Back to School Tips for Parents of Children with Autism Posted on September 18, 2018 at 11:49 am.Written by SeedCenter User The new school year has started, bringing new beginnings and excitement into your child’s life! Daily schedules, routines, and expectations have changed. Also, your child is meeting new people, has a new classroom and a new teacher! For children with autism spectrum disorder, going back to school can be overwhelming and stressful. To help, we have gathered a list of helpful back to school tips that can be implemented now and for school years yet to come. How to best support your child: Stay involved and up to date on your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Meet with your child’s teacher to discuss any triggers your child may have and the best methods to handle these triggers in the classroom Be sure to familiarize your child with their school by providing them with a map or tour to help them locate the nurse’s office, bathroom, cafeteria, classrooms, etc. Make sure your child’s clothing is comfortable and will allow them to remain comfortable throughout the duration of the school day Try keep your child’s routine during holidays and breaks close to that of the school year so your child is mentally and physically prepared for school Explain your child’s daily routine and use visuals if necessary so your child knows exactly what to expect each day Always expect the unexpected! How Our Autism Treatment Center Can Help: There will be many big moments like this in your child’s life. You can’t be prepared for everything, but you can prepare for different milestones. Different situations are going to cause different questions to arise. The SEED Center helps you and your child prepare for many of life’s curveballs. With various programs and a caring staff, we are dedicated to seeing your child grow and thrive in their everyday lives. Please give us a call or browse our site for more information and useful resources! Tips to Get Your Child Ready for the New School Year Posted on June 25, 2018 at 1:58 pm.Written by SeedCenter User Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash Is your child starting kindergarten soon? Are you worried that your child is not prepared for the transition? Do you worry that they may fall behind their classmates? As summer winds down and the new school year approaches, keep these tips in mind. You will help prepare your child for a new setting and give yourself ease at mind as you drop them off for their first day! Our Autism Treatment Center is proud to provide you with the information you need to enhance the life of your child! Start out with these steps: Practice being independent In a school setting, your child will not be able to turn to you for help. Make sure your child can use the restroom, follow directions, eat lunch, tie their shoes, etc. independently. Go on adventures Take an adventure to a children’s museum, to the aquarium, a fair, etc. Having your child experience different settings will help them to become knowledgeable of different environments. Incorporate learning into play While engaging in a play activity, think of creative ways to incorporate numbers, colors, concepts, etc. Work on gross and fine motor skills Help your child practice their fine motor skills that will come in handy during class time, such as, drawing a line, cutting a piece of paper, etc. Help them practice their gross motor skills by working on balance and coordination (hop, skip, jump). Encourage socialization Help your child become more social by scheduling play dates. Interacting with other children will help them learn sharing, listening, and how to cooperate with others. Talk a lot! The more words your child knows, the better! Be chatty and engage in conversation in various environments to help increase your child’s vocabulary. Mimic the school day Help prepare your child for school by showing them what to expect. Take them to tour the school, setup a play date with some of their classmates so they can recognize familiar faces and explain the pickup and drop-off routine for the school days. Teach numbers, colors, and letters To help your child start off on the right foot, make sure they can recognize basic shapes, colors, numbers, and letters! Read to your child Reading to your child everyday has many benefits. It will teach your child new words, how to read left to right, how to engage in a plot line, etc. Sync bedtime routine As summer ends and the school year approaches, start framing bedtimes and mornings to mimic the schedule of the school year. It is best to do this about a month before the first day of school to give your child plenty of time to adjust! For more information on autism therapy for your child, please visit our services. How You Can Help Your Child Become More Independent Posted on June 5, 2018 at 3:06 pm.Written by SeedCenter User Photo by Emma Goldsmith on Unsplash “Are there any parenting tips to help make my child more independent? How can I help my child do day-to-day tasks without my direct help?” These questions are not uncommon for parents, especially parents of children with autism. Ideally, parents want their child to be able to do tasks consistently and without constant reminder. So how can you make this possible? Make the task as simple as possible: Is the task easy? Are the items needed for the task easily accessible? Decrease the amount of effort needed to complete the task: Is the task extensive? Could you do anything to make the task easier for your child to complete? Let’s say the day-to-day task that you want your child to do independently is brushing her teeth. And right now, there is a stepping stool that she needs to access the medicine cabinet where her toothpaste is located. She has to move the stepping stool in front of the sink every time. Then, she has to reach up and grab the toothpaste to put it on her toothbrush and so on. So what if you permanently keep the stepping stool in front of the sink so she doesn’t have to move it each time? What if you keep the toothpaste on the counter right by her toothbrush so she doesn’t have to reach for it? Changing the physical location of the items that your daughter needs to access to complete the task will make it easier for her. “What if moving the items still does not help your child do the tasks independently?” Try positive reinforcement! Think to yourself, does your daughter get anything in return for brushing her teeth independently? If she is not completely the task independently and decreasing the difficulty of the task did not work, perhaps you need to reconsider the ‘reward’ she receives for brushing her teeth by herself. Find a reward that motivates her. Will she respond best to a verbal praise? Do you need to reward her with her favorite toy or activity? Finding a positive reinforcement will increase the likelihood of her completing the task independently. Positive reinforcement is one of the many tactics of ABA therapy. This is one of many strategies utilized by employees of The SEED Center. Care for Self, Care for Them Posted on April 6, 2018 at 8:42 am.Written by SeedCenter User 5 Self-Care Tips for Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder It’s the nature of parenthood to put your child’s needs before your own. If your child has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), this tendency becomes even more pronounced. Many parents will move heaven and earth to make sure that their children get the care and support they need. As much as you want to smooth the path for your child, however, it’s important to take time to care for yourself. You can only take the best possible care of your child when you’re taking the best possible care of yourself. We’ve assembled five tips to help you do just that. Have a look at the list below, and remember that you’re never alone in your journey. The community – including The SEED Center of Stamford – is always here to help. 1. Ask for help when you need it. “It takes a village to raise a child.” This is every bit as true for children on the spectrum as it is for children not on the spectrum. Don’t be afraid to ask family members and friends for extra help when you need it. You are not in this alone. 2. Research community resources. This goes hand-in-hand with asking for help when you need it. There are many resources available in the community designed to help children with ASD and their parents, from agencies that provide respite care to therapists, school resources, and much more. The more you know about what help is available, the better you’ll be able to access it when you need it. 3. Consider joining a support group. There is no one who understands the unique joys and challenges of parenting a child with ASD like another parent of a child with ASD. By joining a support group, you can air your concerns and discuss the challenges of parenting a child with ASD in a safe, non-judgmental environment. (This doesn’t have to be an in-person support group. There are many online forums and communities where parents of children on the spectrum can gather and support one another.) 4. Make modifications to your home. Children with ASD are very sensitive to their environments, especially light, color, and sound. Learn what stimuli your child responds best to and which stimuli cause your child distress. Then, modify your home to enhance the positive stimuli and downplay the negative. This will help your child stay calm and content at home, which can help the entire family. 5. Remember the joy. Parenting a child with ASD isn’t only a challenge – it’s also a joy. Focus on the positives as much as you can. Take pride in your child’s accomplishments. There’s no one else quite like your child. That’s something to celebrate! 10 Ways to Prevent a Shopping Meltdown Posted on March 28, 2018 at 12:06 pm.Written by SeedCenter User The crowds, sounds, and sights of a shopping mall or center can easily cause a sensory stimulus overload for a child with autism. This can make the task incredibly challenging for a parent. These ten tips are aimed to prevent shopping meltdowns and create a calmer experience. Let your child know ahead of time This can help your child cope with the idea of the stressful situation and allow them to know what is expected. Take a Virtual Tour Virtually tour the store online or if possible, take photos of the store on your cell phone to share with your child. This will allow your child to become familiar with the new environment before entering it. Build Tolerance Start with shorter, less extensive trips to the store that will allow your child to become comfortable with the store. Make these trips happen frequently and always praise good behavior. Plan a Schedule Go over the schedule of the day with your child the night before. Tell them a specific time that the shopping will take place and plan one of your child’s favorite activities afterwards. Be energized Make sure your child is well rested and energized before the shopping trip. Being tired shortens everyone’s tolerance. Identify Triggers Visiting stores ahead of time to search for stimuli that could trigger your child is beneficial. Prepare for Triggers If you know the store has particular stimuli that trigger your child, prepare for it. If your child is sensitive to loud sounds, bring along some headphones. Get ready to shop Prepare your child with a list, whether verbal or visual, of what you want to accomplish for the day. Make this list as detailed as possible, including finding a parking spot and shopping for specific items. This will help your child mentally prepare. Establish a signal Whether this is a verbal signal or a gesture, discuss a signal beforehand that your child can use when they are feeling overwhelmed. Bring a soothing object Try to bring a toy, blanket, or object that calms your child down just in case a meltdown begins.