Thanksgiving was such an amazing time of year for us all to reflect on our blessings of the year. This year we are especially grateful that all of our students and their families are in good health, happy, and safe. To celebrate the season the students made some fun crafts. Our gratitude turkey is a COHA tradition and is something we look forward to every year. Each day our students write one thing they are grateful for on a feather and then we add it to our turkey (which we still need to name! I thought Grateful Greg was a stellar choice but the students weren’t buying it). Some things our students wrote were:
Family and Friends (This was everyone’s first thing and we get why! Our students are so loved and supported. We are grateful for all of those who teach, support, and love them; they are who they are today because of their friends and families!)
Jesus Christ and His Atonement
Food and water
The Lion King
And so many more! Our students also did a craft where they made a turkey headband that they could wear during Thanksgiving. Each student is so creative and we love seeing all the differences in each of their artwork!
Christmas season is finally here at COHA and we could not be more excited!! The students kicked off the Christmas season by making some fun snowmen (making paper snowmen is the best, and warmest way, to have some winter fun!). Our bulletin board is ready to celebrate the “most wonderful time of the year”.
We also got the opportunity to celebrate our sweet Jessie Girl! Jessie has been coming to COHA for years and has graduated from the NACD program but continues to come to school to learn and help her friends. Some things we love about Jessie are:
Jill loves Jessie because she is nice and a really good friend.
JJ loves that Jessie has amazing parents.
Jennica loves Jessie’s personality! She is outgoing, has a great laugh, loves to have fun, and is always happy. Jennica also loves to make Jessie laugh.
Melissa loves Jessie’s smile and Jessie makes her laugh all the time.
Courtney loves Jessie because she is an amazing artist, is kind, caring, and considerate to everyone, and is very fashionable.
Bobbi R. loves Jessie because she is a hard worker and when she sets her mind on something, she is determined to accomplish it.
Stephenee loves Jessie because she is always so happy and loves to come to school. She is helpful, a good artist, and has good style.
Bobbie loves Jessie because she is so smart and talented. She is kind to others and tries to serve wherever she is at.
We know that Christ is the reason for the season so our students have been doing the ABC’s of Christ in their opening exercises to learn more about Christ’s birth, life, and attributes. They are also participating in the “Light the World” Christmas challenge done by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. On each day leading up to Christmas, they have some kind of service to do that helps “light the world” and bring about the loving and giving spirit of Christmas. They would like to extend that challenge to all their family and friends this Christmas season.
So on Sunday night we often make our list for the week. We have edited the list twice in order to make it realistic and less stressful. When it comes to program, a lot of you end up whittling down your list as the day goes on to reduce your stress and make your goals more realistic. Just keep in mind that if you do this too often, you can really slow down or even stop progress by cutting out or reducing activities that were essential to the whole. Although programs can appear to be fragmented, they actually are not.
Here are a few examples of things some of you might have on your program; We didn’t get to do the more complicated chores but we did all of the sequencing activities. What’s the problem with this? The complex chores were a mechanism to force the child to use more working memory functionally. We did the auditory sequencing and some of the assigned reading but we just never found time for the books on audio. What’s the problem with this? The books on audio promote a love of reading and a desire to read better as well as supporting auditory processing and attention. We did the crawling but not the deep pressure. What’s the problem with this? The deep pressure provides essential tactile information on where the muscle groups are located so that the brain is able to move the limbs more efficiently.
We all have days in which we don’t get everything done. It’s inevitable. Just be sure that what you’ve not been doing wasn’t essential for the progress of what you are doing.
Although this year our Thanksgiving Day may have been a bit different, we still remember all of the things for which we are thankful. I am most thankful for my children and grandchildren, of course, but I am also thankful for the opportunity to get to know your precious children and to know you as well. It is our plan at NACD to make sure we are doing all we can to provide you with the most efficient and effective program possible. We have spent decades figuring how to do this well and continue to constantly search for even more effective strategies.
Did you know that your child’s program is the result of a huge amount of collaboration among professionals? The depth of NACD’s expertise is enhanced by collaborations with many brilliant experts over many years. Our knowledge about vision, hearing, health, mobility and language development have been immeasurably enhanced by the input of leaders in those fields over the past decades. It is our ongoing effort to find what works the best in a huge variety of circumstances. When it comes to your child, there is no one protocol that is right. This is why we constantly study and explore what works and what doesn’t and under what circumstances a strategy will work.
So when a therapist tells you that they have worked with many children like your child, I will tell you two things: there is no child exactly like your child AND our experience and expertise has more depth than that therapist. We believe in the uniqueness of your child which is why we constantly look at the whole child. We believe in the potential of your child because we have seen countless children far, far exceed expectations of other professionals. Together we can and will make positive changes happen. Have a question or concern? We’re right here.
Do you have neighbors who have put up their Christmas trees already? Maybe you have put up your own. It’s a clear reminder that the holidays are not far away. In the coming weeks, I’ll give some suggestions for how to handle program with the challenge of the holidays and still have a good time.
I have two suggestions for you this week. The first suggestion is that you increase your knowledge of why you are doing what you are doing by going to our website at www.nacd.org and reading some journal articles on topics that relate to your child. Your other option is to watch some of Bob’s videos on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/NACDDOTORG or by searching for “Bob Doman” videos. They aren’t long but they are packed with information.
My second suggestion is to review your child’s program again including the instructions and notes. You might be amazed by what you forgot was on the program or how the activity is meant to be done.
Both of these things will help you do better this week and during the upcoming holidays. Let’s have a wonderful week together!
Congratulations parents! You are the best teacher your child will ever have and you are not teaching virtually! Just yesterday I heard another parent lament that they really couldn’t be both a parent and a teacher to their child. It always seems like such an odd remark to me. Parenting requires fairly incessant teaching on many levels, often simultaneously! It is actually hard Not to teach your child constantly as a parent. You teach your children how to eat with a fork, play with toys appropriately, climb stairs, put on socks, brush their teeth, settle down and go to sleep(hopefully), talk, use manners, cross a street and much, much more.
So you do teach, all the time. You teach without reflecting on it. So maybe you don’t think of yourself as a teacher because no one is paying you for this constant teaching. Maybe you don’t consider yourself a teacher because you are really overwhelmed by the thought of having to teach everything. I have to say that after so very many decades of parenting and teaching parents to teach, there is a tremendous joy to it particularly when you love that person you are teaching. Yesterday I went on a hike through the woods with my son and two of my grandchildren. He was teaching them about deciduous trees since we were hiking through leaf-covered trails. They were quite proud of themselves when they could explain what a deciduous tree was. He was quite pleased that they had learned it and I was very nostalgic for the days when I taught that to him and his sisters. They say that knowledge is power and I am sure that this is true. Teaching is a joy when you know exactly how to do it, particularly when you are teaching your own. We will help you every step of the way.
Don’t be afraid to be a teacher. You’ve been a teacher since your child was born!Keep up the good work!
This is one of the days that our student’s look forward to every year…school pictures! They love getting dressed up and showing their million dollar smiles and sense of style! We are so grateful to have Rochelle Slade, a Southern Utah Photographer, come and donate her time and talents to make treasured memories for the students, parents, and all of us at COHA.
And of course we had to get a little silly!
We are so blessed to have these bright smiles and loving personalities a part of our lives every day! Until next year school pictures….
Another exciting and fun week at COHA, but do we expect anything less with all these awesome people?!
This week Austin was able to listen to the last presidential debate and got registered to vote! He filled out his ballot and is ready to mail it in. We are so proud of Austin and all the amazing ways he surprises us every week!
We also got to celebrate our first birthday of the year; SAMO! Sam turned 32 years old and could not be more excited! On every birthday, our students sign a card for him and everyone writes down what they love about the birthday boy. These are all the reasons we LOVE Sam:
Brady loves that Sam is so nice!
Mitzy loves Sam’s personality and how it shines so bright.
Rilla loves that Sam always makes her smile and how he is always so fun to be around.
Austin loves that Sam is always so funny and makes him laugh.
Steph loves that Sam is always happy to be at school and ready to learn new things.
Bobbie loves that Sam is so joyful and kind to other people, and how he is so smart and fun, and that he makes her smile.
There are a million and one reasons to love Sam and we are so grateful he was born! HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAM!!
Lastly, spooky season hit hard during our annual Halloween Party! We had such a good time celebrating with all of our students! This year we made our party outside and combined with the boys and the girls, so it was extra fun to see everyone together! Those who chose to dress up looked super spooky! We had Jessie dressed up as Mulan from the new Disney live-action movie! Brady was a super spooky Werewolf! We also had JJ dressed as the Ninja Turtle, Donatello! Jennica wore a shirt that said “Laziest Costume Ever” and a cute Halloween hat and sunglasses!
Our first game of the party was “Trick or Treat,” each student brought a non-sugar treat to give out to each other. We made it into a social distancing game where the trick or treater had to stand back and catch the treat in their bag as it was tossed to them! They all had great healthy treats to give out such as Halloween pencils, Halloween stickers, apple sauce, water, popcorn, and Cheez-its! Then we played Halloween bowling with a pumpkin, and Pin the Face on the Pumpkin while we listened to spooky Halloween music! Our last game of the party was called Pass the Pumpkin. The students stood in a circle and passed around a pumpkin, whoever had the pumpkin when the music stopped playing was out! We had a tie between Brady and Chantel! After our games we all ate our Cutie Pumpkin treats and a fruit bowl provided by one of our sweet tutors! It was a great Halloween party and we are so blessed to have such amazing and fun students!!
As sad as we are for the end of Halloween, we are equally excited for Thanksgiving to come around!
Fall is finally here and everyone at COHA is here for it! This week has been one with lots of excitement and celebrating the Halloween season. On Monday, we talked about how it was National Inner Beauty Day. We asked each student what inner beauty they thought they had and what they loved about themselves. We were so touched by the answers we got, such as; kind, very smart, my sense of humor, that I can make other people laugh, that I protect others and keep them safe, etc. Some students didn’t know what to say so all their classmates jumped in with the kindest comments; they are true examples of unconditional love and being true friends! The best answer we got from many of them was they loved how creative they were! Which worked perfectly with…our fun Halloween craft! We cut opening exercises a little shorter for the students to make a pumpkin to decorate our bulletin board in the library for all students, tutors, and visitors to see. Each student’s pumpkin packed so much of their personality; they were all are so creative and fun!
Our students have really dived into reading this year and we have loved hearing what they have had to share about all the new things they are learning. Last week, Brady even decided to make a poster about the book he read on lions. It turned out so great!
Another exciting thing happening at our school this week is for the first time ever, COHA has hired our students to help clean the inside of the building and do the yard work. Brady, Austin, and Chantel all had their job interviews this week. To prepare, their parents and tutors practiced the interview questions, helped them fill out the application, and gather reference letters from people who could attest to them being good and trustworthy candidates for the positions. It was the first job interview that any of them had and we were very impressed with how prepared and professional they were! They have started their jobs this week and it has been so great to see them work hard, learn new skills, and help keep their school a clean and organized place for them and their classmates to learn and grow in!
The students were also very excited to have Special Needs Mutual (a religious church group) start back up again after 5 months of it being cancelled because of COVID! We have loved hearing about what they do and seeing the smiles it brings.
Fall is in the air and we are excited to see what this new season brings! Bring on the Halloween spirit!
Some pictures of the girls getting physical during opening exercises! Sam got here a little early one day so we went out and laid in the grass, soaked up some sun, and talked about life. We are so blessed to have these precious spirits in our lives!
Good Morning Families, I hope that you had a chance to get outside and get some exercise this weekend. It is not just good for your son or daughter, but great for you as well. Those of us in California still have lots of smoke so it’s been difficult but hopefully that too will get better soon!
Let’s be mindful of the fine balance between getting things done that need to be done with a child and finding a way to allow the child to be themselves, and a way for us to find some enjoyment. When you find yourself literally plowing through program activities with the mood getting progressively more negative you really need to just stop. Go do something else for about ten minutes. Maybe you need to do some task that has been weighing on your mind or maybe you need to go get a cup of tea. It is you that needs the reset.
After you take a little break so you can get rid of your “drill sergeant” demeanor, come back with a smile and some sense of humor so that you and your child can make the most of what you are doing. It’s important to remember we are doing program WITH the child or young adult and not AT them. Let’s have a fantastic week full of progress!
I hope that you had a relaxing weekend. As we start our week together let’s keep in mind that we need to spend the week doing lots of input that has intensity. All of you are doing a lot of input of information, whether it is inputting how to breathe through your nose or inputting the word “tractor,” you are inputting the information repeatedly. When we talk about intensity, we mean your intensity but we also mean your child’s intensity.
Part of the issue of your child’s intensity is the developmental appropriateness of what you are doing. If I input graphing inequalities to a child who is just learning how to multiply, no matter how intense I am, the child’s intensity would be terrible because what I’m doing is way out of sync with the necessary foundations to do the problem. I am trying to teach the wrong thing. Whether therapists are bracing a child to walk who has not learned the foundational steps or developed the muscle strength and balance needed to walk, or a virtual teacher is demanding that a child write a paragraph when the child is still thinking in phrases, we are not going to get the attention and intensity needed from the child because we are teaching the wrong thing.
Your NACD program is not trying to skip vital building blocks in development. Remember one thing that really adds to a child’s intensity is positive feedback and success. There are so very many pieces to development that it would be easy to miss steps along the way. Your evaluator will do everything he/she can to identify and address every piece.
May your week and your child’s week be full of the intensity that comes from addressing the right things at the right time and achieving success. We expect success and we’re here to help you achieve it.