Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cues to Self ~ Understanding the meaning....


The mission of APOGEE Learning™ is to cultivate keen awareness, to develop and expand perception, to impassion responsibility and enhance the power to act.

APOGEE Learning™ provides a process that allows one to fully understand and appreciate the internal signaling of cause and effect. Through the application of APOGEE Cognitive Kinesiology™ one gains access to the deeper consciousness that underlies perception, impressions, beliefs, attitudes, and the particular responsiveness to new and past experiences.

The perspectives expressed in this post by Deepak Chopra MD, are in accord with the findings and the benefits put forth in the program offerings of APOGEE Learning™ and the APOGEE Achiever™ Program. By fully understanding the cues to self, a signal for action, one develops an empowered and knowing sense of being. This the mission of the APOGEE Achiever™ Program.

Are You Learning To Listen?
Deepak Chopra

"There are no accidents, despite what you believe. There is only cause and effect, and when the cause is far away in time, the effect returns after you have forgotten it. But be sure that everything that befalls you, good or bad, is the result of some action in the past.

These mishaps are like an echo. If I shouted yesterday and the echo waited until today to come back, I might have forgotten all about it. Then how am I learning to prevent theses delayed reactions, if I’ve already forgotten about them? By being more alert.

Actions return to us over and over from different directions. So many kinds of cause and effect are working all around us that one must be very alert to see them. Nothing is random in the universe. Your past actions are not returning to punish you but to catch your attention. They are like clues.

You are not who you think you are. You live in many layers of reality. One of these we shall call spirit. Imagine that you do not know yourself as spirit but that your spirit knows you. What would be more natural than it should call to you? The clues that fall out of the sky are messages from spirit, but you must be alert to catch them.

Spirit is difficult to heed. If you are getting better and better at avoiding disaster, you are learning to listen."

Adapted from The Way of the Wizard: Twenty Spiritual Lessons for Creating the Life You Want, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 1995).

Source: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/are-you-learning-to-listen.html#ixzz18JA9FFQK

Image Credit: What's On your Mind, Celeste Katz, NY Daily News.


The APOGEE Achiever Program
The Academics and the Arts
~ Soar To Success ~

•Individualized Subject Tutoring•
•Study Skills and Mastery Strategies•
•All Learning Styles•
Reading
Mathematics
Writing
Organization
Communication Skills
Assignment Management
Stress Management
Acu-Tone™ Sound Therapy
Relaxation, Breathing, Attention and Focusing Exercises
Achievement Goals
All Ages ~ All Grades ~ All Subjects
PSAT~ SAT ~ All Test Preparation
APOGEE Cognitive Kinesiology™ - Cause and Effect
Coaching

Family Therapy

• Inquiries welcomed
• Call or post
• All Questions Answered •


For more information on services
provided for all learning needs:

http://www.apogeelearning.com
http://www.acu-tone.com

APOGEE Learning ~ A Whole Child Paradigm

Learning styles honored and supported
Readiness experiences provided
Task analysis applied
Student interests as motivators
The Whole Brain approach to study and mastery

Inquiries Welcomed
Call for your FREE Introductory Consultation.
845-359-9056
toll free: 1-866-228-8663
1-866-ACU-TONE


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rude Awakening | Healthy Child Healthy World

A significant read. Right information coupled with right intention and off we are in the right direction. Our voices are to be fully heard.

Rose Marie Raccioppi
APOGEE Learning

photo credit: photoshelter.com

Rude Awakening
Guest Blogger
Saturday, December 04, 2010

Jeffrey M. Smith, Institute for Responsible Technology:

A wise customer wanted to find out if the corn nuts she was eating were from genetically modified (GM) corn. She emailed the company and got a shocking reply. It began:

"Thank you for your contact. We are not aware of any GMO free corn in the U.S. We feel it is a ridiculous concern based on very poor science."

The email, reproduced at the blog of Kelly the Kitchen Kop, even recommended:

". . . if these concerns are truly important to you, you may be better served at a health food store.

We appreciate your patronage.

The Customer Support Team,

American Importing Co., Inc."

Talk about being opinionated and misinformed.

There's overwhelming evidence showing that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are unsafe. And there are plenty of sources of non-GMO corn.

Did this email get you angry? Are you thinking about flooding the company's email with hostile missives? I had another idea.

I phoned the company owner.

I figured that although the email's author was clearly misled, I also knew all about Monsanto and the other devious corporations that dis-informed him—and how they skillfully depict GMO critics as ridiculous and unscientific.

When I got President Andy on the phone and asked if his products were genetically modified (GM), it didn't take me long to realize that he was almost certainly the author of his company's tactless email. He launched into a diatribe blasting GMOs as the most misconceived issue in the entire food industry.

As I took notes documenting his string of incorrect statements, (no, there is no GMO wheat yet, same with apples; no there was not a massive death of monarch butterflies in Europe), he heard my keyboard tapping and stopped momentarily to ask who I was. I told him that I was a leading spokesperson on the dangers of GMOs, that I wrote the world's bestselling book on the subject, and that I was doing a blog based on an email response sent by his customer service.

That didn't slow him down in the least. Andy continued his rant, which literally went on for 12 minutes. I was impressed.

When he finally ran out of steam, I decided to begin my response by agreeing with him—that we certainly do need to apply real science on this issue. Then I told him the truth.

I told Andy of concerns by FDA scientists that GMOs might create serious, hard-to-detect health hazards, and how Monsanto's man placed at the top of the agency ignored and covered-up the warnings. As a result, the FDA lets GMOs onto the market without any required safety tests.

I told Andy that I worked with more than 30 scientists to document 65 health risks of GMOs for my book Genetic Roulette, which cites peer-reviewed science, industry research, and medical investigations, among its 1100+ endnotes.

I told Andy about the American Academy of Environmental Medicine's condemnation of GMOs, and their prescription of non-GMO diets for all patients. And how this renowned physician's organization linked GMOs to infertility, immune system dysfunction, gastrointestinal problems, organ damage, and disruption of insulin and cholesterol regulation.

And I told Andy how the same corporations that fed him the lie that GMOs are safe, fired and gagged scientists who discovered that they're not.

Now Andy was impressed.

And he realized he had been duped—that the information given to him and others in the food industry had been "filtered" by those earning profits from GMOs. He said that the science that I presented was not getting to the executives in the food industry, to people like him who want to give customers healthy food.

Andy was again on a roll, but with a different agenda. He now urged me to get in front of the decision makers in the food industry, and he even offered to help make it happen.

I told Andy that I was impressed by his passion, which he had unleashed on me like a fire hose at the beginning of the call. And I knew that once armed with the real evidence against GMOs, he could use that same passion and make a big difference.

Andy committed to order and read Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods. And while waiting for it to arrive, he and his colleagues will review my keynote speech online, Everything You HAVE TO KNOW About Dangerous Genetically Modified Foods.

Before we hung up, Andy thanked me over and over for not being reactive to his initial onslaught, and for staying with him and leading him through the science.

I now have a new friend. And I am reminded again about the importance of educating leaders in the food industry as part of our campaign to rid the food supply of GMOs.

If you know a food company executive, please take the time to send him or her a link to the online video presentation, to the article showing that doctors now prescribe non-GMO diets, and to a summary of the GMO health risks. It's time well spent.

And if they run a very large food company, please introduce me. I'm on a roll.

Safe eating.


To learn more about the health dangers of GMOs, and what you can do to help end the genetic engineering of our food supply, visit www.ResponsibleTechnology.org.

To learn how to choose healthier non-GMO brands, visit www.NonGMOShoppingGuide.com.

International bestselling author and filmmaker Jeffrey Smith is the leading spokesperson on the health dangers of genetically modified (GM) foods. His first book, Seeds of Deception, is the world’s bestselling and #1 rated book on the topic. His second, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, provides overwhelming evidence that GMOs are unsafe and should never have been introduced. Mr. Smith is the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, whose Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to create the tipping point of consumer rejection of GMOs, forcing them out of our food supply.

The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of Healthy Child Healthy World.

Rude Awakening | Healthy Child Healthy World

Sunday, November 21, 2010

And Now Let Us Understand Dyslexia...




Are we teaching potential entrepreneurs in the
best way to enhance their career success?


Julie Logan
Professor of Entrepreneurship
Cass Business School
City University
London EC1

"Governments in the UK and US have made much of the need to nurture and enhance the entrepreneurial skills of the next generation, but does the education system support those who are most innovative? Many entrepreneurs claim to be dyslexic. These include Richard Branson, and Charles Schwab (Morris, 2002). They have suggested that being dyslexic has helped them succeed but education has failed them. There is also evidence that the UK/US school curriculum does not encourage the development of skills, particularly soft skills, essential for creating enterprising young people (NESTA, 2007). Frey (1990) suggests school curriculum is becoming geared to left brain learning and weeding out some of our most innovative people.

This study explored: whether there is a higher incidence of dyslexia in entrepreneurs than in corporate managers or the general population; whether the dyslexic entrepreneur has soft skills that are of benefit in the new venture creation process and whether their experience of education (including entrepreneurship education) has been of value in their subsequent careers. The study also examined how entrepreneurship is taught in universities and whether this meets the needs of our most innovative students. This study examined the UK and US, an Australian study is about to start.

Data collection included a questionnaire and follow-up in depth interviews. These explored: the business; early years: school experience and, included a series of questions to identify those who were dyslexic. Data sets were the Kauffman business data-base (US), and UK business directories. 35% of US and 19% of UK entrepreneurs in this study reported as dyslexic. This compares with an incidence of 1% in US corporate managers, 3% in UK corporate managers and 10% in the US and UK general populations.

The dyslexic entrepreneurs reported as good or excellent at: visualisation; oral communication; problem solving and delegation, whilst non-dyslexic entrepreneurs reported as average or good. Dyslexics had a clear vision of how their business would grow and seemed to have exceptional ability to communicate this vision, allowing them to motivate those around them. They were good at delegation and this seemed linked to ability to grow their companies quickly. They also reported enhanced ability to apply creative solutions to overcome the various problems they encounter whilst running a successful business. This may be the result of growing up with a learning deficit and dealing with the uncertainty and obstacles that this has brought.

Fitzgibbon & O’Connor (2002), suggest that successful dyslexics develop ways of controlling; coping and compensating for their deficits. These strategies may become transferable skills, giving them an edge in business. For example: Some dyslexics in this study reported learning at an early age to ask others to carry out the tasks they found difficult. One entrepreneur who was captain of the netball team used to ask another team member to write the names of those selected to play each week because she found spelling names impossible and wished to hide this weakness. Having learnt at an early age to trust others with tasks the dyslexic entrepreneur may find it easier to delegate leaving more time to focus on growing the business.

The study also found that US dyslexic entrepreneurs were more likely to own several companies (statistically significant at the 99% confidence level), and to grow their companies more quickly than those who were not dyslexic. Furthermore they employed more staff (statistically significant at the 95% confidence level) suggesting their perception of their ability to delegate was correct. Non-dyslexic entrepreneurs stayed with their companies longer than dyslexics who seemed to prefer early stage ventures.

Dyslexic entrepreneurs in both studies reported under achievement at school, university or college, the UK study found this also to be true for many non-dyslexic entrepreneurs. Whilst US entrepreneurs had enjoyed their school experience despite underachieving, UK entrepreneurs who were dyslexic reported a negative school experience. Does this mean that our school system is failing those who may have the potential to be innovative and create new ventures?

There are implications for those teaching entrepreneurship. The study revealed a high incidence of dyslexia in entrepreneurs so it is of great importance that entrepreneurship teaching programmes are dyslexia friendly but entrepreneurship lecturers reported their most commonly used teaching pedagogies were the lecture and case study, methods that dyslexics struggle with and which do not encourage soft skill development. Dyslexics need to be placed in a more holistic and practical teaching setting which will foster their skills and enhance their potential. This approach to teaching entrepreneurship will be beneficial to all and in turn will produce a more flourishing entrepreneurial society."

An added word: It is this very last statement that relates most directly to the approaches and offerings of APOGEE Learning™ that have appropriately and creatively supported scores of dyslexic students in reaching both their creative and academic potential, grade after grade, subject after subject, project after project, venture after venture.

Inquiries welcomed
• Call or post
• All Questions Answered •

For more information on services
provided for all learning needs:

http://www.apogeelearning.com
http://www.acu-tone.com

APOGEE Learning ~ A Whole Child Paradigm

Learning styles honored and supported
Readiness experiences provided
Task analysis applied
Student interests as motivators
The Whole Brain approach to study and mastery

Inquiries Welcomed

Call for your FREE Introductory Consultation.
845-359-9056
toll free: 1-866-228-8663
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Dyslexia An Unwrapped Gift (part 1 of 2)

Dyslexia An Unwrapped Gift (part 2 of 2)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Get Unstuck ~ Free Potential

As an educator, it is ever gratifying to see that what you know to be effective approaches, to freeing learning potential, are consistently validated. This validation comes from the documented benefits of the supports and orientations offered by APOGEE Learning™ since 1983, in addition to the latest expressed perspectives of researchers from a myriad of disciplines. I am pleased to here present the perspectives of Deepak Chopra, MD for your consideration. These are the very perspectives that are integrated into the program offerings of APOGEE Learning™ and the APOGEE Achiever™ Program.

Rose Marie Raccioppi

All Inquiries Welcomed.

"To be free, you must find a way to let go of all the stuck energy that keeps sending out the same old messages. The ability to let go is more complex than it sounds, but nothing is more crucial. Letting go of anger and fear requires a process, which includes the following:

Be alert. Don’t ignore your feelings when you are angry or anxious. Resist the impulse to look away and shove your feelings back down out of sight. The more alert you are, the easier it will be to access stuck energy and let it go.

Be objective. If you identify personally with negativity, you will never let it go. Learn to see anger as only energy, like electricity. Electricity isn’t about you. Neither is anger. It’s universal and sticks to anything that seems unfair or unjust. Fear sticks to anything that feels dangerous or unsafe.

Detach from the specifics. Energies get stuck to particular situations: A specific person rams your car from the rear, butts in line ahead of you at the supermarket, or cheats you out of money. These are the contents of the situation, its specifics, and you cannot completely let go of energy by living solely in those moments. Imagine having a fight with your spouse. You are sure you’re justified in your position. But if you refuse to stop being angry until your spouse says, “I was wrong; you were right all along,” you could wait forever. And even if he does apologize, your anger might not completely disappear. Detach from the contents of the situation and release your anger by yourself, for your own good.

Take responsibility. This goes hand in hand with detachment. Your energy is yours and nobody else’s. In spiritual terms, it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, who is the aggressor or the victim. The only important thing is how to win your own freedom. In a world of opposites, right and wrong are engaged in an eternal struggle. Your role is to let go of energy that has stuck to you for whatever reason. Once you take responsibility, you won’t be tossed about at the whim of circumstance.

Don’t expect anyone to do it for you. There is certainly such a thing as divine guidance, but the road to freedom is through the self. Most of us hope to gain strength from other people, not some divine agency. Yet there is no getting around the fact that all you have for the spiritual journey is your own mind, body, and soul. As much as others can offer solace and helpful wishes, only you can embark on the journey inside yourself.

Let your body participate. Letting go isn’t just a mental process. In fact, you have metabolized your past and given it sanctuary in your body. Or as someone put it simply, “The issues are in the tissues.” Many kinds of bodywork and purification therapies can be useful here. (Added Note: Re: APOGEE Acu-Tone™) To begin with, let your body do what it wants to do. It knows how to tremble with fear and convulse with anger. Don’t resist the body’s natural reactions, but don’t inflict them on someone else, either. Throwing off stuck energy is a private process that belongs to you alone.

Explore and discover. I don’t want to imply that the spiritual journey involves laborious effort undertaken in solitude. Quite the contrary. Nothing is more fascinating than finding out who you really are, and what you are really about. The vast majority of people live secondhand lives. All they know about themselves is what others tell them; the voices they hear in their heads come from the past; their vision of possibilities amounts to what they were taught at school, in church, and in the family. The past creates unresolved energy. The need to conform creates a fear of breaking free. Fortunately, to the extent that you let go of these old energies, you will win a new bit of freedom.

Value freedom above everything. I said earlier that we all hear two impulses -inside ourselves. One says, “This is what I want to do,” the other says, “This is what I’d better do.” The first is the voice of freedom; the second is the voice of fear. The divine plan is infinitely complex, but when it comes down to each person, it’s infinitely simple. You get to be whoever you want to be; you get to do whatever you want to do. That’s not the same as what your ego wants you to be or what your fantasies urge you to do. Spiritual freedom releases you into infinite Being. Then and only then will you encounter the real you. At that moment, all that you wanted to be in the past will be seen as a temporary impulse. And each impulse to be free will been seen to be leading you in the right direction."

Adapted from Why is God Laughing? by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2008).

Article source: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/how-to-get-unstuck.html#ixzz15ZNsl7AY


Image credit: Chris Keeney Photo


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gregg Braden: The Spontaneous Healing of Belief and The APOGEE Paradigm




The Wounded Learner Belief and the Healing Process

Several years ago I presented a number of weekend workshops at the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science. With all the research surfacing on how trauma, unresolved conflict, suppressed emotions, toxins, and stress effect one's health and well being, it became clear that these same influences on one's physical and emotional development were those that also effected readiness for learning, attention, and success in meeting educational milestones.

The title of one particular weekend workshop was, ''The Wounded Learner." Early learning experiences bear significantly on the impressions we have of ourselves as learners. If those early impressions validate ourselves as responsive and capable, there develops a feeling of confidence and a willingness to explore. If however, one is given the impression that one is not capable, is harshly criticized, not understood or supported, confidence is often shattered and masked by defiant behaviors or resistance. The learner becomes wounded. These wounds need be healed, and redirection defined.

I can give example after example of how when finding the underlying incident(s) or circumstance(s) that planted the seeds of stress, confusion, or dismay, are uprooted, change is initiated. Within this change the learner moves to a greater awareness of self, a willingness to confront, and an openness for ultimate resolve. The principles of epigenetics and the principles behind our beliefs are fully operative and applicable here. The learner is brought to understand behaviors that result from external rather than purely genetic influences. The learner comes to newly appreciate his/her own power over self and the learning process. To become aware of our established belief systems, our established perceptions and how they enhance or restrict our potential for well being and learning success, is to become an empowered learner. This is an awareness that is primary at every age and stage of development, from childhood to adulthood.

Post Script: Shortly after posting, I was sent an article that speaks to these very issues and orientations. I am pleased to add other voices; and so for your added consideration:

Adapted from

Power, Freedom, and Grace, by Deepak Chopra (Amber Allen, 2006).

"When you are conceived, all you are is a double strand of DNA—a speck of information and intelligence that differentiates into a hundred trillion cells, which then become a fully formed baby with eyes, nose, ears, brain, arms, legs, genitals. You didn’t do anything to make that happen, and yet you made it happen. In that blueprint, that speck of information is a plan for when your teeth will grow out, when you will reach puberty, when you will generate sex hormones, so you can produce another human being. It is spontaneity, with effortless ease, with no resistance. The impulse of the universe is coming through you in the form of that double strand of DNA.

Now if you can make a hundred trillion cells without any confusion, if each cell can do its own unique thing and correlate its activity with every other cell without any confusion, it’s because of the intelligence of the universe is flowing through that speck of DNA, which you can’t even see under a microscope. So the best thing you can do is to allow it to happen. It isn’t wise to interfere with it.

And how do you interfere with this intelligence? In spiritual terms, we can say that you interfere when you identify with your self-image and lose your inner self; when you lose your sense of connection with your soul, your source. In more common terms, we can say that you interfere when you start worrying, when you start anticipating problems, when you start thinking, What can go wrong? When you try to control everything, when you are afraid, when you feel isolated—all these things interfere with the flow of nature’s intelligence.

Your inner self is your innate intelligence; it is being becoming. It is your ability to create, to grow, to evolve, to express. Your self-image is the indoctrination by society, by education; it’s the image you have created for yourself based on what other people think of you. As soon as you sacrifice the self for self-image you lose divinity for something that is illusory and doesn’t exist. The self-image is a hallucination; it isn’t even real, but it interferes with the flow of intelligence." http://www.care2.com/greenliving/living-in-flow.html#ixzz14oiJairM


Another most relevant article sent my way and added for your consideration. An excellent read for understanding learners across the age span. 6 Surprising Things That Affect Your Brain | Care2 Healthy & Green Living: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/6-surprising-things-that-affect-your-brain.html


• Inquiries welcomed
• Call or post
• All Questions Answered •

For more information on services
provided for all learning needs:

http://www.apogeelearning.com
http://www.acu-tone.com

APOGEE Learning ~ A Whole Child Paradigm

Learning styles honored and supported
Readiness experiences provided
Task analysis applied
Student interests as motivators
The Whole Brain approach to study and mastery

Inquiries Welcomed

Call for your FREE Introductory Consultation.
845-359-9056
toll free: 1-866-228-8663
1-866-ACU-TONE


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The APOGEE Achiever Program™


The APOGEE Achiever Program
The Academics and the Arts
~ Soar To Success ~

•Individualized Subject Tutoring•
•Study Skills and Mastery Strategies•
•All Learning Styles•
~Reading~
~Mathematics~
~Writing~
~Organization~
~Communication Skills~
~Assignment Management~
~Stress Management~
~ Acu-Tone™ Sound Therapy~
~Relaxation, Breathing, Attention and Focusing Exercises~
~Achievement Goals~
~All Ages ~ All Grades ~ All Subjects~
~PSAT~ SAT ~ All Test Preparation~
~Coaching~
~Family Therapy~

• Inquiries welcomed
• Call or post
• All Questions Answered •


For more information on services
provided for all learning needs:

http://www.apogeelearning.com
http://www.acu-tone.com

APOGEE Learning ~ A Whole Child Paradigm

Learning styles honored and supported
Readiness experiences provided
Task analysis applied
Student interests as motivators
The Whole Brain approach to study and mastery

Inquiries Welcomed

Call for your FREE Introductory Consultation.
845-359-9056
toll free: 1-866-228-8663
1-866-ACU-TONE

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms ~The APOGEE Achiever™


Divergent thinking, Creativity and the
APOGEE Paradigm™
Yours to explore, see the connections,
see the shared perspectives,
see the Promise of Potential realized,
the growth and diversity of our children
understood, supported and empowered.

All Inquiries Welcomed.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Epigenetics and the APOGEE Learning™ Paradigm


The Observations

"No, they are not the same" was my hue and cry. My identical twin sons born to me were not the same. Yes, they split from the one egg, yes, they contain the genetic code of each parent, but from the very start of the split, they were positioned differently in the womb. Each twin experienced everything in utero from a different position in space. They each had very different birth experiences. Yet, all I had been taught in my undergraduate and graduate studies of physiology and psychology in the 60's, did not seem to consider these 'different' experiences as holding significant influences on their growth, development or perceptions. As a student of psychology and education, guided by the works of Jean Piaget, I observed. What I observed over the last four decades was that ALL influences. Holding a view that a particular experience, for the 'experiencer' holds no significance, may indeed be a misguided judgment of the observer.

When my third son was born, three years later, again, I had a whole new opportunity for observation. Each of my sons, in their own particular way, has taught me the meaning of life, care, unconditional love, and the significance of each and every experience, each and every relationship, each and every exposure to stress, be it environmental, physical or emotional.

There is more to the story of the 'differences' that developed, as each twin son made different choices, developed different interests, went to different schools, yes, very much an epigenetic accounting of growth and development. Matrix, hologram, kaleidoscopic emergence, epigenesis, are very much a part of the story that is yet to be fully told.

Man is born with potential, the propensities that come from origination, yet man was never meant to be limited to this origination, if he was, he would not have been given 'Free Will.' It is the breaking of this 'will' that enslaves.

Equipped with two decades of 'hands on learning,' post graduate work, along with continued studies of consciousness, creativity and learning, I initiated APOGEE Learning™ in 1983, a holistic, inclusive paradigm that has successfully served learners across the age span for what will soon be three decades.

As I read of the "Epigenetic theory," and its defined findings, I found a deep accord with my own observations... "an emergent theory of development that includes both the genetic origins of behavior and the direct systematic influence that environmental forces have, over time, on the expression of those genes. The theory focuses on the dynamic interaction between these two influences during development." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetic_Theory) From these perspectives, one can more fully appreciate why APOGEE Learning™ has brought about such outstanding change, benefit and growth for learners across the age span.

APOGEE Learning ™ is a system of learning and educational therapy that considers the visual, auditory, motor, psychological, attitudinal, kinesthetic, cognitive, biochemical, nutritional, neurological, educational, vibrational and reciprocal factors that relate to learning and creativity. It addresses the Academics and the Arts.

Through the use of Cognitive Kinesiology™ the student is brought closer to understanding the integrative action of the mind-body energy system. The student experiences the communication between the mind and body and comes to more fully appreciate the power of one’s own inner resources.

The assessment experience provides the student with opportunities to explore how behavior and stress patterns affect mind-body energy. The student is given the opportunity to more fully appreciate the interrelationship of the physical, mental, creative, and spiritual self. The student comes closer to understanding how his or her learning and creativity are influenced by what he or she has experienced, feels, attracts, knows, thinks, believes, wants, enjoys and fears. To know these aspects of self is to know the keys or locks to learning and creativity.

APOGEE Learning™ allows us to better understand and implement the supports, modifications, adjustments and educational approaches that are needed to assure effective learning and stress management.

APOGEE Learning™ is a system of:

• internal education that fosters self understanding
• educational therapy addressing individual need
• learning incorporating experiential multi-sensory education, the arts, yoga science,
internal education and stress management
• learning incorporating principles and practices of Cognitive Kinesiology™
• learning that seeks to identify the major processes that enhance or inhibit the ability or the desire to learn.

YouTube - The New Biology- From Victim to Master of Your Health
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iCcnDuY6-4&NR=1

YouTube - Dr Bruce Lipton Preceptions and Beleifs Not Genes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLuZqZcjk74&feature=player_embedded%0D

As can be readily noted, the principles of Epigenetics, are inherent in the orientations, practices and supports offered by APOGEE Learning ™ and APOGEE Acu-Tone ™ . It is indeed gratifying to find that 'science' in recent research has validated a life long held and lived perspective.
image source: http://www.dnatest.co.za/blog/

YouTube - RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U&

Most recent research:


Epigenetics, DNA: How You Can Change Your Genes, Destiny - TIME
http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1951968,00.html

Identical Twins: Pinpointing Environmental Impact on the Epigenome
http://www.learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/epigenetics/twins/

Living on Earth: Genetics and the Environment
http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.htm?programID=10-P13-00043&segmentID=4

Where 'environment' is the influence
Why dieting while pregnant could give your baby heart disease | Mail Online
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1325684/Why-dieting-pregnant-baby-heart-disease.html

Where one can reverse the 'code'
Breakdancing girl, 13, who faced wheelchair due to curved spine claims she was cured by yoga | Mail Online
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1325888/Breakdancing-girl-13-faced-wheelchair-curved-spine-claims-cured-yoga.html

Lifestyle Factors May Alter Genetic Traits, Study Finds
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130703719


Signal to Proteins = Movement = Work/Behavior
Cells hold to Control of Protein Function
and so...
The Learning and Knowing Body
http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLA94C9D928D22EA83&feature=player_embedded&v=HVECAlT4AXY#!

All inquiries welcomed.

The APOGEE Achiever Program
The Academics and the Arts
~ Soar To Success ~

•Individualized Subject Tutoring•
•Study Skills and Mastery Strategies•
•All Learning Styles•
~Reading~
~Mathematics~
~Writing~
~Organization~
~Communication Skills~
~Assignment Management~
~Stress Management~
~ Acu-Tone™ Sound Therapy~
~Relaxation, Breathing, Attention and Focusing Exercises~
~Achievement Goals~
~All Ages ~ All Grades ~ All Subjects~
~PSAT~ SAT ~ All Test Preparation~
~Coaching~
~Family Therapy~

• Inquiries welcomed
• Call or post
• All Questions Answered •


For more information on services
provided for all learning needs:

http://www.apogeelearning.com
http://www.acu-tone.com

APOGEE Learning ~ A Whole Child Paradigm

Learning styles honored and supported
Readiness experiences provided
Task analysis applied
Student interests as motivators
The Whole Brain approach to study and mastery

Inquiries Welcomed

Call for your FREE Introductory Consultation.
845-359-9056
toll free: 1-866-228-8663
1-866-ACU-TONE


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When Learning is a Sound Lesson ~ APOGEE Acu-Tone™


"…When force of circumstance upsets your balance, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to harmony will increase your mastery of it..."

Marcus Aurelius


Learning is meant to be an ever present life long process. Life experiences, perception, behavior and specific habit patterns can enhance, block or limit our ability to profit from particular learning opportunities. Opportunities are created. We each have the power to bring ourselves to a state of greater harmony, greater readiness and greater understanding.

Potential can be nurtured. The realms of potential are many. Although there are hundreds of locations of focused or concentrated energy within our body, there are however, seven specific energy centers referred to as chakras. The chakras are spinning vortexes of energy. When these energy centers are open and balanced, we more readily realize our potential for health, learning and creativity.

Each energy center has its own element, vibrational quality, pattern of energy and is associated with particular aspects of intelligence, perception and cognition. To enhance learning one must necessarily enhance the flow of energy through each of these centers. Energy is influenced by all we experience, physically, emotionally and spiritually. An imbalance of energies and stress are known to adversely effect one's well being as well as one's ability to focus, and meet the challenges of learning. Learning is an experience that taps into our physical, emotional and spiritual being.

APOGEE Acu-Tone™ employs a system of evaluation that allows the recipient to gain personal knowledge and feedback. The Acu-Tone™ session applies the tuning fork vibration to those energy channels and points that have been identified in the evaluation process. The sound is purely acoustic with a note range, of C - D - E - F - G - A - B.

APOGEE Acu-Tone™ was first conceived several years before its public presentation. Over a decade of experimentation and research was in place before its public introduction in 1983, as a sound healing and energy balancing system. Sound has been used as a healing force for thousands of years. All ancient civilizations used sound for healing. Traditional cultures still surviving today understand the remarkable healing power that lies in sound. Sound healing is the therapeutic application of sound frequencies to the body/mind of a person with the intention of bringing them into a state of harmony and health. The dictionary defines ‘harmony’ as ‘congruity of parts to their whole or to one another’. ‘Health’ is defined as ‘the state of being bodily and mentally vigorous and free of disease’.

Dr Alfred Tomatis (1920–2001) the French ear, nose and throat specialist, devoted over 50 years to understanding the ear and its function. He held that the ear is the most important of all our sense organs. The ear controls the body’s sense of balance, rhythm and movement and is the conductor of the entire nervous system. In an APOGEE Acu-Tone™ session, sound vibration, via tuning forks are applied to specific points on and around the ear.

Through the medulla, the auditory nerve connects with all the muscles of the body. Hence, muscle tone, equilibrium, flexibility and vision are affected by sound. Through the vagus nerve, the inner ear connects with the larynx, heart, lungs, stomach, liver, bladder, kidneys, small intestine and large intestine. Every organ, bone, and cell in the body has its own resonant frequency. Together they make up a composite frequency like the instruments of an orchestra. When one organ in the body is out of tune it will affect the whole body.

The principle of entrainment explains how sound healing works and how APOGEE Acu-Tone™ delivers its benefits . A harmonious sound projected at a person who is in a state of disharmony will eventually bring them into resonance with the harmonious sound. Our atoms, molecules, cells, glands and organs all have a vibrational frequency. Sounds from outside our body will stimulate sympathetic vibration in the molecules and cells of our body.

APOGEE Acu-Tone™ through the use of specifically calibrated tuning forks applied to meridians, acupuncture points and cranium points, brings the recipient into a reported and visible state of balance, centeredness, and well being. Balancing of energies, deep relaxation, body awareness, and the ability to maintain focus, are significant considerations for children as well as adults who experience the effects of stress. APOGEE Acu-Tone™ has brought a myriad of benefits resulting in a feeling of well being, relaxation, keener awareness, ability to focus, maintain attention and a renewed readiness to learn. A heightened sense of self, in balance and in command, are consistently reported following an APOGEE Acu-Tone™ session. Children who have experienced an APOGEE Acu-Tone™ session state: 'just feel good,' 'quiet inside,' 'not nervous,' 'real cool,' 'wow neat,' 'happy,' 'headache is gone,' 'nothing hurts now,' 'all better,' 'ready to go,' 'awesome.'

For more information on the process and the related research do visit:

http://www.acu-tone.com
http://www.apogeelearning.com/acutone/sound.asp

The benefits, the integrity and the safety of this sounding modality have been documented from its introduction and development since 1983.
All inquiries are welcomed and will be responded to.


Acu-Tone™ Sound Therapy
Tuning forks

As with a a piano, or any fine instrument, one's body can be tuned to a state of accord and balance. Applying the vibrations of tuning forks brings about changes in the body’s biochemistry, bringing the nervous system, muscle tone and organs into harmonic balance. The body is brought to a deep state of relaxation and feelings of well being.


Those who have experienced APOGEE Acu-Tone™
consistently have found the benefits
to be welcomed and consistent:


Provides instantaneous deep relaxation
Balances physical energy
Relieves stress by bringing your body into a centered space
Awakens the life energy of your cells
Eliminates tightness of muscles
Reduces pain, tenderness, associated with injuries or stress
Integrates left and right brain
Brings the nervous system into balance
Relieves headaches
Fosters mental clarity and brain functioning
Develops and refines sonic abilities



Image: Spiral DNA, Credit: Soul Sounds: The Physics of Sound


The Effects of Sound on Matter

YouTube - Vibration creates matter:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DGPV7SB88c&feature=related

Further implications of understanding sound as a developmental milestone and the telling response of the infant and growing child:

Understanding Babble as a Key to Development - NYTimes.com
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/12/health/12klass.html?_r=3&src=me&ref=general



The APOGEE Achiever Program
The Academics and the Arts
~ Soar To Success ~

•Individualized Subject Tutoring•
•Study Skills and Mastery Strategies•
•All Learning Styles•
~Reading~
~Mathematics~
~Writing~
~Organization~
~Communication Skills~
~Assignment Management~
~Stress Management~
~ Acu-Tone™ Sound Therapy~
~Relaxation, Breathing, Attention and Focusing Exercises~
~Achievement Goals~
~All Ages ~ All Grades ~ All Subjects~
~PSAT~ SAT ~ All Test Preparation~
~Coaching~
~Family Therapy~

• Inquiries welcomed
• Call or post
• All Questions Answered •


For more information on services
provided for all learning needs:

http://www.apogeelearning.com
http://www.acu-tone.com

APOGEE Learning ~ A Whole Child Paradigm

Learning styles honored and supported
Readiness experiences provided
Task analysis applied
Student interests as motivators
The Whole Brain approach to study and mastery

Inquiries Welcomed

Call for your FREE Introductory Consultation.
845-359-9056
toll free: 1-866-228-8663
1-866-ACU-TONE

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Dirt On Play

"It is becoming increasingly clear through research on the brain as well as in other areas of study, that childhood needs play. Play acts as a forward feed mechanism into courageous, creative, rigorous thinking in adulthood." Tina Bruce, Professor, London Metropolitan University


Play, in its spontaneity, its creative connection, its satisfaction, certainly warrants its special time for happening. As the school year unfolds with goals being set, standards to meet, so too, each child's day becomes defined. Within each day, set aside time for BEING, time for the imaginative Self to be expressed, time for exploration, discovery and creation of a known truth. This is time beyond all the scheduled games and competitive sports. This is time that is child directed, child driven, free and creative.

In looking at the establishment of your child's after school schedule, it is important to provide a bit of 'wiggle' room, a time to do or be, just for its own joy, its own satisfaction, its own special benefit. Providing a healthy balance between free time play and scheduled sports or more formal after school activities, courses of study or events, is requisite for the overall development of a child. Learning readiness, necessarily, is to include playful exploration and discovery. If we want creative responses to both the academics and the arts, there need be the provision of both the time and the settings for open ended self motivated experiences. Time for a child to be just that - a child with room to simply play and discover what a great play mate he/she is to Self and others!!

The article, "The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds." Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MSEd PEDIATRICS Vol. 119 No. 1 January 2007, pp. 182-191 (doi:10.1542/peds.2006-2697) offers a detailed discussion of play, how its provision and form have changed, the role play has in the development of the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Link here provided for this all inclusive presentation: http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;119/1/182#SEC2

Play activities in their many forms, their many expressions, are indeed part of the APOGEE Learning™ experience. A playful attitude, a spontaneous smile, a sense of satisfaction in the activity at hand, are provided with a missionary delight.


image credit: http://simplemom.net/let-your-kids-get-dirty/



Registration Now being accepted ~ Call for a FREE Consultation.

The APOGEE Achiever Program
The Academics and the Arts
~ Soar To Success ~

•Individualized Subject Tutoring•
•Study Skills and Mastery Strategies•
•All Learning Styles•
~Reading~
~Mathematics~
~Writing~
~Organization~
~Communication Skills~
~Assignment Management~
~Stress Management~
~Acu-Tone™ Sound Therapy~
~Relaxation, Breathing, Attention and Focusing Exercises~
~Achievement Goals~
~All Ages ~ All Grades ~ All Subjects~
~PSAT~ SAT ~ All Test Preparation~
~Coaching~
~Family Therapy~

• Inquiries welcomed
• Call or post
• All Questions Answered •


For more information on services
provided for all learning needs:

http://www.apogeelearning.com
http://www.acu-tone.com

Inquiries Welcomed
Call for your FREE Introductory Consultation.
845-359-9056
toll free: 1-866-228-8663
1-866-ACU-TONE


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Asperger's Syndrome

In my work with children who have been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, I am ever impressed by their uniqueness, their avid interests, their way of relating to their own perceptions and sensibilities, and their pursuit of meaning and truth.

This article is here presented for it is reflective of my own observations and perspectives on teaching principles that address the special needs of these children.

Children with Asperger's Syndrome: Characteristics/Learning Styles and Intervention Strategies

by Susan Stokes Autism Consultant

If you reprint or use this article, or parts of it, please include the following citation:"Written by Susan Stokes under a contract with CESA 7 and funded by a discretionary grant from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. "


commentary, edit and blog format by Rose Marie Raccioppi

Introduction

Asperger's Syndrome was named for a Viennese psychiatrist, Hans Asperger. In 1944 Asperger published a paper in German describing a consistent pattern of abilities and behaviors that occurred primarily in boys. In the early 1980s Asperger's paper was translated into English, which resulted in international recognition for his work in this area (6).

In the 1990s, specific diagnostic criteria for Asperger's Syndrome were included in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV, 1994) as well as the International Classification of Diseases, 10th edition (ICD10) (3) & (15). In general, DSM-IV and ICD10 base their diagnostic criteria for Asperger's Syndrome on the following:

•Impairment of social interaction
•Impairment of social communication
•Impairment of social imagination, flexible thinking and imaginative play
•Absence of a significant delay in cognitive development
•Absence of general delay in language development

Recent research establishes the prevalence of Asperger's Syndrome as approximately 1 in 300, affecting boys to girls with a ratio of 10:1. Children with clinical (medical) diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome and who have been identified by schools as "children with disability" are typically found by the IEP Team conducting the evaluation to have an impairment in such areas as Autism, Speech/Language, or Other Health Impaired. Depending on the unique characteristics of the child, other impairment area listed under state law for special education may also be considered and used.

The general features and characteristics exhibited by children diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome are similar to the general features and characteristics exhibited by children who have been clinically diagnosed with Autism and are described as having "high functioning autism". For educational purposes, the remainder of this paper focuses on the child with Asperger's Syndrome who has been identified by the IEP Team as being a child with a disability. Much of the following information is also relevant for consideration in working with children identified as having autism and who are described as having "high functioning autism".

Training

Each person who comes in contact with a child diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (either school staff or peers) should receive training on the unique characteristics and educational needs of such children. Due to confidentiality issues this should always be discussed first with the parents of the child with Asperger's Syndrome. Their written consent should be obtained prior to providing peer training.

Educational Staff Training should include the following two components:

General training of the entire school staff: Prior to working with children with Asperger's Syndrome, it is critical to understand the unique features and characteristics associated with this developmental disability. Staff should be informed that children with Asperger's Syndrome have a developmental disability, which causes them to respond and behave in a way which is different from other students. Most importantly, the responses/behaviors exhibited by these children should not be misinterpreted as purposeful and manipulative behaviors.

Child specific training for educational staff who will be working directly with the child: Educational staff who will be working directly with a child with Asperger's Syndrome should understand his individual strengths and needs prior to actually working with the child. A team of persons familiar with the child and his disability should provide this training. The team may include previous teacher(s), speech/language pathologist, occupational therapist, teacher aide and most importantly, the child's parents.

Peer training:

The peers/classmates of the child with Asperger's Syndrome should be told about the unique learning and behavioral mannerisms associated with Asperger's Syndrome. It is important to note that parent permission must always be given prior to such peers' training. A successful protocol for training peers at the kindergarten to approximately second grade level was developed by Division TEACCH and is available at their web site http://www.unc.edu/depts/teacch/. Another peer training protocol designed for children between the ages of 8-18 is Carol Gray's "Sixth Sense".

Characteristics and Learning Styles: General

The following characteristics and learning styles associated with Asperger's Syndrome are important to consider, particularly their impact on learning, and in planning an appropriate educational program for the child. Children with Asperger's Syndrome exhibit difficulty in appropriately processing in-coming information. Their brain's ability to take in, store, and use information is significantly different than neuro-typically developing children. This results in a somewhat unusual perspective of the world. Therefore teaching strategies for children with Asperger's Syndrome will be different than strategies used for neuro-typically developing children.

Children with Asperger's Syndrome typically exhibit strengths in their visual processing skills, with significant weaknesses in their ability to process information auditorilly. Therefore use of visual methods of teaching, as well as visual support strategies, should always be incorporated to help the child with Asperger's Syndrome better understand his environment.

The remainder of this article describes ten primary characteristics of children with Asperger's Syndrome and intervention strategies for each.

Social Relation Difficulties

Characteristics: Children with Asperger's Syndrome tend to exhibit a lack of effectiveness in social interactions rather than a lack of social interactions. They tend to have difficulty knowing how to 'make connections' socially. Social situations are easily misread by children with Asperger's Syndrome and as a result, their interactions and responses are often interpreted by others as being odd .

Children with Asperger's Syndrome can exhibit low self-esteem and possible depression, particularly when they reach adolescence, due to their painful awareness of the social differences that exist between them and their peers . They have a desire to "fit in" socially, yet have no idea how to do this. Children with Asperger's syndrome can be significantly impacted by the following characteristics of social relations:

Social Reciprocity:

Children with Asperger's Syndrome can exhibit an imbalance in reciprocal social relations (i.e., the "give and take" in social relationships), which can be exhibited in several ways:
The child can exhibit the need to take control and direct social situations according to his own limited social rules and social understanding. Although the child may be able to initiate interactions with others, these interactions are typically considered to be "on his own terms". These interactions appear to be very egocentric in that they relate primarily to the child's specific wants, needs, desires and interests and do not constitute a truly interactive, give-and-take social relation with another person.

The child can appear very quiet, withdrawn and even unresponsive. He exhibits limited social drive. It can be extremely difficult for the social participant to engage the child in a social relation. (e.g., A child with Asperger's Syndrome was having a birthday party at her home. When the other children arrived, she stayed in the living room with them for a short while. She then said, "good-night", and stayed in her room for the rest of the party.).

Recognizing and interpreting various social situations: Typically developing children are able to recognize and interpret the social nuances of various social situations without being specifically taught. Their intact processing systems allow for this to occur. However children with Asperger's Syndrome typically have great difficulty recognizing, understanding and thus applying appropriate social skills to various social situations. Their unique processing/learning systems do not readily allow for accurate recognition and interpretation of this seemingly abstract information (14).

Social rules:

Children with Asperger's Syndrome typically do not learn social rules, either by observing others or through frequent verbal reminders. These children do not appear to be intentionally ignoring and/or breaking these rules. Instead, they have a difficult time accurately perceiving social environments and thus, they do not understand that a particular social rule is to be applied in a specific social context.

Example: A teacher frequently reminds a child with Asperger's Syndrome, prior to going out for recess, that he cannot push other children. The child repeats this rule prior to going out to recess. However, when the child goes onto the playground at recess, he pushes several children.
Friendship skills: Children with Asperger's Syndrome tend to exhibit limited knowledge of the concept of friendship.

Example: When a teenager with Asperger's Syndrome was asked if he had any friends he responded that friendship was an area where he had some problems. He was able to name two peers whom he considered "friends"; however, he did not know the last name of one of the students. He proceeded to physically describe the student to see if the listener knew the student's last name. When asked why these students were his friends, he said because he saw them in the hallway during passing period, and that he also saw one of the students at a weekly church youth group meeting. When asked if he and his "friends" went to each others' houses, talked on the phone, etc., the teen with Asperger's Syndrome said no, that he just saw them at different places).

Children with Asperger's Syndrome also do not appear to attend to or respond to peer pressure. They may have definite preferences for clothing due to comfort level, in relation to sensory sensitivities without regard or concern for popular styles as worn by peers.

Example: Some children prefer no ridges on the collar, no buttons down the front of a shirt, no blue jeans - only elastic waist pants, no long/short sleeves or long/short pants, etc.
Understanding and expressing varied emotional states: Children with Asperger's Syndrome may have difficulty identifying (labeling and understanding) varied emotional states, both in themselves and in others. In addition, regulation of emotional states can be extremely difficult.

Example: When experiencing great distress, a child with Asperger's Syndrome continually asks others for monitoring of his emotional states, "Am I under control yet?", He has limited awareness of when he is calm, versus extremely upset. Another example would be laughing, seemingly inappropriately, when others are hurt, embarrassed, etc. One child with Asperger's Syndrome physically manipulates his face when requested to exhibit various emotional states.



Social Relation--Intervention Strategies:

The child with Asperger's will need to be directly taught various social skills (recognition, comprehension and application) in one-to-one and/or small group settings. Social skills training will also be needed to generalize previously learned social skills from highly structured supportive contexts to less structured settings and, eventually, real-life situations. It is important to emphasize that children with Asperger's Syndrome will not learn social relations by watching other people, or by participating in various social situations. They tend to have great difficulty even recognizing the essential information of a social situation, let alone processing / interpreting it appropriately.

Tools for teaching social skills:

"Social Stories"

The use of Social Stories and social scripts can provide the child with visual information and strategies that will improve his understanding of various social situations. In addition, the Social Stories/scripts can teach the child appropriate behaviors to exhibit when he is engaged in varied social situations. The repetitious "reading" of the Social Story/script makes this strategy effective for the child with Asperger's Syndrome. A 3-ring binder of Social Stories/scripts kept both at home and school, for the child to read at his leisure, has proven very successful for many students with Asperger's Syndrome

Role-playing

Role playing various social situations can be an effective tool for teaching a child appropriate social responses.

Video-taping/audio-taping both appropriate and inappropriate social behaviors can assist the child in learning to identify and respond appropriately to various social situations.

"Lunch/recess club" is a structured lunch/recess time with specific peers to focus on target social skills for the child with Asperger's Syndrome. This strategy can assist in generalizing social skills previously learned in a structured setting.


"Personal Rule" Card"

Comic Strip Conversations can be used to visually clarify social interactions and emotional relations.

Peer partners/buddies: Specific peer(s) can be chosen to accompany and possibly assist the child with Asperger's Syndrome during less structured social situations and when experiencing social difficulties (e.g., out of class transitions, recess, lunch, etc.). This peer support network should initially be established in a small group setting.

Individualized visual social "rule" cards can be taped to the child's desk as a visual reminder regarding appropriate social behaviors to exhibit. Portable "rule" cards can be used for environments other than the classroom. The rules can be written on index cards, laminated, and then given to the child to carry along as visual reminders of the social "rules" for any particular context.

Social Communication Difficulties

Characteristics:

The child with Asperger's Syndrome typically exhibits highly articulate and verbose expressive language skills with large vocabularies, particularly regarding specific topics (high interest areas). However, his convincing language skills can easily be misinterpreted as advanced communication skills. In turn this can result in a mislabeling of the child's actions as purposeful or manipulative, rather than behavior that is due to the child's significant difficulty in understanding and using appropriate social communication skills. Children with Asperger's Syndrome often lack social communication skills to sustain even minimal social communicative interactions in any of the following areas:

Conversational discourse skills:

Children with Asperger's Syndrome can generally engage in routine social interactions such as greetings. However, they may exhibit significant difficulty engaging in extended interactions, or "two-way" relationships. They can have difficulty initiating and maintaining appropriate conversations, engaging in conversational turn-taking, and changing topics in an appropriate manner. Their language can be extremely egocentric in that they tend to talk at people, instead of to them, exhibiting seemingly one-sided conversations. Incessant question asking can also be prevalent, as well as difficulty in repairing conversational breakdowns.

Understanding and using non-verbal social communication (discourse) skills: Children with Asperger's Syndrome can have significant difficulty interpreting non-verbal social communication skills used to regulate social interactions (e.g., tone of voice, facial expressions, body postures, gestures, personal space, vocal volume, use of eye contact to "read" faces, etc.). For example, they may not understand that a raised vocal volume can convey an emotional state such as anger (e.g., A student with Asperger's Syndrome stated, "Why are you talking louder? I can hear you" when his mother raised her voice to communicate anger).

These children may also have difficulty interpreting non-verbal cues, which the listener might be giving to communicate that a conversational breakdown has occurred (e.g., facial expressions to indicate not understanding the message, boredom, etc.). Some children with Asperger's Syndrome can exhibit conversational speech with a somewhat flat affect: limited vocal change regarding vocal tone, volume, pitch, stress and rhythm, particularly to indicate emotion and/or emphasize key words.

Narrative discourse skills:

Children with Asperger's Syndrome can exhibit difficulty with their narrative discourse skills, including relating past events, or retelling movies, stories, and T.V. shows in a cohesive and sequential manner. They may leave out important pieces of relational information, as well as referents, and may use many revisions, pauses and/or repetitions.

Example: A child with Asperger's Syndrome was relating his weekend to the class. The child with Asperger's Syndrome related: "Back through time, uhm, uhm, at my Grandma's, uh, it was (pause) back through time. I was, I was, I (pause) I uh, a long time ago. I was at my Grandma's."

Social Communication - target skills and strategies for intervention:

The following social communication skills (pragmatic language skills) may be focused on for direct instruction, depending upon the child's individualized needs:

Initiation of appropriate social interactions for various situations through appropriate verbal utterances, rather than actions or behaviors (e.g., On the playground, the child with Asperger's Syndrome should use the words "Wanna play chase?" to ask a peer to play tag, rather than going up to the peer and shoving them);

•Topic initiation of varied topics - not only topics related to high interest areas;
•Topic maintenance, particularly for topics initiated by others.
•Conversational turn-taking across 3-4 turns (reciprocal communication skills);
•Asking questions of others related to topics initiated by others;
•Calling attention to communicative utterances. The child directs his communication to someone by first calling the other person's attention to himself;
•Comprehension and use of nonverbal social communication skills: tone of voice, personal space, vocal volume, body orientation, facial expressions.

"Greeting Card"

Narrative discourse skills: relating past events, retelling stories sequentially and cohesively by including important pieces of relational information as well as referents;

Greetings;

Seeking assistance appropriately (e.g., raising his hand for help in the classroom).
Tools for teaching social communication skills: All of the tools listed previously for teaching social skills can also be used to teach social communication skills, with the addition of the following:

Visual support strategies can be used to teach conversational discourse skills such as turn-taking, topic initiation, topic maintenance, etc. For example, a visual "my turn" card can be used to physically pass back and forth between conversational partners, to visually indicate who's turn it is in the conversation.

Language Comprehension/Auditory Processing Difficulties

Characteristics: Children with Asperger's Syndrome generally interpret auditory information literally and concretely. They can have difficulty understanding figurative language, jokes/riddles, multiple meaning words, teasing and implied meanings.

Example 1: A child with Asperger's Syndrome was participating in a local basketball clinic. He was playing very well, and the coach made the comment, "Wow! Your mom must have put gas in your shoes this morning". The child quickly looked at his mother with a worried expression. His mother shook her head "No" and encouraged him to keep on playing. The child responded to the coach, "Not today."

Example 2: A mother said to her child, "Stop back-talking to me". The child said, "I'm sorry Mom, I'll talk to your front."

It is also important to note that delays in processing auditory information may be present in children with Asperger's Syndrome. Even though they may be able to comprehend the auditory information given, it may take them additional time to process this information prior to responding. They may also have difficulty following multi-step auditory directions (e.g., "Go back to your desk and take out your journals, and then write about your weekend.").

Language Comprehension/Auditory Processing - Intervention Strategies:

Auditory information/prompting should be kept to a minimum, as it can be too overwhelming for some children. Visual cues should be used to assist the child to more readily comprehend directions, questions, rules, figurative language.

Give the child with Asperger's Syndrome enough time to respond, in order to allow for possible auditory processing difficulties, before repeating/rephrasing the question/directive. The child can be taught appropriate phrases to indicate he needs additional processing time, (e.g., "Give me a minute, I'm thinking") .

Written rules can help the child understand what is expected of him at all times. Reference to the rules can be used rather than verbally telling him what to do, or what not to do.

Auditory directions can be written on a dry erase board for the child with Asperger's Syndrome, greatly increasing his ability to independently complete tasks/activities.

The adults in the child's environment should be aware of the child's concrete/literal interpretation of figurative language, and should provide concrete explanations if necessary. Focus should also be given to increasing the child's comprehension of figurative language skills, such as idioms, multi-meaning words, jokes, teasing, etc., through the use of visual supports.

Sensory Processing Difficulties

Characteristics:

The child with Asperger's Syndrome may exhibit some sensory processing difficulties that result in atypical responses to sensory input (auditory, visual, tactile, smell, taste and movement). This difficulty in organizing his sensory input, experiencing both hypersensitive (over response) and hyposensitive responses (under response) to various sensory stimuli, can cause him to experience stress and anxiety in trying to interpret his environment accurately. Sensory processing difficulties can also markedly decrease the child's ability to sustain focused attention. It is important to note that the processing of this sensory information can be extremely inconsistent; that is, at one time the child may experience a hypersensitive response to a specific sensory stimuli, but at another time may exhibit a typical or a hyposensitive response.

Example: A child with Asperger's Syndrome was eating in a restaurant with family members and experiencing sensory overload. He ate as quickly as possible and then asked if he could go outside. The child paced for 20 minutes back and forth in front of the restaurant while waiting for the rest of the family to finish eating. While riding home, he pulled the hood of his coat all the way over his face and tied it tightly, to try to block out all sensory stimuli.

Example: While watching television with his family, a child with Asperger's Syndrome put his hands over his ears and exclaimed "That T.V. is driving me crazy".

Example: A child with Asperger's Syndrome exhibited an extreme sensory sensitivity to the sight and smell of eggs, particularly hard-boiled. The child gagged and vomited when exposed to hard-boiled eggs.

Sensory Processing - Intervention Strategies:

It is important to be aware of possible auditory sensitivities and how the environment might be contributing to the child's marked increase in anxiety and challenging behaviors. Strategies to accommodate for auditory sensitivities can include:

•Use of headphones/headband to muffle extraneous auditory stimuli;
•Use of headphones to listen to calming music - when appropriate;

•Forewarn the child of any fire drills, tornado drills, etc. This can be done both verbally and visually (on his schedule). Although the child may appear calm outwardly and appear able to readily handle this change in routine, he may be experiencing internal stress/anxiety which could appear later.

•The use of a daily sensory diet, consisting of access to various sensory calming activities and/or physical activities (as deemed necessary), which are scheduled throughout the child's day. This can decrease his stress, anxiety and repetitive behaviors, as well as increase his calm/relaxed states and focused attention. Sensory "break" activities should be visually represented on the child's daily schedule. Examples of sensory calming activities include:

•Deep pressure (pressure touch) activities: firm hugs; being rolled within a mat or blanket; wearing a weighted vest/blanket; water activities; ball bath; massage; chewing, wearing a "Body Sock".

•Rhythmic vestibular stimulation: swinging, rocking in a rocking chair; movement on a wagon, scooter board, tri/bicycle; jumping; bouncing; vibration; or rolling in a tube or mat.

•Proprioceptive stimulation: sitting on a T-stool, Dyna-Disk or therapy ball for increased focused attention.

•Incorporating heavy work patterns (i.e., push, pull, carry) into functional tasks/jobs appears to assist some children in becoming more calm and focused. For example, taking the attendance or lunch room count to the office for each classroom; getting the milk cartons for the kindergarten classrooms and delivering them to each classroom; sweeping a walkway; carrying books back to the library; cleaning the chalkboard, etc.

•Use of a "quiet space/area" in order to decrease sensory overload and increase self-calming, is another strategy. The quiet space should be a specified location/area with objects which are calming to the child (e.g., kush balls, books, bean bag chair). For children who transition to various classrooms, the use of a "home base" classroom as a safe place to go is suggested when they feel the need for calming.

•Access to a "fiddle basket" containing small items for the child to manipulate (e.g., small kush balls, Bend Bands, Fiddle-links, clothespins, etc.) can help calm the child and focus his attention at certain times during the day (e.g., while sitting and listening to a story read aloud by the teacher).

To avoid sensory overloading transitions such as changing class periods, going to/from recess, or changing clothes for gym in the locker room, allow the child to transition a few minutes earlier or later than the rest of the students.

Difficulty Representing Language Internally

Characteristics:

Children with Asperger's Syndrome can "blurt out" their thoughts as statements of factual information, resulting in an appearance of insensitivity and lack of tact. However these children typically do not understand that some thoughts and ideas can and should be represented internally, and thus should not be spoken aloud. Therefore, whatever they think, they tend to say aloud.

Example 1: "Mrs. Jones, why are you wearing that dress? It looks just like a bathrobe."

Example
2: "This is boring. Don't' you think this is boring, Ryan? ".
Typically developing children can internalize thoughts by the time they are five to six years old.

This aspect of language should show improvement as the child learns how to take the perspective of others. This perspective-taking ability is sometimes referred to being able to "mind-read" or developing "Theory of Mind".

Representing Language Internally - Intervention Strategies:

Initially, encourage the child to whisper, rather than speak his thoughts aloud . Next, encourage him to "think it-don't say it".

Role playing, audio/video taping and social scripting can all be used to teach the child how to initially identify what "thoughts" should be represented internally, versus aloud. Role playing will allow the child to practice this skill.

Insistence on Sameness

Characteristics:

Children with Asperger's Syndrome can be easily overwhelmed by minimal changes in routines and can exhibit a definite preference for rituals (13). As a result, these children can become quite anxious and worry incessantly about the unknown; that is, when the environment becomes unpredictable and they do not know what to expect.

Example: Unpredictability may occur during less structured activities or times of the day: recess, lunch, free play/time, physical education, bus rides to/from school, music class, art class, assemblies, field trips, substitute teachers, delayed start/early dismissal, etc.

The following features are important to consider for the child with Asperger's Syndrome:

Rigid, egocentric perceptions:

Children with Asperger's Syndrome tend to have very rigid egocentric perceptions of the world, and thus can become quite upset when changes occur that "go against" their preconceived "rules" or perceptions (14). Therefore, when a new situation occurs, they have to learn a "new rule" (perception) which can be very upsetting to them (e.g., indoor recess due to inclement weather).

Strict adherence to rules:


Children with Asperger's Syndrome may generate rules based upon their perceptions of various experiences. As a result, they may strictly adhere to these self-imposed rules, and expect others to adhere as well. When these rules are "broken" by others, this can create a great deal of stress/anxiety in children with Asperger's Syndrome.

Example: Whenever a particular child with Asperger's Syndrome tells someone "Thank you", he expects the person to respond immediately with, "Your welcome". If the person does not immediately respond, the child will perseverate in saying "Thank you", and become increasingly anxious until the person says "You're welcome").

Conversely, when given rules by others (teachers, parents, etc.), children with Asperger's Syndrome tend to strictly and concretely interpret the rules, as well as exhibit strict adherence to the rule - for both themselves and others.

Example: A child with Asperger's Syndrome was given the following rules in art class by the teacher regarding markers: "No throwing markers; No chewing on the markers; No smashing marker tips". The child with Asperger's Syndrome imitated a peer, and connected the markers together to make a long "sword" type structure. This child and the peer engaged in a "sword fight". Both children got "in trouble" for this behavior, although the child with Asperger's Syndrome was truly confused as to why he was in trouble because he hadn't broken any "rules", according to his perceptions.

Need for closure/completion:

In relation to their ritualistic needs, children with Asperger's Syndrome can exhibit an intense need for closure or completion of tasks/activities before transitioning to the next activity. This can create significant educational implications if not planned for accordingly (e.g., If a math worksheet is not able to be completed prior to going out for recess, the child with Asperger's Syndrome may become quite upset - even though he may enjoy going outside for recess very much). The anxiety relates to the need for closure, a ritualistic need, rather than in relation to the specific activities at hand, and typically cannot be alleviated by being told that the activity can completed later.

Insistence on Sameness - Intervention Strategies:

It is important to provide a consistent, predictable environment with minimal transitions.
Use of a visual schedule can assist in providing the child with information relating to his day, as well as preparing him for any changes which might occur in his daily routine.

Visual and auditory forewarning/foreshadowing are also critical, in order to give the child much needed information relating to possible changes in routines.

Assignments may need to be modified so that the child can complete them within a specific amount of time, prior to transitioning to the next activity.

Use of a "finish later" folder or box may be helpful. Even though the child may be verbally reminded that he can finish his math worksheet after recess, this information will not be processed as readily as through the use of a visual strategy, such as a "finish later" folder/box.

Poor Concentration/Distractibility/Disorganization:

Characteristics:

Children with Asperger's Syndrome can often appear off-task, and may be easily distracted by both internal (perseverative thoughts/concerns) and external (sensory) stimuli. For example, internal stimuli distraction: a child sees a single cloud in the sky and begins to obsess about whether it is going to rain and/or possibly storm. External stimuli distraction: attending to a fly buzzing around the room rather than the teacher; attending to fluorescent light flickering). Screening out information that is irrelevant can be very difficult, requiring conscious effort by the child with Asperger's Syndrome.

In addition, children with Asperger's Syndrome can exhibit significant difficulties regarding both their internal and external organizational skills, including the following:

Organizing their thoughts and ideas to express themselves in a cohesive manner. For example, a child with Asperger's Syndrome was asked to explain how he figured out the answer to the math problem, 900 x 3=2,700. He responded: "Well, first of all, 9 x 3=27 and 90 x 3=270 and 900 x 3=2,700 and it sort of reminds me of another kind of math problem like the other day when you're multiplying and uh it goes 9 x 3=27 and then uhm, its like... I don't really know what I'm saying.").

Gathering educational materials needed for specific tasks/activities/homework.

Keeping track of their belongings - including personal and educational materials such as assignments.

Desk/locker organization.

Concentration/Distractibility/Disorganization - Intervention Strategies:

A highly structured educational environment may be indicated for the child with Asperger's Syndrome to experience success.

Use of a timer (either egg or kitchen) provides time constraints and structure for completing tasks. When given an unlimited amount of time, children with Asperger's Syndrome may take an unlimited amount of time for task completion. However caution should be taken in using timers. Some children may become highly interested (distracted) in the amount of time which is passing, via the timer, and thus become less attentive to completing the task. Other children have exhibited extreme anxiety when timers are used because they become overly focused on the amount of time passing, and thus perceive that they cannot complete the task within the time constraint given.

A written (visual) checklist is used to keep the child focused and "on task" so that he can complete each step listed in sequential order. This visual tool will allow for independent completion of an entire routine or task (e.g., use of a "morning routine" checklist or "homework" checklist).

A daily (individualized) visual schedule should be used to communicate to the child what is currently happening, when he is "all done" with something, what is coming up next, and any changes that might occur. (Please refer to the article on Structured Teaching for more information regarding visual schedules).

Use of a visual calendar at both home and school will give the child information regarding up-coming events/activities. When the child asks when a particular event will occur, he can easily be referred to the visual calendar, which presents the information through the visual mode, which the child can more readily understand (e.g., class field trip, "bath night", swimming lessons).

Give written directions/cues whenever possible in various contexts/environments. Small dry erase boards and index cards are good tools to use for written directions as they are easily portable. (e.g., In computer lab, a three step direction could be written down to give the child information as to what he needs to do independently, rather than giving him continual auditory prompting for completion of the task).

Use color-coded notebooks to match academic books.

Use an assignment notebook consistently.

Worksheets may need to be reorganized. Modifications could include fewer problems per sheet; larger, highly visual space for responding and boxes next to each question to be checked when completed.

For class lectures, peer buddies may be needed to take notes. No Carbon Required (NCR) paper can be used or the student's notes could be copied on a copy machine.

Use of an "Assignments to be Completed" folder as well as a "Completed Assignments" folder, is also recommended.

Emotional Vulnerability

Characteristics:

Children with Asperger's Syndrome often have the intellectual ability to successfully participate in the regular education curriculum. However, they may lack the social/emotional abilities to cope with the demands of the regular education environment, such as regular class room, recess, and lunch. As a result, these children may exhibit a low self-esteem, may be self-critical and may be unable to tolerate making mistakes (perfectionist). Thus they can become easily overwhelmed, stressed and frustrated, resulting in behavioral outbursts due to poor coping strategies/self-regulation. These children can appear quite anxious for most of their waking day as they continually attempt to manage an ever-changing, sensory stimulating, social world. As stated by Tony Attwood, children with Asperger's Syndrome "are emotionally confused, not emotionally disturbed".

Emotional Vulnerability - Intervention Strategies:

Utilize the child's strength areas and incorporate them into special projects/assignments to be presented to the class by the child. This activity may increase his self-esteem with peers (e.g., a child with a high interest in geography could give a presentation to the class relating to the current area of study).

Teach the child relaxation techniques that he could learn to implement on his own to decrease anxiety levels (e.g., "Take a big breath, count to ten", etc.) These steps could initially be written down as visual "cue" cards for the child to carry with him, and refer to as needed.

Restricted/Perseverative Range of Interests

Characteristics:

Children with Asperger's Syndrome tend to have eccentric preoccupations or odd, intense fixations, as noted by the following characteristics (13):

•Relentless "lectures" on their specific areas of interest;

•Repetitive questions about interests, concerns or worries;
trouble "letting go" of thoughts or ideas, particularly relating to concerns or worries;

•Refusal to learn about anything outside of their limited field of interest, as they do not appear to understand the significance.

•Common high interest areas for many children with Asperger's Syndrome may include: "Wheel of Fortune" game, transportation, astronomy, animals, dinosaurs, geography, weather and maps. It is important to note that these behaviors can often resemble obsessive/compulsive types of behaviors.

Example: Perfectionism regarding written work: erasing the same printed letter or drawing numerous times in succession due to the seemingly imperfect quality of the letter formation/drawing, resulting in increased frustration/anxiety; One child with Asperger's Syndrome exhibits a high interest in Barbies. She cannot go to bed unless all of her Barbies are lined up in the exact same way).

Restricted/Perseverative Range of Interests - Intervention Strategies:

Set aside specific times of the day, and specific time periods, for the child to discuss his high interests. This "discussion time" can even be included on his visual schedule. If the child brings up a perseverative topic/question at another time, refer him to his visual schedule to indicate when he can converse about this topic.

Provide a written answer to repetitive questions asked by the child. When the child repeats the question, he can be referred to the written answer, which may assist in comprehension, and thus decrease the occurrence of the repetitive question asking.

Incorporate the child's high interests into academics (e.g., if the child has a high interest in maps, use maps to teach math skills). With creativity and individualization, almost any high interest area can be infused into any academic area. Many students with Asperger's Syndrome have sustained their high interests into higher educational studies and subsequent vocations (e.g., Temple Grandin - holds a Ph.D. in animal sciences and has designed over one third of our country's animal livestock holding facilities).

Difficulty Taking the Perspective of Others (Mind Reading/Theory of Mind Deficit)

Characteristics:

Children with Asperger's Syndrome can have great difficulty understanding that other people can have thoughts, intentions, needs, desires and beliefs different from their own (6). Thus their perceptions of the world are often viewed as rigid and egocentric, when in reality they are unable to infer other people's mental states. Typically developing children acquire "Theory of Mind" skills by age four, yet it estimated that this concept develops between the ages of 9-14 in children with Asperger's Syndrome. The following are educational implications for children who have "Theory of Mind" deficit:

When the teacher asks a question to the class, the child thinks that the teacher is speaking directly (and only) to him, and therefore calls out the answer.

A child with Asperger's Syndrome can be extremely vulnerable to wrongful intent initiated by other children. He can have great difficulty reading the intentions of others and understanding the motives behind their behavior (e.g., a fifth grade student "befriended" a child with Asperger's Syndrome and told him to say and do many inappropriate verbalizations/actions, for which he got into trouble).

Due to difficulty in being able to understand the emotional perspective of others, the child may exhibit a seemingly lack of empathy (e.g., a child with Asperger's Syndrome may laugh seemingly inappropriately when another child gets hurt).

The child may have difficulty understanding that his behavior (both actions and words) can affect how others think or feel. He doesn't appear to understand that his words or actions can make someone feel different than his own emotional state. He is not purposefully trying to hurt others. He is factually relating information, without regard to the other person's feelings.

Example: The child with Asperger's Syndrome may want to play on the computer during free time, and will attempt to do so with little to no regard to the child who is already occupying this activity. Another example: The child may state quite bluntly, "Someone stinks in here. I think it's Lori. Lori, you stink!".

Cooperative learning groups can be extremely challenging for the child with Asperger's Syndrome. Again, he may have difficulty understanding that the other children in his group can have thoughts and ideas different than his own. This can often result in a significant increase in the child's stress, frustration and anxiety leading to the possible occurrence of challenging behaviors.

The child may have difficulty taking into account what other people know or can be expected to know, leading to confusion on the part of the listener. Because the child can have great difficulty in considering the listener's perspective, he may exhibit the following shortfalls when relating information:

Provide insufficient background information to establish the subject;

A lack of referents;

Excluding important pieces of relational information, as he already knows this information;
Giving an excessive amount of irrelevant details when relating information, again oblivious to the listener's needs.

These children may exhibit an inability to deceive or to understand deception. They are sometimes described as the "classroom cops", due to their concrete and literal interpretation of information given. When rules are broken, they willingly identify the guilty party, with no awareness that they should participate in any sort of deception, even if they are the guilty party.
Mind Reading/Theory of Mind Deficit - Intervention Strategies:

Training designed to specifically address the above features will assist the child in learning to consider the perspective of others. "Teaching Children with Autism to Mind-Read: A Practical Guide" is a good resource book with specific skills and activities clearly outlined for intervention.

The child will need to be taught to recognize the effect of his actions on others. If he says something offensive, let him know very concretely and literally that "words hurt, just like getting punched in the arm". Encourage the child to stop and think how a person will feel before he acts or speaks.

Comic strip conversations can be used as a tool to visually clarify communicative social interactions and emotional relations through the use of simple line drawings. Specific colors are used to convey various emotional states for both the speaker and listener.

Children's literature, videos, movies, or T.V. shows can be used to teach the child to interpret the actions of the characters, thus teaching him how to figure out what other people know.

Conclusion:

Children with Asperger's Syndrome exhibit significant social communicative difficulties, as well as other defining characteristics, which may severely impact their ability to function successfully in all facets of life. However, when given appropriate support strategies, through direct teaching and various accommodations and/or modifications, the child with Asperger's Syndrome can learn to be successful in our unpredictable, sensory overloading, socially interactive world. It is critical that a team approach be utilized in addressing the unique and challenging needs of a child with Asperger's Syndrome, with parents being vital members of this team.

Source: http://www.specialed.us/autism/asper/asper12.html
edit and blog format by Rose Marie Raccioppi

Image credit: http://ifonlyihadsuperpowers.blogspot.com/


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