Archive for March, 2014

Quotes about Autism from Temple Grandin!

“I am much less autistic now, compared to when I was young. I remember some behaviors like picking carpet fuzz and watching spinning plates for hours. I didn’t want to be touched. I couldn’t shut out background noise. I didn’t talk until I was about 4 years old. I screamed. I hummed. But as I grew up, I improved.” 

“Autism is a neurological disorder. It’s not caused by bad parenting. It’s caused by, you know, abnormal development in the brain. The emotional circuits in the brain are abnormal. And there also are differences in the white matter, which is the brain’s computer cables that hook up the different brain departments.”

“A treatment method or an educational method that will work for one child may not work for another child. The one common denominator for all of the young children is that early intervention does work, and it seems to improve the prognosis.”

“Autism is part of who I am.”






Posted by on March 31st, 2014 Comments Off on Quotes about Autism from Temple Grandin!


Interacting with Communication Aid Users

Here at CLASS Inc., we have many clients who use communication aids or speech generating devices to help them communicate. It is important to understand and know how to properly communicate with this folks and give them to opportunity to communicate. Colleen Witt gives these EXCELLENT tips on interacting with people who have a communication aid or device:

  • Relax. Don’t be embarrassed if you are having trouble understanding the individual or their communication device. Individuals who use AAC methods usually have a long history of practicing patience and understanding with people who have an inexperienced ear for communication devices and/or lack the experience communicating with an individual using a communication board or book. Go into the interaction determined to learn and try not to be intimated by the technology that allows the individual to communicate with you.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions about a person’s communication method. Learn about the system, this will allow you to be a more respectful and sensitive communication partner.
  • Speak directly to the person using the communication aid, not to accompanying persons. This is critical to communicating respect for he individual. While they may not have good oral speech skills, do not make the assumption that they are not every bit as bright as you are! Their ability to advocate for themselves, think for themselves, and receive information responsibly mat not be all impaired.
  • If you offer assistance, wait until the offer is accepted before going ahead.
  • Listen attentively when talking with a person who has communication impairment. A poor listener adds unnecessary frustration to the effort of communication.
  • It may be helpful to ask short questions that require short answers. Questions that require a yes/no response are usually easy for the individual to respond to. However, you need not limit the conversation to yes/no questions exclusively.
  • Consider the effort that goes into using a communication book, device, or board. While technology has offered individuals many more opportunities to speak for themselves, these systems all require time, patience, and skill to use. Give the augmented communicator ample time to respond. Do not go on with the conversation while they are still formulating their answer. Be patient and allow plenty of time for each response.
  • Do not pretend to understand. Be sure to repeat what you have understood and allow the person to confirm that it is what they meant.
  • Do not look over a person’s shoulder at their device as they formulate a questions, comment, or response. This is considered to be very ruse and at the very least an invasion of privacy and personal space.
  • Position yourself in a way that allows you to maintain eye contact with the person you are speaking to
  • Try to speak to the individual with the communication aid just as you would wish to be spoken to.

Posted by on March 27th, 2014 Comments Off on Interacting with Communication Aid Users


Apps to Try!

Apps are a great way to develop language and social skills! Working on iPads is a very interactive way to learn with you children. Here are a few apps that you could download and try with your child!! Make some time every night to work on the iPad with fun drills and letter games! Enjoy!

  • abc PocketPhonics: Teaches letter sounds and practices letter writing.
  • Autism Apps: List of apps that are being used with and by people diagnosed with autism.
  • iTouchiLearn: Stimulates language development in children.
  • Touch & Say: Activities to promote social skills in children
  • Pocket Pond: Cause and effect activities.
  • Tap To Talk: Alternative communication program.
  • Touch Trainer: Cause and effect drills.
  • Starfall ABCs: Works on letter knowledge and individual letter sounds.
  • Pictello: Can add your own books and record your own voice reading the book.

Posted by on March 26th, 2014 Comments Off on Apps to Try!


Spring Crafts!

Spring has sprung! Try these fun crafts with your children in celebration of blue skies and sun! Work on counting, colors, the weather, and animals that we see in the Spring! Crafts are also a great opportunity to work on following directions. Let us know what you think!

Too Cute Handprint Caterpillar 

Handprint Caterpillar Preschool Craft









Fingerprint Spring Cherry Blossom Tree

fingerprint spring cherry blossom tree

Scrunched Tissue Paper Easter Bunny










Super Cute Bee Craft










Easy Craft Stick Flower Craft


Posted by on March 24th, 2014 Comments Off on Spring Crafts!


Apraxia 101

Apraxia is a motor speech planning disorder that has many characteristics and treatment strategies. Below are some differences that we see in apraxia explained by Look at the website for more information and resources regarding apraxia.

Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia or Developmental Apraxia of Speech?

  • These two terms are generally synonymous. Developmental verbal dyspraxia is often shortened to “DVD” and developmental apraxia of speech to “DAS”. The ‘a’ in “apraxia” stands for absence and ‘dye’ in dyspraxia stands for partial. Thus, apraxia is absence of speech and dyspraxia is used by some to indicate some speech ability. “Praxis” indicates difficulty executing skilled movements. However, more recently Childhood Apraxia of Speech is the preferred term for describing apraxia of speech in children.

Oral Apraxia and/or Verbal Apraxia?

  • Oral apraxia indicates that the child has difficultly with volitional control of on speech movement. For instance, perhaps the child will have difficulty sticking out and wagging their tongue when requested to do so. Of the child may have difficulty sequencing movements for the command, “Show me how you kiss, now smile, now blow”. Verbal apraxia indicates that level sounds, syllables, words, or even phrases (connected speech). The motor struggle is most typically seen with sounds sequencing.
  • Often oral apraxia accompanies verbal apraxia, but that is not always the case. Speech and language pathologists have mentioned that is is very rare and fairly unheard of for a child to have oral apraxia without verbal apraxia/dyspraxia.

Volitional – What does that mean?

  • In the course of discussing apraxia, as we have above, you will note the use of the word “volitional”. The meaning of this word in relationship to apraxia/dyspraxia of speech means that the child is experiencing the difficulty in nonspeech and speech movement when they are very consciously aware of trying to make movements or they are attempting movements when requested by others. Those same movements, sounds, etc. may be heard while the child is busy playing or he/she just seems to blurt out when no one is really paying attention or trying too hard. As an example, the child may be playing happily and parents may hear sounds being made – almost without thought – “ma, ma, ba, ma,da”.
  • However, when the parents attempt to get the child to use those sounds – “Say Mama!”- the child is unable to do so. In many cases one can see the struggle on the child’s face. They may grope with their lips or silently posture their lips as if searching for the position they need. One minute they could do it (when not thinking about it or attempting the task) and the next minute it is an intense struggle (they are now aware of the request and are trying to will their mouths to make those movements – volitional control).

“Pure” Apraxia of Speech:

  • What is meant by “pure” apraxia of speech is that no other speech, language, cognitive, or sensory issues coexist with the deficit of impaired sequencing for volitional speech (apraxia). The professional literature tells us that “pure” apraxia of speech in children is rare, that most often apraxia is associated with other speech, language, cognitive, and/or sensory issues.
  • Associated issues might not be apparent in a young child. This is especially true in children who are young preschoolers. For instance, these children may not have any apparent problem with receptive language according to traditional and typical assessment. However, the child may begin to experience difficulty when entering kindergarten, when the language processing demands of the setting are heightened. It would not be unusual to then identify higher level language processing problems. Parents and professionals will do well to be vigilant about the child’s total development to insure that, should an associated area of difficulty arise, help for the child will be readily available.

Posted by on March 20th, 2014 Comments Off on Apraxia 101


Vocabulary Building Activities

Play “First Word”

  • This is a fun game that will help your child understand about rhyming words and the difference between “real” words and “made up” words and how words relate to each other. This game is easily played int eh car or at home. It can be any word that comes to the top of your head. You child will then immediately say the first word and so on. It is interesting to see how your child’s through process works. You can also play this game by stipulating that only rhyming words are used, but they must be real words, not made up words.

Play “Scrambled Words”

  • Before you play this game, some up with a sentence of six or more words such as, “When I feed my dog, he quickly runs to his bowl.” Then write each word on an index card. Mix the cards up and have your child see how fast he or she can place the sentence back in order. You can add to this game by making up several sentences your child can put in order.

Make a word find.

  • Word finds are always fun and will help your child learn new words and the spellings. There are several websites such as Fun Brain that will allow you and your child to make up a word find. You can choose skill level and type in the words you want to include. To challenge you child, pick new vocabulary words and have your child find the definition of each one before using the word search. After you have made the word search, you can print it out.
  • Also, if you are going on vacation or to the park, make the word find related to the activity you are doing before you go. This will make the trip a fun word-learning, vocabulary-building adventure!

Learn Real or Not?

  • This is a fun game that young children will enjoy. Go through the dictionary and pick out five or six words your child may not know. Try to find words that sound silly. Write them on a sheet of paper. Add in three of four words that are made up. Have your child read each word and try to come up with a definition and a sentence for each one. See if you child can spot the real or made up word. Your child can then use the dictionary to locate the real meanings of the words.

Posted by on March 19th, 2014 Comments Off on Vocabulary Building Activities


100 Useful Sites, Networks, and Resources

CLICK HERE for 100 useful sites, networks, and resources for parents of children with autism.

This website gives information on:

  • Organizations and groups,
  • support and social networks,
  • understanding autism,
  • treatments and therapies,
  • articles discussing autism issues,
  • blogs,
  • regional resources,
  • financial assistance resources,
  • shopping resources, and
  • related disorders.

What a GREAT resource! Have a fantastic day!

Posted by on March 18th, 2014 Comments Off on 100 Useful Sites, Networks, and Resources


Sensory Strategies for ADHD

We love these sensory strategies from North Shore Pediatric Therapy for children who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Many professionals have found these “movement strategies” to be beneficial to children with ADHD, however there is still a lot of research being conducted. Make these strategies your own, and make them fun! Here are just a few strategies that you may find helpful for your child or a child you might know:

  • Allowing the child to take a 2-3 minute break every 10-15 minutes. This break should involve intense movement when possible, such as jumping jacks, pushups, jumping on a trampoline, etc. When intense movement is not appropriate, breaks may involve the student walking to the drinking fountain, getting up to sharpen his/her pencil and/or walking to the bathroom.
  • Provide a toy or item for the child to manipulate during solitary work. These items are often referred to as “fidgets,” and provide the child with an outlet to release their restlessness. Rather than continuously moving his/her body, the child can move his/her hands quietly in their lap or on their desk while manipulating the fidget.
  • Another way to incorporate physical work into settings where children are expected to be able to sit and attend to a task is to adapt the child’s seat. There are a variety of seating options available that involve the child working to maintain balance and an upright posture. Exercise balls are often provided in the classroom as an alternative to a standard chair, this allows the child to slightly move and requires him/her to use their core muscles to maintain seated. A T-stool is a flat, bench-like seat that is mounted on a single upright post. This provides similar sensory input to the child, without the possible temptations surrounding a ball. Rocking chairs have also been used both at a child’s desk and during circle time, and prevent much of the “disruptive” behaviors that teachers often observe during these quiet sitting periods of the day.
  • Gum is often not allowed in the school setting, but it can be an invaluable tool to a child with ADHD. Oral-motor input is something many children crave, hence why so many kids stick their pencils in their mouths or chew on their clothing. Providing gum to a child with ADHD provides them an outlet for their restlessness. The constant chewing/movement of the jaw and flavor options can act as an alerting stimuli as well as a grounding force, helping the child have the ability to better focus on the task at hand.

Posted by on March 17th, 2014 Comments Off on Sensory Strategies for ADHD


St. Patrick’s Day Crafts!

Here are a few crafts to do with your kids on St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy!

St. Pat’s Lucky Gold








Rainbow Garland








Leprechaun Handprint Craft


Try-on Leprechaun


Shamrock Footprint Craft 












****Also, find out how you can benefit the Seattle Children’s Autism Center by running the St. Patrick’s Day Dash!! The dash on Sunday, March 16th and will be a 3.6 mile run, jog, walk or crawl from the Seattle Center, through the South Lake Union neighborhood, towards the Aurora Bridge and back to the Seattle Center. 

Posted by on March 12th, 2014 Comments Off on St. Patrick’s Day Crafts!


Potty Training Success!

Potty training can be a very hard skill to master for children who have sensory processing disorders of any level or kind. Offering plenty of sensory support can really aid adults and parents in helping to potty train children who require such support. Look at these quick and simple tips below:

  1. Make it a routine
  2. Let the child choose the potty seat
  3. Eliminate the tactile issues
  4. Meet the child’s sensory needs throughout the day.
  5. Offer lots of sensory choices.

Please read more on these tips at!

Posted by on March 12th, 2014 Comments Off on Potty Training Success!