Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Generalization of Skills - Can They Do It?

Over the course of a student evaluation, I often get information from parents and teachers about what a child can and cannot do. This data may cover academic abilities, or life skills such as independent dressing, social skills, or safety information. Sometimes it's difficult to get a good picture of what the child has actually accomplished.

Gathering your own information (or to share with others):
The child can do the task, such as making a bed, if it is done independently without reminders. If you have to give prompts, indicate how many times, or if you need to supervise or help with the chore. Don't guess--if you haven't seen it happen, we need to assume that's an area of need.

How can you tell if the youngster has something mastered? We look for skill generalization. In other words, can the same task be accomplished in multiple environments?

For example, a young man with an autism spectrum disorder recently wanted to make a request of me. He approached me, shook my hand, and made his request in an impressively polite manner. He gave very good reasons for the expression of his need, and thanked me for my time. I would say that teen has mastered greetings, self-advocacy, and conversational skills. He did this independently without prompting.

Another young lady can greet others appropriately in the school setting, but requires prompts in other areas. She has not yet mastered this skill, but prompts can be removed, or faded, over time to increase her independence.

Try tracking some basic life skills, including social skills, to celebrate accomplishments and identify areas of need. You can find a list of age-appropriate behaviors here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Book Review - "A Different Kind of Cheerleader" by Lira Brannon

From Amazon:
All I ever wanted was to be a cheerleader. That's it. Just lead my squad running and screaming across the gym floor while the students rocked the bleachers. But that will never happen. Dreams like that stopped after my accident. I'm broken. Like a violin with a missing string-the music inside of me is all garbled up. And despite what my perpetually cheerful physical therapist says-there is no happy ending for someone like me. My BFF and Seb, the one armed assistant coach, keep preaching to me about their God and His love until I just want to scream. But there's something about the two of them-something peaceful and happy that I sometimes think I want. Something that starts me believing that maybe the most impossible dreams can come true.

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: White Bird Publications (May 27, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937690911
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937690915

This Christian novel is written from the perspective of Tansy, a teen girl who has been confined to a wheelchair following a skateboard accident several years ago. The reader learns to understand Tansy's frustration as she tries to participate in activities with her friends, and struggles with her lifelong dream of becoming a cheerleader. Those who struggle with a disability will be encouraged to find their path through this book, and others will be better able to understand the challenges faced by those who are differently-abled. Great read for teens and adults. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Book Review: "How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness: An Inside-Out Approach to a Lasting Makeover" by Leta Greene

From Amazon:
Your outward appearance might make the first impression, but sixty seconds later, when that first impression is ancient history, it's your inner beauty that needs to shine! If you want to be truly hot, this book will show you exactly how, including the following: 

• Why you need to stop buying in to a cultural concept of beauty 
• How to transform the way you see and present yourself, inside and out 
• How to discover the secrets to the right look for you 
• Why different isn't bad—it's your key to hotness 
• How to choose happiness now, no matter your current situation 
• How to leave pain in the past 
• How to figure out what you really want 
• How to stop letting other people define your worth, potential, and purpose 
• How to find the right man and have the hottest marriage imaginable! 
• What it means to be "enough" (and it's not what you think!) 

We all experience loss and pain when our lives don't end up looking like we dreamed they would. Professional beauty expert and speaker Leta Greene looked that in the face and made a choice. Happiness and permanent hotness followed. Yours can too, right now, as Leta shares how to create the life and look you want in 15 simple steps—a transformation that will make you irresistibly, and lastingly, hot!

My Review: 

This book came along at a perfect time for me, as I have battled with negative inner voices most of my life. When I found out that the author, Leta Greene, had presented a TED talk, I was even more intrigued (you can find a video of her talk here). 

I don't read "beauty" books, but I am a fan of self-improvement. This is not a volume that tells you what colors will look best on you or how to arrange your hair. It's about learning to appreciate yourself, stop comparing your weaknesses to the strengths of others, erase negativity from your brain, and live your best life.  

Greene uses challenging events from her life, from accidents that scarred her face and knocked out teeth to abuse and multiple miscarriages, to teach skills we can use to face and recover from personal tragedy. This is the first book of this type I've seen that manages to incorporate a strong personal morality that encourages righteous living rather than an extreme focus on the self. While directed primarily at women, I feel everyone can work through the exercises in this book and find themselves in a much better place. 

Purchase your copy from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, a bargain at only $4.99!

About the Author:
Learn about Leta Greene on her web page or Facebook page.