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Entries in Parent info (16)

Sunday
Oct192014

Tips for an autism-friendly Halloween

Halloween, with its candy and costumes and traditions, is an exciting time of year for most children. But for folks on the autism spectrum, it can be downright overwhelming. So, we've pulled together a couple of great resources on how to make it all a little more autism-friendly:

First Up:

Blogger Bec Oakley of Snagglebox.com fame shares her tried-and-true tips for a more inclusive holiday for individuals with autism in a guest post here: http://gladerun.org/tips-for-an-inclusive-halloween/ 

(And for reminders of why we love Oakley's Snagglebox.com site, check out this previous Principal's Desk post.)

Last but not least:

The Indiana Resource Center for Autism (part of Indiana University Bloomington) has a fantastic amount of useful research and information - wander around their site for a bit, and you'll see what I mean. This month, they've posted a useful list of tips for Sensory-Friendly Fall Activities and Celebrations.

Whatever you do, have a safe and happy Halloween season!

Have another great resource to add to the collection? Share it with us in the comments!

Thursday
Oct022014

PACTT Family Open House - and special guests!

Ah, Open House! The rooms were spiffed up, student art decked the walls, and our new staff were excited to get the chance to meet some of our amazing families.

We also were privileged to have two members of Robert Crown Center's Health Education team join us at this year's open house, to talk about their brand-new puberty curriculum. They adapted their traditional curriculum to meet the needs of students on the autism spectrum.  Educators from Robert Crown will be visiting the school later this month, to do their presentations for our students. We are SO excited to be their "guinea pigs" as they roll out this new project - both learning from them, and sharing our experiences in this tricky-to-teach area. Here's a pic of health educator Laura, with her giant "Chompers."

 

Tuesday
Apr302013

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!

 

Tuesday
Dec042012

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! 

 

Tuesday
Sep112012

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!