Special Education Home Field Trips – White Water Rafting

Did you know there are white water rafting programs for special education kids, autistic kids, and kids with down-syndrome? Did you know that one ride down the river for these kids will be an event of a lifetime? Think about it. Best of all when kids of this nature experience something so radically different and new, it causes them use parts of their brains that have yet to be used much. Yes, that’s right it helps with brain development, just as if they were learning how to ride a bike, sing a song, or learn how to do a new skill. Okay so, let’s talk.

Some folks involved in providing such trips down the river for special needs kids tell of how it becomes a life changing experience, so to do the parents. Occasionally, it’s almost to the point that there was “little Junior before the white water rafting trip, and little Junior after.” Some parents note the difference is that profound – to which I say; wow. When I first heard about all this, I thought to myself, no, it couldn’t be that good, but the parents swear by it and the kids after doing it, they’ll never stop talking about it.

My question is; why does it work so well? Perhaps, because special kids maybe apprehensive about the water, fearful, and yet excited at the same time, well, that is just about everything you need for strong memory imprintation isn’t it? Okay so, I’ve read research papers on how the simple task of learning how to play a musical instrument, learning how to ride a bike, or interacting with an avatar on a computer helps develop these brains, and the empirical evidence has been show to prove it so. Thus, maybe these white water river rafting trips are akin to those other activities, but even more so, perhaps that’s why only one trip down the river is enough to trigger changes.

It’s not that normal (whatever that is) kids don’t also go away with experiences and memories that they cherish for years to come, they do too when it comes to river rafting, but for the special education kids who may not get the chance to do all those other activities that regular kids do consider it the most fun they’ve ever had in their lives, and it shows on their faces and their excitement every time anyone mentions it for long into the future. Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Well-Informed Parents Give the World Educated Youth

Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit in on a great meeting at Miles College with three lovely ladies. One was Dean Knight. The meeting took place in her office and we discussed a great project that one of the students wants to see happen on college campuses across the country – starting at Miles College.

Meeting Dean Knight was such a pleasure. She is well informed, personable, and a very free spirit with whom we all shared several laughs during the meeting. I personally want to thank both her and all educators around this nation, for pouring into the lives of our future leaders. They give more than many of us realize.

At the conclusion of our meeting, we discussed some of the problems young people face on most college campuses, and one of those that surfaced was the habitual use of marijuana and other drugs. Dean Knight talked about how most kids do not realize the long-term effects of smoking marijuana and view using it as “no big deal”. I know, from my work with parents and youth, that she has a handle on the true depth of this problem.

As parents, we must become educated about drugs so we can tell our kids more than just the old, “don’t use drugs” jargon. Kids need to know the cause and effects of drug use and there is no better person to give this education to them than their own parents. A great resource for helping parents to educate themselves and, in turn, educate their youth is “The Ultimate Guide For Drug Free and Productive Youth”.

I believe that well-informed and educated parents give the world well informed and educated kids! Three weeks ago, while speaking for UMADAOP of Ohio, I was a panelist for the Marijuana Summit. I met some great people who have great resources for parents to better educate themselves. The information is based on numbers – and we know numbers never lie! Check out these 2

Sending educated, informed youth into the world leads to three game changers:

1. When youth are educated about drugs, they make better LIFE CHOICES and this allows them to be more productive in life. Our choices do only 2 things: They enhance our life or take away from our life. We want our youth to consider the consequences of every choice.

2. When kids are educated about the long-term effects of drug use, it has a way of eliminating the CURIOSITY FACTOR about drugs that lead so many youth into trying them in the first place. Too many youth who experiment with drugs – end up addicted. Let’s educate our kids, so their CURIOSITY FACTOR is not the foundation of their choices.

3. The main thing that educating our youths about drugs does is provide them with CLARITY. Being clear about the negative effect of drugs and knowing that they do NOT provide any value to life is an essential belief that allows youth to say a resounding, “No!” to drug use – and mean it. I challenge all parents to educate themselves in this area and then educate your kids and witness the decline in drug abuse

Benefits Of Using Mobile Apps In Early Education For Children

The real advantage of using mobile apps is that they help in connecting people without much hassle. You might wonder about how something so advanced as a mobile app can help in early education for children. It’s true that kids of this generation are nowhere like us when we were of that age. However, a Smartphone itself is just too much for someone of such a tender age – leave aside using an advanced mobile app. So how can these two completely bipolar things come together to create something effective and fruitful?

Before we go ahead with the discussion, let me ask you: what do you think mobile apps do?Are they beneficial only for reserving a seat in a restaurant and catching the trending celebrity gossips, or do they actually have something seriously constructive to offer? Not all apps get designed for providing entertainment; there are also some which (if used effectively) can do a great deal of good. Let’s take a weather forecast app, for instance. Once you use the app to check the weather forecast in the morning, you can plan and schedule your work for the later hours. Similarly, there are many educational apps which are getting regularly used in schools and colleges.

Let’s come to the apps that get specially designed for kids who haven’t yet started going to schools. The use of these apps in sync with the traditional mediums of early education might turn out as an important paving stones for pre-schoolers. This is the time of mental growth for kids aged between 3 to 6, and these apps can come in handy to a great extent. Let’s have a look at how apps are beneficial in early education:

#1. Learning Is Fun

These apps successfully testify the concept: “learning is fun“. These are specially designed for kids, and therefore, put extra emphasis on maximizing engagement. In this way, kids will keep on learning without even realizing it. These apps are full of entertainment, and they also strengthen the knowledge base.

#2. Portability

Apps are portable because mobile devices are portable. And this is one of the major reasons why there is a huge surge in its popularity. Are you waiting in the airport lounge for a flight with your kid? Hand him over your Smartphone and let him enjoy. He can sit down and practice a little math or science. In short, an educational app is no less than a portable classroom.

#3. Apps Are Interactive

We all love to learn new things once there is a proper interaction. Have you ever wondered why online games are so popular? It is because of the achievements that get unlocked with each level passed. This makes gamers want to know what’s more they can get in the next level, and thus, they get addicted. Similarly, most of the educational apps offer virtual rewards once a level gets completed. And kids love to get rewards, don’t they?

#4. Tracking The Progress

There are some educational apps which allow the user get updates and feedbacks about the progress of his kid. These are like assessment reports we used to get in school. And with the report, you can easily check how the app is helping your kid to improve his skills

The Importance of Art Education for Children

Art education for children had all but disappeared from most American schools. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, some well-intentioned (albeit misguided) and others simply unfortunate. Despite the waning exposure kids have to the arts at school, science continues to demonstrate the many benefits of arts-based learning beginning at a young age. If the future of education continues to deprive children of exposure to the arts, it is up to parents and caregivers to advocate for arts education while finding alternative ways to provide it.

The Changing Face of American Education

Several key developments in American education have nearly stripped art-related education out of schools. The most common reason cited is funding. A focus on standards has also been instrumental in reducing educational focus on the arts due to schools competing for high marks on testing. As the economy slowly recovers from the economic turmoil of the last decade, schools in many states have begun to rebound from a funding perspective. However, rather than restore arts programs, states and school districts are placed an emphasis on beefing up STEM programs, rather than art-related learning initiatives.

Types of Art Education and Their Benefits

Creativity and innovation, both traits highly valued by employers, are developed through arts-related learning. Creativity gives rise to critical thinking, engagement and problem-solving. At every stage of a child’s life, from early childhood through college, art-related exposure and learning has been shown to greatly improve physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. In addition to these proven benefits, arts-related education increases confidence in children as well as focus, perseverance and non-verbal communication. Children learn to better handle constructive feedback and to collaborate with others. Finally, the arts improve a child’s dedication, self-discipline and accountability. Each of these skill sets directly influences a child’s academic success as well. The research reflects a strong correlation between arts education and academic achievement.

The Push to Keep Children Balanced

Educational experts provide clear recommendations for an educational approach that incorporates the arts. The research leaves little doubt that kids need arts education as a part of a comprehensive and well-rounded education, and to guarantee their future success in life. Parents, caregivers and other family members can help by advocating for more art education programs in your school district. Meanwhile, experts advise not waiting for school programs to expose your kids to the arts. Dance, music, theater and the visual arts are all of equal importance and kids should be introduced to all four in early childhood.

Private teachers can provide beneficial learning opportunities however the research is clear that kids derive significantly greater benefit from group classes, lessons and programs. If your community has a children’s arts academy, enroll your kids as early as possible. There is no fear of starting them too early and professional arts educators can tailor classes specifically to a particular age group. Students with that level of involvement were four times more likely to participate in a science or math fair, win an award for writing an essay, or be recognized for academic achievement. Parents are always on the lookout for ways to help their children get ahead. Nothing is more influential and fun than arts-related education.

What You Can Do to Improve Your Child’s Education

The times are changing, and one area where this becomes very obvious is in child education. The competition and level of pressure are increasing, as more students have to work even harder to get into the relatively few slots in good schools. Kids are expected to plow through larger amounts of homework, and also do well on standardized and non-standardized tests. It’s quite a difficult world, and it’s not hard to understand why so many young people feel that they cannot cope with the stress. This is where having supportive parents can play a major role. And it’s heartwarming to see how many parents are trying to set aside the time and brush up on past subjects so that they can assist their kids. The most important thing here is to have a well thought out child education plan. Here are some key attributes of such a plan.

A Child Education Plan Needs to Be Realistic

Planning for your child’s education needs to start as early as possible, ideally at the earliest stages of the process. As an adult, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many variables that need to come together, to help your child manage. For example, part of keeping things realistic is making sure that there are multiple options when it comes to the potential school of your kid. Too many parents persist in having their child apply to get into only one or two schools. Sometimes, these are the same schools where the parents themselves went. This is not a realistic child education plan at all because the parents are artificially limiting the number of possible schools to get into, thereby increasing the risk that the kid might not be able to get into any of these. Don’t be the parent who has unrealistic expectations and assumes that their kid is smart enough to get into all the schools he or she applies to. Aside from not being a very viable strategy, this also puts tremendous pressure on the youngster.

A Child Education Plan needs to be Flexible

There may be situations where your kid has trouble with a subject or two. That’s just normal. Again, it’s important not to have unrealistic expectations of what your child can do. Now, some parents try to help their kids by going over the lessons where the child is struggling. This is a good first thing to try, but at the same time, the parents have to keep in mind that they may not be the best people to tutor their kid. So this is where the flexibility comes in. If things are not going well when the parents are doing the tutoring, consider bringing in a private tutor temporarily, to see if this improves things. Or perhaps an older sibling might do a better job of it. And then, be willing to mix and match strategies with the different subjects. So, one parent might be the best choice for math while the other one does a good job with history while a private tutor may need to be brought in to handle science. Be willing to try different tactics with your child education plan, until you end up with the best possible result.