Guest blog: Classroom quality — SFARI.org – Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

This is a great article on the effect of classroom quality for preschoolers with autism.  As the article points out, most research is done in a clinical or lab setting which can optimize outcomes. This study was done with in the trenches teacher in their own schools.

An important caveat at the end, however, was that these schools were top notch schools.  What about early childhood programs where the teachers have not been fully trained in one or both of these methods and neither have their associates?

We need to push for all early childhood programs for children with autism to have comprehensive training for the teachers and associates, so that all of the children in our country have a fair chance of a great outcome.

See on sfari.org

Study Finds ‘Different’ Brain In Some With Autism – Disability Scoop

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

Stanford researchers have unearthed clues about the formidable brains of some children with autism, suggesting that the diagnosis may signal a different cognitive style, not disability.

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

This is encouraging news for parents of children with autism.  While not all will be as successful, at least there are more positives than has been historically relayed to parents.

See on www.disabilityscoop.com

Clinical research: Eye problems common in autism — SFARI.org – Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

This is an important article that highlights concerns that parents of children with autism have brought up frequently.  I wonder if the children who look at things sideways have the unequal acuity between eyes that they mention?  I know that I have uneven acuity (astigmatism in one eye and near sighted in the other to a different degree) and I find myself closing one eye depending on what I am focusing on.

I think it is important for children with autism to have an eye exam from a pediatric phthamologist who has experience working with children with special needs in order to get this looked at.

See on sfari.org

Recording of June 18, 2013 Brainware Safari webinar

different yet beautiful

different yet beautiful

I am excited to provide the link to my interview on Brainware Safari on June 18, 2013 that just became available.

The title is Beyond the Label – Helping Kids with Temperament and Learning Issues.

I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think.

Trust: Top Down or Bottom Up?

different yet beautiful

different yet beautiful

I have a belief (my mantra) that all children are born wanting to be loved, accepted, and respected. The rest we have to teach them.
Trust is an important component of teaching children, especially ones with developmental and behavioral challenges.
I have worked with hundreds of parents and schools who misunderstand trust, where they are failing at modeling it, and where they are mislabeling competence as trustworthiness.
Competence is the ability to do something without supports. Trustworthiness is everyone (including the child) knowing that they can do it (are competent) and that they follow through.
One child in 6 has a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects how they learn, interpret the world, and interact with others.
Expecting competence and trustworthiness without taking these struggles into consideration leads to anger, frustration, and confusion by everyone involved.
Let’s begin by trusting that the child isn’t alive just to make your life worse. Let’s trust that they would rather be seen as a welcome addition to your life. Let’s trust that with continual help, they will be able to become competent and therefore more trustworthy in a variety of areas. Be aware, however, that this is on their timeline, not necessarily a chronologic (age) timeline or an academic (grade) timeline.

Top DownIn an organization, trust is generated from the top down rather than the bottom up. Sure, it is important for employees as well as leaders to be trustworthy, but the culture that allows trust to kindle and flourish is usually created by the leaders of the organization rather than the workers.

It is astonishing for me to see the blind spots that many leaders have about how pivotal their behaviors are to how trust is manifest in their entire organization. If the top leader or leaders do not act with integrity and consistency, it creates loops of “work around” activity in all of the other layers. There gets to be a kind of pseudo-trust where people look the part and act the part on the surface, but it is only skin deep. Under the surface, the ability to hold onto trust is as leaky as a bucket that has been…

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Lack of corpus callosum yields insights into autism —

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

Having known patients with this condition, it is extremely hard for them to make sense of the world around them.  But the hardest part is to help others understand what is happening, since there are no outward signs of this anatomical deficit. They are another group of children and adolescents with developmental and behavioral challenges who I try to be a voice for.

Want a copy of me free report on oppositional children? Click here.

See on sfari.org

How are you helping someone with autism today?

different yet beautiful

different yet beautiful

Autism Awareness month is winding down.  There have been many excellent messages publicized in print and on TV to increase the awareness that these individuals (children and adults) need to be assisted to become the best they can.  Some may always need more support, but a growing number have the potential of being independent, productive individuals if we understand what they need and provide it.

So what do they need?  They need patience on our part.  They process their world differently and it is often confusing and frustrating.  If they have more time many can translate what they experience into what we are needing or expecting of them.  Think of this like working with someone for whom English is a second language.  It takes time to translate first literally and then contextually what has been presented to them.

Next, they need access to materials, technology, and teaching/training that will allow them to maneuver through day-to-day demands.  This could be social, communicative, academic, or work-related. For individuals in the autism spectrum much of what we take for granted is something that they need to be taught, just like reading and writing for all children.  After all reading and writing is not automatic, hardwired, or intuitive.  We have to realize that other aspects of living and communicating may not be hardwired into individuals within the spectrum.  It doesn’t mean that it can’t be expected or taught, but rather that we have to anticipate that whatever they are struggling with needs our talents to help them master it too.

We also have to spend time noticing and nurturing their interests and strengths.  Where would we be without the creative geniuses of Einstein, Bill Gates and others who think differently from most of us?  Different is not wrong, it is just different.

Take a moment to say thank you to a person (child or adult) within the spectrum for providing you with the opportunity to think outside the box.  They have made you a better person because of this.

Would you like a copy of my free report on oppositional children? Click here.