Autism and Organizing for Finals - Part One What do we do with finals? Finals creep into our lives twice a year. For me, twice a year I have to remember how finals work best for my child with autism. We really began to focus on how to approach finals in middle school. What happened in middle school? Middle school is the level of school with “real” finals. There are finals in the elementary grades, but they really begin to be super important in middle school. The first semester of middle school for my son didn’t end very well. Why … [Read more...]

A Student with Autism and a Behavior Chart My son is in ninth grade, which means high school. And, he’s had some bumps in the road during this all-important transition. What are some of the issues? *First of all, my son is going without an aide for the full school day. He has never been aide-less before in school. He wanted to go to high school without an aide, and we’re supporting his wishes. *He has been late to a few classes. *He has also been caught playing games on his phone. *He has forgotten to turn in homework. And, he has mixed … [Read more...]

A Student with Autism Transitions to No School Aide   Our son wanted to not have an aide in high school. And, here’s how it’s going… How did we begin the transition? My son had a full time aide in 7th grade. As the year ended, the aide would give him “breaks,” she wasn’t with him during snack and lunch. She would meet him at the classes that followed snack and lunch. He did well getting to those classes on time. By the time 8th grade started, my son wanted more independence. At his IEP, we talked to his teachers, and made a … [Read more...]

Autism and Learning a Foreign Language Big time advice coming… A few times, when my son with autism was younger, I said to myself, “I should really get him into some kind of foreign language instruction soon.” But, I never followed through. Now, my son has just started high school and is finally taking a foreign language, Spanish. I wish he had started when he was younger. Why? Even with a typical kid, the earlier you start a foreign language instruction, the better. Now, add autism into the mix. What happened? Well, my son began his … [Read more...]

Guest Blogger Dina Kimmel writes this week... How Sensory Gyms Help Kids on the Autism Spectrum A trampoline, a zip line, and a climbing structure — these may sound like typical pieces of equipment at any regular kids gym. In actuality, they help foster an inclusive learning and play environment. They are some of the necessary pieces of equipment found in a sensory gym. A sensory gym is designed to serve and accommodate the sensory needs of children with sensory processing disorders, such as autism. Unique, specially-designed equipment helps … [Read more...]

The Arts and Children with Autism My son interest in music has been hit or miss. He liked listening to songs a few years ago, but then it went away. It's came back last summer as we were on a driving trip. He has never really been drawn to musical instruments. Why are musical instruments sometimes hard for our kids? In the book, “Ido in Autismland,“ written by a non-verbal teenager with autism, the author believes many autistic children have a difficult time communicating from their brains to their hands or limbs. He says there is "a … [Read more...]

Ageing Out of Autism Services   My son has been in a social skills group since he was three years old. When he turns thirteen this year, he will "officially" age out of this group. What is social skills group? Social skills group is a structured play group with four to six children who are relatively near each other on the autism spectrum. They have two facilitators who strive to encourage the group to communicate, play, and interact with each other. My son was young when he started at age three. However, the facility (at that time) … [Read more...]