Archive for April, 2014

Start Thinking about Summer!

It is never too late to start thinking about summer plans! There are plenty of summer camps available for children with special needs in Washington. Consider these options below for some summer fun, even some overnight camps!

  • Seattle Children’s in Seattle  – Seattle Children’s has overnight camps and day camps. To search for a camp that would work for you, they offer considerations for your child, the month, and they can even bring a sibling a long if they would like that! Very cool opportunities.
  • UW Autism Center in Seattle – University of Washington is excited to open registration for the Apex Summer Camp for Summer 2014! Visit the website to find out cost and dates. This camp focuses heavily on social skills and self esteem in structured recreational and learning activities.
  • Friendship Circle Recommendations  – View this link for recommendations on summer camps for your child with or without special needs. So many different opportunities and activities to consider for your child.
  • Very Special Camps – Very special camps is dedicated to individuals with one or more of a wide range of special needs; allowing you to locate a summer camp or program based upon your specific requirements, interests, and location. This program also offers overnight camps and camps that allow your children to explore the outdoors!!

Posted by on April 30th, 2014 Comments Off on Start Thinking about Summer!


Make your Own Geo-Board!

Two-daloo has an awesome idea with a DIY Geo-Board! Check out how to make it and the benefits that can arise from it with you and your child.

“Geoboards are a great tool for exploring various mathematical concepts with different ages of kids. Even young preschoolers like my three-year-old twins enjoy stretching the rubber bands on the board while also engaging in counting, patterning, and making shapes- not to mention the obvious fine motor benefits!”


Posted by on April 28th, 2014 Comments Off on Make your Own Geo-Board!


Toys that Encourage Speech Development

This post onTwodaloo is spot on with their recommendations of toys that encourage speech and language development! At CLASS Inc., we use toys that encourage the children to take turns and create a social aspect, such as asking a question. Here are some of Twodaloo’s simple guidelines when picking out toys for your children:

  • Sturdy and well-made – eco-friendly is even better!

  • Relatively open-ended and versatile; you want toys that can be used in a variety of ways over time.


  • Related to meaningful, familiar experiencesfor your child (i.e. everyday role play like feeding, bathing, dressing)

  • Encourages reciprocal social interaction (toys that are fun to play with a partner or group)

Here are a couple of the toys listed on their website (that we love here at CLASS Inc. as well!) that may work really well for you and your family:

Farm Set: The topic possibilities are endless for with this toy. You can discuss animals, animal sounds, talking between the farmers, growing vegetables and setting up the farm. Have fun with it!







Blocks: Blocks are so simple and yet have SO MANY opportunities for communication. Social topics can include collaboration, team building, turn taking, shape recognition, and problem solving.


Posted by on April 24th, 2014 Comments Off on Toys that Encourage Speech Development


Employment HELPS People with Autism

We love this article from Vanderbilt University! Research is determining that employing adults with autism is actually reducing their symptoms in an independent working environment.

Julie Lounds Taylor explains that:

“We found that if you put the person with autism in a more independent vocational placement, this led to measurable improvements in their behaviors and daily living skills overall,” said lead author Julie Lounds Taylor, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics and Special Education and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center investigator. “One core value in the disability community and at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center is placing people with disabilities in the most inclusive environments possible. In addition, this study gives us evidence that increasing the level of independence in an employment or vocational setting can lead to improvements in autism symptoms and other associated behaviors.”

What an incredible discovery!

Posted by on April 22nd, 2014 Comments Off on Employment HELPS People with Autism


Make your Bathroom Sensory Friendly!

Some kiddos are sensitive to the sensory stimuli that comes from your bathroom! However, there are some ways to easily fix some of the factors that may be too over-stimulating for your child. The Friendship Circle lists some things that maybe your child may not specifically enjoy:

  • the sharp echo of sounds on tile surfaces
  • bright lights reflected on mirrors
  • the cold floor
  • the shock of water touching the skin
  • the sense of instability while stepping in and out of the bath
  • the physical discomfort and mess of using the toilet
  • the hard toilet seat and hard bathtub pressing against skin
  • loud toilets and running water
  • disorientation from shivering while trying to dry off

From dimmer lighting, to reading material and even different types of water toys, there are many tips and tricks to help with some of these issues that your child may be experiencing! Check out some of their solutions to create a more sensory friendly environment during your bathroom routine!

Posted by on April 21st, 2014 Comments Off on Make your Bathroom Sensory Friendly!


Fun Spring WH- Questions Game

With Spring in full swing, discuss this season with your child while working on their WH- question answer gin skills. All you need are dice and two markers to play! Get the FREE printable of the board game below here!








Also be sure to check out our WH- question post from earlier this month on how to work on how to appropriately answer WH- questions!

Posted by on April 17th, 2014 Comments Off on Fun Spring WH- Questions Game


One More Spring Craft!

It has been feeling a little more like Spring with the sunny weather and beautiful bloomed flowers. Here is another FUN spring craft to do with your kiddos!

This is a great opportunity to talk about what we do in the sun, and maybe a great time to plant tulips and watch them grow, together! Have fun discussing flowers, colors, and spring activities with your child with this fun paint craft!


Posted by on April 16th, 2014 Comments Off on One More Spring Craft!


Conversation Skills

Working at conversation skills are help many other skills come to the surface such as: appropriate turn taking, following directions, elaborating on a topic, staying on topic, and understanding a concept. Work on these with your child to encourage conversation! Anywhere can work: the dinner table, in the car, or at the park! Enjoy these conversation starters from Home Speech Home:

  • What is your favorite movie and what happens in it?
  • Tell me about your family.
  • Tell me about your pets or the pet you would like to have.
  • What kind of music do you like to listen to?
  • Tell me about what you watch on TV.
  • What is your favorite toy to play with or what toy do you wish you had?
  • Tell me about your favorite video games.
  • Tell me about a funny or scary dream you had.
  • What do you want to do when you grow up?
  • How do you celebrate the 4th of July?
  • How do you celebrate Easter?
  • What do you do for Halloween? What did you dress up last time and what do you want to be this year?
  • What do you do for Valentine’s Day?
  • What do you do for Christmas and what is your favorite thing about it?
  • What do you do for Thanksgiving?
  • When is your birthday and what did you do for your last birthday? What do you want to do for your next birthday?
  • What is your favorite animal and why?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • Do you have any hidden talents?
  • What is your favorite color and why?
  • What is your favorite holiday and why?

Posted by on April 14th, 2014 Comments Off on Conversation Skills


Parents, Get the Grandparents Involved!

It can be really challenging for grandparents to be involved in child’s life that has a disability. However, it is important to know that children can have a relationship with their grandparents, even if there are significant, or minor, behaviors being presented. The Friend Circle Blog gives us 7 pointers on how to get grandparents involved!

1.       Invite your grandparents to therapy sessions that your child attends

We see this all the time at CLASS Inc. Not only does it get them involved in the child’s life, but it also gives them a really good idea of their disability and what they are working on. Therapists can explain their progress and discuss what is working and not working. This also gives the opportunity for the grandparents to ask therapists more in depth questions and some strategies that they may be able to use when they spend time with them.

2.       Keep in mind culture

Maybe your parents speak a different language, or come from a different area of the world where they are not familiar with a certain type of therapy. Some cultures do not have knowledge of certain disabilities or disorders. Knowing this, have the therapists find some information on the disability and/or disorder in their prominent language. Again, this will help them to further understand the disability.

3.       Keep grandparents informed on your child’s interests

We like this pointer here at CLASS Inc. because when a child is interested in the toy or material that is presented by the grandparent (or anyone!), they are not only involved, but they are learning and developing language too!

4.       Think about ways your parents and in-laws can share in special activities and games together

Familiarity with the child is key. The Friendship Circle talks about building in routines and planned time together so that the child, and grandparent, look forward to it and know what to expect.

5.       Bring familiar toys to visits

Along the same lines as the #3 listed above, children like familiar toys because they already know how to play with them. This can also help build language because they can explain how they play to the grandparent and further build upon their language through engagement!

6.       Don’t take it too personally

The Friend Circle states it perfectly, “Try not to take what they say too personally if they get involved or give their opinions.  They are speaking from their own life experiences, which are influenced by cultural and social norms of their generation, which may be very different from the world we live in today.  They are also your parents, so in their own way, they are trying to help in the ways that they know how and they may also have to go through their own acceptance process regarding your child’s needs.”

7.       Share all your experiences with them

Grandparents are always proud to hear about accomplishments and milestones. Share what is working and not working. Being on the same page and working together is important for the success of the child as well as the relationships that surround them!

Posted by on April 10th, 2014 Comments Off on Parents, Get the Grandparents Involved!


How to Get Your Child Involved in P.E.

Are you having a problem getting your child involved in Physical Education at school? It may be time to talk to your child’s teacher or the school social worker about ways adapt activities in P.E. Some schools do offer an Adaptive P.E. program, however when General Education P.E. programs are the only option, talk to someone about how to help your child become more successful during P.E. time.

A big factor that we always try to think about is sensory input. Are the lights too bright? Is the music too loud? Are there too many people in the class? Questions like these are important to consider when there is a child with a disability and/or disorder involved. In a P.E. class, there is a lot going on! Maybe it is too much for your child and they need something a little more toned down.

Another way to get them involved could be to focus on activities that promote team building and working together. This way, everyone is a winner and no one gets their feelings hurt. This will also help the child in areas like turn taking, social skills, and appropriate conversation.

Lastly, it is important to make alternatives for the children who simply cannot last an hour in P.E. The Friendship Circle suggests these simple alternatives that still include movement and physical activity:

  • take frequent “movement breaks” by going for a walk, learning to jump rope or spending 10 minutes on a playground
  • develop a daily 15 minute workout routine
  • get permission to use the school’s weightlifting room – sometimes curiosity about various machines is enough to jump-start an individualized exercise program
  • follow through on the student’s interest in a specific sport, such as tennis or gymnastics, and develop a fitness routine around that
  • follow through on a student’s interest in fitness games on Kinect or Wii

Here are a few others links to read about children with special needs and P.E.:

Posted by on April 9th, 2014 Comments Off on How to Get Your Child Involved in P.E.