Archive for May, 2014

Try These FREE Learning Apps!

There are so many FREE apps that can help your child learn in an interactive and fun way! Try some of these with your child today and have some fun!

  • Animal Book – Line drawing that links to photos of real animals and says the name os the animal AND makes the sound.
  • Opposites – Touch a picture and pick its opposite.
  • Match It Up – Pick items that go together best.
  • Mobi Pizza – Make your own pizza, choose toppings, bake it, etc. Good for sequencing and vocabulary.
  • Where’s Puppy – Fisher Price Laugh and Learn; puppy comes out and identifies body parts when you touch them.
  • Kids Patterns – Cognitive pattern skills; fill in the patterns; preschool to kindergarten age type of tasks.
  • Verbally – Keyboard with a list of frequently used words and phrases ready to use. Word prediction as well.
  • Clean Up – Helps with categorization; drag photo items to the correct location (closet, basket, or toy box)
  • ABA Belong – Follow the verbal direction to touch the one that does not belong.
  • Together – Touch the item that goes together best with the photo on top.
  • Build It Up – Sequencing game that helps children learn how to organize or sequence objects.

Posted by on May 29th, 2014 Comments Off on Try These FREE Learning Apps!

 

Autism Rates Are Increasing

An article from Medical News Today reports that autism diagnosis rates are growing somewhat significantly.

The article states, “The number of US children with autism spectrum disorder has soared approximately 30% in the past 2 years, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

The statistics have grown from 1 in every 88 children (from 2012) to 1 in every 68 children presently, most being boys.

“The data reveals that ASD is almost five times more common among boys than girls, with 1 in 42 boys estimated to have the disorder, compared with 1 in 189 girls. It is also more common among white children than black or Hispanic children.”

The article also states that most children are diagnosed with autism by age 4, however ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) can be recognized as early as the age of two.

SO, please be aware of the importance of early intervention and the benefits it has to offer. It is never too early to start looking for intervention and how you can help your child. The earlier you can identify a diagnosis, the earlier your child, or a child you know, can start receiving the services they need to become more successful both in school and in the community.

The article is finished by this simple, yet crucial sentence:

“If you have a concern about how your child plays, learns, speaks, acts or moves, take action. Don’t wait.”

Posted by on May 28th, 2014 Comments Off on Autism Rates Are Increasing

 

Fun Color Learning Activities!

There are many activities that you can do with your children to learn there colors other than simply asking “What color is that?” Try some of these with your child today!

  1. Give them a certain color and have them find everything in the room that is that color.
  2. Fishing: Have you child fish or certain color of paper fish, using paper clips on the fish and a pole with a magnet on the end.
  3. Have your child toss a bean bag at colored squares and try to land on a color that you call out to them.
  4. While driving to a destination, the child could say the color of cars that pass on the road. This can also add a helpful activity to a long trip.
  5. Create a color collage! Have your child look through magazines and cut out pictures that are certain colors. Have a piece of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple construction paper to glue the different colors to.
  6. Make different color frosting with food coloring to spread on vanilla cookies. Have fun with the colors and make all different shades!
  7. Play “I Spy”
  8. In a small siploc bag, put a small amount of red liquid tempura paint inane carnet of the bag, and a small amount of yellow in the other corner. Seal the bag and let your child squeeze the bag to mix the color and create orange. Use different colors!
  9. Read the classic book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”
  10. Make a color memory game with index cards. Write the color on one match, and have the color on the other for reading.

Posted by on May 27th, 2014 Comments Off on Fun Color Learning Activities!

 

Reading!

Reading is a lifelong skill that can be learned from an early age. Reading with children from birth can get them excited about the activity and provides valuable bonding time between children and their parents. It offers children a way to expand their imagination and as they get older, reading provides children an outlet for their creativity. Children who love to read are often less bored than their non-reading peers.

Children learn by example, and children will mimic the behavior of adults in the home who sit and enjoy a good book. The more parents read, the more likely children in the home will read. To increase reading interest, keep plenty of books in the home that are good to read for both children and adults. Make comfortable reading areas in the home for children that have food lighting and easy access to their favorite books.

As their language skills progress, children will be able to join in more with the actual reading, learning new words, and developing their overall understanding. It’s still great to make it as active and fun as possible, by taking characters, using funny voices, acting out scenes or using toys to act out parts of stories.

SO, how should we encourage our children to read?

Leap Frog gives us these ten suggestions for raising a bookworm:

  1. Expand children’s oral language
  2. Read several stories everyday to children
  3. Teach children rhymes and songs
  4. Support reading and writing development through children’s play
  5. Point at the words occasionally with you read with children
  6. Encourage your children to experiment with writing everyday
  7. Provide children a special area where they can experiment with print and books
  8. Be a literacy advocate by modeling reading and writing everyday
  9. Encourage children to notice print and look at how words are read and spelled
  10. Set up a time each day for reading

Read the whole article for more detail! Also check out these tips for Reading Rockets!

Posted by on May 22nd, 2014 Comments Off on Reading!

 

Traveling with Children with Autism

With summer coming up, you may be planning on a family vacation or trip somewhere. Or maybe you have never traveled because you aren’t sure how your child would handle the trip. Traveling with children with autism can be rough due to the “unknown”, however, Autism Speaks and Ann Schlosser give us ten great strategies for traveling with children with autism and how to make the trip successful and fun for everyone.

  • #1 – PREPARATION: If you have a child with autism you understand that preparing them for what is to come is incredibly important. Before you go on your trip, make sure to talk to your child about events that will be happening, possible changes, and where they will be going. Also, be sure to take their sensory needs into account so you can plan for that. A social story may be very helpful here.
  • #2 – Try the Great Outdoors: Camping outside can really benefit your child. Being away from the hustle and bustle of a tourist site can give your family a chance to avoid distractions and focus on each other.
  • #3 – Go to an Amusement Park: Again, remember that preparation is key, and maybe to visit the guest services center upon arriving. An amusement park could be such a experience of your child, however, make sure you think of factor such as noise, crowds, and even the food that is available.
  • #4 – Car trip?: Bring an activity bag full of activity to keep your kids’ hands busy and their mind focused. A DVD player or a LeapFrog device could also work, however, when you are going so far, it is crucial give your children some alternatives! Even suckers to keep their mouths occupied!
  • #5 – Big City?: Traveling into big, urban cities can be overwhelming, not only for your child but for you! When visiting  a bigger city, be sure to be aware of the transportation routes and to keep your child close!
  • #6 – Flying: Preparation is the most important in this setting. Ann requests to make a direct flight only. This will minimize the transitions and keep the amount of ear popping down! Also, like the car ride, make sure to bring activities to keep them busy and occupied. Check out the “Wing of Autism” program for preparation tips and tricks, and maybe an opportunity to participate if the program comes to your town!
  • #7 – Visit Relatives: This will give child a sense of familiarity. Instead of going somewhere they know nothing about, they are going to visit people they know. Ann says to be sure to relax, family time should be fun time. Be sure to carry with your your bag of tricks and, again, consider your child’s needs.
  • #8 – Take the Leap and Just GO!: It can be scary to travel with your child, but keep in mind that these are good experiences for both you AND you child. Your first vacation may be a struggle, but don’t let it keep you from trying again and learning from what you can improve on. Ann says “You are a competent person who can take care of your children and still have a good time!”
  • #9 – Day Trip: What a great way to ease into trips of longer length! This will give you some time to work your way up to bigger trips. I like that Ann states, “Take the whole family. Everyone needs to go with you. You need to learn to cope as a unit with your autistic child. Not just parent and child. All of you.”
  • #10 – Get Info: Always research and make sure that you have all the information you may need and more! Check out some great resource on page 24 in this article form Ann Schlosser.

Posted by on May 21st, 2014 Comments Off on Traveling with Children with Autism

 

Orofacial Myotherapy

So, what is Orofacial Myology?

Mouthworks explains:

  • Orofacial Myology involves the synthesis of so many areas of expertise that the definitions seem to be infinite. Trying to articulate all that it involves in a simple way is challenging. The following will give you an overview: “The study and treatment of oral and facial muscles as they relate to speech, dentition, chewing/bolus collection, swallowing and overall mental and physical health.”

ASHA adds:

  • In other words, orofacial myologists help people use the muscles of their face and mouth to breathe, chew and swallow in a functionally correct and healthy way. Orofacial Myofunctional disorders are “any pattern involving oral and or orofacial musculature that interferes with normal growth, development or function of structures or calls attention to itself.”

What conditions can be helped by Orofacial Myotherapy?

  • Thumb sucking, finger, blanket and pacifier sucking, nail biting
  • Tongue thrust– forward tongue rest posture
  • Abnormal swallowing patterns
  • Abnormal functional breathing patterns
  • Abnormal neuromuscular patterns related to bolus formation, deglutition and mastication
  • Forward Head Posture
  • Open Mouth Posture
  • Teeth Moving after Orthodontics
  • Food lodging in the vestibule above the teeth (aging mouth dysfunction– “long of tooth”)

Joy Moeller, a Myofunctional Therapist, explains the five parts of treatment to improve orofacial disfunction:

  • Habit elimination therapy done with rewards and behavior modification
  • A series of therapy exercises which improve nasal breathing and oral facial functions.
  • Promoting proper chewing and swallowing
  • Re-patterning head and neck posture problems
  • Generalization and habituation of the new muscle pattern

Read more about Orofacial Myotherapy:

Posted by on May 19th, 2014 Comments Off on Orofacial Myotherapy

 

Asking Questions

Asking questions can be a tough task for a child with speech defects or language delays. Especially when it comes to the order of the words. Grammatically, they may be behind in what truly counts as a good question.

Carrie Clark explains “For many children with language delays, asking questions appropriately can be very confusing to figure out. As adults, we change the word order of a sentence when asking questions. For example, instead of saying “you do have three apples”, we would ask a question as “do you have three apples?” Often, children with language delays will miss this subtle word order shift and will simply ask the question without changing the word order. When they are asking questions, it may sound like “I can have one?” or “you are eating cookies?”. This can make their message difficult to follow and, if they don’t get the right intonational patterns, you may not even know that they’re asking questions at all.”

Carrie gives us three steps to think about when teaching our children about question-asking:

  • Step 1: Collecting an Inventory of Incorrect Question Structures – What type of questions is your child having trouble with? Yes/no questions? “What” questions? Take time to see where the break down occurs.
  • Step 2: Imitating and Practicing Correct Question Structures – Play a game or come up with an activity to work not he types of questions they are having problems with. This will give your child the opportunity to ask the question many times to get lots of practice!
  • Step 3: Correct in Conversation – Practicing question asking in a structured setting is different then asking then in conversation. After practicing the questions in an activity, when you child goes to apply them conversationally, make sure to correct them if they use it incorrectly, or let them know when they used it correctly to reinforce correct usage!

Posted by on May 15th, 2014 Comments Off on Asking Questions

 

“Interacting with Autism Project” Video

WOW. CLICK HERE to check out this video from the “Interacting with Autism Project” on Sensory Overload. Absolutely incredible.

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Posted by on May 14th, 2014 Comments Off on “Interacting with Autism Project” Video

 

Calming Fidget Toys

Does your child fidget a lot? Sometimes all a child needs is the appropriate input to satisfy their sensory needs. Even “silent” tools that your child can use in the classroom, in the car, or while waiting. Check out some of these GREAT sensory, fidgeting toys from the Therapy Shoppe!

Calming fidget toys and occupational therapy sensory tools can be very effective sensory diet self-regulation tools for home, travel, school classrooms, the office… just about anywhere! Help prevent meltdowns, keep fingers busy, minds focused, and bodies relaxed with all the extraordinary calming fidgets toys and sensory tools from the Therapy Shoppe®!

Also, think about a spinner ring!! Age-appropiate while also helping to keep the hands busy!

Here are a few AWESOME examples:

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O Ball

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Fidgeting Foot Band

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Sensory Gel Pad

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Chewy Pencil Toppers

 

Posted by on May 12th, 2014 Comments Off on Calming Fidget Toys

 

Social Skills

Social skills are a very important skill to acquire and something we work on everyday here at CLASS Inc.! While we do work on social skills in individual sessions, we also offer play groups and social groups to improve your child’s social skills and interactions with other children.

Skills You Need describes social skills as “Social skills are the skills we use to communicate and interact with each other, both verbally and non-verbally, through gestures, body language and our personal appearance. Human beings are sociable creatures and we have developed many ways to communicate our messages, thoughts and feelings with others.”

There are many ways to work on social skills with your child. National Autism Resources has a multitude of materials available to work on strengthening a child’s social skills and building social success. Working on social skills can happen anywhere, at the dinner table, during your morning routine, and even in the car on the way to school. Find what works for your child and start building social success!!

Social Skills Materials from National Autism Resources:

 

 

 

Posted by on May 8th, 2014 Comments Off on Social Skills