Topic: Special Needs

The Power of Hope from Childhood Professionals

Several years ago at a professional training I conducted on parental stress, an 80-year-old mother raised her hand to share an insight. A psychologist and mother, she explained that she had a 50-year-old son with special needs. “Everyone told us to institutionalize him,” she said, “that he would be functioning at the lowest levels, and […]

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Freedom of Choice: Why Special Education Programs Should be Transparent About their Approaches

When parents enroll their children in a school, they often don’t realize they’re choosing not only a program, but a whole approach. I was reminded of this when I was asked to observe a little girl at a state-sponsored preschool for children with developmental differences. “Ana”, 3, was happily playing when she noticed that a […]

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Early Intervention: Don’t Let a Diagnosis Define Your Child

More children are being identified with developmental challenges and receiving early intervention than ever before. While a diagnosis is critical to securing services to help children develop to their true potential, it can also have unintended negative consequences, including stress and anxiety for parents. It’s essential to find the help, energy and time for services […]

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Ten Things to ask for when Your Child is Diagnosed with Autism or Developmental Differences

As a pediatric psychologist I know that families’ journeys can be fraught with unexpected challenges. Discovering that your child has differences can be daunting. And sometimes, making sure that your child’s needs are properly met by the outside world can be even more stressful. One aspect I am especially passionate about as a psychologist is […]

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What Makes an Education “Appropriate”? Building It on Relationships

Every IEP team should assure that a child has the chance to develop emotional regulation through trusting relationships. Without that opportunity, meaningful learning is impossible.

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A Nurturing Alternative to Calm-Down and Time-Out Rooms

Rose’s parents and teachers were concerned about how to help her find success in kindergarten. Sometimes she went with the flow but at other times Rose fussed so much that she disrupted the whole class. Then her teachers devised a plan that everyone thought would help. They designated a small, separate section of the classroom […]

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The Hidden Costs of Planned Ignoring

There are downsides to planned ignoring in behavioral therapies and ABA. This article describes what they are.

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Different, Not Deficient: Five Ways to Ensure your Special Child is Receiving the Right Messages

I’m grateful for the wonderful response to my last post, Ten Things to Ask of Professionals working with your Special Needs Child, which focused on helping the adults in your child’s life to see the positive, not just the deficits. In the coming weeks, I’ll focus on each point individually, elaborating more specifically on how […]

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Ten Things to Ask of Professionals Working with Your Special Needs Child

A Fresno, California mother made headlines when she sued her daughter’s teacher and school administrators. The mom had paid a surprise classroom visit and allegedly found her developmentally delayed seven-year-old locked in a makeshift cage and wearing a soiled diaper. The principal of the school reportedly told police that the enclosure was a safety precaution that had […]

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