3 Simple Techniques to Increase Your Students' Independence

There has been a 16% increase in children with disabilities over the past decade.


The good news is, Asthma is down. The bad news is, neurodevelopmental disabilities are on the rise. That's CVI, ONH, and Autism.

 

We, as educators, are charged with leading our students’ teams in the fight for their independence.

Collaborating with Your Students' Team Members

During my first year as an O&M Specialist, I had a student with multiple disabilities that I walked to the dorm after school. He was a non-verbal 13 year old male student with Autism. When I inherited this student upon accepting the position, he was using a Connecticut- style AMD.

 

It worked great for him for the first few months. Then, he started to throw it. Every day. He also started to hit me, bite me, and throw himself on the ground.

 

Not too bad, unless you are 22, have NO idea what you are doing, and have to get this kid across a community-college size campus right after his gentleman “recreation” time. None of those things were in my favor.

 

Never-the-less, I noticed that he no longer needed the full AMD. It was time to move towards a less restricted cane.

 

So, I suggested an L-bar for him.

 

His teacher adamantly disagreed.

 

In this week’s vlog post, I share exactly how I navigated the situation and how I approach collaborations with other teachers.

 

 

If you like this information, you will definitely want to check out the O&M for Students with Multiple Disabilities Study Group. 

The good news is... STUDY GROUP REGISTRATION IS CURRENTLY OPEN! (As of August 20, 2018).

In case you are wondering, Study Group Registration will be open until we have 30 people in each group. I fully expect them to fill up before registration closes in September.

 

How to Get the Most Out of Your Planning Sessions

All too often, I see O&M teachers who once had a zest for their job get caught up in the “Not enough” story that we can start to tell ourselves. Not enough time. Not enough money. Not enough resources.

 

Where we once felt an abundance of life-giving energy, we now see it all as a sea of hardened concrete.

 

I know some people who don’t even attend conferences any more because they tell themselves that there is nothing more to learn. They don’t have enough time to implement their new ideas, so they don’t even bother.

 

Check out this video where I explained where most O&Mers get stuck and how to get out of the O&M rut.

 

My challenge to you today is to flip that switch. What if what we have IS enough. What if we can make miracles happen with what we do have?

 

For years, my planning periods were split into two 15 minute sessions in any given day. Now, I’m not paid for any planning time. It is all on me.

 

This is how I make the most of my planning periods, and how you can too:

  1. Brain Dump. At the beginning of every week, do a brain dump. Write down everything you have to do for the foreseeable future. Make this one list. One life, one list. Write down all of your upcoming IEP meetings, your client needs, your child’s dentist appointment, your taxes.. Everything. Break them down in to 10 minute tasks if you can. For example, 1. Gather tactile map supplies. 2. Tactile map layout. 3. Glue tactile map. Do this part with pen and paper if you can. If not, just a note in your phone will be fine.

  2. If you want to take an extra step here, you can separate them in either:

    1. TODAY, UPCOMING, and LATER; or

    2. I. Important and Urgent, II. Urgent, but not Important, III. Important, but not Urgent, IV. Not Important and Not Urgent (from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

  3. Choose 3 things to get accomplished this week. ONLY 3. Choose the most urgent and important at first, then move on to the upcoming or important but not urgent items.

  4. Every day, start at least one item on your list. Aim to accomplish it.

 

By being prepared for your planning sessions, you will cut out a lot of wasted time trying to figure out what to do with your planning session.

 

Then, you can start to see your way out of the O&M Rut, and be able to fit in time for other things.

 

Like data.

 

Just kidding. Like study groups, obviously. If you are ready to leave that O&M Rut behind and use your newly acquired time to help your students become better travelers, you are more than welcome to join the O&M Study Groups this fall.

 

In the study groups, we will meet 4 times over the course of the semester in live, interactive webinars. Each webinar topic will give you specific strategies to use with your students.

 

There are two study groups to choose from. Head over to the website to see if you would prefer to join the MIVI study group or the technology study group!

 

Registration for the study groups opens next week! 

Collaborating with Your Students' Team Members

I had a student who was 13, multiple impairments, no verbal communication, and using an AMD. 

Every lesson, he would hit, bite, and scratch me all the way from his classroom to his dorm. 

None-the-less, he was ready to move away from the traditional Connecticut AMD to a less restrictive device. I wanted to move him to an L-bar, but his teacher adamantly disagreed. 

Here are a few ideas of how to handle this type of situation WHEN it happens. 

How to use Google Maps app with VoiceOver to Travel a Route

How to use Google Maps app with VoiceOver to Travel a Route

Technology is all the rage right now. We are obsessed with everything from our mobile devices, to wearable devices, to apps, to beacons... 

How can we keep up with it all? 

The truth is. You don't have to. Focus on the fundamentals. Cane Skills. Getting out of bathroom stalls. Traveling routes INDEPENDENTLY. Those skills are the foundation of all of your students' travel skills. 

From there, you can start to incorporate new technology and mobile apps in to your students' curriculum. 

Today, we are going to deep dive in to using Google maps and voiceover for students visual impairments.

Tips for Helping Students with Spatial Awareness Issues

It was the second day of school. I was waiting outside of the restroom for a student that I had just met the day before.

I waited. 

And waited.

And waited.

Turns out, she was literally lost in the bathroom stall. 

Helping students with spatial awareness issues can seem daunting. Here is how I was able to modify this student's Orientation and Mobility curriculum in order to help her travel around the bathroom, her classroom, and her school building. 

If those tips helped you, or if you want more information about the Fall 2018 O&M Study Groups, you can find more information here. 

 

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O&M Study Group

Professional Development for dedicated O&M Specialists

Yoga for Self Love

Yoga for Self Love

As teachers, we often neglect our own needs during the school year. That's just a part of who we are. We are givers. Summer is our time to refill our cups and give ourselves time for Self Love, or self-care.  Enjoy this Yoga for Self Love class that will allow you to expand in to who you are now and be able to offer your self fully in the next school year.