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Last Updated: 10/31/2017
 

Bridges4Kids Review Panel: More Reviews

Here are more reviews from our panel members.

Kids Coins Reward System for Children

Kids CoinsReviewed By: Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o
Review Date: July 7, 2005
Price: $39.95 per set (
Program Includes: 22 "I Can Do It Coins", 10 "Gold Coins and Special Coins" with Colorful Bag, Kids Coins Song Collection, Activity Guide with Instructions, Progress Chart and Dry Erase Pen, 20 Pocket Display Pouch, Colorful Carrying Bags and Durable Storage Case.)

Description: Kids Coins were created for children ages 3 and up to have fun as they learn. The Kids Coins "Fun and Easy Reward System" can be used as a responsibility game to help structure the day by helping to direct daily tasks and activities. Some or all of the Kids Coins can be used any time of the day, and in any way you like to best suite your own lifestyle. Kids Coins are 4" durable Child Safe tokens with pictures and characters that help children grow and learn. The program reinforces daily structure by using colorful pictured Coins and fun music. Children earn stars by completing activities. Children have fun learning about their feelings. Character Coins help children learn about "what they want to be when they grow up".
Jackie's Review: Kids Coins is a delightful reward system for children. Designed to teach discipline and structure, Kids Coins also leaves much needed room - and encouragement - for pretend play. The beautifully illustrated, finely crafted coins are sure to delight your child while teaching valuable lessons. I used the program with an 8-year-old typically developing child and a 10-year-old child with Autism. Both children responded well to the program and could hardly wait to complete the tasks so they could receive the highly sought after "gold coins" throughout the day as rewards for task completion. Children who have a hard time with follow-through will be encouraged to participate in normal daily activities with the help of the lively characters featured on the coins. The lessons learned using the Kids Coins program will help your child throughout life - cooperation, sharing, using their imagination, listening and participation are just a few of the values they will learn. The program includes ideas on how to encourage your children to participate in the program, along with detailed instructions for use. Also available from Kids Coins is a delightful live show, featuring creator Janet LaCroix, and an accompanying music cd that really drives the program's values home. Janet LaCroix has done a phenomenal job writing and singing the music on the cd. The website is full of information and ideas, along with sample song clips, character animation and much more! I would highly recommend this program to any family, educator or childcare provider who has a child who needs a little extra positive reinforcement and encouragement throughout the day.
For More Information: For more information or to purchase Kids Coins, call 1-866-706-1543 or visit http://www.kidscoinsproductions.com/index.php.

 

The Discrete Trial Trainer (DT Trainer) Software

Reviewed By: Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o
Review Date: May 30, 2005
Developer: Accelerations Educational Software
Price: A 30-day trial can be purchased for as little as $10. Pricing ranges between $99 for a single user license for the home to $249 for unlimited classroom use.

Description: (Version 2.0.7.0 Released 3/25/05) The DT Trainer was created based on methods developed to educate our most difficult to educate individuals: children with autism. However, the DT Trainer's configurability also makes it beneficial for children with other learning disabilities, and even with typically developing but young children. Behavioral methods have been proven to be effective for teaching individuals including those with autism. The software motivates individuals to perform tasks which they may not want to learn or may find difficult to learn. There are hundreds of colorful, interesting, and fun reinforcers to pick from which engage even difficult to motivate individuals. You can even add your own reinforcers! The DT Trainer breaks down learning into the appropriate steps for low functioning to high functioning students.
Jackie's Review: The Discrete Trial Trainer (DT Trainer) software is a highly customizable, independent learning package that is sure to meet and even exceed your expectations. Based on Discrete Trial methodology within Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), your child with Autism, or other learning/retention disorder, will learn concepts on everything from counting to money exchange to telling time and from letter recognition to reading. Just about every aspect of this software is easily adjustable. A comprehensive user manual, online customer support and user videos will help you discover ways to utilize the software to its fullest capacity. Built-in reinforcers, in the form of short video clips, graphics, games, music and animation, may help keep the child motivated throughout the session. Children can sit for short periods of time, specified by the parent or instructor, while performing tasks chosen to heighten their learning experience. With the DT Trainer, there's no need to waste time on needless lessons that the child has already mastered. Data is automatically collected in the background and can be easily pulled up in order to gauge progress, identify deficits, and determine which areas may need further customization of the material. Children who require repetition (whether mild or substantial) are sure to learn new skills and maintain their progress using any combination of the 125 content areas currently available. I look forward to seeing the continued evolution of this software program. I would recommend this program to any parent or professional who is seeking a new way to expand a child's learning horizons.

For More Information: For more information, to order a trial for home or the classroom, or for frequently asked questions about this software package, visit http://www.dttrainer.com/. Visit http://www.dttrainer.com/trainingvideos/index.html for training videos on the program.

 

ABA Flashcards

Reviewed By: Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o
Review Date: July 10, 2005
Price: $10 (one set of 10 cards), $20 (three sets of 10 cards), or $40 (10 sets of 10 cards)
AppleDescription: ABA Flashcards are designed specifically for children on the autism spectrum. The goal is to make all pictures as clear and straightforward as possible. When dealing with autism, it is especially important to avoid confusing the child. For that reason, these flashcards do not have the usual backgrounds, words or distractions that are found on most picture flashcards (which are usually not designed for children with autism spectrum disorders). ABA Flashcards focus solely on the concept you are trying to teach, in a way that is clear to the child and promotes faster learning. ABA Flashcards are perfect for all types of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) programs, especially DTT (Discrete Trial Teaching). There are several other forms of EIBI (Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention), such as AVB (Applied Verbal Behavior). ABA Flashcards are also useful for teaching multiple concepts for these programs. Speech therapists and special education classrooms will also find many useful activities that can be accomplished using ABA Flashcards.
ShoesJackie's Review: These beautifully crafted cards are specifically created for children on the autism spectrum, and are generous in size. The images are realistic instead of cartoon-like or animated in appearance. Children will not be confused by the difference between a drawn image and an actual image. I was impressed by the overall quality of this product and the variety of sets available for purchase.
For More Information: For more information, or to order, visit www.abaflashcards.com.

 

Take Charge! Educational Coaching Kit

Take Charge! Basic KitReviewed By: Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o
Review Date: August 10, 2005
Price: $99.00 (Includes: Take Charge Educational Coaching Curriculum Workbook, Lessons & Notes Journal, Affirmation Cards, and the 16-piece multi-sensory Student Kit.)
Description: Take Charge! Educational Coaching is a twelve-lesson, strength-based methodology that provides educational and motivational strategies and hands-on tools for students who struggle to learn. A variety of both language based and nonverbal activities is also provided, offering a sensitivity to learning styles that is applicable to the student and to the coach as well. The accompanying workbook is written so that the "coach" can learn the curriculum while helping the student. Take Charge! Educational Coaching teaches silent readiness skills, which is the term John Beach uses to describe the subtle skills that prevent people from investing in the educational process. Silent readiness skills include: cognitive awareness, affective readiness, communication skills (both pragmatic language and relational communication), and conation (integrating cognitive, affective, communication and action).
Jackie's Review: The Take Charge! Educational Coaching Kit, appropriate for use with upper elementary through middle/high school students, is a masterfully crafted compilation of twelve lessons and tools that are sure to motivate children - regardless of their learning style. The lessons are filled with uplifting ways to challenge students and to teach them to celebrate their accomplishments. Tools included in the kit are used to pull the student directly into the lesson. Through hands-on interaction, visual learners are encouraged to connect the lesson to the tool. Phrases such as "I will", "I am" and "I believe" will give children a sense of affirmation, and even power, over their individual learning situation. The workbook is written in easy-to-understand language which makes it suitable for both school and at-home use.
For More Information: For more information, visit http://bridgesassociates.com/index.htm. Bridges Associates offers Psychoeducational Evaluation, Testing & Planning, School Consultation (including IEPs and 504 Plans), and Family Evaluation & Consultation services. Bridges Associates also offers workshops and training seminars on Take Charge!™ and other education-related topics through their newly established Coach Training Institute.

 

Sillwee Wobbert Picture Books

book coverReviewed By: Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o and Melody (age 8)
Review Date: August 16, 2005

Author: G. Robert
Price: $9.95 each (Coloring book companions are available for $6.00 each)
Descriptions: Sillwee Wobbert, The Happy heart kid: New and impressive ‘Sillwee Wobbert’ series of inspiring stories about health issues for young readers introduces the first book on Sillwee Wobbert. With his heart shaped head, Robert is an universally engaging caricature that shows kids it’s OK to live, laugh, be silly and have fun with friends while taking proper care of oneself. He is born with a heart condition, but that doesn’t stop him from meeting friends, playing and being silly. His whimsical antics allow him to help his friend Vivian with a problem and ultimately inspires his new name.

Sillwee Wobbert and Wheezing Will in the Big Game - Sillwee Wobbert looks forward to playing soccer with his friends. But one friend, William, an African American boy, hasn’t always been able to participate in soccer. Nicknamed affectionately, Wheezing Will, his asthma made it hard to run and play; but when he rests, eats snacks and uses his medication properly, he can do anything his friends can do--and more! Sillwee Wobbert and Wheezing Will forge friendship and understanding asthma in this marvelous story perfect for sharing.

book coverSillwee Wobbert, Diabetes and Jose at school and play - Sillwee Wobbert is a thoughtful kid who helps his friend Jose, a Latino boy, overcome adversity on the baseball field at school. It’s a heart-warming adventure of children playing together, helping each other, and learning that they are all special in unique ways. Jose shows his friends that he can run and play baseball and that eating well and being fit help him with his diabetes.
Jackie and Melody's Review: This weekend, Melody and I had the opportunity to review three of the books in the Sillwee Wobbert Picture Book series. I was immediately impressed. G. Robert has done a phenomenal job at capturing the essence of special needs and putting the information into book form for children. The books are colorful and warm with illustrations that are catchy yet not overwhelmingly "busy" or distracting.

Melody sat and read the books on her own. After she finished, I asked her what she thought of Sillwee Wobbert and his friends.  "I liked the books. They were fun to read...and cute!"  I went on to ask her what she had learned about each or the special needs covered in the books.  When asked about Sillwee Wobbert, Diabetes and Jose at School and Play, she said "I learned a lot about Diabetes. If Jose doesn't eat often and watch his sugar, he could become very sick. Sometimes he has to have his finger poked. Kids with diabetes are just like me. They just have to be very careful about what they eat and about what their body tells them."  Each book contained a lesson that Melody quickly caught on to.  The fact that she understood the intended lesson proved this series to be a valuable tool in teaching not only that it is "ok" to have a disability or special need, but it is also "ok" to be friends with kids who have disabilities or special needs, like Sillwee Wobbert and his friends. 

With so many books on the market today, this series is sure to rise above the rest with its valuable lessons that are often missed in today's fad movie-related or television series spin-off books. I would recommend this series to anyone working with, treating, or caring for a child. These books will make great additions to hospital or clinic waiting rooms, school classrooms and libraries, childcare centers, and just about anywhere that you're likely to find children.
book coverFor More Information: For more information or to make a purchase, visit http://www.sillweewobbert.com/.  Send questions or comments to rlyles1369@earthlink.net.

About The Author: "My interest in the "heart" stemmed from my lifelong diagnosis of mitral valve prolapse and increased with his nephew's congenital heart condition, truncus arteriosis. Also I had juvenile diabetes and understand what it is like to be treated differently by my peers as a young person. I make school visits to show how the Sillwee Wobbert books are an inspiring and uplifting way for children, families and health educators to learn and talk more about healthcare issues. I also make presentations about writing and the publishing process and am available for consultation. I relate enthusiastically with my audiences and, from personal experience, help kids understand how important it is to be accepting of differences in other kids as a mechanism to empower them to overcome adversity in their lives."

Understanding Sensory Dysfunction: Learning, Development and Sensory Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, Learning Disabilities and Bipolar Disorder

Reviewed By: Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o
Review Date:
October 10, 2005
Authors: Polly Godwin Emmons and Liz McKendry Anderson
Price:
$19.95

ISBN: 1-84310-806-2

Description: Understanding Sensory Dysfunction is a clear and comprehensive resource to identifying and addressing sensory dysfunction in children, using a range of practical strategies to help them reach their full potential at home, at school and in the community. The authors explain the causes, contributing factors, symptoms and associated behaviors of sensory dysfunction, particularly when found in conditions such as autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), ADHD and bipolar disorder. Focusing on early intervention, they provide a host of tried and tested integration activities, assessment and curricular modifications, treatment options and useful equipment and resources that ultimately aim to limit or prevent the interference of sensory dysfunction with successful learning, socialization and skills development. This accessible and empowering book offers a unique approach to the condition and will help families, teachers and caregivers meet the particular needs of children with sensory dysfunction. (Paperback, 175 pages)
Jackie's Review: Reading Understanding Sensory Dysfunction was an eye-opening experience.  Being the parent of a child with Autism, I read through the book with great personal interest.  Lights started coming on inside of my head – it was finally making sense!  The authors start out with very basic information on sensory integration, along with a brief history.  Readers are lead step-by-step through the sensory systems, which include the tactile system, the vestibular system and the proprioceptive system.  Sections devoted to sensory dysfunction through the developmental stages were particularly interesting; seeing the potential signs and symptoms in black and white really hit home: dislikes being swaddled, craves certain sensory input, unable to be comforted…the list goes on.  I found myself thinking back to when my son was an infant, toddler and preschooler.  The book does a fine job of addressing sensory dysfunction as it relates to several other disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, Learning Disabilities and Bipolar Disorder.  I would recommend this book to anyone working with or living with a child who you suspect may have sensory difficulty.  You will learn the warning signs, treatment options, educational strategies and practical modifications to help the child at home, in the community and at school. 

For More Information: This book can be ordered online through Jessica Kingsley Publishers at http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book.php/isbn/1-84310-806-2

About the Authors: Polly Godwin Emmons has a BS in Biology and a BA in Psychology from Binghamton University, a MSEd in Elementray Education from Emira College, and holds certifications in Elementary Education and Special Education PreK-12. Polly lives in New York with her two children and is a Special Education teacher at a local high school. Liz McKendry Anderson has a MEd in Elementary Education from Lesley College, MSEd in Special Education from Binghamton University, and holds certifications in Elementary Education and Special Education PreK-12. She is the former director of Education for an Early Intervention Agency and is currently enrolled in a Doctoral Program for Education at Binghamton University. She lives with her husband Richard and their four children in New York.

Growing Up Too Fast

Growing Up Too Fast <!-- Sylvia Rimm parenting advice children 2005 -->Reviewed By: Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o
Review Date:
November 9, 2005
Author: Sylvia Rimm, PhD, New York Times best-selling author of See Jane Win
Price:
$
23.95

ISBN: 1-57954-709-5

Description: In Growing Up Too Fast, Dr. Rimm shows parents exactly what they can do to help their kids with these modern pressures. Katie Couric, host of NBC's Today show, has called her "a welcome voice of calm and reason--someone who offers practical advice, with almost immediate results." Growing Up Too Fast will show parents how to lead today's new breed of adolescents to a bright and promising future. (Hardcover, 301 pages)
Jackie's Review: In her latest book Growing Up Too Fast, Child Psychologist Dr. Sylvia Rimm guides parents through the secret lives of today's middle schoolers.  Thousands of children were surveyed in order to produce this compilation of wisdom and first-hand accounts from "tweens" on what it is like to be subjected to peer pressure, sex in the media, bullying, and dozens more fascinating topics.  This book left me hungry for more each time I had to set it down.  Being the mom of a 11 and 12-year-old boys, I couldn't help but wonder what Dr. Rimm had to say that I hadn't already heard elsewhere on cable talk shows or on public radio.  I was pleasantly surprised at what her research had uncovered.  Kids are reaching puberty and the sexual experimentation stages earlier than ever before.  Who is to blame?  What is the cause?  Dr. Rimm's answers on this and many more questions can be found between the two bright yellow covers of this book.  I would recommend Growing Up Too Fast to any parent or grandparent who desires to know what kids are saying behind your backs about many of the today's issues. However, when you do decide to start reading this book, be sure to settle in for a good period of time because once you start reading, you are not going to want to stop!

For More Information: This book can be ordered online at www.rodalestore.com or by calling toll free 800-848-4735.

About the Author: Sylvia Rimm, PhD, is a noted child psychologist who directs Sylvia Rimm's Family Achievement Clinic in Cleveland and is a clinical professor at Case School of Medicine. She is also a bestselling author.

 

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