Understanding Your Child’s Uniqueness – Evaluations & Assessments with Dr. Kari Miller, PhD, BCET

No two kids are the same and we all need “unique and special education” to succeed. Some students struggle in ways that fly under the radar and they don’t get the help they need to fully reach their potential. This teleseminar will show parents where to find professional help to identify their child’s strengths and weaknesses so he or she can get the right assistance. Hosted by Anderson & Associates Counseling and Psychologist Services.

evaluations

Expert Interviews

Dr. Kari Miller, PhD
“Welcome to the most comprehensive collection of expert advice in the field of parenting, education, advocacy, and straightforward information about special kids, their education, and their future that you will find anywhere on the web!”

 

 

 

Dear Parent,

I’m pleased to have put together a powerful collection of expert interviews for you. You can easily access these very special recordings by clicking on the link below.

Access the interviews here.

Here’s to your child’s SUCCESS!

Dr. Kari Miller

 

Moms Fighting Autism – Tips from an Educational Therapist

Dr. Kari recently appeared on a webinar for Moms Fighting Autism to discuss Improving Reading Comprehension for Students on the Spectrum: A Parent’s Guide to Simple Effective Strategies You Can Use at Home.

Click here to download the slide presentation and the handouts.

Social skills classes for 4-5 year olds

Children with special needs may have trouble following rules, cooperating with others or making their needs known in appropriate ways.

Young children with special needs may have difficulty getting along with other children.  Children with special needs may have trouble following rules, cooperating with others or making their needs known in appropriate ways.

For example, a child with autism spectrum disorder often has difficulty understanding that other children have different thoughts and opinions.  Children with attention deficit disorder can have trouble taking turns or dealing with their feelings of frustration or jealousy. Read more

Autism Q & A with Dr. Kari

3 common myths about autismDr. Kari recently answered questions about autism for a HEALTHathon sponsored by Baby Blog Addict.

1. What are 3 myths you hear people say about Autism?

Myth: Autism can be cured by using (fill in the blank).

Dictionary.com:

Cure — “to relieve or rid of something detrimental, as an illness.”

The term “cure” suggests that complete removal of all causing influences can be achieved, and I believe that the autism spectrum behaviors may have complicated mechanisms that produce and sustain them.  At this point, I think it is most fruitful to view the behaviors and symptoms associated with the autism spectrum as capable of being improved to some degree.

There are many useful and effective approaches that help to improve the quality of life for individuals on the spectrum.  But no one approach will produce improvement for all individuals with autism.   Parents must be wary of any approach that claims to “cure” autism, because a cure just hasn’t been discovered.

It’s important to work with a multi-disciplinary team (for example, doctors, occupational therapists, educators, psychologists) to determine the most likely approaches and methods for each person, implement them, and carefully note the changes.  Many people on the spectrum benefit from more than one method, and pursuing a balanced, holistic approach to management of symptoms and behaviors, is most likely to produce the best results for your child. Read more

Download – The Warning Signs of Autism

the warning signs of autismAutism used to be a rare disorder, but as many as one out of a hundred children have autism. Early treatment is important, so you should know the signs of autism in your child. On this episode of Education Revolution, Dr. Kari talks with Joanne Lara, autism education and movement specialist, who shares the signs your child may have autism and tells parents what to do if you suspect your child has autism.

Download the show MP3 (right-click and ‘save as’)

Understanding the Mental Skills Affected by ADD and ADHD

Understanding the Mental Skills Affected by ADD and ADHDIt can be tough having ADD/ ADHD, especially if you are a child.  ADD and ADHD are actually two names for the same condition.

This article discusses the types of mental abilities affected by ADHD, give examples of academic tasks that use these mental abilities, and provide examples of strategies to improve each of the skills.  If you know how your child’s mental abilities are affected by ADHD, you can predict what kind of tasks he will have difficulty with and provide support in those areas.

The key to understanding ADHD is realizing that the symptoms go far beyond “difficulty paying attention” and often affect many aspects of a person’s life.  Each person’s symptoms are different and each person is affected to a greater or lesser degree.  One thing is certain, however, ADHD affects learning, relationships, self-esteem and, ultimately, your child’s career.

What do kids with ADHD experience in school?

Students with ADHD can have a very hard time with academics.  They may have difficulty managing their thoughts, emotions, memory, motivation, and attention.  For example, they may find it very hard to listen and remember what the teacher says.  They may have trouble getting the ideas organized in their mind and understanding how all of the pieces fit together.  They may have trouble with sequences; young children may have trouble learning the alphabet, or the order of the months.

Executive Skills Are Affected by ADHD

Psychologists refer to the mental abilities affected by ADHD as executive skills because we use these abilities to manage and direct our lives.  Executive skills allow us to plan and organize our behavior, make well-thought-out decisions, overrule immediate desires in favor of longer-term goals, take conscious control of emotions, and monitor our thoughts in order to work more efficiently and effectively.  The following listing and brief description of executive skills illustrates the range of abilities needed to effectively manage our lives.  Following each skill description are suggestions for improving that skill.

Read more

Download – Does Your Child Have ADD or Is This Just Kid Stuff?

does your child have add?One of parents’ most worrisome concerns is whether their child has ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Finding out for sure is crucial to your child’s future. In this edition of of the online radio show Education Revolution, Dr. Kari Miller is joined by Dr. Ann Simun, clinical neuropsychologist and specialist in diagnosing ADD and ADHD who explains the symptoms of ADD and ADHD, what testing for ADD and ADHD involves, and how parents can help their child with this condition thrive in school.

Download the show MP3 (right-click and choose ‘save as’)

Helping Kids with Learning Disabilities Build Listening Skills

build listening skillsStudents who have strong listening skills do much better in school than students who do not have this ability.  Good listening skills also help adults succeed in relationships and in careers.  Because of the emphasis placed on listening skills, school can be very frustrating even if your child does not have an auditory processing problem, ADHD, or language processing problem.  What can parents do at home to improve listening skills?

Listening is not hearing

Our brains can process an astonishing 20,000 bits of auditory information every second!  Hearing is a very “passive” activity.  Think about the last time you were in a crowded room and were aware that there was a lot of talking, but didn’t know what each person was saying.  The conversations are just “background noise,” not really registering with you, even though you could hear them.  Listening on the other hand, is a conscious process of getting meaning from what we hear.  It involves attention and a decision to participate intellectually with the speaker and the message.  Skillful listening requires the ability to stay focused on the message, resist other distractions, and make a meaningful connection with the content of the message.  Good listening requires practice because it involves effort to do it well.

Don’t inadvertently erode your child’s motivation and self-confidence about listening

We have so much pressure in raising our families, earning a living, and caring for ourselves that we often don’t realize how our behavior is affecting our children.  We fall into the trap of calling out directions from another room without knowing whether our kids are able to give us their attention.  We need to get our children’s attention before expecting them to listen.  Try this strategy:  stand in the doorway or near your child without saying anything and wait for him to notice you.  Then make a positive comment about your child’s activity before launching in to your directions.

Give your child a reason to listen to what you have to say by developing mutual interests and discussing them together

Encourage your child to describe his thoughts.  Keep the focus on actively listening to what he is saying.  Show through your example what good, thoughtful listening looks like by being attentive, asking good follow-up questions, and interacting with what your child has to say.

Auditory processing strategies

If your child has a great deal of difficulty understanding speech sounds due to an auditory processing problem, speak slowly and distinctly.  Let your child see your mouth as you speak.  Teach your child to feel what the sounds feel like when she speaks by having her put her hand on her mouth or throat as she says a difficult word.  Let her look in a mirror when she pronounces a difficult word to give her visual feedback.

Reduce distractions

During learning periods, reduce distracting noise such as that coming from artificial lighting, TV sets, or washing machines.  If outside noise is a problem, hang drapes or wall hangings to absorb sound.  Use “white noise” to soothe and focus your child.  Good sources of masking noise are fish tanks; upbeat, instrumental music; and desktop waterfalls.

Take movement breaks to revitalize

The body and brain need movement to function properly.  A few minutes of movement exercises during homework time will re-energize the nervous system for better attention and learning.  Read more ideas.

Read to your child every day for at least ten minutes

One of the most powerful strategies a parent can use to build their child’s skills is to read stories that your child finds interesting.  Choose materials in areas of mutual interest or stories that go along with the topics your child’s class is studying.  Stop regularly and ask your child to predict what will happen next or express an opinion.  Listen to stories together at libraries and bookstores.  Books on tape are great.

Help your child develop “inner language” skills

Inner language is the little voice inside our heads that guides and directs our actions.  Develop these skills by teaching your child to repeat back what is said to him.  Ask him to explain what he is thinking as he works.  Teach him to describe to you what he is going to do before he does it and while he’s doing it.  All of these strategies will help him learn to focus on the steps in a process and make it easier for him to work through the specific steps the teacher gives him in the classroom.

“Echo-Tap”

Make this a game!  Read to your child in phrases short enough for her to repeat them back to you.  Poems are excellent sources because they contain rhythm and rhyme and are lots of fun!  The next step in this method is to have your child tap out the syllables as she repeats back to you.  Now, for the third phase, have your child listen to you read, but instead of repeating back to you what you said, she will only tap out the syllables.  This is going to develop her inner language skills.  If this is hard, give her shorter phrases to tap or let her whisper while she taps, gradually phasing out the whispering.  Be sure at each stage that after you finish reading, your child can tell you in her own words what you have read.

Build your child’s vocabulary skills

Help your child learn new words by developing mutual interests, such as going to museums, learning a sport, or investigating interesting animals.  As you and your child engage in interesting activities, take the opportunity to increase her vocabulary.   Vocabulary words learned in interactive, fun activities are better learned and remembered.

Teach your child to visualize on the classroom walls what he hears

Start by using a piece of paper and dividing it into four sections.  Read a story to your child and discuss it with him so he remembers it.  Then have him draw four pictures that illustrate the story—beginning, middle and end.  When you have done this a number of times, read a story, discuss it, and then have him look at one of the walls in the room and imagine that his picture is drawn on the wall.  Continue with three other walls.  Now practice by pointing to a wall and asking your child what he is imagining on the wall.  Discuss how to use this technique in the classroom to increase his interest and attention during class discussions.

Fun games for preschool and early elementary children

Clapping Patterns. Clap your hands in a rhythmic pattern, and have your child repeat it.  Increase the number of claps and build in a memory aspect to the activity.

Talk with the Animals.  Collect your child’s favorite stuffed animals; sit your child facing away from you.  Each animal knocks and gives clues to its identity using a funny voice.

Word Shout. Read a book with a word or phrase that is repeated frequently.  Have your child shout out the word or phrase whenever he or she hears it.

Fun games for older elementary children

Then. The first person makes a statement that ends with the word “then.” The next person adds a statement that goes along with the story.  For example:  First person: “The doorbell rang, then…” Second child: “….the dog started to bark, then…”

Who’s Talking. Watch one of your child’s favorite movies or television shows together. Have her close her eyes.  Now and then say “Who’s talking.” Your child identifies who is speaking.

Cook Together. Find a recipe, and read the directions out loud to your child.

Your child’s success in school is dependent upon many things, but strong listening abilities are one of the most important.  Remember to connect with your child in activities that truly interest him or her and she will be eager to listen to what you have to say!

For children on the autism spectrum – It is NOT about the toy!

Aaron DelandMr. Aaron Deland, Los Angeles autism therapist, discusses developmentally based approaches to increasing social interaction skills that are applicable for children and adults with significant developmental delays such as autism spectrum disorders.

Anyone who has any experience with autism has heard the term Applied Behavioral Analysis, or ABA. ABA has been the most popular approach to developing social and communication skills for children identified with autism spectrum disorders for approximately forty years. ABA’s principles are rooted in the work of the noted psychologist, B.F. Skinner.

In general, ABA has a highly therapist-directed style that emphasizes making demands or requests of the child, and rewarding the child for compliance. The therapist has an agenda or curriculum of different cognitive and skill-based goals. The role of the child in most behaviorally based treatments is one of compliant trainee.

Read more