Monthly Archives: June 2013

A Look Inside Children’s Minds – New Study from UI.

A very informative and interesting study is being done at the University of Iowa that shows how 3 and 4 year old children retain what they see around them.

Using an older technology that isn’t as invasive or difficult as an MRI, the researchers have been able to monitor how a child’s brain functions when memorizing. The researchers can now see neurological activity and brain development in children.

From the article: “The research is important, because visual working memory performance has been linked to a variety of childhood disorders, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, developmental coordination disorder as well as affecting children born prematurely. The goal is to use the new brain imaging technique to detect these disorders before they manifest themselves in children’s behavior later on.”

This study is helping to emphasize the importance of early intervention.

Read the full article here: Iowa Now – A Look Inside Children’s Minds

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Updates For June and July

Updates For June and July.

Time goes by quickly when the kids are home instead of being in school. But we wanted to post some updates about what we have coming up in the remaining days of June and in July. We have two podcast episodes recorded and we’ll get them posted in the next couple of weeks.

The next episode, SPC number 11, which we hope to have online very soon, features an interview with the Reverend Mathew Cockrum and we delve into ways in which we can help our special needs children get the best experiences in our places of worship, as well as how to work with ‘Sunday school’ or religious class staff so that our kids can have positive experiences. We also discuss ways to reconcile that sometimes certain religious beliefs can be in conflict with medical or scientific study, and that it is possible to accept both viewpoints, and many other great ideas.

SPC episode number 12, which will be ready after that, is all about education funding. We talk with Elizabeth Welch-Lykins who is an elected official in her local school board, a member of her school district’s legislative committee, and a lawyer. She has experienced the budget crisis in our schools first-hand through having to negotiate cuts in staff and services and she talks in detail about how school districts have had so much trouble and the real reasons why so many of our school districts are in trouble. She also details how budget cuts to public schools are definitely hurting special education programs and the dangers of not paying enough attention to who we vote for in elections.

We have more great interviews planned throughout the summer and into the next school year, so please keep checking back!  Better yet, sign up to get an email subscription to our podcasts so you’ll be notified every time we post something new. Just look over to the right column on our home page and enter your email address where it says “Get Podcast Notifications Via Email”. You’ll get automatic updates and we promise we will never give out your email address to anyone else.

Thanks for your support and don’t forget to help spread the word about us!


How To Know When Someone Is In Trouble When Swimming

How To Know When Someone Is In Trouble When Swimming.

Article: How To Know When Someone Is In Trouble In The Water

Thanks to for this well-written article about safety in the water. Drowning victims don’t look like they’re drowning. With summertime swimming activity increasing, and since special needs children sometimes need extra help in the water, it’s important to know how to spot someone who is in trouble. Especially if you’re paying extra attention to your special needs child but you have other children in the water as well.

Read the article and learn the signs. Drowning victims DO NOT look like drowning victims! They almost never splash wildly or call for help. Most people don’t realize someone is in trouble until it’s too late.  Learn about drowning and water safety. Please be sure to share this article with family and friends.

Have a great and safe summer!  

How To Know When Someone Is In Trouble In The Water

Special Parents Confidential 10 Special Education

Special Education.

In this episode we take a look at the world of Special Education. What exactly is Special Education? How do teachers become Special Education teachers? How and why has the concept of Special Education changed over the years from isolation and institutionalization to mainstreaming and inclusion, and has it worked? How do researchers determine what works and what doesn’t work? And are the current budget problems that so many state governments face affecting Special Education in our schools?

Our guest for this episode has answers to all of those questions and many other questions. Paula Lancaster is a Professor of Special Education and the Chair of the Special Education, Foundations, and Technology Department at Grand Valley State University in West Michigan. We talked about a wide range of issues including the questions above, as well as discussing some of the major misconceptions about Special Education; the differences in how Special Education is handled by public schools, charter schools, and private schools; how Special Education changes from elementary school to middle school, to high school, and college; to the importance of special needs children learning to advocate for themselves; how to make sure that the information you’re finding is proven to work versus a marketing scam; and a lot more. This is one of the longest episodes of Special Parents Confidential that we’ve recorded, but Paula shares some very important information that you and everyone who is interested in Special Education need to know.

Links Mentioned In The Podcast: 

What Works Clearinghouse – The Institute of Education Sciences. Providing educators (parents can use it too) with the information they need to make evidence based decisions.

LD Online – Learning Disabilities Online. The world’s leading website on learning disabilities and ADHD.

Council For Exceptional Children – The Voice and Vision of Special Education. Excellent resource site.

National Dissemination Center For Children With Disabilities – Another excellent resource website. Provides easy-to-read information on children with disabilities from infants to early 20s.

Note:  Paula’s advice on researching information: Whenever you encounter a site that you’re not certain whether the info is credible, scroll down to the bottom (or check ‘about us’ info), and find out who is responsible for the website content.

The Self-Advocacy Strategy – Paula and Sean Lancaster’s software package that teaches children the strategies of negotiation and self-advocacy. Great for all kids, not just special needs children.