Thank you for these great resources focusing on Autism Awareness!
Promote Autism Awareness, Teach Social Skills, Tackle Dyslexia & More
Welcome to Our Inclusive Community – May 22, 2014
IN THIS ISSUE
“Winning” Funding Finds
Big-Value, Low-Cost, No-Cost Resources
Mobile Apps for Mobile Times
“Winning” Funding Finds
Curated, Current Funding Opportunities
GetEdFunding is a free and fresh website sponsored by CDW•G to help educators and institutions find the funds they need in order to supplement their already stretched budgets. GetEdFunding hosts a collection of more than 2,300 (and growing) grants and other funding opportunities culled from federal, state, regional and community sources and available to public and private, preK–12 educators, schools and districts, higher education institutions and nonprofit organizations that work with them. GetEdFunding offers customized searches by six criteria, including 43 areas of focus, eight content areas and any of the 21st century themes and skills that support your curriculum. After registering on the site, you can save the grant opportunities of greatest interest and then return to them at any time. This rich resource of funding opportunities is expanded, updated and monitored daily.
The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation Grants program is dedicated to helping young Americans with disabilities maximize their potential and fully participate in society. The foundation supports organizations and projects within its mission that have broad scope and impact and demonstrate potential for replication at other sites. A major program emphasis is inclusion: enabling young people with disabilities to have full access toeducational, vocational and recreational opportunities and to participate alongside their nondisabled peers. Six to 12 grants are awarded each year. The grants range from $10,000 to $75,000 per year, for one to three years.
Deadlines: June 1, 2014, for concept papers; July 1, 2014, for full proposals
The sixth annual Young Described Film Critic (YDFC) contest, presented by the American Council of the Blind’s (ACB) Audio Description Project, is under way. Young people with a visual impairment have an opportunity to win prizes for themselves and recognition for their schools as well as a chance to hold the awesome title “Young Described Film Critic of the Year.” All students need to do for a chance to win is to write, type or record (audio or video) their own film review (maximum 250 words) of any described movie and send it for review via YDFC’s convenient online entry form. The competition has three age categories: Sophomore (ages 7 to 10), Junior (ages 11 to 14) and Senior (ages 15 to 18). The top nominees in each age category will be invited to an awards ceremony at the 2014 convention of the American Council of the Blind to be held during the week of July 6, 2014, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Special guest award presenters will be in attendance; prizes are still to be determined.
ACT Today! is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that aims to raise awareness and provide treatment services and support to families to help their children with autism achieve their full potential. The ACT Today! board distributes grants quarterly each year. Letters notifying individuals of their grant status will be sent via the US Postal Service to all applicants by the dates indicated below. ACT Today! requires each grant recipient to complete a short questionnaire three months and six months after receiving the grant. The questionnaires are valuable tools for the organization’s internal goals and policymaking.
Deadlines: Quarterly—next two review periods are July 1–31 (application), September 30 (acceptance); andOctober 1–31 (application), December 15 (acceptance)
Plus: Recognizing the extraordinary challenges military families experience (waging a battle on two fronts—one for their country and another for their children), ACT Today! for Military Families is a fund intended specifically to assist military families impacted by autism. ACT Today! for Military Families works to improve awareness and delivery of effective autism services and provide financial assistance to military families to help defray out-of-pocket costs associated with autism treatments and other quality-of-life programs.
Ruby’s Rainbow scholarships are presented to individuals, aged 18 or older, with Downsyndrome, seeking higher education or enrichment classes. The student should have the desire and intent to enroll in a class or program that will enhance his or her life through employment, independent living or life skills, or interests in any other areas. Ruby’s Rainbow scholarships are up to $2,500 per awarded individual, subject to available funds. The Maudie’s scholarship is up to $4,000 and is awarded to one select applicant per year. This individual is chosen by Maudie’s after reviewing all scholarship applications. Applicants are encouraged to submit anything that would help the Ruby’s Rainbow organization get a clear vision of the applicant’s personality and future goals.
Deadline: July 6, 2014, for applications for fall 2014 scholarship
The Boston Children’s Museum developed the Including Children With Autism in Afterschool Settingsguide alongside experts in Autism, Out-of-School Time (OST), professionals who run inclusive programs and parents of children with autism to help afterschool staff better support children with Autism Spectrum Disorders at their sites. As the frequency of diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorders steadily increases, this guide can serve as a platform for enriching professional growth and relevant dialogue for a wide spectrum of OST staff and administrators. On the Children’s Museum website, you can download two free PDFs: theIncluding Children With Autism in Afterschool Settings guide and an accompanying document that presentsexamples of activities you can use with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in your afterschool program. The supplemental materials were prepared by the Autism Society of Indiana.
Woodfer’s World is a free antibullying teaching resource from Ambitious about Autism aimed at primary school children aged 7 and 8. It has been designed to support teachers in creating a truly inclusive environment where everyone feels they belong and children are at less risk of bullying. All the stories have accompanying resources to download, including handouts, reflective questions and workshopmaterials. This teacher’s guide provides an overview of the resources available, which focus on neurodiversity, or differences in the way people think or perceive the world. Ambitious about Autism is a national charity in the UK dedicated to improving opportunities for people with autism.
Way is an interesting experimental game that makes collaboration and communication crucial to success. In the game, pairs of students guide each other through a level using gesture and other nonverbal cues. Students take turns being the guide and the guided, experiencing what it’s like to be responsible for someone else as well as what it’s like to place trust in another person. The game helps students to be better collaborators while simultaneously getting them to think critically about all the myriad ways we communicate.
Cued Speech is a visual mode of communicationin which mouth movements of speech combine with “cues” to make the sounds (phonemes) of traditional spoken languages look different. Cueing allows users who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who have language/communication disorders, to access the basic fundamental properties of spoken languages through the use of vision.
The National Cued Speech Association (NCSA) has made a set of cueing guidelines available on its website as freely downloadable PDF files for use by students and teachers in courses, workshops, camps and other educational settings.
These quality guidelines—“Stages in Cueing Fluency” and “Phases in Learning to Cue”—were carefully prepared, rehearsed and written for use by beginner cuers to have a better sense of their progress while learning to cue on their own.
The Disability Awareness Activities Packet gives educators ideas for helping students understand different disabilities. The packet addresses the following topics: Autism, Communication Disorders, Hearing Impairments, Learning Disabilities, Mental Retardation, Physical Disabilities, Visual Impairments and Disability in the Media. Many of the activities can be used to explain more than one disability. The activity for “Autism,” for example, can also be used to illustrate “Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder” (ADHD); the problems with being unable to concentrate are similar. People with cerebral palsy might be in a wheelchair or have problems with their hands as described under “Physical Disabilities” and also have problems speaking clearly as described under “Communication Disorders.” Special Education educators in Arizona’s Deer Valley Unified School District co mpiled the free booklet,which may be downloaded as a PDF file from the district’s website.
To help students with autism, RoboKind has designed a robot with a human face. The robot usesCompuCompassion software to read an individual’s emotions and level of attentiveness, adjusting interactions accordingly to enable social engagement. The company’s Robots4Autism program bridges academic success and developmental needs and is built for autism intervention. The robot connects with a tablet computer, and the curriculum—designed by experts from the Callier Center for Communication Disorders atthe University of TexasatDallas—includes 12 modules, containing about 50 video vignettesin all. The curriculum is designed to help children with autism function in the real world by learning propersocial behavior a nd reacting to emotionalcues. The robot can simulate lifelike human facial expressions to help achieve these goals. The robot, and the full curriculum for using it to teach students with autism, will be available toward the end of May 2014.
TheSocial Express features a series of appealing animated episodes that model real-world social situations. Rather than passively watching the scenes play out, students have choices to make, such as helping the characters navigate common social interactions, follow social cues and make appropriate decisions. Along the way, they learn key social skills in a safe environment that makes it much easier to transfer the skills into daily life.
Developed by learning and behavior experts, Social Adventures offers a treasure trove of resources for caregivers or educators looking for ways to help children—particularly those with learning difficulties or special needs—learn about and practice basic socialstrategies, skills and routines. Children aged 3–13 with social needs such as those associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, NLD, Sensory Processing Disorders and social anxiety will gain confidence and success in navigating the rough waters of relationships. While it’s not necessarily a game, Social Adventures features a host of activities and games that caregivers and educators can facilitate with individual children or small groups. Cost: $19.99
Billed as an “indie minimalist platformer,” the gameThomas Was Alone introduces characters that are just colorful shapes, yet they all have distinct personalities. The game’s well-crafted narration provides the characters with personality strengths and weaknesses mirrored in differing abilities and mechanics. By guiding these characters through the world and empathizing with them, students naturally map themselves and their relationships onto the characters. The game is an example of how a single-player experience can build socialand emotional intelligence. Cost: $8.99
No matter which hurdles your students face, the apps and other media included in Common Sense Media’sPower Up!guide can give them an added boost. The app suggestions are arranged by challenge area(Communication, Social Interaction, Organization, Reading, Mathematics, Motor Skills) and difficulty level(Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced). Each challenge area includes an informational overview with a list of typical challenges that children face along with help for choosing apps that match children’s needs and further resources. You’ll also find Power Tips with ideas for other activities you can do with students. Common Sense Media’s team spent several months surveying research, conducting interviews and field-testing products with field leaders, experts, teachers and parents. In addition, an expert in the field of special needs and technology helped to select products and authored the guide. Cost: Free
The Museum of disABILITY History is dedicated to advancing the understanding, acceptance and independence of people with disabilities. The museum’s exhibits, collections, archives and educational programs create awareness and a platform for dialogue and discovery. The Virtual Museum of disABILITY History brings rich historical exhibits right into your classroom. The Media Wing includes a media exhibit and media timeline. The Medicine Wing presents exhibits on cures, prevention, medical establishment and medicine timeline. The Education Wing focuses on exhibits related to education and educators. Click the Virtual Museum tab to visit these exhibits and more on the museum’s website.
Soon to launch, Dyslex!aville (D!) will be the first destination on the web for any child who is identified with dyslexia or struggling with reading. D! will also curate the best resources for parents and teachers—new technology, the latest games and useful links. The site will be chock-full of creative, custom-crafted content for dyslexics by dyslexics. d-Squad, an original animated web series, will follow the inspiring adventures of four dynamic dyslexic friends—Davy, Dash, Daveinchi and Dino. The regularly posted episodes will feature the d-Squad tackling issues facing dyslexic youth, including tricks to remembering, tapping their talents, standing up for themselves and flipping frustration into fun. Weekly contests will invite students to hype their strengths by sharing their creations and showing what they do best—from inventing to songwriting to cartooning to storytelling to graphic desi gning. Personal learning profile cards can be customized by students to present to each new teacher. The cards highlight strengths and struggles and often-helpful tips about what works best in the classroom for each student.
The Heart-Warming Episodes of Leeder O. Man are both entertaining and informative. The episodes, which appear on the Dizabledcomic stripwebsite, are created by a person in a wheelchair who likes to poke fun at some of the silly things people do. Visitors to the site can view and leave comments, get helpful advice on eliminating attitudinal barriers and more.
Misunderstood Minds is a PBS documentary series that tells the stories of five families as, together with experts, they try to solve the mysteries of their children’s learning difficulties. Even if you don’t screen the documentary, stop by the website where you’ll find interactive activities that help students explore what it’s like to struggle with attention, reading, writing and mathematics.
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