Sunday, March 25, 2007

Good Search

Do your searching on GoodSearch, a Yahoo-powered search engine that donates money to your favorite charity or school each time you search the web. Under , type in "Hosmer School." It's that simple to start raising money for Hosmer. You can even click on the "Amount Raised" button to see how well we are doing. Granted, it is a small amount now but if everyone performs 2 - 3 searches a day, the amount will climb quickly.

To make it easier to use, install GoodSearch on your toolbar. The site shows you how here.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Family Corner - Catch Your Child Reading

March is the Read-a-thon month here at Hosmer School. Catch your child or grandchild reading and send them an e-card created by award winning children's authors and illustrators. You can even include music with your card. What a nice way to motivate a kid!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Free Workshops

Therapro After School Series for Teachers, Therapists and Parents

Therapro's After School Series continues in April with a two-part seminar on April 12th and April 26th, 3:00PM to 5:00PM, entitled Managing Difficult Behaviors in the Classroom and at Home presented by Victoria Munroe, MAEd. This workshop will discuss the progressive new techniques from the Nurtured Heart Approach. The Nurtured Heart Approach consists of a set of strategies designed specifically for children with challenging behaviors to facilitate parenting and classroom success. These methods have helped thousands of families to transform their children from using their intensity in primarily negative ways to using their intensity in creative and constructive ways. This approach has also helped teachers and other school personnel to have a dramatically positive effect on all children. You are invited to attend one or both sessions.

Therapro Seminar Series
These are two hour presentation usually on Saturday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00 AM. Call ahead to reserve (800-257-5376).
April 14 - Karen Conrad, ScD, OTR/L and Victoria Munroe, MAEd. Developing Sensory Diets and Using Sensory Diets in the Classroom from an OT and Teacher Perspective will be offered at 2 times on this date. Please choose either the 9:00-11:00AM or 12:30-2:30PM seminar, when you reserve. Participants will receive 2 contact hours. We look forward to seeing you. Please refer to our News & Events section on the website for future programs.

Thanks to Discovery School for the clipart.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

National Handwriting Day 2007

How did we miss it this year? In case you are curious, National Handwriting Day was celebrated on January 23, John Hancock's birthday.



Handwriting has gone down hill since old John was alive. Go to this site of presidential signatures and scroll down from George Washington to George Bush. What do YOU think?

I think If George Bush was a student at Hosmer School, he would get referred for an occupational therapy screening...same goes for Bill Clinton!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Free Keyboarding Games

Want to learn how to keyboard or brush up on your keyboarding skills? Check out this website . The site contains a list of web sites that have free online keyboarding lessons and games. The games at are especially useful. They can be customized for keys included and speed.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bingo Cards

The previous site also has bingo cards you can customize.

The Family Corner - Custom Chore Charts

Use your child's interests to engage them in tasks. This site lets you create your own custom chore charts. You choose the theme that will engage your child (Pokeman, Yu Gi Oh, Dora, Veggie Tales). Decide what chores you want to include. Presto! Instant chore chart!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Thinking in Pictures

Are you intrigued by the video you watched on Dr. Temple Grandin? Here is an article she wrote on Thinking in Pictures. It is equally as fascinating!

The Woman Who Thinks Like A Cow

Why would a leaf on a path cause a cow to stop dead in its tracks? Watch this video on Dr. Temple Grandin titled "The Woman Who Thinks Like A Cow." It is a 48 minute documentary produced by the BBC. This remarkable woman with autism describes what it is like to think visually in our world.

Thinking in pictures gives her a better understanding of animals. Realizing she experiences the world much as animals do, she can relate to them in ways other people can't. Although autism is very different for each person who has it, Dr. Grandin feels the common thread is the ability to notice detail. She developed this talent into skills that turned into a satisfying career. Having a PhD in animal science, she has dedicated her life to the betterment of animals.

Education should have a strong emphasis on building strengths, not just on addressing deficits. Who knows where talents can lead our students!

Other key points in the video:
  • deep pressure is calming and relaxing (notice the "squeeze machine")
  • people with autism have sensory based thinking (think in pictures, in sounds, in touches)
  • sensory defensiveness can create havoc with an individual with autism
  • fear is the main emotion in autism (needing to escape from stressful situations)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Daylight is Back!

Another hour of light graces us in the evening. The days are getting longer.

Exposure to light is known to enhance both alertness and performance in humans. I know I feel better!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Understanding Sensory Differences...Ask James

Honoring differences is what we strive for as occupational therapists. This starts with understanding. The blog School OT thoughts talks about a young man with high functioning autism who has an advice column called "Ask James". He answers a question about his sensory challenges and strategies that helped him. Read his response and you will better understand why many of the children we work with react as they do.

To read the post, go to "Ask James Williams" about sensory processing.

James Williams is an eighteen year old who has written books/essays and presented on the topic of autism. Go to his website to learn more.

Friday, March 02, 2007

WYSIWYG...or is it?

What you see is what you get...not really! Be sensitive to how we present visual information to our students. Sometimes we don't "see" what another person might be noticing. For instance, I was with a youngster in the computer lab. This little girl was making faces at the computer but not attending to what was on the screen. I realized there was a strong reflection from the lights above. Even though I was looking "beyond" the reflection to notice the important information on the screen, the student was using the computer screen as a mirror!

Think about how we laminate materials. Is the glare from the surface going to affect what the child sees? If so, use contact paper if you need to protect the materials.

Have you guessed what the image is above? Is it a glossy gym floor at my niece's volleyball tournament. You can imagine how a particular child might focus on the lights instead of the action, making it difficult to discriminate the relevant information from the background.

Students on the autism spectrum often have trouble making sense of our visual world. They might be focusing in on visual details and patterns rather than the "whole picture". An unfamiliar environment might cause an individual to go into sensory overload. Difficult behaviors could result from trying to shut out the onslaught of meaningless sensations. A wonderful description of this is from the book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon. Check it out.

Creating and Sharing

Never before has it been so easy to produce and share content, whether it is music, video or writing. You can even publish and sell your own book online. The new web opens the door for creating and sharing. Why not step in!

Micheal Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology from Kansas State University, created this video called “Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us”. It's worth watching and pondering.

Laptop or Photocopier?

Students do a variety of writing in school, by hand and on the computer. Providing experiences with both is beneficial, but don't use a powerful laptop as a photo copier.

Why is it that students are writing with pencil and paper, rewriting multiple drafts, editing and then copying it by typing on the laptop? Is this final step really necessary? If we are putting laptops in their hands, let's allow them to use all the features to compose, revise, edit and publish.

Word processing gives students automated tools to help them spell, check grammar, and choose the right words. It allows them to electronically cut and paste written material and freely sequence ideas in ways to that make sense. Inserting information is done with a click of the mouse. Word processing is a functional skill that students will be using extensively in college and at the workplace. Joining what’s going on in the outside world with what’s going on in the classroom is key to preparing our students to work in the 21st century using 21st century tools.

See Education Week for a recent article on using computers for writing assessments.

Eighth graders using computers scored higher on writing tests than their peers who wrote with pencil and paper in a study out of New England.

SOURCE: "Examining the Effect of Text Editor and Robust Word Processor on Student Writing Test Performance," Boston College, 2004

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Free Fun Folders

Check out the new resource library located in room 213. We've just added some fun activity folders that work on color, letter recognition, counting, and coins. All of our resource files are available to borrow. If you find something you really like, we can give you a copy of your very own.