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Acceptance Changes Stigma

Furry says, “Let’s Stomp Out Stigma!”

Stigma continues due to a lack of knowledge and awareness about rights, legality and how to empower people with a learning disability.

Stigma and discrimination makes people with a learning disability more prone to lower self-confidence and increased vulnerability (Jahoda and Markova, 2004)

Stigma and discrimination

Beyond school time

  • People in the local area calling them names
  • People in the local area ignoring them
  • Violent physical contact by people in the local area
  • Their parents restricting them
  • Their siblings calling them names

Within school time


  • Being ridiculed/called names by other pupils
  • Violent physical contact from other pupils
  • Being ignored by other pupils
  • Teachers giving unwanted extra help
  • Teachers refusing to help
  • Teachers getting angry about the mistakes they made
  • Being ridiculed by teachers

(Cooney et al., 2006)

Source:

  • Cooney, G., Jahoda, A., Gumley, A. & Knott, F. (2006). Young people with learning disabilities attending mainstream and segregated schooling: perceived stigma, social comparisons and future aspirations. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 50, 432-445.
  • Jahoda, A. (1995). Quality of Life: Hope for the Future or an Echo from the Distant Past? In I. Markova and R. Farr (Eds.) Representations of Health, Illness and Handicap (page range). Singapore: Harwood.
  • Jahoda, A. Cattermole, M. & Markova I. (1989). Stigma and the self-concept of people with a mild mental handicap, Journal of Mental Deficiency Research, 32, 103-115.
  • Jahoda, A., Dagnan, D., Jarvie,P., & Kerr,W. (2006). Depression, social context and cognitive behavioural therapy for people who have intellectual disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 19, 81-89.
  • Jahoda, A. & Markova, I. (2004). Coping with social stigma: People with intellectual disabilities moving from institutions and family home. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 48, 719-729.
  • Jahoda, A., Trower, P., Pert, C. & Finn, D. (2001). Contingent reinforcement or defending the self? A review of evolving models of aggression in people with mild learning disabilities. British Journal of Medical Psychology

 

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Stuffies Help Children With Emotional Development

Stuffie Emotional Support Partners
connect bridges between children’s hearts and minds?

Think about your own comfort item as a child. Was it a blankie or a stuffie or both?

by Jodee Kulp

Emotional Development of a child provides confidence and strength as an adult. Healthy positive relationships without trauma allow children to develop compassion, empathy, and an understanding of right and wrong. They learn to trust.

Stuffies are filled with what Furry the Penguin calls “Stuffun-La-Muffins.”

Stuffies provide unbiased consistency by simply being available as a silent emotional support partner.

Emotional Support Partners are important in the development of children and actually help build skills in emotions, language, social skills and belief in the impossible.

Here are 4 ways a beloved Stuffie helps a child develop emotionally.

EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

  1. Stuffie touch is powerful and cuddling with a soft Stuffies give children the touch of a friend. Children cuddle into the warmth and softness. Healthy soft touch provides a sense of peace.
  2. Stuffies are calming. Stuffies can help children calm and soothe when life is hard. Stuffies can help distract from a painful experience or give a child courage to face a procedure. They can also become the training wheels to love a pet or as Furry did to connect with other children.
  3. Stuffies help self-soothe. Stuffies help a child self-soothe without the help of mom or dad or grandparents. Stuffies are a source of stress relief. Stuffies give emotional well being when life can be scary, strange or just new.
  4. Stuffied encourage development of empathy and compassion. Stuffies are loveable and children connect to them.

LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

  1. Stuffies whisper nice things to children and help them work out unsolved problems by speaking the problem aloud. And children whisper nice things back to Stuffies. They practice positive and loving speech.
  2. Stuffies listen. Stuffies know how to remain quiet when a child is talking and not step on their thoughts or words. You can tell a story to a stuffie and they pay attention to every word.
  3. Stuffies are available. Stuffies never ignore a child when a child needs comfort. Stuffies do not take time to watch a sports show, talk on the phone, play video games or look at their cell phones. Unless Stuffies are pretending they are usually not busy with laundry, or work, or cleaning.
  4. Stuffies understand what you are saying. Stuffies know and understand the language of each special child.

SOCIAL SKILLS

  1. Stuffies understand acceptance. Stuffies help children test emotions. Sometimes we are kissed, pulled, and dropped. Stuffies are positive and they help increase the positive.
  2. Stuffies practice life skills. Stuffies are fed and put to bed. Stuffies play doctor and dentist, they ride buses, and trains, and go to school. They help build the responsibility of caring for another thing, remembering to pick it up and keeping track of a Stuffie so you do not lose your friend. Stuffies usually need care and attention daily especially in the early morning and going to bed times.
  3. Stuffies go places. Stuffies become the transitional object that allows a child to feel safe and connected in new or more challenging environments (doctors, hospitals, visiting others). Stuffies feed imaginations and are great at pretending.
  4. Stuffies are friends. Stuffies are friends that love you just for being you in all your good behavior and behavior others may not understand. Stuffies are often a child’s first playmate or the playmate available when friends return home.

BELIEVE IN THE IMPOSSIBLE – TOGETHER WE CAN!

  1. Stuffies provide possibilities. We can’t tell you why or how, but when a Stuffie becomes REAL to a child it increases – confidence, courage and creativity.
  2. Stuffies create goal setting. Children learn to plan new events with stuffies. They can practice their events and then be more confident when working toward the goal. Stuffies encourage children to try new things.
  3. Stuffies reach inside. Somehow a Stuffie reaches the kindness of the heart of a child and from that kindness of Stuffun-la-Muffins – the child’s lovely heart emotions for nurturing another also grow.
  4. Stuffies are conversation starters. Stuffies help children say things they may be afraid to say alone. And in Furry the Penguin’s case, started a whole Kindergarten talking with a a little boy who did not have words in school.
Visit Furry The Penguin Shoppe
Click photo to purchase.

Furry The Penguin
is a Member of the Aurora
Sweet and Softer Collection.

9.5″ PERKY PENGUIN –“Mac named him, FURRY”
Silky soft and sweet to the touch!

FURRY IS AVAILABLE AT OUR PENGUIN SHOPPE

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Target Finds: Halloween Allergy Friendly Candy (Mackie Approved)

 

Snoopy and Pumpkin 2017

Halloween is approaching and slowly people are beginning to learn about Teal Pumpkins and non-food alternatives to Halloween Candy. Last year here in the “Little Town That Would” our town went Teal so that Mackie Could be Included.
This year I have decided to stock up on the Allergy Friendly Candy starting to hit the shelves as an alternative as well.

 

Learn More About Teal Pumpkin Project 

Finding Allergy Friendly and what we call “Mackie Approved” candy can be a challenge.  Last year I found a few candy items that fit our “Dye Free”, “Dairy-free”, “Gluten-free”, “Nut Free”, “Soy-free” and packaged in a facility that does not cross contaminate with gluten. We are fortunate that Mackie’s peanut allergy is not so severe yet and so we can sometimes let him have products that share equipment processes with nuts. But not gluten.   Target had a few options and they SOLD OUT FAST and Targets that carried it were Rare.

Mackie Approved Candy
from Target

I went to Target Monday and picked up the Candy that Mackie can have.  The shelf was already looking empty and it isn’t even October yet.  At Christmas and other Holidays the selection often does not contain candy that he can have and those are very expensive.  But Halloween is Mackie’s favorite Holiday and when I find it I stock up for the year and his birthday. I checked the expiration dates and they are will make it almost to Halloween next year or longer.   But the shelves will be empty very soon.  I was to Walmart and Walgreens and found nothing he could have. FYI:  The Welchs Fruit Snacks for Halloween contain dreaded Food dyes.

But fortunately Target you Rock!  I also found a hidden secret, I can order it online from Target.com and save the disappointment of Empty picked over allergy friendly candy shelves.  Besides we do not live in the land of Targets and it is 36 miles to Dubuque and 85 or more to Madison.  I cannot stalk Targets!  Besides it is rough on the budget to go there! Doc will be happy, Mackie not so much.  He and Furry can spot a Target despite not seeing well from the window in the Sequioa.

Mackie has been begging for Sour Patch Kids, but they are loaded with food dyes and just one piece of candy with Red Dye will create a monster we do not want to see. Ask his therapists or teachers when Doc accidently let him have some or Mac stole it when too fast for us to intervene.

Mackie’s favorite find of the season.  Black Forest Organic Sour Heads. $6.99
The Characters and in Orange, Lemon, Raspberry, Fruit Punch and Lime. ** This is from a factory that uses shared equipment with milk, eggs, almonds, coconut, peanuts and soy.  We are letting him try them and watch for any reactions with his behavior or allergies. 

More Allergy Friendly Candy Choices from Target:
* Check Items Allergy Status on the Target Website
I have included the links to the differing items we purchased.

Plan ahead as they sell out quickly. HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone. 

Wholesome Organic Halloween Lollipops  (30 count)
$4.39


Surf Sweets Organic Halloween Spooky Shapes (20 count)
$6.49

 

Yum Earth Halloween Organic Candy Corn (24 count)
$7.99

Yum Earth Halloween Fruits (24 snack packs)

$7.99

Yum Earth Halloween Organic Fruit Pops  (80 count)
$7.99

Thank you Target from a very Happy Mackie and a Special Needs Mom who doesn’t have to stalk the Target shelves for the very elusive Allergy Friendly, No GMO, Dye Free Candy this Halloween.

Anny and Mackie and of Furry the Penguin

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1. Let Us Start At The Beginning

Furry’s shared reading guided lessons are a sequence of interactive discussions, games, worksheets, and other activities to guide early learners through different concepts and skills as they learn and gain skills.

Chapter 1 – Let Us Start at The Beginning

Chapter 1 Introduces:

The cast of characters

  • One stuffed penguin, who does not yet have a name.
  • The “Littles” who are the children.
  • The “Stuffies” who are the stuffed animals who live in the Penguin Kindergarten Classroom.
  • A particular stuffie penguin is introducing the many kinds of penguins and their differences. To learn more about Penguins visit Defenders of the Wilderness or Google Penguins.

Life skills concepts

Time to talk together 

What is your name?

  • First name?
  • Middle name?
  • Last name?
  • Nickname? Do you like your nickname?

Learn together and dig deeper.

Talk with your child about how unique the child’s name is and if you know how they got their name. You can share that it is good people and animals and things have names, or we would have to say, “Hey you!” and no one would know which you, you are. Or for an animal we would call out, “Hello dog!” and that would not work too well either. And as for things, it never works very well to say, “I need that.” It is better to be more specific. Specific means you are telling more about something, so you know who is talking to or about who and what you really need instead of what you really do not want.

A long time ago, people only had only first names.

Then people had names with their jobs. So for example, John Cooper would be John who is the cooper or barrel maker who lives in my village which is a small town. A barrel maker was an important job. Before we had electricity and refrigerators and running water people kept dried food and liquids in barrels. The barrels kept the small animals from eating the food.

Often last names were added was with Son or Daughter. So Sam Benson would be Sam who is the son of Ben. And Amy Johnsdaughter would be Amy who is John’s daughter. Son is said differently in different countries, and you can learn more here. 

Sometimes it was a description of the person like John Small because he was a small size man, Susan Little because she was a tiny woman, or Tom Black because he had black hair.

In Native American/First Nations/Indigenous cultures names are often earned and a person’s name may change during a lifetime.  The name is a sacred gift and has special meaning to the person receiving the name. The name may mark an event or achievement; it may be a special animal.

Together Time

More Chapter 1 Discussion

  • Who are some of the Kindergarten Stuffies?
    • What are their names?
      (Penguin, Pony, Giraffe, Donkey, Cow, Bat, Mouse, Dog, Puppy, Poodle, Rooster, Goose, Chick, Duck, Owl, Pig, Lamb, Lion, Raccoon, Hedgehog, Fox, Tiger, Elephant, Zebra, Monkey, Cat, Bear, Rabbit, Dinosaur, Squirrel)
  • What is a secret?
    • What does “spill the beans” mean?
      (Information you know that is not to be told to others without permission)
  • What does it mean to exaggerate?
    • (To make something seem larger, more important, better, or worse than it really is)
    • Do you think zig-trillion-billion-million is a real number?

Animal skills concepts –
Learn more about penguins

Just for fun

Shared reading

Furry encourages ALL children to participate in “shared reading”.

Following are examples of how you can enjoy shared reading with children.

Level 1: Non-verbal children.

Level 2: Pre-readers

Level 3: Early readers

Level 4: Reading together

Get Your Move On

Waddle Waddle
(See Video for Instructions)

“Flap, Flap!”
“Flap, Flap!”
“Waddle, Waddle. “Waddle, Waddle”
“Flap, Flap, Flap”
That’s how penguins move.

“Flap, Flap!”
“Clap, Clap!”
“Waddle, Waddle. Waddle, Waddle”
“Flap, Clap, Flap”
That’s how penguins move.

“Flap, Flap!”
“Huddle, Huddle!”
“Waddle, Waddle. Huddle, Huddle”
“Wrap, Flap, Wrap”
That’s how penguins move.

“Flap, Flap!”
“Clap, Clap!”
“Wrap, Wrap!”
“Waddle, Waddle. Silly Sliding”
“Flap, Flip, Slip”
Penguins on the move.

More with Furry

  • Draw
  • Color
  • Write
  • Tell
  • Show
  • Make

More Penguin Lesson Plans

We encourage you to have FUN with Furry: The Little Penguins That Could – Grow and Learn with your family.

For more ideas download our FREE CURRICULUM e-book.

 

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Snuggle Down Cuddle Up – Red Shoes Rock Challenge

Starting the first day of any month, or any day you want to begin, Furry and Mac challenge your family to a “Snuggle Down, Cuddle Up” Challenge of one month of bedtime reading. We offer a whole bunch of FREE ideas for each chapter of Furry: The Little Penguins That Could to help children grow and families enjoy time together.

We want you and your children to cherish this time together of memory making.

Reading is a tradition that will follow your children through adulthood and these cherished moments are gifted to your future grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Table of Contents

Just click the chapter to discover fun ideas for your family

Chapter 1 Let Us Start at the Beginning…… 6

Chapter 2 About Stuffies………………………..16

Chapter 3 Stuffie Jobs……………………………23

Chapter 4 I Forgot………………………………….34

Chapter 5 More About Stuffies…………………39

Chapter 6 Let’s Begin……………………………..43

Chapter 7 The Day to be Remembered……..47

Chapter 8 Ready-Set-Go!………………………..53

Chapter 9 The New Boy and the Kids………. 60

Chapter 10 A Letter from a Boy…………………64

Chapter 11 “Snack” Penguin…………………….75

Chapter 12 Sleepover Penguin…………………..81

Chapter 13 Twin Penguins…………………………88

Chapter 14 Hello, New Penguin………………….92

Chapter 15 Furry & Mac…………………………… 97

Chapter 16 Furry & School……………………… 103

Chapter 17 A Roomful of Stuffies…………….. 107

Chapter 18 Stuffie Support……………………… 110

Chapter 19 School Days Red Shoe Days……118

Chapter 20 Stuffy? No School…………………. 127

Chapter 21 Mom Hatches a Plan!………………137

Chapter 22 The Christmas Miracle……………. 143

Chapter 23 Snow Piles are Growing………….. 153

Chapter 24 Birthday Surprise……………………. 165

Chapter 25 Thank You Thank You……………… 173

Chapter 26 Mac’s Back……………………………. 176

Chapter 27 Kindergarten Circus Graduation.. 188

Chapter 28 Penguin Classroom Wisdom……. 193

Chapter 29 First Grade Here We Come………. 197

Resources………………………………………………. 205

Red Shoes……………………………………………… 207

Yes, we can! Together we can do it……………. 208

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Educate the Teacher About Your Child: A Back-to-School Introduction Letters-free download

Writing a “Dear Teacher” letter is an important tool to start the school year.

I learned early on that writing a letter to Becca’s teacher was an important tool to help her with starting school.  I continued the tradition with writing Mac’s Dear Teacher Letter at the start of the school year.  A simple version of the letter is contained within Furry and Macs story.

Back-to-school introduction letters

I found this valuable resource from Understood.org.
Download your FREE Back-to-school Introduction Letters.

“Writing a back-to-school introduction letter to your child’s teacher can help get the school year off to a good start. It’s also a great way to start building a positive relationship.

You can use the letter to share important facts about your child and the strategies that have worked in the past. For example, you can call out any accommodations your child may use.

Involving your child can help him build self-awareness, too. Tell him, “Your new teacher may not know the same things about you as last year’s teacher. Let’s write a letter to give her an idea of what you like to do, what you do well and where you may need some extra help.” (Filling out a self-awareness worksheet can get your child thinking about it.)

Use these back-to-school-introduction letters as guides. There’s one for older kids and one for younger ones. You can use the one for older kids to gather information to write a more traditional letter if you and your child prefer that approach.”

I hope you have a great school year!
Anny

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The Night Before School Starts (Trauma Informed)

Trauma Edition

It Was The Night Before School Started
By Ann Yurcek

 It was the Night before school started

And all through the house,
Not one person was sleeping not even the mouse.

The children were anxious and worried with fright.
While Mom was all worried things wouldn’t go right.

The backpacks were packed and set out with care.
While visions of morning haunted Mom with a scare.

Her children were anxious and for them school was tough

Would the teacher understand or makes things too rough?

For children of trauma, school can be drama.

Or was it school can be drama for children of trauma

School is anxiety and too much change.

They cannot learn when all is not arranged.

When everything’s new the children are blue.
Mom checked her list for fidgets and chewls?

The IEP papers were approved but Mom has her doubt.
Would the school help her children or cause them to act out.

While Tommy cannot sit still, and Sally can’t read,

Mom knows that they have different kinds of needs.

Would her children find empathy and understanding

Or would they be bullied and met with demanding?

Mom woke up the children and into the pack I went,
to help the children was the job I was sent.

Mom kissed the children and hugged them goodbye,
The children put on their courage and tried not to cry.

One foot in front of another, off the children, went.
To be met by a smile that was heaven sent.

Each school can make a difference for those who are left out.
With trauma-informed teachers and accepting students with FRIENDSHIP throughout!

Everybody Matters.

Wishing everyone a productive and calm school year!
Anny

©2018 Furry The Penguin

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Be A Friend – Acceptance and Inclusion

School is starting and we are filling backpacks and getting into a routine of starting our day with our children.

School has already started for some.  Right now it is a good time to have a discussion with our kids about how to be a friend. It is especially important in having discussions about how to be a friend to children with special needs.

We need to teach ACCEPTANCE of what it means to be a good friend.
If we start teaching FRIENDSHIP maybe, just maybe we can stop bullying.

For kids with disabilities, school is scary and often very lonely.  Your child and your lessons can make a difference for those children and help them start the school year on the right foot or wheel whatever the mode of transportation.  In every classroom in our country or the world, there are children who have differences, visible and invisible disabilities, or with social struggles.  We all have Differing Abilities as we are all Unique. We all have strengths and purpose to bring to our classrooms, schools and the world.

Take a STAND for FRIENDSHIP and INCLUDING EVERYBODY.

Teaching about Friendship with those who have Differing Abilities

Acceptance, Understanding, Inclusion, and Caring.

AAcceptance that we all have differences. Everybody Matters
CCare about including Everyone.
CCompassion to reach out for someone who is sitting alone or struggles with having a friend. Be Understanding.
EEmpower your Friend.  Speak up for your friend if someone is teasing or not including someone.
PPatience and Kindness.
TTalk to your friend about what they like and talk clearly and ask them questions. Teach by being a good example.
AAbility find your friends ability and find out the interests you share in common and just play. Ask questions if you are wondering.
NNotice what a friend does well and where they have a challenge, then find ways to help your friend.  See a need, fill a need.
CCreate a friendship with someone who needs a friend and invite them to your birthday party or to do an activity outside of school.
E Everyone needs a friend! Help your friend to be included with Everyone. Invite others to play or do an activity at lunch or the playground. No one should ever be sitting alone.

“Furry The Little Penguins That Could” 

When we teach our kids to CARE,

have COMPASSION and EMPATHY

we are all EMPOWERED.

 

We will have better schools, caring communities and a KINDER WORLD.

These are important skills our children will have for life.

And maybe, just maybe EVERYONE will have a FRIEND.

 

 

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Stuffed Animal Sleep Overs Encourage Reading

Did you know Stuffies can help children learn to read?

Stuffies do not care about difficulty sounding out words or missing a word or getting frustrated. They are designed to listen quietly.

One way parents have discovered to help children learning to read is take a stuffie to the library and leave it for a sleepover.  The stuffie job is exploring the library to look and read and listen to books specially picked for the child. Pictures are taken of the Stuffie reading favorite books so when

Children take their toys to a library for the night and drop them off before going home.

The animals then ‘search’ for books they want to read in the children’s absence – staff and volunteers take staged photos of the animals exploring the library and reading together.

The next day, the children collect their stuffed animals and the photos of what they did during the night.

They’re also given the books their animals ‘chose’ to read.

 

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Telepresence Robot Buddies for Home Based Students

“BUDDY DOUBLE ROBOT” can provide a telepresence into a classroom for children who must remain home due to illness, injury, or disability. This “Buddy Double” can move through the classroom and record learning experiences providing in classroom participation when you cannot be in class.

In addition, studies show that humanoid robots can act as peers and help give autistic children the social skills they need…

For children like Mac, Stuffies can become Emotional Support Partner and for some children, Robots as buddies in a similar way.

Maja Matari,a professor of computer science, neuroscience, and pediatrics at the University of Southern California, who has done several studies on humanoid robots and how they can act as peers and help give autistic children the social skills they need states, “Something very special happens when you put a machine and person together.”

Plus, Double saves schools money.