Archive for the ‘Autism’ Category

Sensory Time for Toddlers!

Sometimes on those less sunny days, or just when you are looking for an activity to do, sensory activities are the way to go. The Nurture Store has incredible ideas for fun sensory play ideas with toddlers! Try some of these AWESOME indoor sensory activities with your toddlers and let us know what you think!!


Posted by on July 7th, 2014 Comments Off on Sensory Time for Toddlers!


Find an Autism Support Group!

Need someone to talk to? Need to find some support? Do you have questions for other parents or professionals? Check out one of the links below to find an autism support group that best fits your needs!

Posted by on July 3rd, 2014 Comments Off on Find an Autism Support Group!


Swimming and Autism

With summer coming around the corner, swimming is a fun activity for many children. Super Swimmers Foundation talks about the physical benefit children with autism get from swimming.

Super Swimmers Foundation states:

“Children with autism experience a great deal of benefit from physical activity, which can include:

  • Ease repetitive behaviors
  • Act as a positive social outlet
  • Increase attention span
  • Reduce risk of later adult health conditions of obesity and heart disease”

The article also says that “People with autism experience levels of sensory perception that most of us wouldn’t know or understand,” Dr. O’Connor said. “It overloads them, so they engage in behaviors that distract them. Exercise gives them the same benefits but it doesn’t have the negative social connotations.”

So this summer, take your child to the pool! See the benefits of swimming come to life! Swimming will give them the sensory input they need and exercise that they may not typically get. What a fun activity to endure!

Posted by on June 23rd, 2014 Comments Off on Swimming and Autism


Awesome ASD Fact Sheet

The Child Development Institute has developed fact sheets for many disorders an disabilities for parents to help explain their child’s condition to others. These fact sheets also serve as a parents guide to children with autism. This website has fact sheets on many topics including eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and behavior disorders. Go check out the website for a free printable fact sheet. Below are the Frequently Asked Questions on autism that parents may get from people about their child.

  • What is autism?
  • What are some of the common signs of autism?
  • How is autism diagnosed?
  • What causes autism?
  • What role does genetics play?
  • Do symptoms of autism change over time?
  • How can autism be treated?

You can also subscribe to their newsletter!

Posted by on June 19th, 2014 Comments Off on Awesome ASD Fact Sheet


Adaptive Tricycles and Bicycles

Now that summer is coming, it is a great opportunity to get outside and get some exercise! Look at adaptive trikes and bikes to make a successful trip around the neighborhood or to the park! Most include seat belts and handles to create a safe trip for both parents and children. The Special Needs website states: “Special needs tricycles and bicycles are available to accommodate a vast array of special needs. Hand-pedaled recumbent tricycles make it possible for those without the use of their legs. Children, teens and adults with cerebral palsy and similar disorders can select tricycles specially designed to increase strength and coordination. Caregivers to autistic children can ride with their child on tandem special needs tricycles built to accommodate one adult and one child rider.” Check out the Special Needs website for more information! You can also purchase training wheels and helmets!   toddler amtryke - thumb-01adultseries2700-thumb-21 riftonLargeTrike-thumb

Posted by on June 19th, 2014 Comments Off on Adaptive Tricycles and Bicycles


New Classifications for ASD

The Diagnostics and Statistics Manual is releasing their their fifth edition. With this new addition is coming some new changes relating to Autism Spectrum Disorder. The writers of this manual are starting to categorize ASD with a simple number system based off severity. Thus, the term “Aspergers” is essentially non existent and is now considered “Autism 1”. Michelle Garcia Winter describes her thoughts on the changes that have been put into affect since May 2013. To read more, click HERE. Below are some of her responses:

What are my thoughts on this?
From the time my professional focus shifted to working with people with “higher level” social communication challenges, I struggled with the lack of diagnostic clarity when addressing this specific group of clients. For this reason I never aligned my work under any specific diagnostic category and in my writings and training sessions always referred to our students as having Social Cognitive Deficits. I now prefer the term Social Learning Challenges.

I have had the opportunity to hear two members of the DSM-5 ASD committee, Dr. Catherine Lord and Dr. Amy Weatherby, address audiences on the proposed changes. In both workshops they presented various research studies demonstrating the inability professionals experienced in distinguishing Asperger Syndrome, PDD-NOS, and Autism in a sub-group of our students. This certainly aligns with my observations.

What happens to all those individuals diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome? Will this descriptive label really go away?
None of us know the answer to this question for certain, but my best guess is that Asperger Syndrome as a diagnostic description, even if it is not officially included in the DSM-5, is here to stay. High functioning autism (HFA) has never been an official diagnostic descriptor sanctioned in previous or the current edition of DSM (DSM-IV) yet is a commonly used descriptor not only by us lay people but also by researchers who use it to define their study subjects. Furthermore, Asperger Syndrome is more than a diagnostic label; it has become a cultural identifier for many of our students and adults who recognize themselves as AS and have sought networks of support, friendship and collaboration within it.

Learn more about the new diagnostics manual at some of these websites:

Posted by on June 16th, 2014 Comments Off on New Classifications for ASD


Autism Affects the Adult Population Too

Medical News Today discusses autism as an adult disorder and how we need to focus on the older population that is affected by autism as well as the children.

While it is more common for children to get a diagnosis of autism, it is important to remember that many adults are also living with ASD.

“It is a real issue and autism is still seen very much as a child’s condition. But of course, every child with autism does grow up to be an adult with autism,” says Carol Povey.

Povey also adds:

“Our understanding [of autism] is growing, but most of the services and facilities and the understanding around diagnoses are with children. When people move into adulthood, most services are poorer and the understanding is poorer because our portrayal of autism is still with children. We just know more about autism in children.”

The research on children with autism has grown significantly along with the growing diagnosis rate, however there is research lacking in the area of those affected with autism as adults. Employment has become the main topic for adults with autism. However, it is encouraging to see more organizations helping adults with ASD gain interview experience and even employment opportunities.

According to Povey, teaching children about autism from a young age is important for improving future awareness and acceptance of the condition. “Very young children are very accepting,” she explains, “that is why very often, autistic children have very successful primary school careers. [Non-autistic children] can be very nurturing, accept them and look out for them. It is often when you move into secondary school (high school) and into adulthood that they become more difficult.”

We love how Povey ended the article:

“When we do get a society that really can accept difference and celebrate difference, rather than being frightened of it, that would make such a massive difference in people’s lives.”

Posted by on June 2nd, 2014 Comments Off on Autism Affects the Adult Population Too


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


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