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Entries in Parent info (14)


Navigating the autism blog-o-sphere

Every now and then, I use this space to share resources for parents, professionals and whoever else might pass through. This is one of those days! (So, no awesome student pictures today, but keep reading anyway, ok?)

- Paula

There are a LOT of autism blogs out there in the world. A LOT. Go ahead - google "autism blog" and see what comes up -- it's good stuff and not-so-good stuff and everything in between. My search yielded 10 pages of results. I'm not sure how anyone can process that much information, or even begin to weed through it.

Soooo ... I'm going to do it for you! Today, I'm going to introduce you to my first new favorite blog. And, I'll keep weeding through the pages, and next time I find one worth sharing, I will. Meanwhile, you send me your favorites, and I'll share them with everyone else. Deal?

Drumroll, please? If you (and I mean you - parent, teacher, sibling, innocent autism bystander) only read one blog this week/month/year, make it this one: Snagglebox (www.snagglebox.com). She's a mom of two boys with autism. She's down-to-earth, she's realistic, and she has a ton of great perspective and useful information.

Here are a few of her latest entry topics:

So, there you have it. Do you have a favorite blog or blogger? Email me or add it to the comments here. Maybe it'll even get featured in a future post!

Thanks for reading!



OT Corner: Planning for winter

In this OT Corner, Lill shares resources for dealing with the tricky transition from warm weather to the layers of a winter wardrobe:

Transitions are tough, but they're even tougher for our students with autism. It seems like no sooner have they adjusted to the no-jacket, yes-sandals, beach-going summer fun, than it's time to don the boots, hats and gloves of winter.

So, what can we do to help make it just a little easier?

Make it part of the routine: So many of our students thrive on structure and routine. So, start adding things to their get-ready routine. One of our students had his very own "ready for recess" schedule, that listed everything he needed to put on that day - hat, coat, gloves, boots, scarf - weather depending, of course. He knew he had to check the schedule, and the teachers had the flexibility to add / subtract picture symbols for whatever he would need that day.

Make it fun: If I put on my hat, gloves and coat (which I'm not particularly fond of doing) for the first time this season, then get in the car and go to the doctor, it's not going to make me want to do it again. Reward the behavior with something positive, while you're teaching it - time on the swing, fun with bubbles, etc. Caution: Make sure it's something that's not SO rewarding that it'll trap you into three months of begging / meltdowns because you can't always drop everything and go to Target.

Don't give up: Remember, not everyone gets it the first time. Be sure clothes are familiar and comfortable. Set reasonable expectations - many of our students have a higher tolerance for cold than we do. That wool hat might push them into heat-overdrive ... until it's cold enough to make a difference. Try different fabrics / styles. And, in the end, we've found that when it gets cold enough, even the most intolerant student will finally keep those gloves on!

More ideas: We came across this page from The Autism File with some more great tips for helping children (and adults) with autism to adjust to Mother Nature's changes. 

If you have ideas we've missed, add them to the comments below and let us know! 



To stim, or not to stim?

We all have things we do to keep ourselves calm, alert, or engaged. How many of us fidget with a pen or paperclip during stressful meetings, tap a toe, or ...? Our students with autism do the very same thing ... but their "stims" are usually more obvious, and at times can be less socially acceptable. But we all need to regulate ourselves, right? We need strategies for keeping ourselves calm and relaxed. So how do we as parents, teachers, and caregivers decide the difference between reinforceable and replaceable behaviors?

I came across a really neat blog today (https://www.squag.com/2234/) and had to share this perfectly logical chart:

The blogger, Anabelle Listic, is a 27 year-old artist living is Seattle and is a film and digital photographer. Anabelle has autism and is profoundly visual. And she has a wonderfully unique perspective. (Her website is anabellelistic.com - if you have time, check out her awesome photography there, too!)

Most of the time, our participants can't tell us why they do things, or what they need. We often have to play detective, or employ a great deal of trial and error, to figure it out. For me, at least, it's eye-opening to be able to hear perspectives on autism from the people who LIVE it each day. Thank you, Anabelle!


December Parent Update

December 2011

Here we come a calendar-ing!

Before I forget - or you forget! - I wanted to remind everyone that our Winter Break for School and Transition programs begins on WEDNESDAY, Dec. 20th at NOON. Students will eat an early lunch that day, and buses, cabs, and pack mules will all leave from the school at 12 p.m. Please ensure that someone will be at your home to meet this bus at its earlier arrival time. Group homes will be staffed accordingly. 

Spreading holiday cheer

Our students got in the spirit of things this week, as they packaged donated items for our friends at the Howard Area Community Center. Last month, an anonymous donor gave us tons of lunch bags, mini-radios, and other assorted doo-dads. So, we decided to turn it into a vocational opportunity for our students (who loved putting together all the packages), and a way to spread the cheer with another local organization. The folks at HACC will share the packages with the students in their after school programs. Find photos, and more details, later this week, right here on thePrincipal's Blog.

Our annual tradition

All our School, Transition, and Adult Voc folks bundled up and headed downtown this morning to catch the windows on State Street, visit the tree in Daley Plaza, and enjoy a (highlight-of-the-trip) stop at the Golden Arches for a snack before heading back north on the El. Everyone has been looking forward to this long-standing PACTT tradition (and we were THRILLED that the weather cooperated this year!). Snapshots from the trip will (hopefully) be online by this weekend.

Stay up to date with all things PACTT on our facebook page (www.facebook.com/pactt), our website, and especially here on my Principal's Blog. More info on our HACC donations, photos from the Christmas trip, and more will arrive in both places in the next few days.

 Wishing you ...

And finally, no matter what holiday you celebrate this time of year, may it be filled with the gifts of joy, love and peace.

See you next year!

- Paula

p.s. School and Transition Programs resume Wednesday, Jan. 4th.


November Parent Update

November 2011

First Quarter Ends

Hard to believe it, but we've reached the end of our first quarter. Progress reports will be mailed or sent home in the next week or so. We're proud of all our students' accomplishments! We've been working hard and playing harder -- scroll down in this blog for pictures of our Halloween fun!

Save the date!

PACTT's annual Thanksgiving Feast will take place Wednesday, November 23rd from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m. School families will gather at the main school building (7101 N. Greenview), and Transition / Voc families will celebrate at the Transition Center (1544 W. Morse).

As always, we'll provide the turkey and all the fixin's. If you'd like to bring something for the festivities, a dessert or drink (juice, pop, water), would be appreciated.

The little things DO add up ...

Thanks to your support, we've had a successful semester of school fundraising!

- We earned nearly $300 from Target RedCard users (we get 1% of all purchases made using the card). 

- We've collected more than $300 worth of Boxtops for Education (we earn 10 cents for each boxtop sent in -- Do THAT math, and you'll see that the little things really DO add up - keep sending them in!).

- And we sold more than 40 Entertainment Books!

Thank you for all your support! For more information on the Target card, visit:www.target.com/tcoe. For more info on the Boxtops for Education, see: boxtops4education.com

Agency Fundraising Fun

PACTT's first-ever Gold Rush takes place this Sunday, Nov. 13th. Visit www.pactt.org/gold to see how you can turn your old jewlery into cash for you - or donations for PACTT!

Stay in Touch

Want to stay updated on all things PACTT? "Like" us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pactt), and visit here at the Principal's Blog. Also, be sure to update your information in our new online database (www.pactt.org/gogreen) - available by 11/14/11 -  to keep up with all the agency-wide news.

As always ... Thank you for your continued support of our programs, our team, and our extended PACTT family!

 - Paula