Monthly Archives: February 2017

Sensory Sensitive Sundays at Chuck E Cheese

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On any typical Sunday afternoon, you can find families and kids enjoying lots of fun, interactive activities from playing in the park; to enjoying a kid friendly indoor playground or visiting the global brand that kids love – Chuck E Cheese.

Unfortunately for some of the kids with autism who have sensory issues, the flashing lights, loud noises and crowds can either cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety, or can be activities that parents avoid all together. ..Until now!

The Chuck E Cheese brand has worked with CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disorders) to create a pilot program to encourage parents who have children on the autism spectrum to bring them to Chuck E Cheese. They have made it possible for a child with autism to go out to a kid friendly establishment and enjoy a fun Sunday afternoon of play.

On Sensory Sensitive Sundays the staff at participating Chuck E Cheese locations around the country make sure the crowds are small, the sounds and lights are low, and on Sundays at select locations, Chuck E Cheese (the mouse) gets the day off. This allows for children with autism to have a good time.

It’s also great for parents of children on the spectrum. Parents don’t have to worry about other parents judging the behaviors of their children, they can allow their kids more freedom to play independently, and they can allow themselves to feel…almost…relaxed, which allows them to enjoy their time with their children.

For a fun Sunday afternoon of play check out this complete list of participating locations

How Videos Can Help Your Child Learn

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Videos are a good way to motivate your child on the spectrum to learn and follow instructions.  Almost everyone has a smart phone, camera, or video recorder; many use the same devise for all three functions. These can be valuable learning tools. Here are a few ways you can use videos to motivate and teach your child with autism.

1. Use videos as a Reward – Videos are a great alternative to rewarding child on the spectrum with food or toys. Videos aren’t high in calories like food. Videos last a specific amount of time so you don’t have to remove a reward, and videos can be readily available on an adult’s phone or other device. Just like adults, children have individual interests and motivators. Find videos that peek your child’s interests or have fun creating videos of your own. If a child is learning a new skill they may be very motivated by someone filming them counting to ten correctly, folding their own clothes, or saying hello to a neighbor.

2. Use Videos to Prepare for New Situations – When your child on the spectrum is about to go to a new school or enter a new classroom; go to camp, or go to places in the community can make them nervous videos can be useful tools. Use videos of new places and new people to prepare your child for changes or new activities. Review these videos regularly.

3. Use Videos to Learn New Functional Skills – Videos can be used to teach your child on the spectrum how to complete new skills. Create videos at home with parents, siblings, friends, and your child’s peers that shows them completing the required skill. When creating a video, break a skill into small steps (e.g. brushing teeth requires opening the toothpaste, getting the tooth brush, putting tooth paste on the toothbrush, etc.) and show each step performed correctly. Your child can watch these video before they practice the activity.

4. Demonstrating Social Skills – In the same way other new skills can be taught, social skills can be demonstrated with videos. Breaking skills into steps and teaching specific responses is one way to teach greetings, good-byes, and other interactions. Videos also can be used to discuss and role play responses to different situations.

Have fun with the use of videos, watch them with your child, help your child create videos of their own and enjoy the learning and discovering process with them.

understanding How To Cope With And React To New Feelings

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Life is full of emotions. We can’t help but feel angry, sad, and anxious at times. However, learning to handle our emotions is an important skill that can be difficult for a child with autism to learn.

Here are some ways to help your child on the spectrum understand and respond to their feelings and emotions.

Identify Your Feelings – Teach child on the spectrum to recognize when they have a specific feeling. Whether that feeling is happy, sad, or angry the first step in coping with a feeling is identifying it. Help your child with autism by discussing emotions when they occur. It is also recommended that you role play through specific emotions so that your child knows how to react when they surface.

Cope with Intense Feelings– Help your child on the spectrum cope with intense feelings by creating coping strategies. Have a quiet place for your child to take a break when they get angry or feel sad. Give your child with autism the proper tools, and teach him/her how, and when to use them. These tools help release energy in a positive way. Encourage your child to use words or write about their feelings. Establish a phrase that your child can use to remove themselves from stressful or upsetting situations.

Encourage Your Child to Recognize Other People’s Feelings – Learning to empathize with other people and respond appropriately to another person’s feelings, is an important skill for building relationships. Show your child pictures, drawings or role play situations to discuss the words, body language, and experiences that indicate how a person is feeling. Read stories where characters experience events that are happy, sad, surprising, or frustrating. Discuss why the characters felt the way they did and what they said or did to indicate their feelings.

Respond to Other People’s Feelings – Not only is it important for your child on the spectrum to identify other people’s feelings, it is also important for them to learn how to respond when someone is angry, sad, or excited. Teach your child on the spectrum the appropriate ways to respond through role play and reviewing past events. Discuss how different people feel, how their body language and words show their feelings, and the best response for the situation.

Children with autism often struggle not only with understanding their feelings, but also relating to other people’s feelings. These skills are critical for personal well-being and building relationships.