A Day in Milwaukee with a Child with Autism

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 Blog-Autism Milwaukee-Main-Landscapecommunity? 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

  • Safety first!

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!

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 (847) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!


Tips for a Successful Day at the Beach in Milwaukee with Children Who Have Autism

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. Blog-Milwaukee-Beach-Main-Landscape

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.

Go Early

  • 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!

Check out our blog Autism Friendly Activities in Milwaukee for more fun.

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!


Autism Friendly Activities in Milwaukee

With school out, parents may have mixed feelings about the summer ahead. What will my child do all Milwaukeeday? How can I keep them entertained? What can I fill their time with educationally since they are not in school? Well, fear not parents, there are a lot of fun, but educational activities you can do for your child with autism this summer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

AMC Sensory Friendly Films

Mayfair Mall’s AMC movie theater features a few sensory friendly films each month, ranging from animated kid’s movies to action/thrillers. During the films, they keep the lights on and turn the volume down, which allows families safe access to the bathroom and alleviates any sensory tolerance concerns. Follow the link below for a listing of the upcoming films.

Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

Betty Brinn Children’s museum has several rooms filled with educational toys as well as a rotating seasonal exhibit for your child to explore. Betty Brinn Children’s museum understands that access to educational and social opportunities for children with special needs can be difficult. As a result, they created a Family Focus Membership, that families can apply for, that provides free access to the museum for children with autism. If your application is accepted, you will need to attend a mandatory class at the museum, but then you will be given free access to the museum for a year. Follow the link below for more information on the Family Focus Membership.

Kids in Motion

Kids in Motion is an indoor play area for all children. They have several themed rooms with a variety of educational toys, a snack counter, and a main gym area that has a slide, tubes to climb in, and a roped in ball area. Kids in Motion in Brookfield, WI offers half off admission on Sundays for special needs families, which includes half off admission for siblings that are not on the spectrum. Follow the link below for more information on Kids in Motion.

YMCA- programs for special needs kids

Several local YMCAs offer programs for all children, including special needs children, during the summer months. Whether you are looking for a class or all day summer camp, the YMCA has several different opportunities for children with special needs. If you are looking for a baseball camp, a great option is the Miracle League of Milwaukee, which accepts all children regardless of ability or prior experience. Follow the link below for more information on the Miracle League of Milwaukee.

While all of these options are affordable or free, there are several other great activities you can take part in Milwaukee with your child, such as the Milwaukee County Zoo or attending one of the many festivals Milwaukee has. In addition, Milwaukee County Parks are always free and can be fun for daily trips or to the Farmer’s Markets. While the summer months can seem long, keep all of these great opportunities in mind as you plan your summer months.

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 today!

To schedule an Applied Behavior Analysis assessment, complete the form here.