We believe that everything on this website can be applied to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder or Sensory Processing Disorder, but we thought that we would make it easier by highlighting our favorite resources for therapy and at home. Please visit our resource page if you are in need of more information or services.
Autism Spectrum, Attention Deficit, & Sensory Processing Articles and Activities
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The information on this page is helpful for anyone who wants to learn more about autism and anyone who is looking for insight and tools to help someone with autism. Our approach to working with children who have special needs is to build a relationship and connect with the child. Then, once trust has been established, we break down skills, use visual supports, keep it positive and offer lots and lots of praise!
What is it Like to be Autistic?
People with autism are individuals and everyone is different. That being said, we can still gain a glimpse into their world by listening to others express how their autism affects them. The author of How to be Human is an exquisite writer who is extremely articulate in explaining how she feels about autism.
Georgia Lyon shares her story about discovering and defining what it means to her to be autistic. She may have autism but she refuses to be defined by a label. She has grown, changed and overcame many challenges. Georgia has just completed her sophomore year at college.
Another wonderful article from young Georgia: “Ever since I developed a concept of self, I knew I was different. In preschool, I knew that the other kids did not feel a compulsion to constantly flap their hands. I knew that they did not feel a clawing desire to be the first in line whenever we went out to or came back from recess. But, most importantly, I knew that the adults did not follow the other kids.” So begins her quest to understand and accept what being autistic means to her.
Strategies, Tips, and Tools to Help People With Autism
Sarah and I have been working with children who have special needs for many years now. Over the years we have collaborated and learned from other therapists and specialist. Along the way, we have collected strategies and methods that have been effective for our clients and we would like to share what we have learned with you.
Strategies and therapy tools that experienced therapists use to optimize the progress, growth, & development in children on the autism spectrum or other special needs.
With a little preparation and thought the holidays can not only be a joyous time, but the season can also provide a magical opportunity for many teachable moments. These holiday tips for parents of children with special needs can help make your holidays go smoothly.
SOCIAL SKILLS ACTIVITIES AND GAMES
We spend a lot of time teaching social skills. We find that many of the children that we work with are quite capable academically but continue to struggle with making friends. We don’t expect them to be the most popular kid around but we do want to foster friendships and lasting relationships. We are happy to watch our clients grow into teenagers and adults with healthy social relationships. Our Social Skills and Emotional Development page is chock full of ideas and activities that encourage children to be social and manage their emotions.
Social skills activities help build an understanding of feelings, builds social skills and support emotional regulation. Perspective taking is only possible once you understand your feelings and the feelings of others.Our social-emotional activities are designed to enhance social skills and peer relationships for children on the autism spectrum
Attention Deficit Disorder
A child with A.D.D. or ADHD is usually described as having a short attention span and as being distractible. Sometimes it is either being either distracted or having difficulty maintaining attention. Distractibility refers to the short attention span and the ease with which some children can be pulled off-task. Attention, on the other hand, is a process that has different parts. We are able to focus on something, we select something that needs attention at that moment and we sustain attention for as long as is needed. We also resist and we shift our attention to something else when needed. Children who have difficulty ignoring distractions or maintaining attention benefit from intervention and support.
We get a lot of questions about how to help children focus, pay attention and stop being distracted. We are not experts on A.D.D. or A.H.D.D., but we do see many of the same issues in the kids that we work with who have autism or learning disabilities, as well as children who simply have busy minds and bodies. Here is a menu of strategies that have helped our own kids and the kids we work with to focus and pay attention.
Sensory Processing Disorder Articles and Activities
For us, sensory integration is the cornerstone of all growth and progress. A.S.D., A.D.D. and of course, S.P.D. all are affected by a lack of sensory regulation. Paying attention to the sensory needs of each child is one our keys for building a successful program where the child can make remarkable progress.
There is a great expectation for children to stay on task, practice “quiet sitting” and to control their impulses. In certain situations, these expectations are reasonable but what about the child who either has an overactive system or an under active system? Where ever a child falls on the spectrum they all can benefit from simple strategies and interventions.
Mental Health and Anxiety
We are noticing a rise in anxiety and mental illness. We can start helping our children manage stress and anxiety at a young age. By providing them the tools they can thrive and learn how to help calm their emotions.
Over the years we have collected tools and strategies to help children take control of their anxiety. Different strategies work for different children and situations. Choose the strategies for soothing the anxious child that fit with your child’s personality and needs.
Reach out for help and support! If you, or someone you know, struggles with mental health, get help, offer help, talk about the challenge out loud. We need to recognize mental health as just that: another area of our health. We should treat mental illness with the same compassion and care that we treat any other chronic condition. There is no stigma in being ill.
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