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Sarah Wayland, Ph.D.

Resource NavigatorRDI™ ConsultantPh.D. in Cognitive Psychology • Parent

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Tech Tools Book CoverTechnology Tools for Students with Autism: Innovations that Enhance Independence and Learning

Edited by Katharina I. Boser, Ph.D., Matthew S. Goodwin, Ph.D., & Sarah C. Wayland, Ph.D.

Technology holds great promise for helping students with autism learn, communicate, and function effectively in the modern world. This book gives an in-depth guided tour of technologies that support learners with autism and help them fully participate in their classroom and community. You’ll learn about readily available technologies you can use right now, as well as critical guidance on how to select the appropriate technology for your needs, weave technology into a universal design for learning framework, and conduct effective professional development.


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The Guiding Exceptional Parents Blog - by Sarah Wayland

When I find I'm saying the same things to many different clients, I write up what I'm telling them and post my advice on my blog. I post my thoughts on topics ranging from how to put good supports in place for kids with disabilities, to ways to avoid burnout, to the latest research on effective parenting strategies. Read all about it on my blog!


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Teaching Social Skills with RDI - by Sarah Wayland

Kids who cannot learn social skills through normal social interaction must be taught differently. The most common approaches teach these skills using a structured curriculum that first explains the skills, and then helps the child to practice the skills in increasingly unstructured situations. But what about the “why” of social interaction? Would it help to explain why a child should care about eye contact, why it’s important to take turns, why facial expressions matter, and why children with social communication disorders don’t know the answers to these questions? In this article, Dr. Wayland describes how RDI teaches the "why", so kids can be socially successful.


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Advice for Choosing Care Providers for Kids With Special Needs - by Sarah Wayland

Your child has been diagnosed with a health condition, disorder or challenge that you know nothing about. You need to find a doctor, therapist, specialist or other clinician to help. But how do you find someone qualified, who you trust and who your child will want to work with? This can be quite challenging--even for the most resourceful parents. Dr. Sarah Wayland gives some guidelines that will help you choose the right person for your child.


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Using Time-In to Decrease a Child's Challenging Behavior - by Sarah Wayland

Time In is a specific time that gives children a chance to feel appreciated and understood for who they are. During Time In, your child is able to experience your unconditional love, which can dramatically improve your relationship. It gives children one-on-one positive attention on a daily basis just for being themselves. In this article, Dr. Sarah Wayland describes how to implement Time In, using the strategies described by Dr. Dan Shapiro in his parenting class, Raising Your Challenging Child.


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It's as Easy As Child's Play! Or is it? - Social Communication Disorders in Children - by Sue M. Abrams, MA, CCC-SLP & Sarah C. Wayland, Ph.D.

Learning to play with others involves recognizing that you can get clues from other kids about how they are feeling just by listening to how they talk, or by looking at their face and how they hold their bodies, or looking where their friend is looking. It also involves understanding what your friends are saying and how to respond appropriately. What happens to a child who does not seem to be learning these skills? In this article, Sue Abrams (a speech-language pathologist) and Sarah Wayland (an RDI Consultant) answer common questions about this disorder, including What is Social Communication Disorder?, When should I be concerned?, Who can diagnose a Social Communication Disorder?, How can I help at home? and What professionals can help my child?


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Teaching Your Gifted Kid How to Connect with Others through RDI - by Sarah C. Wayland, Ph.D.

A kid with a social communication disorder, nonverbal learning disorder, ADHD, or autism can struggle to connect with other kids; the repercussions can be devastating and long-lasting. Gifted kids are not immune. Even as an adult, though they may be trustworthy, punctual, and detail-oriented, gifted people with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome will still struggle with the social component of employment and with adapting to new work environments (Burgess & Gutstein, 2007). Most kids learn the rules of social communication indirectly by observing normal social interactions and through trial and error, yet kids who cannot learn social skills this way must be taught explicitly. Sarah Wayland describes how the RDI approach educates parents so they can teach their kids these skills, all within the context of a healthy family dynamic.


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Seven Apps That Teach Literacy Skills - by Katharina Boser & Sarah Wayland

Mobile devices can help students who have trouble communicating orally by allowing them to converse using pictures and the written word (what’s known as augmentative and alternative communication, or AAC). Any number of apps can facilitate AAC, but some of them are particularly well-suited for helping students with language disorders learn how to read and how to effectively express themselves in writing. In this article, Dr. Boser & Dr. Wayland review some exciting new features in seven apps that teach these skills.


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Why is it So Difficult to Get Treatment for Language Disorders? - by Sarah Wayland

It can be hard for educators, clinicians, and parents to understand that there are smart children who struggle to talk and understand spoken language. Despite documented disabilities, it can be sometimes be quite challenging to get them the treatment they need. It can be incredibly frustrating when your child needs help and you are unable to provide it. In this article, Dr. Wayland examines some of the reasons for this difficulty, and provides guidance on working with insurance companies so that parents can more effectively advocate for their children who need treatment for language disorders.


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Supporting 2e Students In Prince George’s County - by Rose Blucher, M.Ed., and Sarah Wayland, Ph.D.

What does a bright but struggling student need in order to thrive? Critical to the academic and social emotional success of 2e students is an appropriate learning environment with advanced educational and talent-development opportunities, instruction in compensatory strategy development to address areas of weakness, and supportive ancillary services. The learning needs of these students are best met with dual differentiation, a collaborative approach to instruction that affirms students’ strengths and talents, while addressing their unique learning needs. The intent of this article is to give an overview of a service delivery model that provides just such an approach, offering a continuum of support services for twice-exceptional students grades 2 through 12 within a public school setting.