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Tips for Parents and Teachers

Tips for Special Educators – Verbal Behavior and Teaching Language

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

In today’s post, we begin a series of tips for special educators, designed to help them grow their skills and tools for teaching children with special needs.

Verbal Behavior (VB), is a method of teaching language that focuses on the idea that a meaning of a word is found in its function. In essence, to teach a child with language delays what a word means, you must first teach how the word is used.

This theory of teaching language (originally developed by renowned psychologist B.F. Skinner), has been reinforced by recent research into the use of models of language forms …

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Early Childhood Best Practices – Thematic Planning

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

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful January. January is my birthday month. I was born on January 1st on a cold frosty morning a few weeks earlier than expected. My mother, who is a doctor, was on call at the time and I was her New Year’s surprise! We were featured in local paper as I was the first baby born that year at the hospital, that was the equivalent of social media in the 70s. After spending my birthday with family, my bags were packed once again and I have been traveling and working in Cairo & Riyadh. …

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Evidence-Based Timing of Intervention for Special Needs Children

By | Dr. Donia Fahim Blog, Tips for Parents and Teachers | No Comments
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Scientific evidence is important, but it is not the only consideration when evaluating the type and timing of intervention programs for your child. Studies of young children with language delays not associated with ASD suggest that they usually learn effectively from interventions embedded in play and natural interactions, with clear models of language forms provided by adults for children to use the models in their own speech.

With this in mind, how can a family sift through the enormous amount of information available to find not only the most appropriate treatment for their child – but when such treatment should …

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Tips for Special Educators and Therapists – The Early Start Denver Model

By | Dr. Donia Fahim Blog, Tips for Parents and Teachers | No Comments
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More than a dozen studies have demonstrated the benefits of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) as an early intervention for autism among children as young as 18 months. These studies included children across a wide range of learning abilities, as well as one-on-one sessions and ESDM delivered to groups of children.

The foundation of ESDM is the empirical knowledge-base of infant-toddler learning and development and the effects of early autism. It is a relationship-based intervention that fully involves the child’s parents, caregivers, and family.

A relationship-based approach like ESDM is founded on the idea that, what children with ASD …

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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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Tips to Reinforce Speech and Language Therapy at Home

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Even if your child has not been diagnosed with specific speech language challenges, as a parent or guardian, you are the person who knows best if he or she would benefit from speech and language therapy. With that in mind, there are a number of ways for you to reinforce the work your child is doing in therapy to help build your child’s communication skills; or things you can do in the interim if you are waiting for an assessment.

Language building is essential during the first years of a child’s life, as this is when most of the pathways …

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For Special Needs Children, Providing Structure is Critical

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Providing structure is important for every child but, for children with special needs, providing structure is essential for their learning experience. The designation “children with special needs” is for children who may have challenges which are more severe than the typical child and could possibly last a lifetime. These children will need extra support and additional services, as well as a clearly structured home life.

Consistent routines and clear expectations – a consistent, organized, clearly defined daily plan – will help create order and add structure to your child’s day, as well as your own. Things go more smoothly when …

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5 Tips to Communicate with Your Child with Special Needs

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Finding effective ways to communicate with a child with special needs can be stressful and frustrating for both the parent and the child. Since few parents or guardians are trained as a speech language therapist, it’s unlikely that you will go into parenthood understanding the often-unique ways your child will try to express him/her self, or the best tips to communicate with your child with special needs.

When a child is not speaking, the adult will try to do anything to help but this often ends up with the adult speaking more and asking questions and, in turn, there is …

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What is the Difference between Talking and Communicating?

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

AACPic2For a moment think about TALKING and COMMUNICATING. Are they the same thing? I consult for a family, who have a little boy Sammy, with a rare genetic disorder. Sammy is three and is unable to communicate using spoken language but does this little boy try his best to communicate!! His smiles, infectious giggles and facial expressions tell an entire story. He has now learned to use the app My Very First AAC to express his needs and is moving onto a more complex device.

I love this app, it is parent friendly, simple to use, and photos/voice recordings can …

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Daily routines: give them a chance to communicate!

By | Cultural and Linguistic Diversity, Everything Autism, Tips for Parents and Teachers | No Comments

When do you teach your child to communicate? 

Hand washing, toileting, mealtime, and naptime are some of the daily activities that occur throughout the day. These routines are predictable and regular and therefore can be utilized for natural teaching opportunities to address communication development and related skills. These routines can become ideal learning activities for young children with ASD and developmental disorders especially when some time is taken to plan for what might be taught during such routines. Routines will look different from country to country and from home to home. I am ending a work visit in Saudi Arabia. …

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