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Dr. Donia Fahim Blog

How to Choose a Preschool for Children with Special Needs

By | Dr. Donia Fahim Blog, Parenting Tips | No Comments

While US federal laws requires that accommodations be made to educate children with special needs in all public schools across the country, many other countries have followed the lead on this. When it comes to educating pre-school children the regulations are not as stringent and, when it comes to choosing a preschool for children with special needs, great care should be taken to ensure you find the right place for your child.

When I worked in Africa and the Middle East, at a time when we were establishing the guidelines for setting up early intervention programs and inclusion practices during …

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Holidays Can Be Stressful for Children with Special Needs

By | Dr. Donia Fahim Blog, Parenting Tips | No Comments

While most of us experience increased joy and happiness during the end-of-year celebrations, the holidays can be stressful for special needs children. Crowded spaces, flashing lights, lots of noise, meeting strangers, hugging, change in routine, and sheer chaos can be a recipe for stress and sensory overload for them, at this otherwise happy time.

As the parent, guardian, or caregiver of special needs child, you will need to be flexible with your ideas of what your family’s holiday celebrations should look like. The ritual and traditions you remember from your childhood may not be the best choices for your own …

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Teaching Math Concepts to Children with Special Needs

By | Dr. Donia Fahim Blog, Tips for Parents and Teachers | No Comments

While language and auditory processing deficits can affect the ability to learn language, they can also hinder your child’s ability to understand abstract concepts and to master the problem solving skills conveyed when teaching math concepts. Children with special needs may have receptive or expressive language problems that can substantially affect their learning and ability to express what they do not understand, or to show how they solved problems.

Words and phrases we use every day, will have very different meanings when it comes to numbers and mathematical operations. When you say to your child, “I’m just in the middle …

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Setting Up a Home Therapy Room/Corner

By | Dr. Donia Fahim Blog, Tips for Raising Children | No Comments

The colder months can mean spending a lot more time at home. But this doesn’t have to be boring for you & your child. Why not try setting up a few things right in your home?

How to Set Up a Home Therapy Room

Creating a simple shelf with a few items on it can be a great way to introduce stories and songs to your child. Perhaps you and your child could spend some time here just before bed which could be a wonderful opportunity to make mundane routines more fun and educational!

Here’s an example of a home …

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Speech and Language Therapy – Why Does Speech Language Therapy Work?

By | Dr. Donia Fahim Blog, Speech & Language Therapy | No Comments

Human beings have long been curious about how the brain works, wondering about the structure and function of this most remarkable part of our bodies. Ongoing research has only recently revealed many secrets of the brain, with many more to be learned, of course. For parents of special needs children, this research has offered wonderful insight into how we can use speech and language therapy to improve communication and behavioural challenges.

speech-and-language-therapy-for-childrenYou may have heard the brain referred to as being “plastic”. Of course, we all know that is not what the brain is made of but, brain plasticity, or …

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Delayed Speech Development – Why Does My Child Talk But Not Communicate?

By | Dr. Donia Fahim Blog, Speech & Language Therapy | No Comments

While the stages of speech and language development are the same for all children, the age at which children develop them can vary significantly. As a parent or guardian, if you know what’s considered “normal” in speech and language development, and what’s not, you will be better able to figure out if there’s cause for concern about delayed speech language development – or if your child’s speech and language skills are developing on schedule.

How Are Speech, Language and Communicating Different?

  • delayed-speech-development-in childrenSpeech is the ability to articulate and produce sounds and knowing which sounds are used for a given language
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Value of Reading to Children with Special Needs

By | Dr. Donia Fahim Blog, Parenting Tips | No Comments

reading-to-children-with-special-needsReading aloud is a great way of engaging with young children, while also promoting language development and early literacy skills. It is widely accepted that reading aloud is the single most important activity leading to language development and promotes early literacy skills in children; yet, when it comes to reading to children with special needs, recent research indicates that reading instruction in small groups may have more value.

According to researcher H. Lee Swanson, Ph.D., Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of California at Riverside, “Traditionally, one-on-one reading instruction has been considered optimal for students with [learning disabilities]. Yet …

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Positive Parenting Skills: 5 Positive Parenting Rules

By | Dr. Donia Fahim Blog, Parenting Tips | No Comments

parenting-rulesAs a parent, you must distinguish between your child’s behaviours, understanding the difference between those that are deliberate and those that are due to other factors, such as: fear, stress, fatigue, and hunger. Following these 5 parenting rules will help you figure out the clues your child is sending.

Each parent or guardian will have their own unique way of parenting, which you learnt from how you were brought up. We all tend to parent as we were parented, until we become aware of certain behaviours and make conscious decisions to try and modify them.

We can all think of …

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Positive Parenting Skills: Building Positive Role Modelling Skills

By | Dr. Donia Fahim Blog, Tips for Raising Children | No Comments

role-modellingI am often asked by parents how to manage specific behaviours exhibited by their children. My first question to these parents is always the same, “How do you behave as a parent?” This is often met with stunned silence and wide, staring eyes as they struggle to understand the need for positive role modelling.

Children need their parents or guardians to be good models; role models for acceptable behaviour. That means you have to practice good listening to teach good listening, use manners to teach manners, and practice self-control to teach patience.

If you argue, shout at others, and call …

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Positive Parenting Skills: What Type of Role Model Are You?

By | Dr. Donia Fahim Blog, Parenting Tips | No Comments

As parents, we often don’t realise that, through our own actions, we are encouraging our children’s negative behaviours, such as: screaming, whining, kicking, and not listening. Young children are incredibly attentive, and they crave adult attention, be it positive or negative. Preschool children are especially adept at testing adults because, developmentally, they are on a quest for autonomy. This is why learning positive parenting skills is so important.

Children this young simply do not understand consequences, the “If you… I will…” type of experience that parents often mistake for a “teaching moment.” Such language structures have no meaning to them …

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