Friday, June 17, 2016

A letter to my students transitioning to middle school

Because sometimes, I don't think we prepare our students with disabilities enough during that elementary to middle school transition, I was inspired to write them a little letter based on a variety of posts by people with disabilities talking about their experiences during this oh-so-fun-time.  I wanted to let them know some "things to look for" to help prepare them and to begin to self advocate.  Self advocacy needs to start early.  I don't know if anyone ever sits down with these kids to share these ideas, but someone should.  So I decided I needed to be that person.

Dear __________________________,
I just wanted to take the time to tell you to have an awesome summer and give you some tips to dealing with middle school!!! I am really proud of all you have accomplished and you will be great! The biggest thing is to advocate for yourself.  And if/when you need help, please don’t be afraid to ask. School can be a challenging place for a student who uses a wheelchair or walker. There are all kinds of unexpected barriers such changes to the cafeteria set up, tables and desks that suddenly appear that won't allow a wheelchair in between. It's important to use these challenges as learning experiences in becoming an independent adult.  Wishing you the best!!!
Ms. Becca, OT

Managing School Supplies
  • strapping a large backpack onto the front of you using the seatbelt to hold it can work for carrying bulky items
  • a sling under the seat between the wheels and a smaller backpack behind  you to carry big items
  • Ask for an extra set of school textbooks to keep at home.
  • If you have a locker, make sure you can get into it easily

Navigating the Classroom and School Building
  • Make sure there is enough room to get around all of the furniture and that you can reach everything
  • Request an orientation before school starts to figure out how to get from one class to another.
  • Get access to an elevator key to go from one floor to another if needed
  • Talk with your teachers to see if you need to leave class a few minutes early and have a few minutes' grace period to arrive at your next class

Emergency and Safety
  • Find out what the plan is in a fire or emergency drill - Like if you are on the second floor and  can't use the elevator for evacuation

Restroom Accommodations
  • Find all the bathrooms that are accessible for you.
  • Carry bathroom supplies in your backpack.

Support Staff
  • Have the physical therapist or occupational therapist make sure that whatever desk you have is the appropriate height for you
  • And that you have reasonable space to enter and exit the classroom.
  • Check in with your teachers or therapist with any issues that arise

Friday, April 22, 2016

SOS Skills of Studying 2 Minute Tutorial

So I am trying something new since I've been out of the loop for a while.  I enjoy watching those white board videos on You Tube. They incorporate visual and auditory components so that I can retrieve that information a little better- since I made a multi sensory connection.

I wanted to try my hand at making one.  I discovered VideoScribe which is a web based program you can download- free for 7 days and then purchase.  It is very intuitive and easy to use.

I can really see this an effective tool to tap into for both students and teachers to create meaningful projects and presentations.

Check out my new VideoScribe that I hope to make into a series: SOS Skills of Studying 2 Minute Tutorials on the SQ3R Method which is an organized approach reading text and articles and studying to get the most out of the material.

Let me know what you think or leave a comment about topics you would like to see in this format!