Archive for February, 2009

We tried this yesterday with our afternoon social group of 7 boys and they loved it! We got in a circle, holding hands at first to help get everyone in place, and we told the boys we were going to do the Hokey Pokey using all of the different feelings we’ve been talking about. I started first so they would know how it went and sang “you put your happy face in, you put your happy face out…”

Between verses I told everyone to bring their eyes to me because I would point to one of them to name the next feeling. They all stood so quietly and nicely waiting for their chance to go, it was amazing! This is a great game to really emphasize  all the things that change depending on the way we’re feeling such as body posture, tone of voice and facial expressions. The more affect you use, the better!

It might be helpful to have a little lesson about these variables before playing (by finding pictures of characters in books or magazines and drawing attention to the position of hands, shoulders, eyebrows, etc). Have the kids guess how each character is feeling and then discuss what they noticed that gave them that idea.

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Emotion Activity

We’re always looking for opportunities to teach our kids about emotions- why they’re important, what they look like, how they feel, and what might cause them. Here’s one activity I’ve tried with a couple groups and the kids seem to really enjoy it:

One child puts a headband on with a picture of an emotion or feeling on it (without seeing what it is). The other children in the group then act out that feeling using facial expression, body posture, or other gestures until the child is able to guess the correct emotion. I’ve used it as a nonverbal game but it could also be used to target expressive language by having the kids describe the feeling in rather than act it out.

It’s pretty easy to construct; I made a headband out of construction paper and made several hearts (I use it as a Valentines Day activity) with different faces drawn on them. I stapled a piece of clear plastic as a pocket for the pictures to go into but Velcro would probably work just as well. If you didn’t want to draw the faces you could always use other emotion cards or pictures. The well known “How are you Feeling Today?” poster by Jim Borgman is one idea for pictures you could use; all you’d have to do is cut out the different faces.

I’ll try to get some pictures up so you have a better idea of what it looks like. Have fun!

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There is an excellent review up on the Goodfountain blog about a new documentary called Ethan and Jennifer.  It sounds absolutely wonderful; go on over and read the review and look for instructions on how to bring a screening of it to your community.

Chicago area readers, would you be interested in trying to have a screening here?

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Kinetic Connections in Park Ridge, IL will be hosting a free information night for parents called “Special Education Law: Strategies for Effective Advocacy to Receive Appropriate Special Education Services for Children with Invisible Disabilities” TONIGHT at 7pm.

Here is a description:

Charles P. Fox, JD Is a locally recognized special education attorney. He will present information on the legal aspects of effectively advocating for your child at school.

Do you understand the following? IEP, 504 Plan, 30 Day Review, Placement, Triennial Review, or Annual Review. Become an informed advocate for your child’s rights to an appropriate education. For many of us with high functioning children, we think special education is for someone else and allow our children to struggle. There are resources and accommodations for which our children with “invisible disabilities” may qualify.

Fully Fit Lifestyles, Inc. has offices in Chicago, IL, Park Ridge, IL, Denver, CO, and Berkeley, CA.  Some of the Communication Therapy/Chicago clients will be interested to know that one of their Kinetic Konnections therapists is seeing patients once a week at the Lincoln Park office of Amy Zier + Associates.

Here is the complete information about the Info Night in Park Ridge.

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We are happy to read today that Autism Speaks has granted more than 3.8 million dollars for autism treatment research projects.  This is great news from an organization that has traditionally funded autism cause research.  Here is the list of recipients, along with an abstract for each treatment project.

One of our favorite autism treatment experts, Dr. Pamela Wolfberg of San Francisco State University, has been  awarded $444,420 over 3 years to study “the effectiveness of IPG [Integrated Play Groups] in developing social skills in autistic children and in raising awareness of autism in typical peers”.  If you have not read any of Dr. Wolfberg’s books, we highly recommend them.

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If you are in the Midwest, you may be interested in the Gray Center’s Spring Conference, entitled “Asperger Syndrome & Adolescence: Building Skills for the Real World”.  It will be held on March 17, 2009 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Details and online registration information can be found here.

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