Saturday, December 31, 2011

Free Training, Sacramento, CA - Executive Functioning, How to Execute and Carry Out Tasks Crucial for School Success

How to Execute and Carry Out Tasks Crucial for School Success

Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 7:00 p.m., Serna Center, 5735 47th Ave., Sacramento, CA
Speaker: Kevin Schaefer, Program Specialist, EGUSD

Hosted by the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for Special Education, Sacramento City Unified School District
Facebook page
R.S.V.P. not required but highly recommended. Contact Chris "Espi" Espinoza at to reserve your materials and ensure adequate seating space.

This training will present an overview of executive functioning and provide intervention strategies that improve the students executive functioning and eventual school success.

Please share this training flyer with any individuals or families that you feel would benefit.

Monday, October 10, 2011

When teasing happens

My daughter, earlier this school year, had mentioned an unkind comment that another child said to her. I won't repeat the comment. It took me some time (months) for me to calm down inside and write this. I'm sure other parents can identify with me here...when mean things are done to our children it breaks our hearts. I was misguided in thinking that kinders were young enough to be shielded from the cruel realities of school, but obviously it bothered her enough to ask me if the comment was true, and then repeat the question the next day three times with a sad frowny face, pondering what it meant. I could see her little wheels spinning.

She does have an awareness and a deep caring about what others think of her. So...what should we do when we see, hear, or suspect teasing or bullying?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fun ways to develop fine motor skills

Our daughter works with a spectacular Occupational Therapist at school. She has progressed so much in her abilities to run, jump, hold her pencil, cut, write, snap clothing, etc.! We also do a lot of work with her at home. Painting and coloring is a big hit. Art is something she loves very much and you don’t have to twist her arm to do it. Something she is not-so-much thrilled about doing is writing letters; she has some apprehension about that. I just got her a new dry erase book, though, where she can practice her lowercase letters, and she seems to like it!

Speaking of art...we did something FUN today with scissors, glue, and straws from and idea I got in my new book.

I bought this awesome book at Borders entitled, "Everyday Play: Fun Games to Develop the Fine Motor Skills Your Child Needs for School" by Christy Isbell.  The game/art project we did today was  called“Pop Straws.” Although it was listed for three-year-olds, my daughter who just started kindergarten, had a ball with it.

She first used her scissors to cut up thick plastic straws (develops scissors skills and helps grasp). The straws made a “pop” sound when she cut them.

Then she glued them on the paper and added in other special touches to make unique works of art.

Although we used "art" as our medium for this game, you can pretty much do anything such as arranging the cut straws by colors or size. Fun any way you look at it!

Find the book on Amazon:

We like to incorporate stickers into her routine also. Using her index finger and thumb to peel the stickers helps to strengthen her grasp. The tinier the stickers, the better.
These will be given as greeting cards.

There are tons of free resources online about fine motor development.
This is an awesome blog that I just found today! Check it out…
Spaghetti Box Kids blog/Strategies, Tips and Activities for Learning:
Learn About Fine Motor Skills and How to Improve Them:
Have fun learning and progressing with your kids!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Goodbye disability labels... hello self esteem!

When our daughter was diagnosed with significant developmental delays, the words used to describe her were "cognitively impaired and developmentally impaired (motor, speech, language, social)." We later were told she has autism.
We have tried to not use disability labels to define our daughter. Labels can be crippling. We also never say that our daughter has "special needs." This term is outdated and invokes pity, but it is plastered all over the place in our school system and community. Children or adults with disabilities are no more "special" than anyone else. We all have needs, don't we? One person is no more special than another. ALL people are special.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This is inspiring!

I'm sharing someone's Facebook post:  Blind Diabetic Engineer

A youtube video from Jim, a neighbor and wife of my friend Brandie, a fellow preschool mom. Go Jim and Brandie!! Awesome!!
I put this video up to illustrate that blind people are very capable and can perform complex tasks, just as a sighted person can. Later in the video I give a quick demonstration of for more information.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

With disabilities are gifts

I am amazed at the wonderful gifts my daugther posseses! Yet, thinking back, one of the things that first concerned me was her way of lining up toys (and not playing with them the way they were intended) which is one of the signs of autism. We are in the present now, and I really do believe she has gifts in disguise.
 In my daughter's case, I think she's free from social barriers allowing her to think in ways that others might not. With that in mind, she can

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Getting early help for your child

Lessons learned from early intervention, trusting instincts, gaining clarity, and focusing on strengths...

Early Intervention
If you believe that your child is not meeting developmental milestones, talk first with your general pediatrician and ask for a referral to a developmental pediatrician. In our experience we looked to our doctor for advice, but didn't get any.

Listen to Your Instincts
I've learned first-hand that you should always trust your intuition and take action based on what's in your heart. My husband and I suspected that our daughter had autism, yet our pediatrician said