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2012 developmental disabilities_booklet_military

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2012 developmental disabilities_booklet_military

  1. 1. Supporting Children & Youth withDevelopmental Disabilities
  2. 2. Supporting Children and Youth with Developmental Disabilities Table of ContentsUnderstanding Developmental Disabilities . . . . . . 2Creating Diverse& Accepting Environments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Supporting Inclusion & Social Skills . . . . . . . . . . 8Tips for Facilitating Friendships . . . . . . . . . . . 12Recommended Book List for Adults . . . . . . . . . 15Recommended Book Listfor Children & Teens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16List of References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Supporting Children & Youth with Developmental Disabilities 1
  3. 3. Understanding Developmental DisabilitiesDevelopmental disabilities are defined as severe, It is important to note that it is not the role of the childchronic disabilities that occur any time between birth and youth personnel to diagnose someone in the program.and 21 years of age and are expected to last a lifetime. Learning about developmental disabilities will enable you to better understand and make accommodations for childrenDevelopmental disabilities are not always visible and and youth in your program.may be cognitive, physical or a combination of both. In an out-of-school time program, a child or youth with aChildren and youth who have these disabilities often developmental disability may need support in the followinghave difficulty performing daily activities, such as areas:communication, learning, mobility, self-care and • Remembering and following directionsindependent living. • Applying skills to new situations or peopleSome examples of developmental disabilities include: • Problem-solving skills Autism spectrum disorders Fragile X syndrome • Developing communication and social skills Down syndrome Cerebral palsy • Self-help skills, such as hand washing Rett syndrome Epilepsy Spina bifida Cystic fibrosis Mental Retardation Supporting Children & Youth with Developmental Disabilities 3
  4. 4. Creating Diverse & Accepting EnvironmentsInclusive child and youth programs that create an accept- we may be surprised when they point out differencesing environment will send a powerful message that between themselves and others. By remaining sincereall are welcomed and valued as contributing mem- and non-judgmental, adults can rephrase a commentbers. Children and youth have a natural curiosity about and ask questions to discover the reasoning behind it.the world around them - including differences amongthemselves and others. Read on for tips to create an Provide honest and simple explanationsaccepting environment at your program. As you hear comments and questions about differ- ences, address inquiries in the moment to minimizeModel respect for differences uncertainty or discomfort. For example, if a child says,When adults model respect for differences and ac- “Why is he drooling? He looks like a baby,” an honestknowledge curiosity with honest explanations that areeasy to understand, children and youth learn to be ac-cepting of differences. The path to creating an accept-ing environment begins with making accommodationsand supporting each child, youth or teen as an individual.This path continues with thoughtful responses toquestions and comments.Treat comments like questionsChildren and youth may comment on observations asa way to confirm their thoughts and ideas. As adults, Supporting Children & Youth with Developmental Disabilities 5
  5. 5. Creating Diverse & Accepting Environments Continued…and simple response might be, “He is six years old, just Listen to first-hand experienceslike you, and he likes to play with other six-year-olds. Children and youth will benefit from hearing peopleSometimes it’s hard from him to control the muscles with disabilities talk about their lives, obstacles, experi-in his face. Friends help him by offering him a tissue or ences and success. This also gives childrennapkin.” and youth in your program a chance to ask questions in the context of a safeRead books about celebrating differences environment. Community organiza-There are numerous books that focus on teaching tions and support groups are oftenabout celebrating differences and how to make friends. a good resource for finding a personIn addition to reading these types of books, follow up with a disability that can speak aboutwith games and activities to reinforce and personalize respect and appreciation for differ- learning. One idea is to have children or ences or volunteer for an event. youth draw pictures or take photos and create their own book about mak- ing friends and celebrating differences. This will also KIT’s National Training Center on Inclusion (NTCI) help start a dialog and offers a variety of resources for inclusion-related topics. provide insight into their Visit us today at kitonline.org feelings and thoughts on the topic. Supporting Children & Youth with Developmental Disabilities 7
  6. 6. Supporting Inclusion & Social Skills Participation in inclusive programs can help children It is important to emphasize that children are much more and youth who have developmental disabilities learn than their diagnosis. Individuals have unique strengths listening skills and appropriate communication, and interests. Focusing on the individual will lead to socialization and self-help skills. An inclusive environ- discoveries about who they are and activities they en- ment also creates opportunities for friendships because joy. Include all participants in your program by celebrat- children and youth are in close proximity to one another. ing uniqueness and individual strengths. Although close and frequent contact is an important Plan activities that promote social skills first step, simply being in the same place with oth- Child and youth personnel can maximize opportuni- ers does not automatically lead to friendship for all ties for participants to connect with peers and develop people. Children and youth with and without disabili- friendships by being intentional and reflective when ties need adults who understand their unique needs teaching social skills. and abilities. Child and youth personnel can also provide appropriate support when needed, plan for Planning involves going beyond responding to situa- activities that promote social skill development, and tions that occur in the environment to discovering ways create accepting environments. to help children develop their skills. The continuous process involves identifying where a child may need Understand unique needs and abilities support, planning cooperative activities to increase Children, youth and adults with disabilities are often understanding and social skills, observing how the child defined by differences in development or areas reacts, and making adjustments as needed. where they need assistance. Supporting Children & Youth with Developmental Disabilities 9
  7. 7. Supporting Inclusion & Social Skills Continued…Areas of support for social skills include: Sample Plan to Support Social Skills • Responding to peer-initiated play/engagement • Dialog and verbal communication Identify Trouble initiating • Taking turns and sharing Area of Support conversations with peers • Keeping on topic during conversation • Asking peers for help Plan Cooperative List conversation starters,Provide appropriate support when needed and create skits in small Activities groups using the listProviding respectful accommodations involves puttingforth the effort to support each child and youth as anindividual. Doing so will help ensure that every child Conversations were startedand youth has access to program offerings, whether Observe Action within skits, but are not initi- ated outside of that formatthey are opportunities to connect with peers, learn anew skill or game, or participate in art or recreationalactivities. Continue practicing conversa- Adjustment tion starters and write a storyAccommodations are often changes or modifications about starting conversationsmade to expectations, requirements, materials,activities, or the environment that promote meaning-ful participation. Supporting Children & Youth with Developmental Disabilities 11
  8. 8. Tips for Facilitating FriendshipsFriendships not only enrich our lives, but are impor- Build on intereststant tools in our social and emotional development. Children and youth with developmental disabilitiesThrough friendships, peers can learn, be challenged, may be more interested in characters, shows, games,and grow. Friendships provide a sense of well-being and toys created for a younger age group. It is impor-and support, which is important for success in life. tant to know the interests of their same-age peers in order to encourage them to develop an interest in theInclusion with same-age peers same things. Common interests provide more chancesMany children or youth with developmental disabilities of interaction and social exchange among their peers.participate in special education classrooms with mixed Partnering with the family to introduce popular gamesage groups or with others who may have limited social and toys at home may also help facilitate an interest.skills. A child or youth program may be the one placethey are included with others their age. Everyone Use creative pairings benefits when children and youth are Children and youth typically choose to play and work included with same-age peers because with the same group of people each day. There are it fosters acceptance of diversity. creative ways to mix it up and encourage them to work Additionally, children and youth with others. For example, you can create teams based who are included become exposed on eye color, birthday month or hobby. to developmental and age-appro- priate social and recreational skills (continued on next page) that are naturally modeled by their same-age peers. Supporting Children & Youth with Developmental Disabilities 13
  9. 9. Tips for Facilitating Friendships Continued… Recommended Book List for AdultsStart small Delicate Threads: Friendships between Children with and without Special Needs in Inclusive SettingsIn working to create connections between peers, it by Debbie Staub (Woodbine House, 1998).is important to start with a small activity or period of Promoting Social Success: A Curriculum for Childrentime so that all children can experience success. with Special NeedsIt is also a good idea to start with an activity both are by Gary N. Siperstein & Emily Rickards (Brookes Publishing, 2004).familiar with and know how to complete. For example, Social Skills Solutions: A Hands-on Manualif both teens in a group enjoy drawing, a joint drawing by Kelly McKinnon & Janis Krempa (DRL Books, 2002).activity could be introduced. Team-Building Activities for Every GroupDepending on each individual’s needs, breaking down by Alanna Jones (Rec Room Publishing, 1999).the interaction into steps may be helpful. You can be as The New Language of Toys: Teaching Communication Skillssimple as: to Children with Special Needs 1. Say “Hello” by Sue Schwartz (Woodbine House, 2004). 2. Find a spot to sit together 3. Draw a picture of something you like to do 4. Share your drawing with your partner Supporting Children & Youth with Developmental Disabilities 15
  10. 10. Recommended Book List for Children & Teens List of ReferencesCHILDREN Conroy, M.A., & Brown, W.H. Preschool children: Putting research into practice (2002).All Kinds of Friends, Even Green! by Ellen B. Senisi (Woodbine House, 2002). Diana Pastora Carson, Ability Awareness in Action,Don’t Call Me Special www.abilityawareness.com. by Pat Thomas (Barron’s Educational Series, 2002). Goldstein, H., Kaczmarek, L.A., & English, K.M. (Eds.) Promoting so-How to Be a Friend cial communication: Children with developmental disabilities by Laurie Krasny Brown & Marc Brown (Little, Brown & Company, 1998). from birth to adolescence (Brooks Publishing).It’s Okay to Be Different Kemple, K.M. (2004). Let’s be friends: Peer competence and social by Todd Parr (Little, Brown and Company, 2001). inclusion in early childhood programs (Teacher’s College Press,We’ll Paint the Octopus Red 2004). by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen (Woodbine House, 1998). McDonnell, J., et al, The achievement of students with devel- opmental disabilities and their peers without disabilities inTEENS inclusive settings: An exploratory study (2003).A 5 Is Against the Law! Social Boundaries: Straight Up! An Honest National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, Guide for Teens and Young Adults www.nacdd.org. by Kari Dunn Buron (Autism Asperger Publishing, Co., 2007). Thrasher, A., A teacher’s guide to my friend Isabelle: ClassroomReady-to-Use Social Skills Lessons & Activities for Grades 7-12 activities that foster acceptance of differences (Woodbine by Ruth Weltmann Begun (Society for Prevention of Violence, 1996). House, 2003).Social Skills for Teenagers and Adults with Asperger Syndrome: A Practical Guide to Day-to-day Life by Nancy J. Patrick (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008). Supporting Children & Youth with Developmental Disabilities 17
  11. 11. Every child’s life is e nh a n ce d through sharedex p e r i e n ce s and friendships with peers of a ll a bili t i e s . Thank you for making a difference. kitonline.org © 2012 Kids Included Together & National Training Center on Inclusion

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