Posted in Autism, Disability Awareness, Homeschooling, Product Reviews, Special Needs Parenting

Activities for Visual Learners and Kinesthetic Learners.

Many individuals with autism and other special needs are visual and kinesthetic learners.

In other words, they learn best by seeing, touching, and doing!

Temple Grandin PhD who is perhaps the most famous person in the world with autism says that she, herself thinks in pictures.

*(This post contains affiliate links.)

She describes her mind as actually working like Google Images! (My Mind Works Like Google Images)(Autism: The Way I See It).

She believes that if students with autism are to be successful learners, their teachers must discover what their dominant learning styles are, then teach them accordingly.

I have had the awesome privilege if hearing Dr. Grandin lecture in person and I respect her opinions and suggestions immensely!

I believe she speaks with authority, therefore, when she speaks, I pay close attention!

 

My daughter Bethany, has been diagnosed with autism as well as a few other disabilities.

Through trial and error, I have discovered that her dominant learning styles are visual and hands-on (kinesthetic).

Her language processing speed is quite slow so it’s almost impossible for her to learn by listening only.

Consequently, I’m always on the lookout for fun toys, games, and activities that are designed with visual and kinesthetic learning styles in mind.

I’ve compiled a list of visual and hands-on educational products below.

Some of them I have personally used in Bethany’s homeschooling program.

They have passed the “Bethany likes them” test and have also been effective in teaching her new skills.

The others are either very similar to items that we have or items that I think would be a good fit for her.

Flash Cards

  • Flash Cards, especially photo flash cards are one of the handiest and most effective tools for teaching a variety of concepts. You can find Flash Cards that will enforce matching skills, teach about feelings, emotions and categories. You can even find vocabulary flash cards. The teaching possibilities with flash cards are endless!

Puzzles

  • Manipulating puzzles is one of Bethany’s favorite ways to learn new concepts! Working with puzzles incorporates both visual and kinesthetic learning styles!
  • She loves learning how to spell words with her set of three letter word puzzles. She also enjoys using two piece puzzles to work on concepts like go togethers or opposites. These self correcting number puzzles were instrumental in teaching Bethany one to one correspondence.
  • For a bit more of a challenge and to develop language and critical thinking skills I suggest this three piece sequencing puzzle.

Math

  • Math manipulatives are fun for younger kids or even older individuals who still need practice with basic early learning math skills such as identifying colors, shapes, sequencing, patterns,  sorting, and more!  They are great for getting  your precious one’s gross and fine motor skills involved in the learning process!
  • You are sure to find a Domino game for teaching just about any early learning math concept such as counting, addition, fractions, and even time
  • Rolling and throwing Dice is a fun for kids and as an added bonus it gets their muscles involved in the learning process! Any kind of dice game is Bethany’s favorite at the moment. She loves the excitement and anticipation of wondering whether she’ll get a good roll or a bad one!
  • You can use Dice to teach basic math operations, the metric system, place value, and money skills.
  • Tenzies is a fast and frenzied calculation dice game that would be perfect for fun family game night as well as actually sharpening your eye hand coordination!

Language Arts

  • Dice games aren’t just for teaching math skills either! Dabble is a fast paced word game that is sure to wake up the language areas of the brain which are located in the temporal & frontal lobes.
  • Crosswords is like doing a crossword puzzle with dice!
  • And speaking of Word games, Bethany loves getting her whole upper body involved in language processing development while playing Zingo games. You can choose from either Zingo Sight Words and Zingo Word Builder
  • Word Whiz is an electronic word building flash card game!

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You may also find Six Tips for Modifying Lessons for visual learners helpful!
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Whether you are finding in yourself in need of adding a little excitement and pizzazz to your homeschooling program or you just want to reinforce skills your child is currently learning at school, you’re sure to find just the right item by clicking on any of my affiliate links!



Please enjoy this video of Ethan a young man with autism. All his teachers said he was not capable of learning. Watch the miracle of learning unfold as his parents begin homeschooling him and teaching him visually!

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Thanks so much for stopping by!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at no extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, an autistic and  brave brain tumor survivor !

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

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Posted in Autism, Bethany Moments, Childhood Brain Cancer Survivors, Disability Awareness, Homeschooling, Product Reviews, Special Needs Parenting, Therapies, Unschooling in Action

Wikki Stix for Occupational Therapy Fun!

Bethany has enjoyed playing and learning with Wikki Stix ever since her first occupational therapist suggested we get her a set 18 years ago!

(*This post contains affiliate links.)

For those of you that may not know what Wikki Stix  are, they creative, colorful, non-toxic pieces of yarn covered in a waxy, non-sticky coating.  

For us, Wikki Stix have stood the test of time as being one of Bethany’s favorite activities and as being a sturdy, durable and indestructible purchase well worth our modest investment!

Wikki Stix are perfect for working on Occupational therapy goals!

Bethany’s goals at this time are to:

  • Strengthen her left arm, hand, and fingers.
  • Encourage her to reach her arm and hand across mid-line. This is the imaginary line that starts at the top of your head and travels down the middle of your body, dividing it in half. Reaching your arm, hands, (and even feet) across this imaginary line means that both sides of your brain are working well together.  A person needs to be able to spontaneously cross the mid-line in order to use both hands (and feet) together effectively.

If you think Wikki Stix might be a good fit for your child, then I urge you to check out these durable, creative, no-mess, non-toxic, sets for tons of fun, creative learning activities sensory integration and tactile experiences!

  • Bethany is working with the Basic Shapes set in the video below. This tactile learning activity helps develop fine motor skills, plus it encourages good eye-hand coordination! Children will learn about shapes as they connect-the-dots using Wikki Stix. This set features ten, durable, laminated shape cards, 72 Wikki Stix, 2 work boards, and a large full color fold out instruction sheet.
  • The Alphabet Set contains 26 individual alphabet cards plus 36 Wikki Stix. Each letter card has directional arrows that will help guide your child in creating the proper handwriting “strokes” making for a perfectly fun pre-writing activity!
  • The Numbers and Counting Set will get your child working on developing  fine motor skills as well as learning about counting. Kids will have so much fun with this set that they won’t even realize they are learning!
  • The Wikki Stix Multi Sensory Resource Set  provides a perfect tactile and sensory experience for children. This set is great for  visually impaired individuals just like Bethany, who is blind on the right sides of both of her eyes. It also provides lots of creative kinesthetic learning, which makes it just the right choice when working with autistic individuals!  This set contains: 6 activity cards, 144 colored wikki stix, a resource manual, and a grid board, all included in a zip-up bonus bag. Not made for children under the age of 3 years old.
  • The Wikki Stix Traveler Play Set is perfect for taking along on your family vacation!  Your child will work on their therapy goals as well as their fine motor skills. They’ll also explore their feelings, make critters and creatures, make a Wikkidoodle, create funny faces, make 3-D creations, play travel games, spin and create in the Do-Wikki Game, decorate cans and bags, and design cards. This travel kit includes: 96 Wikki Stix Creatables Wooden shapes Feathers Pompoms 4 blank faces 2 greeting cards Do-Wikki Game Wikkidoodle sheets Travel Fun Book of ideas plus project sheet Colorful fish and a butterfly to decorate , and it all comes  in a convenient, sturdy carrying case!

For more information about crossing the mid-line and other occupational therapy concerns, ideas, and activities please visit OT Mom Learning Activities
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*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at no extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, a brave brain tumor survivor and special girl!

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

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Continue reading “Wikki Stix for Occupational Therapy Fun!”

Posted in Autism, Disability Awareness, Homeschooling, Product Reviews, Special Needs Parenting

Occupational Therapy Products!

My daughter, Bethany was diagnosed with a life threatening brain tumor when she was just two years old!

After she had the surgery to remove it some complications caused her to have a stroke.

The stroke caused right sided hemiplegia, which basically means she lost the use her right arm, hand, leg and foot!

In addition to all that, when Bethany was five, she was also diagnosed with autism and sensory processing disorder.

Intensive physical therapy was effective in helping her regain the ability to stand and walk again.

However, even though Bethany “graduated” from official occupational therapy, physical therapy, and sensory integration therapy years ago, if we aren’t constantly stimulating her right arm and hand, she seems to forget that she can actually use them!

She also experiences an ongoing struggle with regulating her delicate tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive sensory systems.

As a result, I’m constantly on the lookout for the latest, state of the art, therapy products to include in our home therapy program.

I’m always on the prowl for something new that just might entice Bethany to use her right arm and hand more often and items to help regulate the three sensory systems she has trouble with.

You can really see Bethany’s hemiplegia in action in the video below!

(*This post contains affiliate links.)

Over the years, I’ve come across many products that I feel have helped Bethany recover from her stroke and accommodate for her sensory issues.

I thought I’d share them with you all here on the chance that you or your loved one with similar challenges might benefit from them as well!

  • If you’re looking for items to help your child remain calm and able to focus, you might want to take a look at these noise cancelling head phones. They’re perfect for kids who become overwhelmed or are easily distracted in noisy environments.
  • One of the items that I asked The Dream Factory to provide for my daughter Bethany’s “chill out” sensory room is this awesome Peapod! She loves tightness against her body and this is perfect for providing that type of sensory input!
  • For helping Bethany with sensory regulation, we also asked for a special needs swing. It’s great for calming agitated kids and promotes proper sensory integration.
  • A bubble tube light was next on our list of items wanted for Beth’s sensory room. Bubble lights provide a calming visual stimulation that helps kids chill out and relax!
  • Looking for some fun and informal sensory toy ideas? Then check out this package of kinetic sand! You can even get tools like this sand molding tool set to enhance the sensory experience! Manipulating this sand between the fingers is a perfect activity for both sensory seekers and sensory avoiders! Playing with sand is also great for working fine motor skills and for encouraging body awareness, and tactile exploration!
  • Theraputty is a great tool for strengthing fine motor muscles! I used to hide little toys inside for Bethany to find!
  • This weighted puppy is sure to become a bedtime favorite for your little one! This furry friend will provide your child with all the sensory input, heavy work, and tactile stimulation he or she needs!
  • Perhaps your little wiggle worm might benefit from using a chair ball! Kids can sit and bounce on it but it won’t roll away! It’s perfect for kids that just cannot sit still in a a classroom situation!
  • Another unique seating option for the child who just can’t stop moving might be the Stabili-T-stool. Kids will work on balance, trunk control, core stability, motor planning and coordination while rocking on this unique stool!
  • Are chewing needs distracting your kids from learning at school? chewable pencil toppers might be just the ticket! These pencil toppers will provide oral stimulation in a somewhat discrete manner!
  • Using a slant board for writing assignments will help prevent wrist fatigue and encourage better posture while working on handwriting!
  • Is your child reluctant to wear certain clothes? Maybe compression clothing would help! If you watch our Youtube channel, then you know that Bethany wears wet suits for sensory regulation!
  • I appreciate all the special products to help kids with handwriting!
  • These cool Interactive reading bools were designed with special needs in mind! They come in seven ability levels and give kids practice in reading and motor planning. They also help develop speech and language skills.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, I do think it’s enough to get you all started on researching products that might be helpful for your family!

Do you have anything that has been helpful that you’d like to share with us? Tell us in the comments!
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*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at no extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, a brave brain tumor survivor and special girl!

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

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Posted in Autism, Disability Awareness, Homeschooling, Product Reviews, Unschooling in Action

Six Tips for Modifying Lessons For Visual Learners

This post was originally published on 12/09/13 at Nathan’s Voice

When I decided to homeschool my daughter, Bethany who has autism and other disabilities, I already knew that the majority of children with autism are visual learners.

I also knew through personal trial and error that processing language did not come naturally or easily for Bethany.

She simply did not seem to be able to comprehend wordy, complicated directions, explanations, or even the stories that I read to her.

visual learners

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I knew that Bethany would never learn by reading textbooks or listening to lectures.

So, somehow I would have to adapt and modify traditional lessons plans and learning materials in order to present educational concepts to her in a more basic and visual way.

After doing some research and scouring the internet for resources, I came up with some strategies and products that have worked well for us and may make learning more, visual, hands on, accessible, and meaningful for other children with autism as well.

(*This post contains affiliate links)

6 Tips for Making Lessons More Visual and Hands-On!

1. Translate what you want to teach into realistic pictures, photos, or better yet use real objects. For example, if you are teaching your child about the parts of a flower, you can take your child outside to pick flowers, then dissect the flower while naming all the parts and perhaps what each part does. You can reinforce the concepts taught by making flower part flash cards, labeling flower part diagrams, and even cutting and pasting paper made parts of a flower together.

Speaking of Cutting and pasting…Cut and Paste activities are perfect for hands on, visual learning assignments! My favorites are: Cut and Paste Mini-Books: Science by , Scholastic, Cut and Paste: Science, Math, and Language Arts and My Body by all by Teacher Created Resources

2. When explaining concepts verbally cannot be combined with a visual, pairing what you say with sign language gives your child something visual to associate with what you’re saying.

If your child can hear, I recommend using SEE or the Signing Exact English method rather than ASL. We want our children to associate each sign with the word. It isn’t necessary to sign words like the, and, a, or other articles. Just sign the important words of the sentence. For example: if you are teaching the parts of the flower, you might say, “This flower has a stem, petals, and leaves.” I would sign only the signs for- flower, stem, petals, leaves. I have found that it’s nearly impossible (at least for me) to sign every single word of a sentence as fast as I can say it anyway!

3. File folder games and shoe box tasks are both fantastic visual, hands on aids for teaching any number of educational concepts to children with autism.

There is a multitude of ideas and resources for constructing both file folder games and shoe box tasks online. Many are even available for free!

4. Check out the following helpful books that offer instructions in creating many useful, visual teaching tools for children with autism.

Teaching Math to People Down Syndrome and Other Hands On Learners by DeAnna Horstmeier, How Do I Teach This Kid?, and How Do I Teach This Kid to Read? by Kimberly A. Henry.

5. There are numerous companies online that offer educational products and games for children.

One product that I love is Versatiles. Versatiles not only make learning more visual and hands on but they also make learning more fun! Versatiles engage students with the challenge of a puzzle. They reinforce important skills and concepts. The activities are organized by grade level and subject. The subjects available are math, reading/ language arts, and science. Versatiles are perfect for independent practice and give immediate feedback for self-checking which is great for kids who don’t like to wait to see how they did!

Whether you homeschool your child with autism or are looking for new ideas and activities to meaningfully connect with your child and keep him or her engaged and constructively occupied during non- school hours, I hope that this list of suggestions will serve you well.

You can find many of the products mentioned in this post by clicking on my affiliate link below. If you should decide to purchase an item through this link you will be helping to support “Faith, Hope, and Love!” Thanks!

Here’s a video featuring some of the products mentioned in this post! Be sure to click the link to check out all our Homeschooling videos!

Helpful Resources:
Lakeshore Learning
Educational insights
Mayer Johnson
ETA Hand 2 Mind to purchase Versatiles
Shoe Box Tasks
Tasks Galore
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*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at not extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, a brave brain tumor survivor and special girl!

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Posted in Homeschooling, Product Reviews, Special Needs Parenting

18 Fun Thinking Games That Will Make You Use Your Noggin!!

In my attempts to engage my special needs daughter, Bethany in meaningful learning activities, I’ve accumulated quite the extensive collection of fun thinking games that make her use her noggin.

I can honestly say that consistently playing  these mind engaging games with her has decreased the amount of time that  she automatically resorts to her default mode of doing  nothing but watch videos.   
fun thinking games
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purple divider - Copy - CopyWhile I do believe that spending time playing any type of game with Bethany is far superior than allowing her to vegetate on the couch watching Barney all day, I also believe that our time together could be better spent than playing mindless board games where all we do is roll the dice and move our game pieces that much closer to the finish line!

I want Bethany’s game playing  experiences to engage her brain, challenge her mind, and force her to put on her thinking cap before she makes her next move!

And just in case some of you out there might also be interested in playing these types of games with your kids but don’t know where to begin, I’ve collected all of our brain building games in one place here today for your viewing pleasure.

Playing any one of these games will surely give your child’s brain a vigorous workout!.

Some will help develop problem solving skills, sharpen critical thinking skills, spark creative thinking, and teach colors, shapes, categorizing, matching and pattern rcognition.

Others will work on eye-hand coordination, visual-spatial thinking, and fine motor skills.

Others still, will encourage goal setting, develop patience, and boost self confidence!

But perhaps best of all, while all that healthy brain cell building is going on, you and your child will be spending quality fun time together!

Be sure to watch the video at the end of this post!  I do  an unboxing of each game and Bethany demonstrates how to play a few of them, too!

Below are 18 Bethany Approved Fun Thinking Games!

1) SuperMind gives practice in spatial relationships, shape recognition, and problem-solving skills.Super Mind

2) Cat Rat Bat Splat  works on matching skills, visual thinking, and turn taking.

Cat Rat Bat Splat

3) Blik-Blok boosts visual thinking skills, problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Blik Blok

4) Stare Junior Board Game trains visual memory skills and turn taking.

Stare Junior Board Game

5) Q-bitz and Q-Bitz Solo gives a workout in spacial recognition, organizational skills, critical thinking and problem solving.

Q-bitz

6) Shapes Up develops spatial-thinking skills, critical thinking skills and teaches some colors and shapes.

Shapes Up

7) Pixy Cubes develops agility, visual perception, memory and creativity.

Pixy Cubes

8) I Spy Find It Fast Game encourages visual recognition skills, quick thinking, cooperative play.

I Spy Find It Fast

9) Mental Blox Critical Thinking Game teaches problem solving, critical thinking, eye-hand coordination, matching, and finding patterns.

Mental Blox

10) Yahtzee teaches turn taking, counting, sequencing, and finding patterns.

Yahtzee

11) Cube Puzzles help strengthen eye-hand coordination, gross and fine motor skills, memory, problem solving, setting goals, and patience.

Cube Puzzles

12) Dizios develops pattern recognition, spacial recognition, planning, problem solving skills, and turn taking.

Dizzios

13) Color Code helps develop logic and spatial reasoning skills.

Color Code

14) Riddle Cube develops spatial reasoning skills, builds problem-solving skills, and encourages good sportsmanship.

Riddle Cube

15) Imaginets works on fine motor skills, problem solving, and visual thinking skills.

Imaginets

16) Picture Perfect encourages color identification, matching, hand-eye coordination, patterning skills, and helps develop fine motor development.

Picture Perfect

17) Pattern Play provides a tactile experience that develops fine motor skills and spatial relationships, finding patterns,  matching, problem solving, creative thinking, and early math concepts.

Pattern Play

18) Sort & Match Flower Pot  teaches color matching, shape matching and pattern recognition and strengthens fine motor skills.

Flower Pot Sort and Match

For even more brain boosting fun checkout these other awesome games!

*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item through one of my links I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you! Thanks!

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Posted in Bethany Moments, Disability Awareness, Product Reviews, Special Needs Parenting

Helpful and Handy Gadgets for Stroke Victims

gadgets for stroke victims
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As I mention in my post, Sharing Our Story, earlier this week, my daughter Bethany, is a stroke victim. She suffered a stroke during brain tumor surgery.

Bethany’s stroke caused the loss of her ability to use of her right arm, hand, and leg. She could no longer sit, stand, walk, or feed herself.

Not only did Bethany need physical and occupational therapy to strengthen her muscles in order to regain the use of her right side, she also needed a few handy gadgets designed especially to help stroke victims relearn such skills!

Stroke victims face unique challenges.

Using adaptive aids designed specifically to help ameliorate those unique challenges can greatly improve the quality of life, make life easier, and help individuals who are dealing with the aftermath of strokes be more independent.

There are many helpful gadgets available for use with stroke victims.

  • We used the Ableware Scooper Bowl with suction cup base to help reduce spills while Bethany ate soup, cereal, and other such foods. This bowl  is designed for people who deal with hand tremors, paralysis, Parkinson’s disease, or other disabilities and who have difficulty eating independently.  It encourages self confidence and aids in self feeding because it has a vacuum suction base that makes it impossible for the bowl to be tipped over or dumped.
  • This Ableware Scooper Plate with suction cup base was helpful for all the same reasons as the soup bowl above. It has a raised edge and reverse curve that helped Bethany to successfully scoop up food onto her spoon or fork. A rubber ring on the bottom prevents this plate from sliding.
  • The Ablewear No Tip Cup Keeper which holds 6 oz to 16 oz. cups, glasses or bottles was perfect for Bethany because even if she bumped or hit it, It would not tip over! This non-tip feature makes it perfect for use on wheelchair trays, over-bed tables, or table tops.
  • The Good Grip eating utensils have a soft, cushiony, rubbery like material covering their handles that prevent them from slipping out of hands. These utensils can be adjusted and bent to any angle and can be used with either hand. They are perfect for those who have had a stroke, or have a weak grasp, limited arm movement, Parkinson’s disease or neurological impairments. The knife which has a safety feature to protect fingers, requires only minimal arm strength for cutting. Bethany still prefers to use eating utensils with a grip rather than traditional flatware.
  • If you have a loved one who has suffered a stroke and want to know how to best help them, I recommend the book, Healing the Broken Brain: Leading Experts Answer 100 Questions, it contains important and pertinent information given from both doctors’ and patients’ points of view.  It also provides accurate and practical answers to your questions about stroke victims.

*This post contains affiliate links. You have my deepest thanks if you decide to purchase an item through one of my links!*

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Posted in Autism, Product Reviews, Special Needs Parenting

Spot light on National Autism Resources

National Autism Resources Corporation is your one stop, comprehensive, online resource for purchasing quality educational products, gifts, and toys,  perfect for children and adults with autism.

national autism resources

autism sites
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//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js purple divider - Copy - Copy National Autism Resources Corp offers over 1400 products for individuals with autism and similar special needs challenges. From calming products and sensory toys and tools to oral motor tools and chewelry to a plethora of top-notch teaching tools and everything in between, you will find what you are looking for at National Autism Resources Corp.

National Autism Resources is a leading top quality provider of research based therapy equipment and products for teachers and therapists since 2006!

As the homeschooling mom of a daughter who contends with multiple disabilities, including autism, I am constantly on the prowl, searching online for just the right educational materials to engage her mind and stimulate her brain and toys to regulate her senses.

National Autism Resources has never disappointed me!

National Autism Resources always fits the bill!purple-divider-Copy-Copy

Below are just a few of the excellent educational products from National Autism Resources that Bethany has loved using and benefitted from in our homeschool program!

  • The Body Sox made of durable, high quality, stretchy Lycra is perfect for stimulating body and spatial awareness. Body Sox develop the proprioceptive sense by providing deep pressure input. They help kids feel where their bodies are in space, and are therapeutic for kids who are tactile defensive! When Bethany was younger, she loved her bright orange body sock and actually so did Jeremiah!! body sox
  • Hot Dots are aother teaching tool that Bethany loved when she was younger! Combining bright, cheerful, colorful pictures with exciting lights and sounds, Hot Dots take the self correcting learning experience to a whole new exciting level!! Hot Dots allow Children to strengthen their reading, math, money, and other academic skills at their own pace, while also developing independent learning skills. hot dots
  • Flash Cards. Bethany loves working with flash cards of any kind. In fact, I think many children with autism love learning concepts using flash cards. Parents and teachers can teach just about anything using them…the alphabet, colors, shapes, numbers, sight words, math, opposites, matching, emotions…You name it and there is most likely a set of Flash cards to teach it!

    verb flash cards

  • Patterns and Sequencing Activities. Many of you may know that Bethany loves using manipulatives to copy and create patterns. She also enjoys sequencing activities. These types of learning experiences encourage her to work on her language and math skills. Magnetic Pattern Blocks are a favorite at our house!

  magnetic pattern blocksPhoto credits: National Autism Resources Corp.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Homeschooling, Product Reviews, Special Needs Parenting, Unschooling in Action

The Reading Lesson: A Curriculum Review

The Reading Lesson: Teach Your Child to read in Twenty Easy Lessons

The reading lesson

I was recently given the exciting opportunity to review a cute, new (to me) award winning reading program called, The Reading Lesson, written and designed by Michael Levin, MD., a child psychologist with extensive knowledge in child brain development and Charan Langton, M.S.

This structured reading program uses the phonics method of reading instruction and promises that it will have children ages four through eight reading fluently after completing just twenty easy, step-by-step, ten minute lessons! Even older children who have reading difficulties may benefit from using this reading program, also!

When I received my package containing The Reading Lesson in the mail, Bethany and I opened it immediately and began rummaging through its contents, eager to discover what goodies might lurk inside.

I was pleasantly surprised to find, not only a copy of the book containing all twenty lessons, but the package also included the accompanying CD-Rom, a plush “Giggle Bunny” stuffed animal, and a cute T-shirt featuring Giggle Bunny, himself!

The reading lessonThe Reading LessonIMG_2982

Bethany was quite eager to begin her reading lessons! While I cannot claim that she has learned to read using The Reading Lesson program at this time, because we haven’t finished all the lessons yet, I can confidently proclaim that, as you can see in the photo and the video below, Bethany did learn some new sounds and words and was quite proud of her accomplishments!

I can also honestly report that each activity captured Bethany’s attention and interest which, I can assure you, is not an easy task to accomplish. She has a tendency to lose interest in learning activities fairly quickly. However, Bethany is enjoying her reading lessons immensely and I am confident that she will continue to progress as she completes each lesson.

read

Each lesson in The Reading Lesson is about twenty pages in length and features new sounds and words to be learned.

Experiencing immediate success upon discovering that he or she can read a sentence after the very first lesson and is able to read fun, exciting new stories beginning with just the third lesson are both monumental motivators  certain to keep your child moving right along toward the ultimate goal of learning how to read fluently using this innovative, fun reading program!

I think the beauty of The Reading Lesson reading program is that your child can complete each lesson at his or her own optimum learning pace.

If your child experiences a challenge and needs to spend a little more time on one lesson that’s fine! If your child is excelling in the program and wants to work on three lessons a day, well then zipping right through the program is fine too!

I believe the key to success in learning to read using The Reading Lesson lies with consistency in completing each lesson in order and the review of the letter sounds and vocabulary that your child will be repeatedly exposed to in each lesson!

Once your child has completed each lesson successfully you can issue him or her the certificate (found in the back of the book) for a job well done! Also in the book is a progress chart that can be copied and used to keep track of your child’s progress with the program!

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It’s my opinion that The Reading Lesson and the other excellent educational learning materials featured on their website are perfect additions to any homeschool reading program. I also think they’d be great if you believe your child might benefit from some extra, supplemental “after school” reading practice!

You can actually get started teaching your child to read using The Reading Lesson program for free!! All you have to do is download the first three lessons at the Freebies and Printables Page!

On The Reading Lesson website you can  SHOP for the package that I received and featured in my review plus other fun and educational learning products and materials, including story books, educational CD-roms, math worksheets, hand writing work sheets, and a letter sounds DVD!

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//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js bluedivider light *Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Reading Lesson book, the accompanying CD-Rom, a plush Giggle Bunny stuffed animal, and a T-shirt in exchange for this review.  I was also monetarily compensated to write this review. However, none of  the above influenced my review in any way. All opinions expressed in this review are my honest own.* bluedivider light We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog by email and to our daily You Tube vlogs below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

 
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Posted in Homeschooling, Product Reviews, Special Needs Parenting, Therapies, Unschooling in Action

My Fave Online Therapy Source

online therapy source

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Your therapy Source is by far my favorite online therapy source for affordable, fun, creative, and effective occupational and physical therapy products and special education materials!

Each item is written or created by a team of professionals with years of experience in pediatric therapy and special education with the intent of being used as resources by occupational and physical therapists in schools and pediatric therapy practices.

However, I believe these quality products are also perfect for use by special needs homeschooling parents as well!

Busy parents who teach their children at home can take advantage of using expertly created therapy resources right in their own home!

Whether you are a homeschooling parent who does not wish to participate in public school therapies for your special needs child or a parent who wants to supplement the professional therapy services your is child already receiving, adding Your Therapy Source products into your special students homeschooling or after school routine is the right choice!

In my opinion, you can not go wrong when including Your Therapy Source materials and products into your child’s therapy program!!
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So… how can these products actually benefit kids with special needs?

They give the fine motor muscles and visual motor muscles a workout which will transfer over into improving such daily living activities as:

  • tooth brushing
  • using eating utensils
  • tying shoes
  • buttoning buttons
  • cutting with scissors
  • hand sewing
  • reading
  • writing
  • eye-hand coordination
  • kicking a ball
  • catching a ball

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I incorporate many of Your Therapy Source’s fine motor skills and visual motor skills downloadable workbooks into Bethany’s homeschooling program on a regular basis.

Bethany particularly loves sharpening her visual motor skills, visual perceptual skills, visual closure skills, visual discrimination, spatial relationships, and visual memory by searching for and copying patterns and designs in her “Patterns, Patterns, Patterns book: a 56 page book of visual perceptual worksheets!

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Another favorite of Bethany’s that we use quite frequently is the “Visual Motor Workbook”, a collection of 54 pages of 20 different visual motor exercises with varying degrees of difficulty.

Bethany practices holding and controlling her writing utensil while attempting to trace a variety of different types of cute and colorful lines such as waves and zig zags, and draw circles, squares, rectangles, triangles and hearts.

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“Cut and Paste” is a fun and colorful 45 page cutting skills practice activity book.  As Bethany cuts apart and pastes each piece of the puzzle correctly for each exciting and engaging project she is actually working on her fine motor skills, counting skills, visual perceptual, visual closure, visual discrimination and visual motor skills. She has no idea that she is working so hard because she enjoys each activity immensely!


Do you have a sweet, little or big Duplo lover? If so you might want to check out Building Blocks Patterns and Games! We’ve even adapted some of the activities to use with Legos!
Building Block Patterns and Games

How do you feel about DIY therapies?

Do you have a favorite product or source for your child’s therapies?  Do tell!

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*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item through one of my links, you’ll be helping to support Faith, Hope, and Love!! Thanks!!

Posted in Product Reviews, Special Needs Family Life

Get the Kids Outside this Summer!

Marbles The Brain Store
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If you are as desperate as I am to get your kids off of their devices and out into the great outdoors then I urge you to check out these outdoor play products from “Marbles: The Brain Store!”

It’s not enough these days to just send your kids outside to play without a plan and expect them to entertain themselves.  Most kids today are so used to having electronic devices, computers, and iPads to entertain them that they don’t quite know what to do with themselves outside!

I have searched for and found some of the most fun and innovative, new products available that I’m confident will entice even the most “indoorsy” kids outside to play!

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  • Priced at a mere $6.99 this makes Squidgy Ball my most economical suggestion for a fun way to work out your coordination skills while using up some of that excess energy! Your kids will have a hoot catching, juggling, kicking, throwing, floating, squeezing, and batting around the sensory sensation that is Squidgy Ball!
  • HitMit is sort of like racquet ball only with paddle mits! Priced at just $24.99 this little game is sure to give your kids a fun workout while also working on their eye/hand coordination and visual motor skills!
  • Slap the little Catchoo cuff with a long elastic band attached that also has a velcro ball attached to the other end, around your wrist then whip it around trying to snag little velcro covered ping pong balls with it! Spending a summer playing this game will have your children returning to school in the fall with improved planning and concentration skills. It will also give their motor skills and hand-eye coordination a boost too! All that for just $29.99!
  • Spike Ball is another surefire way to get your kids burning off some energy this summer. This game is kind of like volley ball, only without the sand and the net is sort of like a small trampoline set in the middle of two teams. One team bounces the ball on the net while the other team gets three chances to bounce it right back again! Priced at $63.99. This fun, energetic, and competitive game engages motor function and eye/hand coordination.
  • Sphero is an app-controlled, waterproof, pet-proof, programmable little robot ball that you control with your smartphone. It’s a great little game to kind of transition your device addicted children into the great outdoors!  Use Sphero to play Tag,  have races with friends or play Fetch with your dog! Controlling Sphero will engage the visual perception and motor coordination areas of the brain. On sale now for just $99.99!

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Summer is sneaking up on us quickly! Hurry now and keep your kids satisfied, happy, and occupied outside this summer! Place your order now at Marbles: The Brain Store! Free shipping on orders of $25.00 or more!!

This Post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of these links, you will be helping to support, Faith, Hope, and Love!!   Thanks!