Monthly Archives: May 2020

Digital Devices Driving Autism Education

Computers have always proved to be excellent gadgets to facilitate communication and learning for children with autism spectrum disorder. Now, with the emergence of smart phones and the iPad, autistic children have greater opportunities for improving their cognitive, communication and motor skills.

Various organizations that are engaged in supporting families living with autistic kids, have developed apps and programs like “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” that are amazing tools. These autism education apps promote learning among special needs children.

Why digital devices?

Autism apps like “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” running on smart phones and iPads provide greater flexibility and portability than a traditional laptop or computer. These latest digital devices utilize touch screen technology which makes them more accessible to autistic children, especially those who have coordination and learning difficulties. Most of the children using an iPad find that the sliding and tapping motions are much easier to execute than typing. Besides, smart phones and tabs can be taken wherever you want to go. They are much lighter than the bulky assistive communication gadgets of the past and that’s a major advantage of using these devices.

Tabs, smart phones, and iPads are great tools for communication and education, which if one of the several reasons why the “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” autism apps have become hugely popular among special needs children. Apps like these can be customized to the specific needs of the autistic child using them. This helps to make the lessons more attractive and interesting that the conventional learning devices. It has been noticed that many children can use these gadgets better than adults.

The world of autistic children is full of imagery. Words have a lesser importance to them. The “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” autism education apps freely use images to help children string together words and create sentences, and solve mathematics problems. In this way, special needs children are able to communicate with educators, instructors, counselors, and parents sans any frustration.

The benefits

Autism apps like “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences”, running on iPads and tabs, offer huge benefits. The direct touch screen ensures that no stylus or mouse is required for input functions. The most important point is that the apps are predictable, accessible, and easily organized. They help breaking down lessons to discrete topics or chunks that make learning more enjoyable. Special needs and autistic children can learn in a better way through the “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” autism apps.

Considerations in Distance Education for the Medical Assistant Instructor

Medical Assistant distance education is emerging to meet the demands of a new generation of students in the twenty first century. St. Augustine Medical Assistant School distance education program for medical assistant presents a good model for this integration of technology with medical assistant education. Distance education, particularly in its most recent form, online education, is being integrated into even the most cautious and conservative of educational institutions. Yet the impact of these alternative forms of teaching and learning on students, faculty, and institutions has yet to be broadly or deeply studied. New models such as that at St. Augustine Medical Assistant School are immerging. St. Augustine Medical Assistant School is available at: http://www.medicalassistant.us

Distance education is not new, and can be traced as far back as the first century. The Apostle Paul wrote to the early Christian churches, instructing them from a distance (even when he was under ‘house arrest’ in Rome). This was probably the first type of ‘correspondence course’, which was the only method of learning at a distance until the advent of the telephone. Today, distance education and in particular online medical assistant instruction calls upon an impressive range of technologies to enable medical assistant instructor and the medical assistant student who are separated by distance to communicate with each other either in real time (synchronous) or delayed time (asynchronous). Currently and asynchronous model used at St. Augustine Medical Assistant School to instruct medical assistant students. This has proven to be a very effective model however the medical assistant program is currently investigating the benefits of synchronous online medical assistant instruction and the benefits it may have for the medical assistant student.

Medical Assistant distance learning epitomizes the move away from institute based learning to a more direct, student centered approach. As a concept, distance learning has existed for over a century, notably in the form of paper based correspondence courses including the less formal correspondence education for medical assistants. Now however, distance education is depending increasingly upon technology for its success and technological innovations ensure that distance learning for the medical assistant continues to evolve and grow as a valid and potent force in all forms of education for the medical assistant.

The task of the medical assistant distance educator is therefore to obviate these problems as much as possible by mixing and matching techniques, creating and maintaining a stimulating environment, and offering opportunities for medical assistant students to communicate with each other and with the medical assistant teaching staff on a regular basis. The medical assistant educators will also need to change their traditional role as well. Many remote medical assistant students need a great deal of social support, and medical assistant distance educators may find themselves spending more time offering one-to-one tutorials and less time lecturing. St. Augustine Medical Assistant School at http://www.MedicalAssistant.us is leading today’s technology in medical assistant education.

When designing medical assistant educational systems and materials for medical assistant distance in delivery the medical assistant teacher must consider not only learning outcomes, but also centered requirements and technical constraints for the medical assistant. Also to be considered are the needs, characteristics, and individual differences of both the students, the teachers and future medical assistants.

Medical assistant distance education for the medical assistant then, should not be viewed as a means of reducing costs, but as an opportunity to raise standards. It is also about providing quality medical assistant learning opportunities for those who, for one reason or another, have previously been excluded from this basic human right. Medical Assistant distance education will quickly become the norm and not the exception for the twenty first century medical assistant. St. Augustine Medical Assistant School distance education program for medical assistant presents a good model for this integration of technology with medical assistant education. The St. Augustine Medical Assistant model can be reviewed at: www.medicalassistant.us.

5 Qualities of a Good Special Education Advocate

Are you the parent of a child with autism that is having a dispute with school personnel, and would like some help? Are you the parent of a child with a learning disability, or another type of disability, that could use an advocate to help you in getting an appropriate education for your child? This article will give you 5 qualities that make a good special education advocate

An advocate is a person that has received special training, that helps parents navigate the special education system. In some cases the advocate is a parent of a child themselves, but this is not always the case. Before you hire an advocate check on their experience, and also make sure that the advocate is familiar with your child’s disability, so that they are able to advocate effectively

Qualities:

1 A good advocate must be familiar with the federal and state education laws that apply to special education, and be willing to use them, when needed. This is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), State rules for special education (how they will comply with IDEA), and No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The advocate does not have to memorize the laws, but should have a basic knowledge of what is in them. The advocate must also be willing to bring up the laws, at IEP meetings, if this will benefit the child.

2. A good advocate should not make false promises to parents. If an advocate tells you. that they will get the services that you want for your child, be leery! Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in special education, and advocates should not promise things that they may not be able to get. An experienced advocate who knows the law and your school district, should have a sense about what can be accomplished.

3. A good advocate should be passionate about your child, and the educational services that they need. Advocacy sometimes takes a lot of time. If the person helping you is not passionate about your child, they may not be willing to help you for the length of time that it takes to get your child an appropriate education.

4. A good advocate must be willing to stand up to special education personnel, when they disagree with them, or when the school personnel tell a lie. If the advocate you pick, has every quality, but is not willing to stand up to school personnel, he or she will not be an effective advocate for your child.

5. A good advocate is detail oriented, and makes sure that any services promised by special education personnel, are put in writing. A good advocate will read the IEP before they leave the meeting, and bring up any changes that should be made. Sometimes the little details are what makes for success!

By keeping in mind these 5 qualities, you will be better equipped to finding an advocate that will be able to help you, get an appropriate education for your child.

Online Education Courses Learn to Do Anything

Online education courses are a great way to learn many things. With the sheer number of people today who have regular access to the Internet, the opportunities to learn these things are far greater than they were just a decade or two ago. Without online education, the only way to learn a new skill or take a class would be to physically attend that class or find someone who could teach you privately. Because of the technology of online education, there are literally thousands of things you can learn and many of them can be studied right from the privacy of your own home.

In many cases, the fact that you are learning from home can be a real benefit. Consider the privacy you have in your home. If you are learning something new, there’s no need for others to even know you are studying this particular subject. You may be embarrassed to let others know that you don’t already have this knowledge, or it might simply be in your best interest that others don’t know. For example, you may be seeking to gain a training certificate that will put you in line for a promotion. It might be politically incorrect in your current employment to be making this move. Your current supervisor might resent the fact that you want to move up. While secrecy is never a good thing, being discreet about your plans might be a wise move. You may even be looking for employment elsewhere and taking online education courses may be a stepping stone to that move. Again, letting your current employer know about your educational goals could be cause for tension in your current work environment.

It could also be that you just want to learn something new. You’ll find literally hundreds of online education courses available. Whether you’re wanting to learn to sew or you want to work on a degree, you can likely find an online education program that’s just right for you.

Parental Retaliation in Special Education – How Can I Prove It – And Will It Ever Stop?

Are you a parent who has a child with autism or other disabilities that receive special education services? Have you experienced parental retaliation by special education professionals in your school district, because you have advocated for your child? This article will educate you on the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil rights (OCR) definition of retaliation, and also what standard they use to determine if parental retaliation has occurred. In addition this article will discuss whether retaliation can be decreased, so that you can truly be a meaningful participant in your child’s education!

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act which is enforced by the Office of Civil Rights states that: “504 prohibits recipients or other persons from intimidating, threatening, coercing or discriminating against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Section 504, or because the individual has made a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under Section 504.34 C.F.R. 100.7(e).” One of the protected activities under Section 504 is advocacy, and retaliation is prohibited if you advocate for your child.

The Office of Civil Rights has released information that OCR complaints have increased at a very large rate (which I believe is due to the amount of parental retaliation that special education professionals engage in). The types of retaliation I have seen are calls to Child Protective Services (CPS), banning parents from school grounds, and possibly punishment to a child. Parents need to stand up to this retaliation and gather evidence of the retaliation, so that they can file an OCR complaint.

OCR uses a five point test to determine if a parent has experienced retaliation:

1. “Has the parent engaged in a protected activity?”

2. “Is the district aware of the protected activity?”

3. “Was the parent or student subjected to an adverse action?”

4. “Will a neutral third party decide there is a causal relationship or connection between the protected activity and the adverse action?”

5. “Can the school district offer a legitimate non-discriminatory (non-retaliatory) reason for the adverse action, which a neutral third party will not consider to be pre-textual?”

A few comments about the five point test:

1. Under #1 advocacy is considered a protective activity as well as filing a state complaint or a due process complaint.

2. Under #2 most special education professionals know of parent’s advocacy especially if the parent has filed a complaint or due process.

3. Under #3 the adverse action means a negative action such as suspending a child or calling CPS and making a child abuse complaint.

4. Under #4 the retaliation must be closely-timed to the protected activity of advocacy, or OCR could rule against you on your complaint.

5. Under #5 this in some cases is what causes a parent to lose the complaint–If the school can come up with a plausible non-discriminatory reason for the action, and then the finding may be against the parent.

OCR recently released a Dear Colleague letter (April 2013) about retaliation that can be downloaded at, http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201304.html. This is a great resource that can ensure successful advocacy.

The only thing that will decrease retaliation is enforcement, which is usually left to the parent. I do believe that you should file an OCR complaint for ever retaliation action done by special education professionals (that you can prove of course). Work hard to secure written evidence to prove your case, as well as include the five point test in your retaliation claim, (with all of your evidence listed, and attached of course). Parental retaliation often occurs in the dark, and if light is brought to it, the situation very well could improve! Never stop fighting for your child-he or she is worth it!

What Is the Relationship Between My Education and Oppression Today?

The expression of education and oppression in today’s modern society can be traced to the very premise upon which the institutions of education are predicated. Theologian Cardinal Newman’s views[1] on education shed light on this meaning, “This implies that its object is, on the one hand, intellectual not moral; and on the other, that is the diffusion and extension of knowledge rather than the advancement (p. 122)”. Here we find the very idea of my own journey into higher education specifically in the context of my Catholic faith. The numerous sources described various situations were ideological choices of purpose are bestowed upon the students. In one case the affluent student must continue the rise of his family honor and in the next case the poor student seeks “liberation” (p. 124).

My own story is one of seeking liberation from a “historically oppressed minority” (p. 126). Choosing this type of Catholic education at Creighton resonates with me. The correlation of stagnancy and ignorance to lack of education seem very real as I am sure is does to the Native Americans in Pine Ridge and Rosebud Lakota (p. 133). Creighton University has taught me that through upright character and the art of Christian living (pp. 128-129) that action follows faith. Theologian Michael J. Buckley, S.J. captured this idea with, “a new orientation towards social action and efficacy and a conjunction between literary education and moral and religious formation” (p. 128).

In today’s world of mammon allowing for access to education, I would not have chosen this path if not for my inherent knowledge that my whole person will be evaluated in the context of my community. The pathway forward out of oppression for me is to serve the greater good. This includes my family and the community of like-minded people working for God’s glory. It is this type of education even in this online format that makes the end goal of being a “better human being” (p. 130) possible.

Lack of Education Contributes to Crime

As more and more low-income families move into neighborhoods that once catered to the middle or upper class, one must be on the lookout for his own personal safety and report any criminal activity going on in their surroundings. Crime is everywhere in these neighborhoods where kids find too much time on their hands after school hours or after the school year lets out.

What also contributes to the crime rate in such places? Is it just the lack of money for low income families? Sometimes, crime can be attributed to the lack of education on the part of the perpetrator or their families.

It is a statistical fact that the crime rate is inversely proportional to the education level of the culprit. Kids who grow up in families that do not stress the importance of getting an education are more likely to be living out on the streets, doing drugs, joining gangs, or ending up in prison.

Sometimes parents who raise such kids were raised in similar conditions when they were youngsters. Nothing has changed. An education should be foremost on parents’ minds when rearing their kids. In fact, an education is the key out of poverty. As the old saying goes, “The way out of the gutter is with a book and not a basketball.”

Kids who do not have a good education in school are more likely to have difficulty with finding jobs, getting into college, or staying out of trouble with the law. Many times they have family issues that are attributed to the loss of a parent at a young age due to a death or an incarceration.

Kids from single-parent homes run that risk of growing up as an “at-risk” child. This is due to the fact that the parent must work to provide food and shelter for the child, and the absence of the other parent fails to provide leadership and guidance for a growing mind. A parent who is incarcerated will definitely not be around to guide the child to getting good grades in school.

What kind of message does an incarcerated parent send to a child? Is it okay to be dumb and stupid and end up in prison like their daddy? Like father, like son. Right? Is it okay to skip school and join a gang like their daddy once did?

The truth of the matter is that kids who drop out of school will face hardship in their lives as they grow older. Lack of education on their part means lack of money to support a family. Lack of money translates into robbing a bank or convenience store.

We hear in the news every day a robbery that occurs in our city or elsewhere. Or perhaps a shooting on the part of the perpetrator that caused an innocent life come to an abrupt halt.

What are kids doing nowadays? How can we prevent our own kids from becoming troubled kids? For one, a parent must be a good role model and stress the importance of a good education. That means the parents must take an active role in their child’s education by monitoring how much television the child is allowed to watch and taking charge of knowing the kinds of friends that his child associates with. Furthermore, this means maintaining communication with his teachers at school and looking over his report card regularly.

A child with poor academic performance may indicate something wrong at school. Perhaps he does not like school due to external influences; i.e. bullying, difficult teachers, taunting by other students, or peer pressure.

It is better to catch the child’s problem as early as possible before it comes to the point that the child is truant from school, or worse, acts out his frustration that is reflected in another Virginia Tech-like massacre.

A child should like his studies and should show interest in his schoolwork. He should be taught that good grades will help him get a good education so that he can get a good paying job and be a productive member of society after he graduates.

Teach your child that involvement in gangs, violence, drugs, and/or extortion will not get him anywhere but prison. Once a person ends up doing life in prison, there IS no second chance. There is no freedom for him. There is no TV, no video games, no music, nothing! Not even a chance to get an education behind bars. If there is school in prison, the education is very limited.

If you are raising a child, question your child as to what is going on in school if he/she displays academic difficulty. Spend some quality time with him/her. Help them with their homework if possible. Remember, you are not just his/her friend, you are their parents. You are the first role model that a child looks toward from infancy. So be a good one and teach him/her what is right by staying in school.

There is a story in Austin, Texas a few years ago. It involved a troubled 17-year-old kid, Manuel Cortez, a high school dropout, who went out with his friends in a stolen car one sunny afternoon, and shot another student, Christopher Briseno, whom he did not even know because Briseno allegedly was teasing the sister of Manuel’s friend. Manuel Cortez is now serving life in prison because he made a stupid decision. Now families of the victim and the perpetrator are suffering two losses from society. All for what? Because Mr. Cortez chose to drop out of school and associate with gangs and/or violence? He chose to give up the possibility of an education so that he can run around gang banging? Or did he not have the proper support and guidance from his parents?