Treasure the Early Years! Don’t Rush Into Education

When I read about those overzealous parents scribbling their unborn child’s name onto a waiting list for that “hot new preschool” it bugs the heck out of me. Now I know that these parents have only the best intentions, after all, they’re trying to get an early start on ensuring a top of the line education for their child. What’s wrong with that?

Quite a few things actually.

#1 – Your child is not a product, nor a hot new trend to show off as of ____enter scheduled cesarean date here____

#2 – Education IS important, but getting him into “the best of the best school” is not the sole purpose of your child’s existence

#3 – How can you predict what may happen or where you’ll even be three or four years from now?

#4 – You’re already putting high expectations on your child and she’s not even born

I could go on but you get the idea. The point I’m trying to make is that you should not rush your child into a formal type of education while they are still very young. I believe that three years old is a ridiculous age for preschool. Is the ABC’s really more important than exposing your child to your full attention, your love, guidance and life lessons? What is your child going to learn at circle time at the age of three that you can’t show him at home?

If it’s the socialization issue here’s a little tip. At three years old a child is moving from parallel play, or playing “beside” other children with no real interest in interaction, to associative play, or seeking out other children to play with. Engaging and actively playing with other children doesn’t really kick in until around four years of age. If play dates are your preference, schedule a play date once or twice a week, let your child play with the other children at the park, take your child to story time at the library. There are so many different options for exposing your child to other children. Preschool at three years old is just too young. There are no real lessons that your child can learn, or any life skills he will pick up by starting a method of traditional education so early in life. Intelligence is not a race to the finish line. You shouldn’t rush into early enrollment or unboxing that curriculum because you’re afraid that your child will “fall behind.”

That goes for us homeschoolers as well. Holding up flashcards in front of those angel eyes and trying to master motor skills with lesson plans are not beneficial for such a young child. Why do you want to rush through these beautiful years of discovery? Bonding, guidance, praise and security are all your little one needs to develop the essential skills that every child masters at the young stages. Baby Einstein isn’t necessary to grow and connect those neurons, a simple story and a walk through the park will do more for your child than “A-A-An-Annn-Ann-t-t-t-ANT!”

Young children need so much help with understanding and learning how to handle all those feelings that swarm throughout their bodies every minute of the day. Parents are the safest and most qualified individuals to help young children understand their feelings. Your child feels safer and more trust with you than they’ll ever feel with a teacher, daycare provider or peers. It’s critical for children to develop a sense of empathy and to learn how to handle those intense feelings that they can’t control while young. Spending the early years shaping those feelings, manners and morals that you want your child to have is more important than the ABC’s and 1 2 3’s. When your child becomes frustrated with something he doesn’t quite understand, would you rather he throws a huge tantrum, screaming about how he can’t do it, or would you rather he approaches you calmly and politely ask for help in solving this problem he can’t figure out by himself? By forcing your child to focus solely on drills, memorization and exposure to “a normal educational setting” you’re losing critical moments of emotional growth and understanding.

If you really want your young child to learn the basics, here’s something you can do from the comfort of your own home!

When it comes to the alphabet, colors, letters and numbers, matching games are the easiest and most fun introduction. I did this with my daughter when she was around two years old and didn’t try to force anything or rush her into learning anything. I just gave her these sets a few nights a week, matched everything myself while she watched and then cleared the board and watched as she tried to figure it out. Over a couple of weeks, she started figuring it out and began matching the cutout letters onto the sheet of letters perfectly. The same with the colors and numbers. Before my daughter was four years old she knew all her letters, colors and numbers up to twenty.

We should never forget that children need our love and attention. Schools and flash cards can’t replace that special bond parents have with their children. Rushing into education is never a good idea. You’re only given so many years of those joyful baby and toddler years. Treasure and cherish these moments because once they’re gone you can’t get them back. With plenty of love, encouragement, motivation and most importantly, your attention and praise, your child will have no trouble learning everything he needs to know to be just as “smart” as those elite academy preschoolers who has parents more obsessed with status and labels than the pure joy and satisfaction that come from simply enjoying every moment of those early years.

Children don’t need fancy schools with professors at the head of the room. They just need their parents, plenty of hugs, kisses, attention and guidance to get a head start on life. Nothing more, nothing less.

What early educational activities have you used with your child? I’d love to hear about it below!


Source by Courtney M Jones

Involving Autism Apps in Education

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the US. It has grown alarmingly in the past few years. But at the same time, several companies have come up with autism learning apps like “Make Sentences” and “Just Match” that have made learning easier for children with autism spectrum disorder.

But why are autism learning apps proving to be helpful to special needs children? For one, autism apps like “Make Sentences” and “Just Match” have a simple interface which is easy to navigate. Autistic kids are attracted to iPads and tablets. Besides, these devices are handy and portable, and children can use them under various circumstances. These apps can help them learn outside the classroom as well. Autism learning apps particularly help the children to develop communication, social, language, and articulation skills. People learn through touch and the “Make Sentences” and “Just Match” autism apps maximize the learning experience through engaging content, ease of use, and interaction.

There are several autism learning apps available in the market. But there’s a pertinent need to select the ones that have the key features. The “Make Sentences” and “Just Match” autism apps help users to share results. Most of the apps come in various versions that target diverse age groups. This is important because if the autism learning apps are targeted only at the younger group, the older ones will get bored while using them. Also, all autism apps must forge a “real-time” feel. This means that the kids should be able to witness the cause-and-effect action so as to process the message.

The “Make Sentences” and “Just Match” autism learning apps have more options, are more descriptive, and are fully customizable. They can be tuned to suit the needs of each particular child. You can of course add your own words, images, short animations etc.

Kids are particularly fond of the “Make Sentences” and “Just Match” autism apps. Both these apps comprise letter recognition, reading comprehension, object sorting and matching, and letter-sound correspondence. The features have made these two apps extremely popular.

Enthused by the success of these two apps, several companies have introduced their own learning apps. It’s often a challenge to the teachers, counselors, and parents to find the best one.

The “Make Sentences” and “Just Match” autism learning apps, fortunately, have been developed by experts and professionals were involved at every stage of the development. It has won accolades from parents and instructors.


Source by Kevin Carter

Teaching Children With Autism

Developing children, typically, tend to naturally desire social interaction with others. They try to strike up a conversation and communicate naturally. But children with autism spectrum disorder are typically withdrawn and can’t participate in a natural conversation. They may display behaviors and face trouble in communicating effectively in a social situation. It’s quite common for a child having autism spectrum disorder to not use any functional speech at all.

But many latest practices and research have revealed that technology-based gadgets are more effective to target the key challenges of children with autism spectrum disorder. These include socialization, motivation, and communication. All these challenges have a direct impact on the way autistic children interact with others, and participate in school, home, and community environments.

There are thousands of mobile technology apps like “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” that offer solutions to enable autistic children with cognitive challenges to open up their communication abilities and reach out. There are many autism learning apps, and “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” are of course two of the most popular.

The special needs education apps like “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” provide unique tools that help autistic children to learn functions more independently and facilitate communication.

Children with autism and other disabilities often use expanding language for improving their communication and increase the language capacity. Innovative autism learning apps like “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” help in strengthening the language capacity via innovative mobile communication devices that include tabs, iPads and smart phones.

These two apps, according to experts, lessen the barrier of functional communication among autistic kids. They also help to reduce language delays and strengthen the vocabulary of the autistic child, using meaningful day-to-day items from their own environment.

Augmentative communication apps can enhance learning of all several key academic skills of autistic kids. The “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” autism learning apps can reinforce the basic language skills via an in-built robust library of life-like graphics. Both these autism apps are interactive and can be fully customized for each child’s needs. Experts say that these two are the best autism learning apps of their kind in the market.

Autism apps have changed the education landscape for special needs children. Many schools have already integrated these devices in their system. But awareness in this regard is still lacking. Developers of the “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” autism learning apps also provide training for using these apps.


Source by Kevin Carter

Needs: Why Do Some People Feel Selfish For Putting Their Needs First?

While there are some people who feel comfortable putting their needs first, there are others who don’t. Even so, this doesn’t mean someone will be aware of this even though this is the case.

Instead, they could simply have the tendency to focus on other people’s needs, and this is naturally going to cause them to suffer. This doesn’t mean that their life will be any better if they are aware of what is going on, but at least they will know why they are experiencing life in this way.

Point of Focus

When it comes to their day-to-day life, they are likely to spend a lot of time doing what other people want. There is the chance that they will have a career where they help others, and this is not going to be much of a surprise.

They could find that they just know what these people’s needs are, and they could be amazed at how tuned in one is. There could then be times when one is more aware of these people’s needs than they are of their own.

Another Experience

However, if one doesn’t have this ability, the people they assist in their career are bound to be grateful for the effect they have on their life. And through being there for others in this way, one could experience a deep sense of satisfaction.

At the same time, they could have the tendency to feel drained, and as though they rarely have enough energy. Yet, if they spend most of their life being there for others and rarely think about themselves, this is to be expected.

Feedback

If someone was to pick up on how they feel, they could tell them to take break, or they could offer to do something for them. One could have moments when they are able to accept their advice and moments when they ignore it.

And if they wanted to do something for them, one may find that they are not always able to allow this to happen. When something like this takes place, part of them may want to embrace what they have to offer but another part of them might stop this from happening.

Conflict

What this is likely to show is that the part of them that doesn’t want other people to fulfil their needs is the strongest. As a result of this, it ends up overriding the other part of them.

Therefore, if one was able to take a step back from what is taking place, they would see that they working against themselves. Instead of being their own best friend, they are their own worst enemy.

Up and Down

Having their needs met should be something that is a normal part of their life, as opposed to something that causes them so much trouble. There will be the pain they experience through not getting them met and what they have to go through when they are met.

When it comes to the latter, one could find that they end up feeling as though they are doing something wrong. They are likely to be overwhelmed with guilt, and they won’t be able to be in the present moment.

A Way Out

The sooner this experience comes to an end and one is able to focus on someone else, the better they will feel. This is going to mean that they will neglect their own needs, but at least they won’t have to feel bad.

Ultimately, one is going to be receiving what they deserve to receive, but it is going to be as though they are receiving something that they don’t deserve. One way of looking at this would be to say that it is as if they have stolen something.

Relationships

Through being this way, they are likely to have people around them who are also out of balance. They can be only too happy to let one do things for them, and they might not feel the need to give anything back.

There is the chance that one will attract people who feel as though they are entitled to this kind of treatment. It is then going to be as if one is more like a parent than a friend or a lover, for instance.

Part of Life

If one was to look back on their life, they could find that this is how their life has been for quite some time. The only way this is going to change is if they are able to change what is taking place within them.

Through doing this, the people around them will change, or they will no longer be part of their life. This will open them up to people who are able to be there for them and who have no interest in taking advantage of them.

Selfish

In order for one to get to this stage, they will need to realise that there is nothing wrong with their needs. If they don’t take care of them, it is not going to be possible for them to truly be there for others.

Through being able to take care of their own needs without feeling guilty, it will be far easier for them to function at their best. They may find that they don’t feel the need to do as much for others, and this can allow these people to do more for themselves.

Boundaries

One will no longer feel as though they need to do things that other people should be doing, and this will allow them to grow. When one does things that they shouldn’t be doing, they can end up stopping people from being responsible for their own life.

When one doesn’t feel comfortable with their own needs, it can be a sign that their younger years were a time when they had to take care of their caregivers needs. One would have been the parent and their caregiver would have been the child.

Awareness

If one can relate to this and they want to change their circumstances, it might be necessary for them to reach out for external support. This can be provided by a therapist.


Source by Oliver JR Cooper

Using Technology for Helping Your Child With Autism

Technology has entered almost all spheres of our lives. There are several smart phone apps today that help us to communicate a message easier, better, and faster. But how do individuals with autism spectrum disorder communicate or express their desires? While it seemed impossible at first, good Samaritans in the tech industry came up with autism learning apps like “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” that addresses behavioral health issues. Enthused by the success of the “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” autism learning apps, several other companies have come up with their own products.

Give a voice to your child

The customizable “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” autism learning apps help in translating the thoughts of your child into speech by lending them a voice through the system. These two apps leverage picture icons on the device. The icons, when touched, cause a voice output. The touch screen interface can be tailored to suit each individual child’s needs. Images related to words, as well as the most commonly used phrases, can be fed into the device. When a child types a word or a string of words, a voice output enables autistic children in identifying the words.

You can also personalize the experience by recording your own voice. As the autistic child develops, he/she may want to speak a newly acquired particular phrase. In such cases, autistic children simply need to launch the learning app, add or record a message connected to a particular image and the device would start reading out loud.

Learning the basic skills

The autism learning apps are a great help to your child to pick up language and other skills. These apps can also be used for teaching categorization, mathematics, daily living skills and even community safety lessons.

It’s also important to consider how you want to teach autistic kids to generalize what they have acquired from the autism learning apps and respond to natural environmental cues. They shouldn’t become dependent on the autism learning apps in later life.

Instant access to social stories

Short animations that depict various types of social skills and also impart lessons on social behavior, are another area in the domain of autism apps. Earlier, a new social story or lesson would have warranted the use of books and journals for content. But now, the “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” autism learning apps can be connected to the internet directly. All training material can be downloaded sans any hassle.


Source by Kevin Carter

"I Am a Control Freak" – There, I Said It

Wow, I have been teaching for almost thirty two years and it took me this long to figure it out. I am a control freak. There, I said it. Now it is time to move on.

Recently I was involved in the School Improvement plan at my school. We were doing research on some of our student, parent, and teacher surveys. It suddenly occurred to me that students are easily understood. We do not have to do a survey on students to find out the two biggest problems in school according to students. In every school that either has uniforms or a dress code, students will always see dress code as the number one problem and school lunches as the second biggest problem.

It was my next thought that changed my way of thinking. I began to wonder if teachers were just as predictable. If you asked teachers what the biggest problem was in their school, what would they say? My greatest hope would be that teachers would be most concerned with how much students were learning. Certainly that was my first thought. But, when I read the results of the survey I found that 83 percent of the teachers in my school thought that student behavior was the number one problem.

What alarmed me was the fact that I understood kids. I predicted easily what they would perceive as the biggest problems in school. I did not understand myself. I did not know that I was a control freak. I might be over reacting just a little, but it is true. Think about it. What are we doing? Most of the time we put students in straight lines in straight rows and expect them to keep their mouths shut for almost an hour, unless they get permission from none other than the King control freak.

I know what your are thinking about now. You are thinking that without order no one will be able to learn. Certainly there are times when students do need to respect their peers and take turns speaking. The big question is… do we spend too much time controlling each and every one of their behaviors? And If you believe that we are…. what can we do about it?

First we must design models of teaching that enable the students to move around more often and communicate much more with their peers. No! I do not mean collaborative groups where the students merely focus on the concepts and Ideas that the teacher designed. While there is definitely time for these types of exercises, we need to have many learning experiences where the students are given the liberty to use their own creativity in exhibiting the concepts and standards that are to be met on a given day.

If you still do not see teachers as control freaks… let me share a quick story with you. Yesterday I was in a teachers meeting and we were tasked with the job of coming up with a criteria for Student of the Month.

Once again my first thoughts for criteria included some positive signs of academic progress, or even citizenship. Do you think that that was the first thought of my colleagues? I could barely believe my ears. They started making a list of the behaviors that they did not want in the Student of the Month.

After listening for about twenty minutes I could stand it no longer and I brought it to their attention that all we need to do is nominate someone each month and then take a vote.

We are not policeman and our main objective is not to teach them what not to do! We need to guide students through the discovery of creative and innovative ideas and concepts, while engaging the students in their own education.

If you are one of the thousands of control freaks like me, I suggest that you admit it, forget it and move on to a more productive way of teaching. I ceased to control every move that my students make and they are learning more while enjoying their new freedom. We now affectionately call me the reformed Control Freak while they are called the Over Achievers.


Source by Bob Roach