https://secureservercdn.net/184.108.40.206/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Blog-Autism-Toys-FeaturedImage.png?time=1623258505186183Rachel Gossanhttps://secureservercdn.net/220.127.116.11/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngRachel Gossan2016-12-13 05:30:252019-09-03 20:55:11Age Appropriate Toys for Children with Autism
Executive Functions are a set of higher order mental processes that allow an individual, or in this case, children; the ability to control their thoughts, actions, and attention in their ever-changing environment. Often, children can present with executive functioning issues as a result of many different factors such as Autism and ADHD.
Below are some executive functioning skills and how they present in both individuals with normal and poor executive functioning, and some tools/strategies for parents:
Your child has trouble being organized or often loses, or misplaces items.
Create a “home space” for your child’s items. This can include simply labeling areas of the home where items should be stored, so your child knows where to place items and lowers the risk of loss. Make checklists or use planners to help your child create a schedule.
Your child easily forgets what they just heard, or what they were asked to do.
Make connections in every lesson. Have you ever heard of ROY G. BIV? – this is how most people remember the colors of the rainbow. When teaching new content such as tying a shoe use cute, age appropriate analogies such as the bunny rabbit in the hole. Also, helping your child visualize information by writing it down, drawing pictures, and even becoming the teacher are great tools as well.
Your child may not seem aware of themselves such as when they are doing well.
Behavior charts are a great tool to help your child self-manage their own behavior. Choose an important behavior for your child to manage and how often you would like for your child to “check in” on this behavior.
Task Initiation/Planning and Prioritizing
Your child takes forever to get started on a particular task or has trouble planning activities.
Break whole tasks down into smaller achievable steps. If the desired result is for your child to complete an entire homework sheet, maybe setting a goal to do the first 2 problems together can be a happy medium. Also allowing your child to take breaks or receive rewards between tasks are a good strategy as well.
Your child often has trouble with new ideas, transitions and spontaneity.
Visual schedules and first/then language are your biggest friend. For a child who has trouble being flexible, try to alert your child to changes in routine as far in advance as you can. To help combat rigidity such as not wanting to try a new food, try to approach slow and steady first. This can include tasting a small amount of a new food instead of a large portion.
Your child often has trouble controlling their emotions and impulses when they are sad, happy, or angry.
Speak and repeat. When providing directions to a child, if applicable, state the directions remembering to adhere to your child’s learner and listener styles, and then have your child repeat back to you. Use social stories and modeling: For example, if your child often gets upset when they lose a game, a social story can help teach tools on how to act in this situation.
https://secureservercdn.net/18.104.22.168/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Blog-Executive-Functioning-FeaturedImage.png?time=1623258505186183Faith Champhttps://secureservercdn.net/22.214.171.124/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngFaith Champ2016-12-02 05:30:092016-12-01 11:16:17Executive Functioning Skills: How Can I Help My Child?
When it comes to creating goals for kids with autism, it can be overwhelming where to start. What goal do you pick? When should they meet their goal? How can everyone work on it together? Rest assured, creating effective goals is as simple as making sure it is a SMART goal: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Following these simple guidelines will help your child achieve the goals you set in place.
It is easy to have a general goal in mind for kids with autism, such as increasing their language or self-help skills. However, general goals are hard to work on since they do not have specific behaviors that you are looking to increase. Being as specific as possible with your goal is the most effective way to ensure your child will meet their goal.
When we create a goal, we have to make sure we can measure a child’s success. If our goal isn’t measurable, we cannot accurately determine if the goal was met. The two most common ways to make goals measurable are frequency (e.g. 3 times per day, etc.) and accuracy (e.g. with 80% success, in 4 out of 5 opportunities, etc.).
Before we start working on a goal, we have to make sure it is something the child can attain (i.e. a goal they can achieve). We need to look at prerequisite skills (i.e. skills the child needs in order to achieve the current goal). We also need to look at how realistic our goal is. We cannot expect a child to get dressed by themselves each morning if their underwear drawer is too high for them to reach.
Relevant goals are goals that will make a difference in the child’s life. If the goal isn’t relevant to the child, the child will not be motivated to achieve it. If a goal is determined to not be relevant to the child or the one helping teach the goal, it will need to be adjusted to become relevant.
If all goals had an eternity to be achieved, there would not be a desire to teach and attain the goal in the near future. Making goals time-bound ensure that the goal is mastered in a realistic time-frame. Determining the time-frame of your goal should be dependent on the goal. The more challenging the goal, the longer the time-frame should be.
Example of a SMART Goal
Your goal is to work on your child asking you for help when you are in another room. At this time, your child does not ask you for help when you are in the same room consistently. Let’s go through each criterion to make our SMART goal.
Specific: Child will say “help me” while handing the object they need help with to the adult
Measurable: 4 out of 5 opportunities
Attainable: We will first work on when an adult is in the same room
Relevant: Your child frequently needs help when playing with new toys or opening and sealing food
Time-bound: 2 weeks
Now that you know how to write SMART goals, start making some and see your child blossom!
Autism spectrum disorder is a diagnosis that affects each child differently. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and common ones include:
· Problems with social interactions
· Difficulties with communication
· Repetitive/stereotypical behavior
Our Family Child Advocates developed a list of five possible autism red flags for preschoolers. While this is not an all-inclusive list, and symptoms vary between children, these can be early indicators.
1. Not Just Shy
Don’t mistake shyness for autism — or vice versa. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a chart for parents that highlights the difference. For example, a child with a shy temperament might be “quiet and withdrawn in new settings.” However, a child on the autism spectrum suffers from a “lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests or achievements with others.”
During preschool years (ages 3 to 5), children are exploring their environment and interacting with their peers, family members and teachers. These interactions help children develop an understanding of the world and form important relationships with others.
Around this age, children should start showing an interest in what their peers are doing and begin to interact with them both during organized (e.g., planned activities) and unstructured activities (e.g., free play). If they only want to play alone (even if there are peers around them), this could be a red flag. In addition, if a child demonstrates limited eye contact with adults and peers — this could also be a sign of autism — especially if the child doesn’t make any eye contact when their name is called or during times of play/activities with others.
2. Something Doesn’t Sound “Right”
It’s true that speech and language milestones are reached at different times for each child. However, at the preschool age, most children should be able to:
· Speak four or more words in a sentence.
· Follow three-step directions like “find your chair,” “raise your hand” or “shut the door.”
· Answer “WH” questions: Who, what, where and why.
· Recognize some letters and numbers.
Children on the autism spectrum disorder may not be able to speak about or do these things. Also, when autism spectrum children do speak, people may struggle to understand what they are saying.
A child on the autism spectrum might repeat the same words (e.g., “clap, clap, clap!”) or phrases, (e.g., “How are you? How are you?”) over and over again. The repeated words or phrases might be said right away or at a later time. While most children go through a repetitive speech stage, this type of speaking pattern typically ends around age three.
3. Demonstrating Major Fury with Minor Changes
It’s common for children to struggle with changes to their everyday routine. However, children with autism can become extremely upset when changes occur, especially unexpectedly. This may be seen during transition times between activities, clean up time or when they are asked to do something. Some behaviors that may occur include: exhibiting withdrawal, repetitive behaviors, tantrums or aggression.
4. Stimming and/or Obsessive Interests
Stimming is self-stimulatory behavior which appears as repetitive body movements and/or repetitive movement of objects. Stimming can involve one or all senses, and some examples are: hand flapping, body rocking, spinning in circles or spinning objects.
It’s natural for children to be curious of the world around them. But obsessive interests are routines or hobbies that the child develops that may seem unusual or unnecessary. Some example of common obsessive interests might include only wanting to talk about and play with computers, trains, historical dates/events, science or a particular TV show.
5. Showcasing Signs of Sensory Sensitivity
Children with autism may have a dysfunctional sensory system. This means that one or more of their senses are either over or under reactive to sensory stimulation. This sensitivity could be the cause of stimming behaviors. Some preschoolers might react unusually to the way things sound, smell, taste, look or feel. For example, during sensory play (e.g., playing with sand, Play-Doh or shaving cream) a child who does not like to get their hands dirty and prefers to continually wipe/wash their hands — or avoid sensory projects all together — could be demonstrating signs of sensory sensitivity.
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help. Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates.
https://secureservercdn.net/126.96.36.199/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Blog-Autism-Red-Flags-FeaturedImage.png?time=1623258505186183Rachel Nitekmanhttps://secureservercdn.net/188.8.131.52/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngRachel Nitekman2016-10-19 05:30:042019-09-03 20:56:515 Possible Autism Red Flags for Preschoolers
There are many benefits to providing children with Autism a collaboration of different therapies in addition to Applied Behavior Analysis services.
Occupational therapy (OT) provides children with skills to help regulate themselves. These skills may help decrease inappropriate stims and help provide children with more socially acceptable skills for regulation.
OT can provide children with strategies to help with motor skills.
OT can have a different perspective on activities of daily living and as such can provide different and alternative interventions to increase independence on self-care activities.
OT improves children independent living skills, such as self-care.
Speech therapy can help children with functional communication skills. Speech and Language Pathologists (SLPs) can provide additional support to the children to develop communication skills.
SLPs may also provide education and the introduction of alternatives to vocal communication in the form of augmentative devices or picture exchange communication system (PECS).
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) develops personal one-on-one interventions for children to develop functional skills.
ABA focuses on helping children with social, academic, and behavioral concerns.
ABA will also focus on providing children with skills for functional communication.
Physical therapy (PT) can help provide children with additional motor function and can help with children who have low muscle town or balance issues.
PT can also help with coordination for children.
Collaboration of all therapies can help ensure that the most effective treatment is provided to the child in all settings.
Fusion of all therapies will provide children exposure to different strategies and interventions in different settings to help with day-to-day life.
Breaks during the school year can end up being stressful for parents. The key to success would be to prepare as much as possible beforehand.
Try these 7 tips to help your child with Autism handle breaks from school:
Give your child a heads up that there is going to be a break in the routine. Mark down the days on a calendar, and consistently review it with them starting a couple weeks before leading up to the break.
Work with outside therapy providers to create visual schedules or prompts that can make the break run more smoothly—this is especially true for kids who follow schedules at school regularly.
Keep your routine as consistent as possible during the break—keep bedtime, chores and meal times as close as you can to what kids would typically do.
Provide as much structure as possible during the break, the less down time you have, the better! This can be a good time to plan outings to places you can’t typically go, such at the zoo, aquarium, museums, and parks.
Check in with teachers about possible activities and academics that could be practiced over break. Frequently, teachers will assign extra work during this time.
Use the break to keep your child caught up in school—review their homework and give them a head start for what’s coming up at school after the break!
Breaks are also a great time to add more hours of therapy!
Jennifer Bartell is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and educator with over a decade of experience working with learners diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, double majoring in psychology and music performance, and earning a place on the Dean’s List. Following a move to New York City, Jennifer received her Master of Special Education degree from the City University of New York—Hunter College, wherein she specialized in Behavior Disorders and became dual certified to teach both the general and special education populations. While in New York, Jennifer was a part of the opening of the innovative NYC Autism Charter School—the first of its kind on the east coast—and had the opportunity to work in classrooms with reduced and one-to-one ratios and a curriculum created using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. Here she worked extensively with learners between the ages of 3 and 18, and presenting with an array of challenges, skill deficits, and abilities. Jennifer has vast experience in creating programming for community-based instruction, adaptive daily living skills, and self-care, yet also employs her education background to provide high quality academic and cognitive services as well. A well-respected member of the home- and school-based organizations for whom she has provided services, Jennifer is frequently called upon to provide professional development and training for her colleagues and those she is supervising. Jennifer has presented at a number of professional Applied Behavior Analysis and education conferences for fellow educators, behavior analysts, and parents around the New York area.
https://secureservercdn.net/184.108.40.206/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Blog-Autism-School-Breaks-FeaturedImage.png?time=1623258505186183Rachel Nitekmanhttps://secureservercdn.net/220.127.116.11/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngRachel Nitekman2016-09-20 05:30:062019-09-03 21:01:567 Tips for Helping Children with Autism Handle Breaks from School
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary to collaborate means “to work with another person or group in order to achieve or do something.” When we work with children we are constantly collaborating in order to provide children with the best possible education. Within a school there is a lot of collaboration that is evident between teachers, teachers and paraprofessionals, teachers and administrators, as well as between teachers and parents/families. Within special education there is a lot of collaboration that occurs as well in the school setting. But what about outside the school setting?
Many of the students who receive special education services within the school also receive services outside of the school setting. It is essential that the lines of communication are open not only within schools but with these other related service providers that are involved in a specific student’s daily life. Every individual or company that is involved in the well-being and education of the child should be communicating their role and how that can be facilitated throughout the child’s day to day life. This collaboration is key to ensuring that the child is receiving the best services and education. So how do we go about collaborating with other service providers?
There are many ways to collaborate. The key to collaboration is communication! The parent is the mediator since they have direct contact with teachers and the other service providers.
Below are some important ways that we can open up the flow of communication:
What parents can do:
Provide each teacher and/or provider with a contact information document.
This should include the names and contact information of teachers and other providers who work with your child.
Check–in with the various adults that work with your child to ensure that they have gotten in touch.
Provide updates yourself to teachers or other service providers about your child’s goals and progress.
What teachers can do:
Ask parents for contact information of other service providers that the student might be seeing (if the parent doesn’t provide you with this information).
Reach out to other service providers.
Update other service providers throughout the school year in regards to the student’s performance and goals.
What service providers can do:
Ask parents for contact information of other services providers that the student might be seeing (if the parent doesn’t provide you with this information).
Reach out to other service providers
Update other service providers and teachers throughout the year in regards to the student’s performance and goals.
The points made above are essential to ensuring that the lines of communication have been opened and everyone can begin to collaborate!
Collaborating is more than just emailing and making phone calls with updates. It should also involve meeting in person as a group and individually to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Once introductions have been completed a meeting should be arranged with all professionals and the family. This provides everyone with the opportunity to meet! In addition, it gives everyone the time to sit down and discuss the child so that everyone can ensure that they are all working together allowing fluidity between the variety of settings that the child will be in.
One meeting is not enough! Make sure at the end of the meeting that a date and time is set for another meeting a few months down the line. This meeting would be more about progress, new goals, successes or challenges that any of the professionals or family are having with the child.
Collaboration is all about teamwork! Working as a team is essential for the success of the children that we work with. We need to ensure that we continue to keep the lines of communication open and work with each other and the family. It is important to loop all professionals the family into decision making processes and program planning. It is also important to share a child’s success and progress so that the same high standard and expectations are held for the child no matter the setting. Collaboration is a truly important component in ensuring that our children are provided with the best services and education.
https://secureservercdn.net/18.104.22.168/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Blog-Collaboration-FeaturedImage-01.png?time=1623258505186184Parineetha Viswanathanhttps://secureservercdn.net/22.214.171.124/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngParineetha Viswanathan2016-09-14 05:30:262016-11-18 11:13:50Collaboration Between Teachers and Related Service Providers
Whether you are running around the city completing errands or want to plan a family outing in the city of Milwaukee, you may be thinking how can I help my child be successful in the community? It can be stressful to take a child with autism out of the home. Nevertheless, there are strategies to help you and your child have a smooth trip.
Each child with autism has their own unique needs, therefore here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind:
Preparing for the outing
Pick a place.
In the city of Milwaukee there are several events going on throughout the year and many are affordable or offer discounted prices for families of children with special needs. Maybe it’s a sensory friendly movie, the trampoline park or just your neighborhood park.
Inform the child what to expect.
Many children with autism are more successful with transitions when they can predict what’s to come. Now that you’ve decided on a place to go, here are some tips to guide you through the process. Try logging onto the website and printing off pictures. For example, if you are going to the trampoline park, show them the equipment and tell them that other people, including children, will be there. If you are going to the store tell them they need to stay next to the cart, keep their hands to themselves, and be aware of others.
Out in the city
Places throughout the city of Milwaukee can get busy. We recognize that safety is critical, especially when out in the city. Community safety requires skills such as awareness of surroundings, crossing the street, staying within proximity of the group and asking permission. Practice these skills ahead of time, and remind them of the rules as necessary.
Praise/reward appropriate behavior
Recognize your child’s good behavior! This could be done in several ways. Bring attention to the child’s behavior by commenting on what they’re doing. For example “great job staying next to me in the parking lot.” Try setting up an if/then situation, such as rewarding the child with a favorite item for demonstrating good behavior. Some examples are “If you hold my hand while we walk to the park then you can have 15 minutes of TV time before bed.” “If you wait by the cart when we walk through the grocery store, then you can pick out one piece of candy.” This strategy will keep the child motivated to follow directions. Other examples of goals could be accepting no to a desired item or waiting in line for play equipment at the park. The more specific you are when giving your child goals, the more they will understand and be successful. Most importantly, when your child accomplishes these goals be sure to reward them with a highly preferred item!
Dealing with challenging behavior
A child with autism may have an alternative way of communicating. Some examples of challenging behaviors include crying instead of telling you why they are sad, screaming instead of explaining what is making them angry, or running away instead of telling you when they don’t like a situation. This can be difficult to handle while in the community. It’s helpful to develop proactive strategies (see above) for these behaviors. We know that all behavior happens for a reason, so being able to identify why a child is displaying a specific behavior will help you determine how to move forward in responding to that behavior.
Take your trip & have fun!
After going through these steps with your child, it’s now time to take your trip! You’ve picked a place, prepared the child for what they will see and do, and you are prepared to handle challenging behavior and/or praise your child for good behavior. Now it’s time to confidently make your trip out into Milwaukee one to remember!
https://secureservercdn.net/126.96.36.199/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Blog-Autism-Milwaukee-FeaturedImage.png?time=1623258505186183Allison Kleppehttps://secureservercdn.net/188.8.131.52/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngAllison Kleppe2016-09-07 05:30:072019-09-03 21:02:58A Day in Milwaukee with a Child with Autism
School days can be a perfect opportunity for children to work on social skills. Children are surrounded by their peers throughout the day and there are endless opportunities for interaction.
Here are some opportunities to promote social skills throughout the school day:
During circle time, snack time and lunch time, have the child sit next to different peers each day. This will promote multiple opportunities to meet new peers!
Assign different “peer buddies” for the child throughout the day and week. These peer buddies can help assist the child complete tasks, play games with the child, engage them in conversation and model appropriate behaviors.
Set up small, group structured activities such as completing puzzles, building train tracks, playing a board game or playing catch. It is often easier for children to interact and develop appropriate skills in a small group setting, rather than in a large group.
For older kids, during lunch time, give the table a topic of conversation to talk about that day to promote conversational skills.
If children need help throughout the day, prompt them to ask their peers for help, rather than always approaching an adult.
Set up situations where the child would need to interact with peers. For example, if there is a play dough station, have all the tools with the other peers, so that the child would need to ask their friend for tools in order to complete the activity.
Parents can also talk to the teacher about peers who the child gets along with, and set up play dates at home with the peers so they can practice those skills in different places.
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The Milwaukee lakefront area has two great beach spots along the west side of Lake Michigan. Warm weather brings people to McKinley Beach and Bradford Beach where you can find lots of sand, water, and sunny views of the pier.
To keep your Milwaukee beach day with your child as sunny and warm as the weather and views, be sure to follow these tips:
Leave Time to Pack and Plan
Going to the beach with kids is not just picking out a swimsuit and grabbing a towel. Be sure to have time to pack whatever you and your child will need for a full day in the sand including sensory items such as head phones or chewies, various toys, or ways of communication, for example if your child uses Picture Exchange Communication System.
If your child is an early riser, it may be the best time to go. You will beat the crowds and have time for an afternoon nap when you get home.
Bring Shade and Sunscreen
Proper protection when being in the sun all day is vital for your child’s safety. Packing sunscreen and an umbrella can keep your child safe from the sun. You could even bring a small tent so there can be enough shade for everyone!
Pack Enough Food and Drinks
Kids need to eat often and being in the sun can cause dehydration. Make sure to have a cooler with appropriate food and drinks for your child to keep them hydrated and full of energy. Throughout all of the fun in the sun, don’t forget to eat and stay hydrated yourself!
Remember Bathroom Options
Whether your child is potty trained or not, you will need to have options for a bathroom! Some beaches have public restrooms, or you can bring extra diapers and wipes to keep your child clean and happy.
Bring a Beach Blanket
Packing a beach blanket big enough for everyone to sit on is a great way to limit sand exposure! Use coolers and bags to hold the edges down and you’ll have a spot to be sand-free.
Pack Toys (Other than Electronics)
Kids love electronics these days, however bringing them to the beach can be a bad idea. Keep those electronics in plastic zip-lock bags (or at home) and bring your child sand toys such as a small shovel or bucket.
Bringing your child who has autism to the beach is possible and may open up a whole new world to them. Sticking to these tips can keep your beach day with your kiddos successful and worry-free!
https://secureservercdn.net/18.104.22.168/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Blog-Milwaukee-Beach-FeaturedImage.png?time=1623258505186183Jocelin Finnhttps://secureservercdn.net/22.214.171.124/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngJocelin Finn2016-08-26 05:30:482019-09-03 21:59:16Tips for a Successful Day at the Beach in Milwaukee with Children Who Have Autism