Friday, March 1, 2013

March Newsletter

Structured Routine Center
Primary Classroom
March Newsletter

Every year I have parents ask me for recommendations for adult and children’s books, so this month’s newsletter contains a few favorites. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just some highlights:

Books for you:
Some books and sites for you and your family.  Of course, there are many great resources out there, but these are just a few:
*Helping Children with Autism Learn                 By Bryna Siegel       
*Autism Spectrum Disorders                               By Chantal Sicile-Kira
*The socially included child                                By Laurie LeComer
*A cup of comfort                                                By Colleen Sell
*Kids in the syndrome mix                                    By Martin Kutcher
*Ten things every child with Autism wishes you knew
    By Ellen Notbohm

* The Out-of-Sync Child has fun                         By Carol Stock Kranowitz 
*Future Horizons, Inc.                                  
*Autism Speaks                                            
*Autism Society (Oregon)                      

Books for your student:

Again, the great children’s books out there are limitless, but these are a few favorites:
*Chicka Chicka Boom Boom                           By Bill Martin
*How do dinosaurs go to school?                    By Jane Yolen, Mark Teague
*Big Red Tub                                                       By Julia Jarman
*Click Clack Moo                                               By Doreen Cronin
 *The Elephant and Piggie Series                     By Mo Willems
*Llama Llama Red pajama                              By Anna Dewdney
*The deep blue sea                                           By Audrey Wood

Autism research
In the vast amounts of available Autism Research, sometimes it is challenging to determine which sources are more credible than others.  While completing my masters in 2008, I was given some helpful tools for evaluating research.
This is an abbreviated version of some guidelines in: Evaluating Research Quality: Guidelines for Scholarship.

Some questions to keep in mind when examining ASD Research:
1. Is the information based on repeatable, widespread proven facts? (To examine Accuracy/Credibility)

2. Who is the author? What is his/her expertise? What is his or her background? (Author)

3. Is the information comprehensive? Does it address the wide variety of the Autism Spectrum? (Coverage/Relevance)

4. When was the information published? (Currency)

5. How objective is the information? Is the opposing view presented in a balanced way? Is it presented at all? Who published the material? Do they have something to gain by distorting the information? (Objectivity/bias)

6. Is there a list of references or works cited? What is the credibility of those references? (Sources/Documentation)

In the end, we all want to support our students and children the best way we can, and we are wise to consult research by experts in doing so. Unfortunately, ASD is a complex disorder, and with so many questions still unanswered, information presented may not always be accurate.  These reminders have been helpful to me in researching for school and for teaching. 

Jessi’s Speech Corner
All the possibilities

Greetings from the Speech Corner! Well, March is upon us and the school year has just flown by!  I know that for me, time just seems to pick up speed this time of the year and all the things that I need to get done just keep piling up.  I start feeling anxious and thinking about how I’m not doing the best that I could be, in all areas of life.  Therefore, this month’s speech corner is all about reminding you how often you are working on language with your child every day.  You’re doing it and maybe didn’t even realize it! J

Every time you interact with your child you are helping him create more examples in his brain of positive interaction, communication that works and appropriate social skills.  In your interactions with other children and adults in your life, you are modeling appropriate behavior and communication for your child.  Even though I have talked about how one-on-one time with minimal distractions are the best for focused language stimulation, generalization tends to be difficult for our students, and language use and modeling in restaurants, the car, stores, and at the park are all situations where you are working on communication and appropriate behavior and routines with your child.  So keep in mind all those little times that your child is getting to work on communication and social skills and give yourself a pat on the back!

If you ever have questions or concerns, please feel free to call or email me at

Have a great March! J

Marcia’s OT Edge
Fine-Motor Strength

In infancy, the muscles of the hand are not fully developed, as they are only able to grip and squeeze with the whole hand, then all the fingers, and finally isolating a few fingers and thumb to pinch (all by 10 mo. of age).  When the muscles of the forearm and hand are slow to develop, weakness and incoordination may result.  The larger muscles in the forearm may overcompensate for the weaker smaller muscles in the hands.  What may result is finding other ways to hold objects, and pinch and grip small objects.  The child then may have more trouble with using a pincer grasp (for example to pick up a cheerio), hold crayons or pencils effectively, use silverware easily, cutting with scissors or fastening clothing (buttons, zippers, snaps). 

Activities to do at home to help develop the muscles of the forearm and hand to provide a stronger foundation for writing, cutting, etc… in the classroom, include:
·      Play dough or cookie dough- squeezing, pulling, pinching, and rolling, hide small objects and have your child pull them out, cut it up with children’s scissors, flatten with a rolling pin.
·      Interlocking construction toys- mega blocks, bristle blocks, legos, tinkertoys, pop beads, linking chains.
·      Water play with squirt bottles, squirt toys, sponges-  spray the bathtub and help scrub while taking a bath, spray colored water on the sidewalk, clear water on the car to help wash, squirt toys in the tub or pool, wring out wet sponges in the tub, from a bucket outside.
·      Clothespin Games-  use the pads of the thumb and index finger to open clothespins and place along the rim of a container, around a paper plate, along the bottom of a shirt or use tongs to pick up cotton balls or beads.
·      Playground equipment-  hand on or move across monkey bars, hand on tightly on the swing, or climb up the slide.
·      Cooking-  knead dough, roll out dough, use cookie cutters, stir anything, spread anything!

Marcia Loggins, OTR/L

Important Dates to Remember:

Literacy Night  6:30 pm                           :           March 7
Budget Reduction Day-No School        :           March 11
Grading Day-No School                          :           March 15
Report Cards go home-District-wide     :           March 22
Spring Break                                              :           March 25-29

I hope that you have a wonderful March and a restful spring break!

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