Monday, April 13, 2009

Topics in Special Education

My name is Lori Shaver, and I am a National Sales Representative for Achievement Products. I have always had a passion for working with the special needs community, primarily because I grew up with a sister who has special needs. We were children in the 60’s, and my family discovered that there were so few resources available to parents and teachers of children with special needs. It is exciting to see how far the development of resources has come, yet it is very clear that there is still so much to learn. Every child with special needs has different challenges.

I spend a lot of time on the road demonstrating different items from the Achievement Products catalog. I especially enjoy getting feedback from teachers, occupational and physical therapists, and parents as to how the products have been useful to them. I often find that my time at professional meetings and trade shows actually brings me more information than I can give out.

I recently visited Salt Lake City for a conference. I had great feedback on quite a few products, but the one that really stood out was the Visual & Audible Timer. This is great for children who are deaf or visually impaired, or for any children who are learning to tell time. It actually shows passing time: a red space on the clock disappears as the time elapses. This visual “measure” of time passing is easier for children to comprehend than just the moving hands of a clock. This is great for self regulation because the children are able to know how much time they have without asking parents or teachers and it reduces stress.

Another product that stood out was the Elastablast. It is so important to make all children with all abilities feel included in the classroom setting. Elastablast is a fabric-covered elastic tube that is used with a group of children to encourage group cooperation and movement. And they have so much fun with it! There is an activity book available that includes a DVD. I am a visual learner myself, so I think that the DVD really is helpful.

For a great sensory stimulation product, I showed Weighted Animals. These can either be put in the microwave or the freezer, depending on the child and the need. Then the “animal” wraps around the child’s neck. It’s a “friendlier” source of heat or cold.

As I continue to travel and show products, I will share information that I have learned. I also welcome any feedback that you have for me.. I have always thought of teachers, therapists and parents as the experts because they are finding great uses for our products.
I am hoping that this blog will give us a new opportunity to share information and experience. I hope to hear from you.