Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Digest 25

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Next week we have our big pie and praise festival at our church. It almost snuck up on me this year. Usually I plan carefully which pie I'll be bringing. I always bring an alternative to pumpkin because I don't like pumpkin pie, and I know someone else will bring the pumpkin for everyone else who does like it. I's almost un-American to not like pumpkin pie. What can I say? Anyway, I'm finding myself with a lot to be thankful for. So much that I'm a beat or so behind where I need to be. Not so busy that I haven't had time to find you some good reads/listens on the internet. Read on in this SILVER (25th!) edition of the best of the rest...

1) We love fidgets, and this link (found via OUR Journey Thru Autism) has some good ideas for a fidget bag that is suitable for keeping in a school binder, and the fidgets to put into it. Children with sensory integration and self-regulation issues often have a hard time quieting their body for events like circle time, assemblies, waiting in line, and working quietly at their desk. Fidgets are usually small, interesting but not too stimulating (fine line here) objects that a student can keep in their hand to help them keep the rest of their body quiet. I kind of self-discovered this way back when I was in college and I was finding it hard to pay attention in some of my faster-paced, content-intensive classes. I made a bean bag, which I called my blob and I would hold it in one hand while I wrote with the other. My daughter responds well to fidgets and we used to carry a fidget bag just about everywhere we went. She still has one or two available at school when she needs them.

2) One of the reasons I re-started The Simple Life was to explore ideas of teaching matters of faith to children with special needs. I recently saw this excerpt of a speech by a Jewish Rabbi. I think many of the ideas expressed here could be applied in other faiths, and I believe this is one of the upcoming challenges to churches, synagogues and other places of worship. We need to be prepared. Many parents that I've met don't feel like their special needs children are welcome in their house of worship...and that is beyond sad in my opinion.

3) This story from Eren over at Steady Mom will help you feel good about how our children, of all abilities, can inspire and teach us if we let them. Technically no special needs involved here, but talk about underdogs.

4) My 5th grade French teacher posted a link to this interview on Facebook. I love how Facebook reconnects us with so many different influences...The interview on NPR is with a woman, Heather Sellers, who is affected by "face blindness" - basically she has no memory of what people's faces look like, even people she knows well like her husband and colleagues at work. You can listen to the interview, and read an excerpt from her book "You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know". This is one more reminder to me of how fragile our brains really are...and I can't help but wonder if this disorder is somehow related to the misfirings of autism that lead to similar difficulties with reading social cues like facial expressions.

5) Tammy and Parker are hosting a Boardmaker Studio giveaway over at 5 Minutes for Special I've not used Boardmaker personally, but I know it is widely used for PECS (picture exchange communication systems), visual schedules, social stories, and other visual aids. My kid seems to need pictures of her real life situation most of the time, so we're wearing out our digital camera, but Boardmaker can be a really useful tool. And they're GIVING it away...the giveaway is open until November 15, so you have ONE DAY LEFT to head over there and sign up...

So I am Thankful for fidgets, faith, children, faces, and giving. I am thankful for you, my faithful readers, and I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving season!


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