Monthly Archives: October 2017

Preparing Your Child For Halloween

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Halloween is an exciting night and creates lasting childhood memories for both kids and parents. Here are some strategies that will help prepare your child on the spectrum for a night of ghouls, goblins, critters and candy.

The first thing you should do to get your child on the spectrum excited about Halloween and a night of trick or treating is to let them pick a Halloween costume they will feel comfortable in. Some children on the spectrum can be sensitive to face makeup or masks. If the costume calls for either, find alternative ways create the look your child is going for. Glue popsicle sticks to a mask so that they don’t have to wear it on their face, but have the option to present the mask if they choose to.

Always try to do a Halloween dress rehearsal before the big night. Have your child on the spectrum put on the complete costume and role play by going to a family, neighbor, or friend’s home and practicing saying “trick or treat”, holding their basket or bag out and saying “thank you” after they receive their candy. Remind your child to be polite, wait their turn, and take one piece of candy.

It is important to establish your guidelines in advance. Prepare your child with autism for what to expect on Halloween. Let me know what time they will be going trick or treating, for how long they can expect to be out. Explain to them that they can only go to homes with their lights on. Give them specific guidelines of what streets they can be on and the fact that they need to stay near you, a family member or a friend’s parents. Use visuals if it is easier for your child on the spectrum to understand what to expect on Halloween night. Remember to review everything right before you set out to start your evening.

Candy guidelines are also a factor that needs to be taken into consideration. Children can become very excited when it comes to candy. Set rules on how much candy they are allowed to have in a day. Before you go trick or treating make sure your child on the spectrum knows to bring all the candy home and give it to you so that you can check it before they eat it. Create a chart on when your child is allowed to eat candy and how many pieces they can have.

With guidelines in place and expectations managed, your child will have an incredibly fun night of trick or treating and you will create special Halloween memories that will last a lifetime.

Coping With Disasters, Trauma and Stress

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With the state of the world today…hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, shootings….and more, there is a lot of disaster going on around us. Even for the most well-adjusted child this can be very stressful, but for a child with autism, it can be out right devastating. Here are some ways to recognize signs of stress in a child with autism that can come from a disaster or traumatic event.

If your child is young or non-verbal they may not have the ability or willingness to express themselves in a way that you will understand. If your child is acting insecure or is suddenly very stressed out and irritated, these can be signs of something gone wrong. Here are some questions you should ask yourself to figure out if something is negatively affecting your child on the spectrum.

• Is your young child with autism acting irritated?
• Have you noticed your child on the spectrum cry excessively but you don’t know why?
• Has your child been acting out?
• Does your child suddenly have difficulty sleeping or wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares?
• Does he or she lack emotions or emotional expressions?
• Have you noticed any regressive behavior?

If your child on the spectrum is slightly older and more verbal they may have a better understanding of what is going on around them and how to handle themselves in a crisis situation. Although they may seem to be coping, they can still experience post traumatic stress. Parents should ask themselves the following questions about their older child’s behavior if they feel they are having a hard time dealing with a disaster or traumatic experience.

• Is your older child with autism suddenly pre-occupied with an event, traumatic experience or disaster?
• Has your older child on the spectrum started to withdrawal from their friends or stopped participating in their favorite activities?
• Has your son or daughter started to experience trouble sleeping or been complaining of headaches?
• Have they lost their ability to concentrate at home or at school?
• Do you wonder if they are depressed over something that happened?
• Are they suddenly afraid to leave the house?

If you can answer yes to some or all of these questions, then something has happened to your child to cause them trauma or stress.

There are several things that can be done to help your child get a better handle of their level of stress after a traumatic event takes place.

Some of the things you can try are:

• Do what you can to get your child back to their normal routine. If you can’t get back to your normal routine due to a disaster make it clear to your child that this situation is only temporary and try to find a happy balance for them between their old routine and the new routine they are in post-disaster.

• Show compassion by giving your child with autism extra hugs and more attention… anything they like that will give them a sense of love, safety and comfort.

• Let them know you are there for them. Be there shoulder to cry on, be available to talk to them and comfort them. Initiate conversation about your situation if they don’t come to you first, and most of all listen to what they have to say. Take their fears, concerns, gestures and expressions seriously and let them know it is OK for them to have these feelings and concerns.
• Be mindful of your reactions to their fears. Stay calm and be sure not to say anything that would further cause them stress or be disturbing for them to hear.

• Limit their exposure to the media and to films or TV shows that depict similar incidents. If your child with autism is older and has access to social media, the news or radio then do what you can to talk to them about what is happening, how it is effecting others and how they can possibly help.

Lastly if you feel you have tried everything and it is not working, it is always a good idea to seek some professional help from a doctor, councilor or specialist.


Helping Children With Autism Live Their Best Possible Life.

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You give birth to a perfect and healthy baby. You remember the first time you hold your baby in your arms, the first time your baby grabs your finger with their tiny little hands. You remember the first time (s)he imitate something you do, their first word, the first time they give you a big strong hug. Then one day it suddenly stops. Your perfect and healthy child no longer looks you in the eyes, (s)he stairs blankly into space. The words or gestures decrease, your child becomes easily upset and suddenly withdraws from your touch.

As a parent you begin to worry, you take your child to a doctor or specialist and you learn that your perfect and healthy baby has just bee diagnosed with autism. To most parents, this diagnosis is shocking. Many times, parents are in denial, blame one another, or withdraw all together, BUT none of it is anyone’s “fault”.

Now that you know your child’s diagnosis, it is time to take the proper steps to make sure that your child on the spectrum is able to live as normal of a life as possible. It is also time for parents to learn how to adjust their lives and their schedule to help their children thrive, and to give themselves a chance to understand, accept and support their child through their stages of development.

Here is some good news! If you saw the signs early on, early intervention will give you and your child on the spectrum a REAL a chance to learn and develop behaviors that will help them interact and communicate with others appropriately throughout their lives. Although no cure exists for autism, many families turn to professionals like those working at Beautiful Minds Center to help them learn and discover methods that leverage the disability’s strengths to improve the lives of everyone affected.

Beautiful Minds Center believes that each child is unique and prides itself on creating individualized programs that best suit the child and their families. They believe that Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), or the process of applying systematic interventions to improve socially significant behaviors is one of the most impactful ways to educate and work with children that have been diagnosed with autism.
By working with a team of ABA professionals you will help your child on the spectrum processes information and enhance learning in a systematic, scientifically based way that prompts social, communication, and other functional life skills with amazing success.

If you have or know someone who has a child on the autism spectrum who is in need of therapy to help them reach their maximum potential and enhance their quality of life, then Beautiful Minds Center can help. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development go to e-mail one of Beautiful Minds Center’s certified behavioral specialists.

No one has to be alone, Beautiful Minds Center has built a community of Board Certified Behavioral Analysts, professional and dedicated therapists, and a staff that will help support you every step of the way.