Hampton Roads is finally getting a Sensory Gym! Mompreneur, Tashia Smith, plans on opening the SensoryAbled Kids in Virginia Beach on Holland Road, August 12th, if all goes according to plan.
Her rates are totally reasonable and... AND... she's offering a discount for any additional siblings who tag along! (keep reading for more details).
(Can you tell I'm excited?! I have nothing to disclose, I am not affliated with the gym or any of the websites or manufacturers mentioned here. Neither Tashia nor SensoryAbled Kids is compensating me for this post in any way.)
I'm always looking for realistic parenting tips for families who have children with Autism, Asperger's, and ADHD. I recently discovered a great series of short parenting videos from @AskDocG, Dr. Deborah Gilboa regularly posts tips on parenting.
I've already used this suggestion several times to teach children on the spectrum how to interrupt their parents politely. I couldn't believe I had never thought of something this simple before, definitely worth watching. Dr. G posts weekly with great tips for parents, you can find those on her YouTube Channel.
Now, that you've watched it... I recently tried this with a child that I know outside of the office, who is rather impatient. I couldn't believe how quickly she picked it up and didn't interrupt once the rest of the afternoon. I was shocked. Try it out, I would love to hear how it works out for your kiddo.
This morning I am on my way to DC for this weekend's Accessibilty Conference (about a 3 hour drive). Here's a little gem I found in my perusal... smartappsforkids.com does a post every Friday with a list if free apps! Always a great thing to have. I'll let you know if I find anything good!
Here's a link:
NOTE: Neither Nikki Schwartz, Spectrum Psychological Services, nor Tidewater Autism Society of America, endorses providers listed. All information is for informational purposes only. Please make sure to do your own research regarding providers, techniques and therapies.
If you have a child with autism or know someone with Asperger's or another Autism Spectrum Disorder, this is a great place to find out what is going on. If you'd like to add an event to the calendar, send Suzi an email and let her know. We'll be hosting this Autism Events Calendar permanently on our site. You can also check out our resources page for a local providers directory.
I haven't settled yet on a AAC (Augmentative Alternative Communication) app. The cost of these apps tends to be a little high. So I feel like it's worth researching before jumping in. I've read really good things about iCommunicate, AutisMate, and Proloquo2Go. I'll post a review once I've made a choice (I'm leaning towards iCommunicate, not because it is the best for voice production, but because it has the best social story maker that I think will work well in session.)
Without a doubt there are plenty of apps that will keep the attention of a child with special needs, however, I am looking for apps that engage a child without causing them to disengage from everything else. In other words, I am looking for apps that let a client connect with others, not shut them out. Here are a few, that other therapists really like. Furry Friend is one we already use at home and is helpful for encouraging kids to talk. Among other things, the furry monster repeats everything they say back to them. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox is a good app for younger clients that uses puzzles to teach colors, shapes, etc. Touch and Learn Emotions is a free app (love free!) with cute pictures of kids expressing a variety of emotions.
What apps have you guys loved? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear about other useful apps for therapy.
First ask, "What's Your Big Interest?"
I found this question in an article at Computer World, discussing the "secret" of Asperger's in the IT world. This is a fabulous question to explore career interests with someone on the Spectrum. Your "big interest" is the place you need to start when looking into jobs. I know some children with Asperger's who know uncanny amounts of knowledge about birds, computers, and engineering. Those kids know more than any adult on their "big interest". So, ok, I know that (I, my kid, my client) is obsessed with (legos, animals, numbers, butterflies, etc.). Now what?
Picking jobs that have the right fit
These are some suggestions for jobs that are more likely to have the right fit:
What types of jobs are best for Autistic People?
Temple's discussion gives four types of careers.
The first is careers that are typically poorly suited for Autistics and require a great deal of multitasking, stress the use of short-term memory and/or have high expectations for social interaction. These are jobs like waiting tables, cashiers, and air traffic controllers.
The second is careers for those who think and learn visually. Drafting, computer programming or engineering, designing, and animation, all reward those who are "visual thinkers", don't mind solitary, mundane, and reptitive tasks.
The third group is for those who excel at math, facts or music, but are not necessarily visual thinkers. Accounting, copy editor, and inventory control, for example, reward those good at repetitive tasks that involve numbers, rules, and specifics.
The last group is for non-verbal/low verbal people with Autism. These tasks do not necessarily require large amounts of knowledge, but rather the ability to engage in tasks in quiet environments with a specific skill set. Job choices here largely depend on an individuals capabilities and sensory needs. Some examples given by Temple were data entry and library reshelving positions.
What about getting the job?
One of the best suggestions in her discussion: Sell your work, not your personality. I always encourage you to make a portfolio of your work. Industries and positions that will "buy" skills will be a better match than those interested in social graces and social presence. Consider seeing a therapist, who works with client's who have Asperger's and Autism, who can help you develop better interviewing skills.
Above all, make sure that the jobs you apply and interview for align well with your Big Interest, your sensory needs, and your strengths.
Do you have any suggestions for those with Autism and Asperger's who are job seeking? Would love to see them in the comments section.
This is a fantastic description of what autism is like for Temple Grandin, recorded at the TED Conference 2010. She talks about how she thinks in pictures. She touches on visual thinkers, verbal thinkers, sensory issues. What is autism like for you or your child?