Monthly Archives: December 2016

Celebrating New Years!

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The end of the year is upon us and if you haven’t already planning your New Years celebration, here are some suggestions on how to have a fun celebration at home with your child who has been diagnosed with autism.
Just because you are home, doesn’t mean you can’t have a festive celebration with your family. Sure, it’s not the same as hanging out at the coolest club or hitting the hottest party in town — but you can still have fun while ushering in the new year with your child on the spectrum.
Here are a few ideas of how you can make your celebration festive:
If you are on the East Coast Re-set the clock. If you are on the West, celebrate “New York” New Years!
Do your kids generally go to sleep at 7 or 8 p.m.? Don’t make the little ones have to strain to stay up until midnight. Instead, if you live on the east coast, set your clock forward a couple of hours so that they can still celebrate at mock midnight — they don’t have to know it’s early.
If you are on the west coast, the best way to “ring in the New Year” is to watch the ball drop in Time Square. Your children will get the sense that they are celebrating the end of one year, and the beginning of a new year, but in reality it is only 9 pm and only an hour or so past their regular scheduled bed time.
If both cases, be sure to start preparing your child with autism a few days prior to the new year. Let them know they will be staying up late, prepare them for the ball drop, the noise makers they may hear on TV, or fireworks they may see. Create a story about the New Years celebration so that they know what to expect and are happily anticipating a new beginning.
Head to the kitchen
Cooking with your child on the spectrum can be a lot of fun. Get them involved by asking them if they want to bake cookies, make their favorite meal, or bake a cake…whatever it is, use the hours leading up to midnight to prepare something special with your child on the spectrum, to enhance their New Years celebration..
Toast with sparkling cider
At midnight, pour a round of sparkling cider into plastic champagne glasses. Toast the New Year with your child, who has been diagnosed with autism, and reflect on all your blessings from the last year.
Create a memory book
New Year’s Eve is a great time for crafting and scrapbooking. Have your child with autism help put together an album or memory book of all the fun activities and events your family experienced in the last year. Include pictures, drawings and ideas from each family member, no matter how little. Make a new book every year on New Year’s Eve — you’ll treasure them for years to come.
Now that you have a plan in place to create a memorable and festive New Years celebration with your child on the spectrum, we know that your evening will be much more meaningful than any party, club or gathering you may have gone to in previous years.

All of us at Beautiful Minds Center want to wish you a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. May your homes be filled with laughter and your hearts be filled with love.
Here’s to a fantastic 2017

Tips For Holiday Travel

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Many of us will be traveling this holiday season to visit our family and friends. Help make holiday travel go smoothly by preparing your child on the spectrum for what to expect when traveling and while away.
Family vacations create memories and will teach your child on the spectrum about new places. They also provide an often much needed break for you, your family and your child. Unfortunately, some children, who have been diagnosed with autism, have a difficult time with new situations, people, and schedules.
Here are some ideas for making vacations and weekend trips less stressful and more enjoyable.
Prepare Kids – Unfamiliar places and situations can be very stressful for some children with autism. Prepare your child on the spectrum for a trip by showing images of where they will be staying, activities, people going on the trip, and transportation are helpful for setting expectations. If you are flying, discuss the security process and etiquette for how to behave at the airport and on a plane. Also if they are expecting Santa, make sure you let them know that Santa can find them wherever you go!
Involve Kids in Planning – Unless you are going to visit family in the same location as always this holiday season, you may want to involve your child on the spectrum in your planning process. Consider your children’s interests when booking a get away so that they look forward to the trip and know there will be plenty of fun activities for them to do. Before a trip, let your child on the spectrum help pack their suitcases so they know what they will have with them. Use this as an opportunity to discuss the weather and appropriate clothes for activities. Pack and have readily available a small bag of toys and books for car rides, unexpected waiting periods, and downtimes.
Create a Sense of Familiarity – Do what you can to maintain a somewhat consistent routine while away. Although sleep schedules may be difficult to follow, but keep wake up and bedtime as close to the child’s usual schedule as possible. Familiar objects also help children with consistency. If a child reads a favorite story before bed, carries personal items in a backpack, or uses a stress ball, be sure to pack these items.
Remember Downtime is Important –Families often over plan vacations. Spending time with friends and family, going from one location to another, or doing a number of things at one place can exhaust children. Be sure to remember that your child on the spectrum needs some downtime to play on their own, to rest, maybe even to take a nap. Make sure you keep that in mind when planning your days away.
Create Memories – Most of all use your time away with your family to create memories that will last a lifetime, take lots of pictures, buy a travel diary before the trip and if possible try to spend a few minutes every evening discussing the day’s events, so that your child doesn’t forget what they did by the time they get home.

Getting Your Child On The Spectrum To Listen

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.Most of us can’t count the number of times we have to tell our child on the spectrum to do something before they listen. Sometimes we even feel like we have to revert to yelling, punishment, or taking away favorite toys or privileges. What if there way a way to get your child with autism to listen the first time you told them to do something…Wouldn’t that be a miracle.

Well we are here to help bring you one step closer to your holiday miracle with a few techniques that can get your child on the spectrum to listen when you speak. Although these are some valuable tips and trice, please remember that all families and parents are different so there is no one scenario that will be exact, but some of these might come close.

What to do when you child does something wrong or annoying and you want them to stop?

Remember your child with autism knows your cues probably better than you do…they are on the receiving end and know when you are at the end of your rope, so you can repeat yourself over and over again, with no change until….they hear your “I’m at the end of my rope” voice and knows that you mean business.

Now that you know this…why not start with your “I’m at the end of my rope voice” be firm, be commanding, use your child’s full name if you need to…whatever it is that you know will get their ears to perk up and their eyes to look in your direction. If you don’t know what those cues are, do what your child does, monitor their reactions to more closely and once you can recognize what makes them perk up, use that to get them to listen.

Are word and a firm tone of voice enough to get them to listen?

Maybe…but probably not. What is a guaranteed (although it takes time) is to show your child on the spectrum that you mean business and to be consistent in your message. Your words, your tone and your actions all have to say the same thing. If you tell them they will be on time out and they don’t listen, do not repeat yourself a second time, put them on time out. If you say you will take away their favorite toy if they don’t listen, don’t repeat yourself, take away their favorite toy right away. By showing with words and actions, your child with autism, will begin to understand that you mean business.

Remember that at the beginning there will be challenges, tears (on both ends), and will cause frustration all around, but there is a light at the end of this tunnel of tears. In the end this process will improve your relationship with your child on the spectrum, so keep calm and watch your child with autism transition from reacting to responding to your instructions and requests.

Once again, remember that all parents and all children are different, what works for one, may not work for the other, so takes these tips for what they are…tips, and adapt them to fit your home.