism is a Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD) that begins at birth or within the first two-and-a-half years of life. Most children with autism, usually, are perfectly normal in their physical appearance. However, they spend their free time occupying themselves with confusing behaviors which are noticeably different from those of typical children their age, and cane be very upsetting to those around them. Many of these behaviors include repetitive actions such as hand-flapping, head banging and other potentially injurious behaviors. Continue reading

A Genetic Connection: Children with Autism and Their Younger Siblings

After years of research, by studying twins and families of children with autism, a genetic basis for autism remains irrefutable. According to the April 2007 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, younger siblings of autistic children seem to be at increased risk for developing autism spectrum disorder.  According to Dr. Wendy L. Stone, PhD. and her colleagues at Vanderbilt University, younger siblings of autistic children do not perform as well as other children on tests of social communication and development. Sixty-four younger siblings of autistic children were measured on non-verbal problem-solving, directing attention, understanding words and phrases, and other social-communicative interactions.  When compared with a control group of 42 children whose older siblings were not autistic, the results were clear: younger siblings of autistic children are at increased risk for developing autism spectrum disorders, or the broader autism phenotype.  Continue reading

Sleep Quality and Children with Autism

Parents and caretakers of children with autism and their doctors will attest to being familiar with sleep disturbances. A few of the many sleep disturbances reported are fragmented sleep patterns, difficulty falling asleep, frequent arousals, and periods of excessive sleep, alternating with periods of very little sleep. Lack of good quality sleep can result in daytime sleepiness that may hinder a child’s educational and behavioral programs, as well as bring added stress to the sleep-deprived family.(1)

Continue reading

Video Modeling as an Evidence-Based Intervention for ASDs

New research has emerged indicating that video modeling is an effective tool in enhancing “social communication and functional skills in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).” Video modeling entails a child watching a video of a target behavior and imitating that behavior. Similarly, video self-modeling, is also an effective method used illicit certain target behaviors. Here, children watch a video of themselves, rather than a peer, sibling, or adult, and model the behavior.

Continue reading

Tips to Combine Advocacy and Cooperation at IEP Meetings

Identify & Prioritize Your Objectives Before the Meeting Being prepared for your child’s IEP meeting is critical. It is probably a good idea to make a list of factors that are important to you before the meeting and highlight those items that are essential to your child’s educational program. In doing so, you will be able to assess what you are and are not willing to compromise over. This will make you an informed and skilled advocate for your child’s needs.

Continue reading