|Posted by Focus Initiative Inc on March 18, 2010 at 2:50 PM||comments (1)|
A great article just released in the huffington post expands on the most important topics that the media is NOT covering.
1. Autism is unaffordable.
2. Parental guilt.
3. Puberty plus autism can be a volatile mix.
4. Minority children are diagnosed with autism years later than other children.
5. Autism can be tough on a marriage (MAJOR understatement!!!!)
6. Autism's effects on siblings.
7. Adults with autism (80% still live at home with parents!!)
8. Autism advocates who actually have autism (they DO exist!!)
|Posted by Focus Initiative on February 10, 2010 at 11:23 PM||comments (0)|
New information on Asperger's Syndrome came out just today:
Asperger's syndrome is really just a form of autism and does not merit a separate diagnosis, according to a panel of researchers assembled by the American Psychiatric Association.
Many people with Asperger's take pride in a diagnosis that probably describes some major historical figures, including Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, Carley says. Under the new system, those people would represent just one extreme of a spectrum. On the other extreme is "somebody who might have to wear adult diapers and maybe a head-restraining device. This is very hard for us to swallow," he says.
Do you agree? Read here for the complete article...
Then post your thoughts!
|Posted by Focus Initiative on February 2, 2010 at 12:45 PM||comments (5)|
What do you want in an academy?
We are over half-way through with our first complete school year at Focus Academy and I have to say I am truly amazed with the student progress!! Some comments we have received from parents include:
- He tells me he has "real friends" now.
- Other family members have noticed his maturity in just two months!
- He WANTS to go to school.
- The no homework thing is a huge quality of life change for us all. No more battles with him, no more parents getting frustrated with him....we get along much better.
- At Focus they must correct their work to 90% before it is done. So he has learned that its easier to do it right the first time.....which has transferred to all areas of his life.
It is amazing to watch these students make such progress in a matter of months...but i am always looking for ways to keep improving the program. So I am asking "What would you like to see for your child in an academy?"
|Posted by Focus Initiative on August 31, 2009 at 3:20 PM||comments (1)|
We've had a great first week at Focus Academy. In our first week, we've set up computers, computer software, email accounts and listed out 40 things we each want in life and started on our ways to being the fastest typists in history. We've also had our first music class (learned the A chord on guitar), drama class (did a reading of Illinois Jane - a middle school drama) and a social skills class. We've each emailed our mentor, Ms. Caroline Hamed, our first assignments and we've each begun decorating our display board to personalize our space. All of our students are working steadily through the academic ramp-up phase, and are each at different places in that phase. Most importantly our students have begun to set up and understand a new system of success that will define Focus Academy.
As you'll read on our website, we claim to be completely unique in that we not only, prepare our students for academic success through highschool and college, but more importantly, we prepare them for life success. We feel very strongly that this is the reason Focus Academy exists. If there was another school that made this their goal and succeeded, I would see no reason to continue to open our doors.
We started our first day by creating the rules that we will live by in our classroom for the rest of our school year. The students created their behavioral rules and I created their academic rules. Does anyone remember their parents saying, (annoyingly at times) "If you don't work; you don't eat." If there was a principle they were trying to teach you, it was, "The kind of life you want isn't handed to you; you're going to have to work (for and with other people) to get what you want." This is the most basic principle we build into our daily system and we take great pains to structure our Focus system in such a way that it mimics life. One of the first life lessons we enforce is that you don't leave at the end of the day until your work is finished. This week everyone worked very hard to earn their tickets so they could leave at three- thirty.
|Posted by Focus Initiative on August 3, 2009 at 2:49 PM||comments (9)|
This Article is reposted courtesy of Mrs. Debbie Elder of the New American School. Focus Academy has the privilege of working with the New American school to provide their curriculum. The original post can be found at http://www.newamericanschool.com/eliminate-homework-now/
Stop the Homework Hassles and Just Imagine
At many schools, a jam-packed schedule catering to masses of students rather than your individual student means not all schoolwork will get done at school. There’s just not enough time.
That’s where the dreaded HOMEWORK hassles start.
Some upper-level students may see more than two, three and even four hours of homework a night. That doesn’t leave time for relaxation, family time or much of anything else.
Imagine a school where your child is the focus, and they could work at their own pace, allowing them to actually complete their schoolwork AT SCHOOL!
Imagine what your child could do in the time he normally would spend doing homework:
A dancer will have more time in the studio.
An athlete will have more time to practice their sport and/or workout in the gym.
An artist will have more time to create.
An actor will have more time to participate in local productions and study their craft.
A child will have more time to be a child.
At our schools, our students work efficiently and effectively, eliminating the need for homework beyond the regular school day.
Imagine more time for your student to imagine!
|Posted by Focus Initiative on July 28, 2009 at 12:53 PM||comments (9)|
James Williams is a Social Coach and Public Speaker for Focus Initiative. As an individual diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, he is able to speak with personal knowledge and because of his extensive research in the autism field he is able to serve as a resource for those learning about ASD's.
Online Asperger's Syndrome Information and Support
Review: This amazing website provides a huge list of resources for parents, professionals, and individuals with AS. The best features of the site include the "Papers and Articles" section, "Education" section, and "Message Boards." I use this site frequently as a springboard to find more detailed information across the web.
Review: This unique website designed for everyone is made up of several high quality videos of various topics related to Autism which include nutrition, therapies, personal accounts, and post-secondary transition. The website strives to provide objective information from reliable, qualified sources. A must visit for parents and professionals alike!
Texas Project First
Review: This HUGE website, provided in part by the Texas Education Agency, covers all aspects of a variety of disabilities including Asperger?s Syndrome. It is designed for families and parents, however any individual will benefit from the vast resources that it offers. My favorite area is to Post-Secondary Transition and the chronological age organization of the website makes it very easy to navigate.
Asperger Syndrome Parent-Professional Information Exchange
Review: This concise and useful website provides excellent Houston area resources regarding Asperger's Syndrome including teacher tips, transition, and recommended books and articles. It is updated frequently with important news and new information.
Review: This website, created by myself, serves as a resource collection of useful websites, information, and links. The primary purpose of the website is to connect visitors to useful Post-Secondary Transition resources; however it also contains general links and documents related to other areas. It is updated frequently and all materials posted are obtained from reliable and accurate sources such as universities, research centers, government agencies, and parent support organizations.
|Posted by Focus Initiative on July 28, 2009 at 11:03 AM||comments (1)|
The small size of our summer school class is incredibly enabling. At Focus Academy we believe that merely teaching traditional academics alone will, in no way, prepare an individual for life. We teach students how to live in addition to maintaining a rigorous academic standard. Part of that "how to live" curriculum includes addressing the unmapped, experiential world of socialization, and with a small class, I can actually take the students out to where life and socialization happens. We went to the mall.
The trips purpose was to teach concentration on subject matter regardless of what was going on around us. With the public schools out of session and the mall a baby sitter of choice for many, what better place was there to test that call to concentration? We had been working on math and each student was given a reward towards which they would work. The general learning goal of social understanding was targeted and taught during the "down times" as opportunity arose.
Our first lesson was found in a display window while we entered the mall. The awareness of other people in my space comes so naturally
it's easy to forget that some students are completely unaware of the people who enter their space. Not only am I continually
aware of who is in my space, I also tend to monitor the others who enter my space. If abnormal activity is detected I either move away or
hone in on and specifically observe the abnormal activity. I automatically change my behaviour based on who is in my space. I naturally understand the principle of "being on display." However, to someone who does not understand social behaviour naturally (by no fault of their own) this principle must be explained and illustrated. The perfect metaphor to explain this principle happened to be a window displaying clothing
in the mall and I took the time to discuss this with the students. Though it may have to be explained many
more times in many different ways, we have at least started the discussion and taken a first step towards social understanding in this area. We also
completed an impressive amount of math and all students were able to earn the rewards for which they were working despite the incredible distraction of a
mall atmosphere. My hat is off to the students I get to work with this summer!
|Posted by Focus Initiative Inc on July 28, 2009 at 1:15 AM||comments (0)|
I can't believe it but summer vacation will be over in less than a month!!!!! That means that it is "now time" for registration for our fall group classes.
We have great plans for our groups at FOCUS Initiative this semester. Each week our clients will focus on a new and specific topic to meet their social needs. We will considering some of the following topics:
-Communication and How It Affects Everyone
-Agreeing and Disagreeing
-Mom and Dad: Their Viewpoint and Yours
-Being Part of a Group
Two community outings will also be scheduled for each group this year.
Register today! Classes start the day after Labor Day (September 7, 2009)...Pay in full by August 7th at 7pm and you save $25 off tuition and will have no registration fee (a $75 savings). Our groups are filling up quickly this semester so register now by clicking here! We make every effort to accommodate desired class days/times; however, preferences are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
If we have not yet met your child or it has been more than one year since the client has attended sessions at FOCUS Initiative, please call and schedule a complementary screening with Jacquelyn Tomlinson. The number to call is 281.240.0663
Have a great week!
|Posted by Focus Initiative on June 22, 2009 at 5:20 PM||comments (1)|
Summer camps are in full swing! We’ve had our first week and things are going great. We have an intelligent, inquisitive group of campers. Some of our lessons this week from the different classes have included “Big Problems vs. Little Problems and How to Tell the Difference,” “Working With Others When We Just Want to be Alone,” and “Understanding Our Parents.”
Some memorable quotes from the week are:
StudentA: “I’m going to slap you across the ant hill.”
StudentB: “I’m allergic to ants.”
Teachers Response: “When someone says they are going to slap you across the ant hill that is an inappropriate threat not a conversation topic. A good way to respond to a threat is… (lesson continues)”
(Practicing introducing friends)
StudentA: “Mr. Richard, this is Jeff Gordon. He’s from Mississippi.” (Student starts laughing) “I called Matthew, Jeff Gordon.”
Teacher: You may know a person that only wants to be friends with someone who wears Abercrombie.
Student: “Oh no! I only wear Abercrombie. Is that a bad thing?”
Teacher: “It was just an example. I wasn’t labeling Abercrombie as inherently good or bad... (continues with lesson on Friends Expectations)”
We have thrown Frisbees, waterballoons and playground balls. We have flown kites, jumped on trampolines, had pillow fights and read books about dragons. We have drawn pictures of pokemon, made fancy papier-mâché vases and most importantly (through all of these activities) learned about the complicated world of social interaction. Our goal is that each camper leave each day thinking about the meaning of the interactions they experienced during the day at camp. Thanks for a great first week campers and parents!
|Posted by Focus Initiative on June 11, 2009 at 5:58 PM||comments (4)|
I've never been a big believer in positive self talk philosophies because I've believed them to be disguised American narcissism. That was till I met parents whose low expectations and constant excusing of their childrens so called inabilities had created dependent, incapable adults. I want to put my hand on the shoulders of these child-like dependent adults and tell them, "Go somewhere where they will make you work hard and not let you out of whatever activity makes you frustrated. You are a very, very capable person." I also want to send the parents statements to repeat to themselves every morning that go something like, "Because my child had to work hard to acquire 'simple skills' doesn't make them a failure. It makes them hard workers. Though my child will have to endure frustrating, hard work in the future to acquire more skills, this is the only way they can become successful, independent adults."
The principle is simple. Reinforce whatever ever behavior you want repeated. If you want a quitter, allow the child to quit. If you want tantrums, give the child what he wants when he tantrums. If you want to be manipulated, yield to manipulative attempts.
I speak from observation rather than personal experience, but I can think of ten to twenty couples who are raising their kids the hard way and will probably request of me to say everything I've said more forcefully.
To all parents who are tempted to let their student take the easy way out of a task or project because the student is insisting "I'm incapable of doing this": Your child is capable of more than you know.