Pick of the Week: Music in my Mouth – Songs for Speech & Language Skills

This CD with 26 original songs and the accompanying manual are designed to be used by SLPs, early educators and families to teach and practice a variety of skills related to the development of communication skills. Competence in communication is essential to a child’s personal, social, and academic success. Each song equips children with the concepts, behaviors, and self-talk skills that support the development of speech, language and social interaction. The manual provides detailed tips on how to integrate the songs with other activities.

Save 15% on Music In My Mouth this week only by entering the Promo Code BLOGMMM at checkout.

*Offer expires on October 4, 2011 at 11:59 pm EST. Not compatible with any other offer. Be sure there are no spaces after the Promo Code when you enter it at checkout.

Pick of the Week: Rainbow Sorting Crayons

Save 15% this week on our wonderful Rainbow Sorting Crayons. This charming sorting kit contains 48 manipulatives sorted by color into 8 large crayon containers. Use the objects for patterning, counting, color identification, 2-D to 3-D matching and language development.

Save 15% on the Rainbow Sorting Crayons through March 22 by entering the promo code BLOGRCX at checkout.

*Offer expires on March 22, 2011 at 11:59 pm EST. Not compatible with any other offer.

Defining ‘Essential’ Care

With healthcare reform underway, this article in the Wall Street Journal highlights the differences between habilitative services and rehabilitative services and how those definitions will impact future insurance coverage. The article specifically looks at coverage for children with Autism and whether early intervention services will be covered or considered reimbursable expenses. More specifically, if services defined as habilitative are indeed covered, families would be entitled to behavioral therapy as well as speech and OT. Opponents claim that the costs would be too high. What are your thoughts on the issue?

Pick of the Week: Be A Friend – Songs for Social Skills Training CD

This week’s pick for 15% savings is this lovely CD filled with songs specifically written to help teach invaluable social skills. Created by Dr. Jed Baker and music therapist Jeffrey Friedberg, Be A Friend motivates children to attend and learn. The catchy tunes include: Be a Friend; Hello; Personal Space; Eye Contact; Volume of Speech; Sharing; Turns; Ask to Play; Compromise; Compliment; Sensitive Topics; Teasing; Accepting No; Making Mistakes; Calm Down and Feelings. The songs on the CD are aimed towards children 2 – 10 years old generally, but mostly 4 – 8 year olds.

Today through March 8, visit our site at http://www.difflearn.com to save 15% on the Be A Friend: Songs for Social Skills Training CD by entering the Promo Code BLOGSSCD at checkout.

*Offer expires on March 8, 2011 at 11:59 pm EST. Not compatible with any other offer.

Pick of the Week: Emotions Flashcards

Emotions Flashcards Sale You’re in luck because this week’s pick is a whole CATEGORY of products! We’re highlighting our wonderful Emotions flashcards this week and offering them to you at a 15% discount. Click here to see the full list of products on sale this week. There are basics such as the Emotions Language Cards which are an ideal introduction to teaching feelings to young learners as well as the more advanced Faces & Feelings Listening Lotto which is a creative way to work on auditory processing and emotions. With 9 different sets of Emotions Flashcards on sale this week, you’re sure to find a set that’s right for your child or student.

Today through March 1, visit Difflearn.com to save 15% on our Emotions Flashcards by entering the Promo Code BLOGEM22 at checkout.

 *Offer expires on March 1, 2011 at 11:59 pm EST. Not compatible with any other offer.

Discoveries Program at the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art

We just found out about this program and think it’s fantastic! Discoveries is a Sunday program offered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for adults and children with learning and/or developmental disabilities and their friends and family members.  Each Discoveries workshop focuses on a theme and includes a gallery tour followed by a related art activity. The program is free of charge but advance reservations are necessary. Here’s the upcoming schedule:

Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York
March 20
11 am – Ages 6-17
2 pm – Ages 18 and above

April 10
11 am – Ages 18 and above
2 pm – Ages 6-17

Rooms with a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century
May 1
11 am – Ages 18 and above
2 pm – Ages 6-17

May 15
11 am – Ages 6-17
2 pm – Ages 18 and above

Group Residences and Organizations:

The Museum offers customized programs for adult group residences and other agencies that serve adults with developmental disabilities.  For scheduling and fee information, call (212) 650-2010 or email access@metmuseum.org.

For anyone living in or visiting New York, the museum is an absolute  gem and a lovely place to spend a day roaming about. We’re thrilled about the Discoveries Program!

Autism, Vaccines and Andrew Wakefield

The current media storm surrounding vaccinations and autism is one that, I’m sure, we’ve all been following with great interest. The initial study that linked autism with vaccinations has been dismissed and retracted by the majority of the original authors. Currently, there is speculation that Mr. Wakefield may have falsified data. Many parent advocates are claiming this is a smear campaign being conducted in the name of protecting pharmaceutical companies to the detriment of children.

We know that this is an incredibly sensitive issue with opinions strong on both sides of the fence. We do think it’s an important issue to discuss, respectfully, within our community. For parents, do you believe that the MMR vaccination contributed to your child’s autism? What is your opinion of Andrew Wakefield and his study?

Here’s some coverage of both sides of the issue from CNN, if you’d like to see more on the reporting.

Thinking About All the Parents Out There…

With the holidays approaching we all know that gift giving will soon be in full swing.  This undoubtedly means that your families will be generously bestowed with electronic cause and effect toys.  These types of toys help to stimulate development as your child discovers the function of the toy and how to elicit certain responses from the object.  Children with special needs tend to have a longer relationship with these types of toys as they often serve as powerful reinforcers, meet ongoing sensory needs and continue to provide opportunities to address language and motor development.  Additionally, it may take a special needs child longer to master this type of play before moving onto more imaginative and creative play.  What I’m getting at is that these toys are going to be in your house longer and some of them are LOUD.  So when I came across the following post on Apartment Therapy the other day it jumped out at me as a piece vital information for all of you special needs parents out there.  We are always thinking about adaptations for toys and games for the kids but what about the parents?  A former sound engineer for children’s sound books shares a secret on how to turn down the volume on these toys.

Check it out and Happy Holidays!

Bringing Down the Volume on Electronic Toys

Preparing for Thanksgiving at School

This is an interesting article about students with special needs at Dexter Middle school “practicing” a Thanksgiving meal. We thought this was a fantastic idea! By preparing children for what to expect at a holiday gathering and meal, either in school or at home, perhaps some anxiety and behavioral issues can be avoided. Do any of you “practice” the holidays to avoid stress and make the event easier for your children?

Children helping children!

I am always moved to learn about inventive developments in the fields of education and intervention for children with autism.  But how often do you hear about interventions being designed for children BY children?  Well that is exactly what Zak Kukoff did when he developed Autism Ambassadors.  Zak, a typically developing 15-year old, created a curriculum that “will engage typical children and children with ASD’s in a mutually beneficial relationship.” There is research that supports the efficacy of using peer models to facilitate observational learning with children with autism but how often have you seen examples where it has been successfully implemented?  We would love for you to share your stories regarding peer modeling or your experience with Autism Ambassadors!