It’s April 26 today and we are halfway through our summer vacation. That fast? Yes, but not because it is summer means the children are off the books. Nope. Summer means upping the reading skills by more fun choices.

I’m sure children will get bored if they are not engaged in summer fun activities so reading, and not just clicking on those gadgets, will give them fun and excitement too. Now is the time we parents and teachers and parents lead the way and make them love reading.

I’m sure when they are adults they’d rather read fun stuff than read minute details of work-related literature like contracts, North Carolina health insurance, and manuals.

Here is a list of books for summer reading. Let’s hope the reading continues on till after summer vacation. I know *rolls eyes*, it’s 2009 but it’s still a list 😀

Here is another reading list.

I’m not one who get books with popular animation characters because the children can watch these characters on TV so why bother have them in books? I’d rather children read books that will take them to different places, stir their imagination and make them want to read more. Or maybe be a children’s books author some day.

I’ve read about Tomatis years ago during my early foray with the web and I’ve learned from a student about Tomatis Philippines branch. Ok, this is circa late 90s. Among the so many articles I printed about special education, the one about Tomatis method was read again and again. It interested me so.

Fast forward to three years ago, I had a student who underwent a Tomatis Listening Program in Alabang. The parents were so happy with the results. They said that their child, my student, has greatly improved after she underwent a Tomatis Listening Program.

What is Tomatis Method?

The Tomatis Method was developed by Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis, a French Ear-Nose-Throat or ENT specialist. The study of auditory processing and language development was pioneered by him which led to a new multi-disciplinary science called Audio Psycho Phonology or APP.

It was the Tomatis Method which led to the discovery of ear and voice interrelationship: the voice can only reproduce what the ear hears. One of the causes of learning problems is the inability to listen.

The Tomatis Method allows children and adults alike to improve their listening skills for better and improved learning skills in a non-invasive and drug-free way. This can be coupled with occupation and/or speech-language therapy and/or special education services.

Listening and communication are the targeted learning modes wherein the auditory stimulation between the ear and the voice are given focused to stimulate the ear’s ability to listen and the brain’s ability to understand what is being heard.

The Tomatis Method makes use of the Music of Mozart because of these three elements: rhythm for human balance, harmony for reaching emotions and melody for the intellect.

The Tomatis Method also uses Gregorian Chant (which by the way, our nun teachers had us learn to sing via Latin songs) because of its proportional beat that is close to the respiratory rhythm. This beat has a succession of sequences of unequal length said to be found in ocean waves that come one after the other but not identical.

The Tomatis Method re-trains the listening system through:

  • use of electronically modified music and language to improve auditory information processing
  • enhances the ability to know the difference between frequencies which are all necessary for language development and auditory information processing
  • use of Electronic Ear

Why is Listening an important factor in Learning? continue reading this entry »

April 2 is World Autism Day while April is Autism Awareness Month. And yeah, I wasn’t able to write about this in our time, GMT +8.

Autism, though still a puzzle to most people, is now getting the necessary attention through the internet and other means. Here in the Philippines, there are several organizations aiming to educate and train the parents and caregivers as well as inform the public about autism.

Schools are now accepting children with special needs, including those diagnosed with autism in their classes. Sadly, some schools are there for profit and some schools really aim to have these children mainstreamed in their regular class setting, offering good services to help them cope better.

The school where my children go to have special needs children. I even have several students who go there but some have graduated or moved to other schools. They have partial mainstreaming. The typically developing children have learned to cope with their special needs peers and have seemed to accept that there are children who are different from them. They don’t tend to ridicule nor make fun of these other children (of course, some do). They have learned to be more understanding and helpful too.

Two of the more popular people diagnosed with autism are Temple Grandin and Eric Duquette.

I wrote about the importance of teaching these children, at the right time, Life Skills, how to take vacations with them, taking practical education programs, Social Enterprise or Sheltered Workshops and Alternative Career Options.

With so many special education schools/centers mushrooming in the metro offering the “best special education programs“, parents have difficulty choosing the one that best suits the required helpful programs for their special needs child(ren).

For those with teen-aged children, however, their choices are few regarding the right placement because only a handful offer college courses and these usually are two-year associate courses.

Others choose to go the practical educational programs by way of technical and skills-based courses like those with computer and culinary skills among others. These alternative career options are nothing to be ashamed of, if some parents feel their children are “degraded” without a four-year degree course.

Children diagnosed with special needs can show their best by developing skills through social enterprise. They not only learn practical social skills, they also learn to be independent.

In this article, children with autism learn social skills in a coffee shop while they earn money, it is heartening to read about children being independent learning money, people and social skills.

Isn’t this what parents want? After all, parents can’t be there at all times for their children.

I started this blog Teacher Julie, Filipina Special Education teacher to write about special education issues and my experiences as a special education teacher and I’ve a Teacher Julie Facebook page I’ve recently had the courage to make.

Then I wrote posts about my family and about being a parent under the parenting posts.

Through it all, it gives me immense joy when people I don’t know send emails, comments and thank-yous for helping them while they read about my experiences as a special education teacher.

I know I still have a lot to learn. I know I have my own shortcomings and that my students have adapted to my quirks 😀 I know too that I fall short of the expectations I set for myself.

And there were times when I ranted online when I shouldn’t have.

But in the end, when I see where my students are right now, I feel pride and joy that all the things we went through together are worth every second: teenage issues, challenges, expectations, bittersweet moments, future plans, discussed controversial topics where I have been privy to their journey through the turbulent teenage years.

The sleepless nights, the crossroads, the questions, the doubts now look like just little stumbling blocks that made their parents and I hope that we have shaped the path for a better future for them.

continue reading this entry »

Posted by teacherjulie @ 4:53 pm

I joined the Communication Shutdown yesterday.

I enjoyed not logging in to Facebook and Twitter for more than the period allotted for the Communication Shutdown.

I did several things during this time: lazed around in the house, did a bit of laundry washing, origami and made a multi-colored volcano erupt. Not the real thing of course but one made of baking soda, liquid dishwashing detergent and vinegar. Multi-colored because we used several colors of left-over modeling clay for this small Science experiment.

Origami proved to be a bit tricky because of the colored art paper we used. I used a box cutter (couldn’t find the paper cutter) to make the 9 x 12 paper a square. We made an origami star and an origami flower.

The children go back to school tomorrow. It was such a short but sweet 2-day (4days including weekend) semestral break. We are now looking forward to having that Christmas break so we can sleep till our eyes drop and wake up only when we have had enough sleep.

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