Links We Love!

Resources1If you’re a parent of a child with Learning Differences, Behavior Challenges, or Social Skills Needs then you know that one of the most difficult things to search out is a trusted service provider– a “child whisperer” who has their “finger on the pulse” of the L.D. community at large, and, above all else, treats your kid like their own.

We’ll, you’re in luck because this past year we, at Terry Tutors, have spent the bulk of our time researching, meeting, and compiling resources for our clients. Throughout this process, we’ve found ways to seamlessly work together with teams of providers for each of our students and families in need of a little or a lot of help. We happily collaborate because that is the only way to coordinate proper care and ensure that needs are met and things get done! We work not only in the home but at the school and with the state too, providing cross-over services because a child’s challenge doesn’t magically go away when the bell rings.

Anyone who has tried to find special education services or the like has received the run-around more than once, where frustration ensues and time is inevitably lost. We’ve been fortunate, however, to make this process as painless as possible for our students and their families, working diligently to create connections so our kiddos are not the ones who lose out in the end.

For example, SSTs and IEPs are often thought of as nightmarish meetings, laden with government bureaucracy–stretching for days on end with little accomplished. But that has not been our experience. Instead:

  • We do our homework! We’re educated, knowledgeable, and passionate about advocating and providing the right support for our students and their families.
  • We extensively prepare our clients for realistic goals, being mindful of the emotion involved throughout the process of evaluation, social/emotional/academic findings, and the tough decisions parents must make.
  • We make it a priority to respectfully maintain open communication with Teachers, School Psychologists, OTs, SLPs, Resource Specialists, Principals, and Administrators.
  • We followup in a professional, timely manner to ensure what is written on paper is implemented in the classroom.

It is through this process that we’ve been able to meet all of these amazing service providers, who are passionate about serving your child and helping you support and advocate for their needs.

Review all of our Free Resources & Recommendations:

  • Terry Tutors: Serving the Whole Student with Private Tutoring, Family Coaching & Education Advocacy
  • Links We Love: a free resource list of providers we’ve met and services we recommend
  • Terry Tutors Facebook: Resources galore for the typical and atypical developing student
  • Terry Tutors Twitter: Connections with like-minded outlets for education: reform, inspiration, and know-how
  • Terry Tutors Blog: Honest Approaches to Serving the Whole Student
  • Terry Tutors Pinterest: Hundreds of pins from healthy kid-friendly snacks to education case law
  • Terry Tutors YouTube: A Series all about the psychology behind school and how you can do better just by changing your mindset

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Christine Terry, J.D., is the Founder & Owner of Terry Tutors, a Private Tutoring, Family Coaching, and Education Advocacy service dedicated to supporting the whole student. She writes this blog as an effort to help Moms & Dads Navigate Generation Z, Honestly. Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com

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Miss America’s Dream and Its Positive Influence on Young Girls

Miss AmericaI have very vivid childhood memories of my mom, my two younger sisters, and myself sitting around in our pajamas watching the Miss America Pageant year after year. We watched that Pageant religiously throughout the ’80s and ’90s, even holding our own pageants complete with makeshift tiaras and sashes in the basement of our Bel-Ridge house. We coveted that crown and thought, perhaps, one day it would be us on that stage, crying and waving as we walked down the runway to the famous song: “There she is… Miss America…” Alas, my dream of becoming Miss America was not meant to be but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the positive influence it has on helping young girls realize their own dreams.

Suffrage & The Miss America Pageant

The Miss America pageant began in 1921, just a couple of years after Congress passed the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Since then, Miss America has been a symbol of beauty, grace, and oftentimes politics–a symbol of the times, really. Our new Miss America, like our re-elected President, is a reflection of an America longing for role models who look different than our Founding Fathers.

The Racial & Ethnic Diversity of the Miss America Pageant Throughout The Years:

  • 1984: Vanessa Williams, succeeded by Suzette Charles, First and Second African-American Miss Americas
  • 1990: Debbye Turner, Third African-American Miss America
  • 1991: Marjorie Judith Vincent, Fourth African-American Miss America
  • 1994: Kimberly Aiken, Fifth African-American Miss America
  • 2001: Angela Perez Barquio, First Asian-American Miss America
  • 2003: Erika Harold, Sixth African-American Miss America
  • 2004: Erica Dunlap, Seventh African-American Miss America
  • 2013: Nina Davuluri, First Indian-American Miss America: Check out her eloquent response to those who are upset by her win: Miss America’s Nina Davuluri talks about being a new face of the Miss America organization

Contestant Diversity & Acceptance

The Miss America Pageant and its public have openly accepted many types of diversity over the years, albeit not enough by any standard. For example, Alexis Wineman, Miss Montana 2012, competed in the 92nd annual Miss America Pageant. She was the first contestant diagnosed with Autism. During the latest Miss America Pageant, Miss Iowa, a 23-year-old vocalist born without her left forearm, competed for the crown as well. In 1995, Heather Whitestone, became the First Deaf Miss America. So I find it surprising that there are a group of outspoken Americans who are angry about the crowning of the new Miss America. Their vitriolic comments lead me to believe that it’s not a concern over accepting diversity but a concern over accepting racial diversity. That’s a sad realization in the year 2013 but a realization nonetheless–one that we should be aware of, acknowledge, but not accept as a guide for our moral compass. What they fail to understand, however, is that by discrediting the new Miss America they are directly contributing to our children’s lack of self-esteem and identity, especially that of young girls.

Young Women, Self-Esteem, and Identity

It’s no secret that our society still struggles with race, culture, and what it means to be diverse. Much of that burden falls on the shoulders of mothers, teaching and encouraging their children to reach for the stars in true American spirit but with gentle caution about the reality of how race effects the reality of their dream. I imagine that mothers to young girls take extra care to ensure their daughters don’t fall victim to self-esteem and identity issues, especially when it comes to race. So when girls are able to see an older, successful version of themselves it makes their dreams feel that much closer and the color of their skin becomes secondary. As such, when the new Miss America, an Indian-American, was crowned a winner I bet there were suddenly a whole lot more little girls who realized that their dreams of becoming a scientist, doctor, or even Miss America were not so far-fetched after all.

Thank you Miss America for helping the next generation of young women rise above the naysayers to realize their own dreams, just like you did.

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Christine Terry, B.A., J.D., is the Founder & Owner of Terry Tutors, a Private Tutoring, Family Coaching, and Education Advocacy service dedicated to supporting the whole student. She writes this blog as an effort to help Moms & Dads Navigate Generation Z, Honestly. Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com

Autism Awareness

AP postApril is Autism Awareness Month, and this year it was a time to dust off some good-old-fashioned pencils and get a little education at the Teaching Social Skills That Change Lives Workshop, hosted by the Autism Partnership Foundation.

I was super pumped to attend this conference because I tutor so many students from Preschool through Law School who present with various signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It’s a diagnosis that’s really hard for the schools, parents, and even general doctors to pinpoint because there are so many little, tiny signs that one can easily miss. Oftentimes, that’s exactly what happens and it leaves the parent wondering and the student struggling throughout their formal and social education.

Autism Partnership was formed by a small group of UCLA psychologists in the 1970’s, and since then has been hard at work researching, developing new programming, and educating others both in the US and abroad. They are fantastic! They provide assessments, social skills groups, counseling services, an entire program based on educating schools about bullying, in home support intervention, research, and parent support with one mission: to help the child thrive. I know I’m going on and on but it was just so amazing to hear a new kinder, gentler take on ABA Therapy: less rote and more human.

One of the techniques they use, and one that may be intuitive to most of us but not to those with ASD, is this idea of Discrete Trial Training (DTT), a way to break-down every instruction, step-by-step so that the child can learn to process the information in a formulaic way. You probably already do this naturally and don’t even realize it. Here’s how it works: If I say to Kayla, an atypical developing seven-year-old: Hey, Kayla. Would you throw me that ball over there? Kayla might stand there because she doesn’t physically have the ball in her hand so to her, logically, she can’t throw it because it’s not there. She hasn’t yet learned how to read the implied action.

Now, using DTT I would say: Hey, Kayla.

(1) Do you see that ball over there (pointing)?

(2) Would you walk over to that ball

(3) pick it up

(4) hold it your hand

(5) walk back to where you are standing now, and

(6) then throw it to me?

Depending on Kayla’s development, those could be a lot of steps and we would have to revisit many of them several times over. When each step is accomplished I would give Kayla verbal praise as positive reinforcement. Then we would practice this action again, until it became intuitive for Kayla. See what may seem like simple behavior for a typical developing child can be very difficult for a child with ASD, but if we can teach these steps in a patient and kind manner we’ve already accomplished so much.

As April comes to an end and Autism Awareness Month comes to a close I’m so excited because there are a ton of great resources out there for you and your family. If your child is diagnosed with ASD or has not been officially diagnosed but you have your suspicions that something is just not quite right, check out a few of these great programs to help guide you along the way:

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Don’t forget to head on over to TerryTutors.com or give us a call at 310.254.0909 for more info about our Private Tutoring & Family Coaching services in the Greater Los Angeles area