ML, the youngest child with two older siblings, reached his significant milestones like expected till he reached a year old. When he turned 2.5 however, there were noticeable delays in his development. At 3.8, he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Later on, at 6.5, his diagnosis was PDD-NOS Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified.

Before he was given intervention after the first diagnosis, he exhibited the following behavior:

  • echolalia
  • receptive language at 12 – 15 months
  • expressive language at 9 – 12 months
  • inconsistent eye contact and negative joint attention
  • poor sitting and attention span
  • poor balance and fine motor skills
  • no approach-request skills
  • hyposensitive
  • experiences diarrhea and has foul smelling stool
  • gross motor skills like walking, jumping, swinging, climbing and running have difficulty

The following steps were undertaken for ML by his parents after the first diagnosis:

  1. “Traditional” intervention services: Occupational and Speech Therapy services
  2. Researched about autism and joined support groups
  3. Other intervention methods

In details, the following were the services that ML went through (and is still going through):

Traditional (what are usually being recommended by developmental pediatricians) intervention methods:

Non-traditional intervention methods:

ML these days at 8.8 years old: continue reading this entry »

A lot of people do not give importance to music as a way to to teach children with special needs.

One of the things I enjoyed when I was still teaching preschool was to include music in the day to day curriculum. There are songs to make the kids get up and play, there are songs that teach learning concepts, there are songs that helps them pack away the materials they used such as there are songs that signals the class is ending in a bit and we have to say good-byes.

I have to say that though I have very limited musical ability when it comes to playing musical instruments during those times when I was still teaching the young ones, I know that did not deter me from enjoying music with them then. I just wish I paid more attention when I was taking piano lessons when I was way younger.

Teaching children about music (and also how to play various musical instruments) is a good way for them to learn a lot of things:

  • they learn to listen
  • they learn to feel the rhythm, the beat, the essence
  • they learn to be more sensitive in listening to others especially if they have to play musical instruments with others
  • they move to the beat of the music
  • they are able to distinguish similarities and differences for say for example, ultra light acoustic guitar strings or nylon strings

Music is a good learning tool and when properly used, can be a big help for the children with special needs.

Here are a few samples of songs to teach for children with special needs. 

I am an advocate (if there is something like this) of teaching practical reading skills. I am for making the children I teach lifelong learners, informed and eager to learn new things that will make their lives better.

Practical reading skills as part of a reading program (for me at least) include some of the following:

  1. reading news articles, online or with a real newspaper
  2. reading a menu, recipes, brochures, announcements, maps, manuals that include instruction manuals and even appliance parts online
  3. reading ad pages
  4.  reading two sides of an argument or controversial issue
  5. reading to follow instructions

Yes, it is good to be able to read literary pieces and enrich the mind but it is equally useful and beneficial to be able to have practical reading skills that will make lives better.

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