FacebookTwitter

Learn More About Williams Syndrome

By on Jul 13, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Williams Syndrome, a genetic condition present at birth, affects between 20,000 and 30,000 people in the United States and occurs equally in males and females. People with Williams Syndrome are known to be strikingly verbal, highly social, and drawn to music. However, these attributes that bring joy and make individuals with Williams Syndrome friendly and endearing also accompany a variety of medical and cognitive concerns. Babies born with Williams Syndrome often have serious cardiovascular problems and may require repeated surgical interventions. They also tend to be irritable or “colicky” babies that experience slow weight gain and related feeding problems. As they grow, children with Williams Syndrome may struggle with kidney issues, sensitive hearing, musculoskeletal problems, developmental delays, learning disabilities, and ADHD. The most common cognitive concerns as children with Williams Syndrome grow and develop are understanding abstract reasoning, number concepts, and spatial relations. Paired with physical challenges, these cognitive concerns typically require individuals with Williams Syndrome to receive supportive housing and specialized employment. In spite of these difficulties, children with Williams Syndrome are often described as being highly endearing and polite, traits that could serve them very well in life.  Often adults with Williams Syndrome have very defined strengths and weaknesses, so encouraging a child’s strength and helping to find improvements or workarounds for weaknesses like spatial reasoning can help set your child up for success.  Even with the challenges, living with a child who has Williams Syndrome is often a very rewarding experience. To learn more about disabilities in kids stay connected with our Exceptional Kids blog and the information and resources we’ve gathered for our...

Fidgeting Might Help Kids With ADHD Concentrate

By on Jul 8, 2015 in Uncategorized |

One of the most common symptoms of ADHD in children is fidgeting. It is often an early indicator to parents and educators that further evaluation and treatment may be necessary. Recent research indicates that not only is fidgeting incredibly common it may also be a way that children naturally cope with ADHD. The first study, published in the Child Neuropsychology journal, indicates that children with ADHD that fidgeted the most during a test were also the most accurate. Sensors were placed on the children’s ankles to measure activity levels during a test designed to assess their ability to attend to a visual task. The Journal of Abnormal Psychology recently published another study with similar results in which children were asked to perform a variety of memory and concentration tasks. This research indicated that the children with ADHD that moved the most performed the best. Understanding fidgeting as a coping mechanism may transform the way children with ADHD are treated and how parents and educators can best meet their academic needs. At Exceptional Kids we are committed to gathering resources to support kids with ADHD and their families. Stay in touch with us to learn...

Studies Indicate Starting Therapy Young Has a Positive Effect on Kids With Autism

By on Jul 1, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) typically receive a variety of services designed to help reduce their core autism symptoms and improve their adaptive behavior. Because every child with autism is different, these services vary greatly based on individual needs. However, recent research suggests that regardless of specific services there is a benefit to starting these therapies between ages 18 to 30 months. Researchers at the University of Washington Autism Center tracked kids with autism that participated in a randomized and controlled trial of the Early Start Denver Model. (ESDM) These children, ages 18 to 30 months, were evaluated on their adaptive behavior, challenging behavior, diagnosis, autism symptoms, and IQ. There was no significant difference in autism symptoms at the end of the ESDM delivery. However, this controlled group maintained gains from the early intervention program for more than two years after it ended. These findings indicate that parents, physicians, and service providers should work together to ensure early intervention occurs and that provided services align with the child’s specific needs. Stay connected with our Exceptional Kids blog to discover even more resources and information for kids with autism and their...

New Kid’s Book Explains That Talking About Disabilities Isn’t Taboo

By on Jun 26, 2015 in Uncategorized |

One of the best ways to teach children about differences is to share children’s books that help to demystify disabilities. The stories provide something to talk about and help children to see that people that seem different are just like everyone else. One of our favorite new resources for helping children better understand those with disabilities is a book titled “It’s Ok to Ask!”. This book was written by a team of experts at Gillette Children’s Specialty Health in St. Paul, Minnesota. It features five children each using a different adaptive device including a tablet to communicate, leg braces, a specialized bike, and a wheelchair. Throughout the book other children ask each one of them about their specific device. This conversationalist approach to demystifying disabilities is very natural to children and encourages them to ask when they have questions instead of making assumptions or staring in silence. The book also helps prove to children that others aren’t defined by their disabilities and are very much just like them. The Exceptional Kids blog is dedicated to discovering resources and information for families about things that help kids with disabilities. Check us out online to learn...

Swimming Can Be Highly Beneficial to Kids With Disabilities

By on Jun 22, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Children with disabilities love to be active and engaged just like their typically developing peers! One great way to increase physical activity is to go swimming. Structured swim lessons and recreational time in the pool both benefit children with disabilities in a variety of ways. Swimming can help children with disabilities improve their: Physical capabilities- Children may experience an increase in muscle strength and endurance, aerobic fitness, and flexibility from regular swimming. Participating in swimming activities can also help with performing transfers and may aid in decreasing extraneous movements. Communication skills- The pool is a perfect location for practicing valuable communication skills. Listening, following directions, and expressive language can all be integrated into a swimming lesson. Behavioral outcomes- Time spent swimming can benefit a child’s behavioral outcomes and may help lessen unwanted behaviors. Positive reinforcement of desired pool behaviors will boost both safety and enjoyment. Swimming is just of the many fun things for kids with disabilities to enjoy this summer. Stay up to date with new resources and information by visiting our Exceptional Kids blog on a regular...

Gear Up for a Fun, Low Stress Summer With Your Kids

By on Jun 17, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Summer is here and it’s the perfect time to enjoy fun activities with your children. The warm summer sun and the relaxed schedule will leave your entire family happy and stress-free. Our favorite fun things for kids with disabilities to enjoy this summer include: Train trips- All kids love trains! You can schedule a fun day trip during non-commuting hours to eliminate the hustle and bustle of too many passengers. We recommend bringing your own snacks and securing a window seat for your child. Water fun- Your backyard hose and sprinkler can be easily transformed into your own personal water park. Let your child experience what the different sprays on the hose feel like and allow for them to safely run through the sprinkler for a full sensory experience. Nature walks- The feel of a smooth rock or the sound of a bird chirping are just a few things to experience on a nature walk. Set off with your child to explore nature and have conversations about what you hear and what you see. Our team at Exceptional Kids is excited that summer has arrived! Keep up with our blog to learn about more fun activities for your entire family to enjoy this...

A Toy Like Me is an Inspiring Collection of Parent-Made Toys With Disabilities

By on Jun 12, 2015 in Uncategorized |

A parent-run campaign and advocacy group, “Toy Like Me”, is encouraging toy manufacturers to better represent children with disabilities in the toys they create. These parents understand how important it is for children with disabilities to see accurate representations of themselves in the toys they play with. They strive for diversity and inclusion in toys that include a wide range of disabilities. The movement began as parents sharing toys they had created or modified to better represent their children.  The amount of creativity displayed by the parents is staggering. Many people queried where they could buy these toys and were disappointed to learn that they weren’t on sale, but rather the results of a labor of love by dedicated parents.  Toy Like Me began to call upon manufacturers to add these toys to their lineup to meet the needs of parents and their children with disabilities. The first toy manufacturer to join the Toy Like Me revolution was Makies, a custom doll company. Customers have the ability to completely customize their doll and are now able to choose options including cochlear implants, a cane, and a doll with a facial vascular birthmark. The most recent addition to the Toy Like Me movement is Playmobil. This global toy brand heard the call of parents hoping for more inclusive toys and is working to integrate diversity into their play sets. The “Toy Like Me” parents and advocates hope that more toy brands will join the movement and help to create a toy box that includes accurate representations of children with disabilities. At Exceptional Kids we are committed to sourcing fun things for kids with disabilities to enjoy. Stay connected with us to learn...

Things to Keep in Mind When Talking to a Child With Learning Disabilities

By on Jun 8, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Learning disabilities are characterized as functions or behaviors that prevent individuals from learning in a typical way. Difficulty learning skills that typically developing peers have mastered or the inability to meet developmental milestones may indicate a child has a learning disability. When interacting with a child with a learning disability it’s important to: Be patient- Punishing a child with a learning disability or losing your patience won’t make the learning occur faster. Instead of getting frustrated when something is difficult for the child, refocus on positive interactions and aim to be more patient with the learning process. Get creative- Children with learning disabilities think and learn differently from many others. You can put these differences to good use by becoming creative with how you approach certain tasks. Instead of expecting a child to adapt to the task consider adapting the task to the child. Celebrate accomplishments- Even though children with learning disabilities may learn differently than their peers there is still plenty to be excited about. Celebrating growth and persistence should go hand in hand with honoring achievements. At Exceptional Kids we’re committed to gathering resources about things that help kids with disabilities. Check us out online to learn...