Monthly Archives: December 2018

A Stress-Free New Years Eve

In just a few days we will be saying goodbye to 2018 and welcoming a brand new year filled with hope, excitement and opportunity. 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 2019

Early Signs of Autism – what to look for in infants

We often hear so much about the “red flags” seen in toddlers, but there are many signs that a child with autism beings to display earlier on in their infancy stage. If caught quickly, early intervention can help your child on the spectrum advance their language and communication skills at a faster rate then once these skills have already developed and need to be retrained.

One reason many families have a hard time recognizing these red flags may have to do with the fact that since children do no start producing spoken language until one year of age, the “early signs” might be too subtle to notice. This could be especially true for families with limited resources and access to information. Therefore, these children who should have already been evaluated are not referred to early intervention therapy until after they are expected to produce spoken language.

Here are some of the early signs of autism that begin in the infancy stage. These signs are important for all parents to be aware off. The earlier that autism is diagnosed and therapy begins the better chances your child has of overcoming certain social and behavioral obstacles later on in life.

  • Smiles late or very minimally – occurs in the first few months of life
  • Seldom makes eye contact with people – typically emerges between two to four months
  • Does not respond to calling of their name with head turns – occurs between eight to ten months
  • Does not turn or look when you point or say “look at this,” – occurs between ten to 12 months
  • Does not point at objects or people – emerges between 12 to 14 months
  • Does not babble back and forth – established at six months of age. Babbling becomes more complex with more syllables between 8 to 10 months
  • Demonstrates unusual movements, such as hand flapping, spinning, tapping or playing with the same toy in a way that seems odd or repetitive
  • Doesn’t explore surroundings with curiosity or interest

If you have any concerns about your child’s development in the infancy stage, please reach out to your pediatrician and voice your concerns. They will be able to refer you to a specialist who can evaluate your child’s development and connect you with the proper program, such as Beautiful Minds Center, that specializes in early intervention therapy.

Enjoying A Stress-free Holiday Season With A Child On The Spectrum


Do you find your calendar of events filling up this month? Is it full of holiday parties, family get-togethers, special events, etc? If this is the case, and you expect your holiday season to be a busy one, then we are here to help make your holiday activities a little less stressful this year.

Here are some ways you can help your child with autism plan ahead for the holidays:

No surprises – There is nothing that causes more stress then not knowing what to expect, so this year be clear with your child with autism on where you are going, who you will see, what you will be doing or celebrating, etc. IF they know what to expect, there will be no surprises and less ways to create a stressful situation.

Provide Visual and Verbal support – Depending on the needs of your child on the spectrum, it is sometimes more effective to tell them and show them what they can expect from a particular outing. Sometimes it’s not enough to tell them that you are going to a holiday party at the home of a family friend, sometimes, it’s best to show pictures of your family friends, their home, maybe even some of the food they can expect to eat etc. Other times reading stories about the holidays or drawing pictures with your child with autism will reduce anxiety. Images from stories are also a good way to illustrate what your child can expect from a given situation.

Involve Your Child with Autism – Often your child on the spectrum is told where they are going, what they will be doing, and how they need to behave. This holiday season try involving them in some of the decision making so that they have the chance to take ownership in some of the activities they are part of. Letting your child with autism make a few choices on their own in an outing can help them feel like they are part of the process.

Tell your child when they’ve done a good job! – As you go through the day, make sure you take the time to praise your child on the spectrum for listening, following directions, and being kind to others. This will show your child with autism that they get more positive attention for following the rules instead of breaking them.

Delays Will Happen…Plan For Them – It is rare that things go exactly as planned. It is best to prepare in advance so that an already unplanned situation doesn’t escalate into something worse. To do so, keep your child’s basic needs in mind, make sure to have snacks, water, portable activities and games etc with you so that they don’t feel the consequences of the delay in an adverse way. Also when it comes to shopping during the holiday seasons, if you know your child with autism can’t handle a busy or crowded store, plan ahead to either go without them, order gifts and goodies online, or prepare them for the noise and ciaos that can happen this busy shopping season.