Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December Newsletter

Structured Routine Center
Primary Classroom
December Newsletter

Holiday Season

Hopefully everyone had an enjoyable thanksgiving weekend.  I know that here at school we are ready for a fun December.  As I discussed with some of you at conferences the holiday season, while fun and exciting, can sometimes be a bit overstimulating for our students. The noise, the lights, the subtle changes in routines—all of these things can be overwhelming for any child, and these changes can sometimes be especially challenging for students impacted by ASD.
Here at school, one of the things we work hard on is teaching children social skills, and coping skills that can translate across environments, so that when things are especially challenging, they are that much m ore prepared. In preparation for the exciting holiday season, we will be talking about a few things students may experience this month that are different, like Santa and reindeer, snow and snowmen, and decorating trees inside the house. J We will not be talking about these with any religious implications, but as recognition of things that are different in December.  If you have any questions about our activities this month, please do not hesitate to ask.
Also, another thing to remember—your child may be very aware of your excitement and stress level this holiday season. J

Report Cards and Progress Notes

This Friday report cards and progress notes will be sent home district wide.  I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that this looks a little different for students in our program.  Each student in the Beaverton School District will receive a report card.  These report cards rate each students progress against grade level state standards.  This will mean that on your student’s report card, you will see some marks that indicate your child is not meeting standards.  This in no way means that your child is not making outstanding progress!
In addition to the report card, you will be receiving progress notes on your child’s progress towards their IEP goals.  Much like the progress notes that you received on your child’s IFSPs, these progress notes are written by your child’s specialists and myself, are based on your child’s individual progress against their individual goals, and are based on data collected here at school and hopefully it will give you a detailed understanding of where your student is at with their academic progress.
Each and every child in our class is making great gains, and we see more and more of their exuberant personalities every day.  If you have any questions about report cards or progress notes please let me know.

Jessi’s Speech Corner
Appreciating the good stuff

Greetings from the Speech Corner!  The holidays are well under way and I know that I am starting to feel the stress of work and family and other commitments that seems to make this time of year harder than most.  The stress of the season is always one of those unwanted things that comes along with the celebrations, decorations, and time spent at home with family.  However, remember how important it can be to take time to step back from the chaos and observe and appreciate what you have in your life.

Therefore, for this month, I would like to challenge you to take some time out of your busy schedule to spend some quality time with your child.  The holidays are usually a time to reflect on the past year.  Remember back to where your child was at this time last year and look at all the progress he/she has made.  Communication is the most rewarding when both parties are receptive and appreciative.  Make sure to include some rewarding communication with your child in your holiday festivities, both for you and your child’s happiness.

If you ever have questions or concerns, please feel free to call or email me at jessica_lynch@beaverton.k12.or.us.

Have a great December! J

Marcia’s OT Edge
The importance of learning to draw shapes……

Most school based OT’s write objectives to be able to draw basic shapes under a visual motor goal.  This seems so simple, and why is it so important to master shapes before handwriting is successful?

The ability to draw shapes from lines to at least a triangle, is the visual motor foundation to writing letters.  By having the eyes and hands work together to copy basic shapes, the child is ready to write and draw in school.

At the age of 2-3 years, a child should be able to copy a vertical line and a horizontal line as well as a circle.  These are single stroke shapes that teach basic directionality.  At 3 ½ to 4 years,  the child will start copying a cross with intersecting lines that signifies crossing the midline of the body, and a square, which requires the skills of stopping and changing pencil direction, all critical skills for forming letters.  At 4 ½ to 5 years diagonal lines will come in, and the child will be able to form an X and eventually a triangle with clearly angled sides.  Around this time you may also notice the child may learn to skip, which is a prerequisite as crossing midline with gross motor actions coming first in development.

In school, therapy, and at home, it is important to practice drawing shapes using a multisensory approach.  Examples include:  drawing in shaving cream in the bathtub, in a tray full of cornmeal or flour, or in sand outside. Form shapes with playdough, cookie dough, pipe cleaners, straws, popsicle sticks, or string.  Write with anything but  a pencil:  sidewalk chalk, markers, paintbrushes, window markers, fingerpaint, etc…

Grading Day-No School                          :           December 3rd
Progress Notes go home                         :           December 7th
Barnes and Noble Book Fair                   :           December 7th (4-8 pm)
            (Tanasbourne Store)
Budget Reduction Day-No School        :           December 10th
Winter Party                                              :           December 20th
Winter Break-No School                          :           December 21st-January 4th

I hope that you each of your families had a wonderful Thanksgiving. All of our students were so excited to spend time with their families and talk about food! They had so much fun with our food unit, and several of our students are able to demonstrate an emerging understanding of the food groups using the MyPlate.gov plate! Way to go! In December, our thematic unit will be giving. We will practice giving and receiving gifts, and talk about the importance of saying thank you!

Thanks for all you do!

Ashlee Yokom
Primary Classroom Teacher
Structured Routine Center
Sexton Mountain Elementary
(503) 672 3560

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