There are so many books and resources geared toward children on the Autism Spectrum, but *gasp*, guess what? They grow up. I know, I know, that sounds incredible, but it's true. A child with autism will one day be a 40 year old with autism. I want to provide ideas that address this gap in resources.
My last post discussed the principles I use in my office to encourage language and communication with children on the Autism Spectrum. These same ideas can be adapted for young adults on the Spectrum, as well as older individuals with Autism who might have difficulty with conversation, language and social interaction.
DISCLAIMER: I am not affliated with the authors or websites mentioned here and have received no form of compensation to mention them.
A parent recently told me that her son with autism lives and breathes to play on his iPad and watch YouTube, and that everything else is just "counting the hours". I laughed. A lot.
Maybe you kiddo is obsessed with YouTube or Lego® or lining everything up. So... how do we help your child or young adult talk more, engage more effectively and enjoy relationships? It starts with play.
These strategies work with any age; though, you'll need to adapt them for young adults or older individuals. CONTINUE READING
by Nikki Schwartz
I saw this amazing autism video, What It's Like to Have a Brother with Autism, posted by Suzi Noyes, a local Realtor in Virginia Beach who's youngest son has autism. It really touched my heart the care the relationship and care these two siblings have for one another.
How Can I Foster This Kind of Relationship?
by Nikki Schwartz
I am a big fan of play based-learning, Montessori, and Reggio actvities for kids. There is so much to be said for open-play. So, without further ado, here are five of my favorite play-based learning posts. (I have no affliation to any of the sites, nor did I receive any sort of compensation for this post from anyone mentioned here).
1. DIY Light Box Tutorial
This is my second post in the ADHD Tips for Parents series. I started off by posting an ADHD Tips Infographic that offered alternatives to ADHD habits that are unsafe, unhealthy or simply annoying to others. The ADHD brain tends to have an understimulated frontal lobe, where decision making, planning, and organizing happens. People with ADHD naturally choose activities and habits to help stimulate that area of the brain. Noisy fidgeting is very common, things like tapping feet, clicking pens, cracking knuckles, and tends to irritate others. CONTINUE READING
(Photo from Top Left: Pencil Fidgets by Abilitations; The Ultimate Fidget by Sensory University;
Therapy Tangle by Tangle Creations; Balance Cushion by Isokinetics)
If you're at our office in Virginia Beach over the next few weeks, you'll see this fun fall craft project sitting by our front office window. Crafts for fall are always on my list of things to do this time of year.
I got the idea of covering a white pumpkin in melted crayons from a tutorial at The Swell Life blog. It's sure to be a hit at our office, one word of warning: it is a bit messy. So be prepared if you try it out.
5. That's not my puppy...
by Fiona Watts & Rachael Wells
This sensory-friendly book is part of the Usborne touchy-feely "That's not my..." series. Toddlers, infants, and kiddos on the spectrum will all enjoy the sensory experience of this book. It's also a great way to introduce the concepts of distinguishing things within a category, such as different parts of a thing and different types of the same thing.
Has your toddler or older child ever clicked themselves out of the app they were playing? Or worse, clicked out and started an app you didn't want them to play with? Our favorite new function in iOS 6 is the ability to shut off that home button and shut off certain parts of the screen. This helps our clients and our own kids stay more focused, as well as lowering the child's frustration when they accidentally close an app. CONTINUE READING
Whether you are a therapist, school counselor, or a parent, it can be difficult to connect to kids with Spectrum Disorders and ADHD. We call this “rapport building”. Often a child will come to my office with some amount of apprehension. Coming to our office involves a new environment and new people, which can add to the stress. Kids who are oppositional or defiant often feel like the “bad kid” and this will set a negative tone to our sessions. In an effort to build rapport, I frequently use these three card games, which cost about $5 each from Target or WalMart. I’m usually pretty flexible with “the rules” and do whatever I can to engage the child at their developmental and emotional level.
Would You Rather? ™ asks a series of questions such as, “Would you rather… Have to wear dishwashing gloves for a year with no explanation -OR- wear a big blue wig with no explanation?” Everyone playing has to make a choice (they can’t answer, “Neither!”) and they have to give a reason. It can be a silly reason or a logical reason, but they need to give a reason. This game works well with any child who is high functioning. I use it most with children with Asperger’s Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), as it encourages them to think through cause and effect, consequences, and desirability of actions and choices. I usually let the kid pick the card and the question and have everyone in the session answer, including myself and the parent.
Mad Gab™ Picto-Gabs™ “puts your eyes and ears to the test as you decipher funny word and picture puzzles”. Again this game can be played with an high functioning child, but I like it best for children who are oppositional and/or defiant. As I mentioned they often come in with a Don’t-Tell-Me-What-To-Do, This-Is-NOT-All-My-Fault attitude (which it usually isn’t “all” their fault anyways). This game is silly and engages a different area of the brain than the part of the brain responsible for the negative attitude. It helps shift us away from the “problem child” focus. (Each card has four puzzles, the answers are on the opposite side of each card. The answer to picture/word puzzle shown here is Amazing Grace)
I Spy™ SNAP™ is a card game version of the I Spy™ books. The official “rules” are similar to the card game War or Slap Jack. I usually modify the rules and use this game with lower functioning Autistic or Asperger’s clients. The cards feature different objects, but groups of the same objects. Here are several "matches" each with a duck somewhere on the card. Sometimes, I just hand the child one or two cards and point out what is on them. I have played where I hand a child the entire deck, one card at a time.