Long hair can be a problem. Food could get in it, your child could bite it or try to chew on it, or it could be constantly dirty and difficult to keep clean.
Eventually, your child on the spectrum will need a haircut! This can be a major challenge for parents. All of the different sounds and sensations that come along with getting your haircut can be a complete sensory overload. Here are tips to help make this a smooth process!
1. Don’t surprise your child. Allow them to plan ahead and prepare for the haircut beforehand. Include a social story to explain what happens when you do go to get the haircut so there are no big unexpected events. Reminders about the haircut on the days leading up to it can help them be more at ease.
2. Often times, a child on the spectrum will be extremely sensitive to certain noises and sensations, especially around the ears. Introduce them to hair clippers and the sounds they make. Desensitize your child to the vibrations and sounds of the clippers. When you arrive at the Salon, the tools being used will already be familiar. Use ear plugs to block out the noise.
3. Bring a preferred item to take the child’s mind off getting a haircut. This could be anything that is reinforcing to them and they play with a lot at home. Some examples are a tablet, animal toys, iPod with favorite songs, fidgets, coloring books, or a small toy train that they love. Pack a bag of possible items they would use as a coping skill or to calm down when feeling scared.
4. Pack your child’s favorite snack (I suggest more than one). A haircut can be a frightening experience for them and at times the sensory overload may become too much. This is when a break involving a snack will come in handy. Explain that “we can take a break now and come back and do more after we have a snack”. Just as adults, children with autism need time to regulate themselves when they become agitated, this break time will provide an opportunity to relax.
5. Use positive reinforcement and reward them for getting a haircut. Remember that this is an overwhelming experience and remind them that they have a treat waiting either at home or in the car when the haircut is done. This could be a new toy, a frappe at McDonald’s, or a trip to play mini golf in the summer. Anything the child will look forward to and ease some of the stress.
6. Find a hairdresser who does home visits. If this is not possible, choose the time and day that you go to the salon wisely. Find out what the quietest times of business are. Less people equals less noise and a calmer environment.
7. Model it! Use a modeling video to show another child getting their haircut. This will give the child an idea of what to expect. Below is a video that can be used for modeling.
The first step towards getting a job can be intimidating. Teenagers with autism often need extra support when applying for positions. A perfect place to start is by having a conversation with your child to discuss interests and skills, but most important is passion.
What is their passion and greatest interest in life? What will motivate them to take this passion to the level of earning money and possibly building a career? Before you begin looking at job opportunities for your teenager, first figure out what they actually enjoy doing and want to do. What are they interested in? For example, an animal lover may look for jobs as a dog walker or working at an animal shelter. Someone who enjoys math and likes numbers may want to try and find a position working a cash register. Remember, you want your child to earn money but you also want them to be happy.
It is important to be realistic with your child about whether their skills match what they are attaining to do. In other words, every person has a unique set of skills and strengths. It is best to match those strengths with jobs where it would help them excel. A person who is organized, comfortable talking on the telephone, knowledgeable about cars, and works well with others would not realistically be able to become a construction worker.
Think about the individual strengths and weaknesses.
How can your child improve their skills with more training or school? Finding opportunities in the community to further learn and build competencies can help boost a resume and provide valuable experience for joining the future workforce. Volunteer opportunities where you can practice vital skills that will be used later in your career can help make for a more appealing job candidate.
Another option would be an internship. At an internship, your child could see what kind of worker they are and if further support is needed. In this case, a contract that includes a performance review at the end would be helpful.
What else can you do to prepare your child for entering the workforce?
If a job does not come right away, remember that it normally takes a person numerous interviews, phone calls, and follow ups to get hired. Don’t give up and continue to have a positive attitude!
The following video is about Jimmy and is the perfect example of turning your passion into employment! Good luck on your hunt!
Throughout the history of time, music has been a powerful way for people to come together and engage with one another. Music class is included in schools everywhere because of the many benefits it can bring. Specifically, for children on the ASD spectrum, music provides unique sensory experiences. The various sounds, tones, and melodies provide a new experience for the children.
Many children with autism are either non-verbal or currently developing verbal skills. These children have difficulty expressing themselves. Music can be an outlet for expression and help children discover new sides of themselves and also see the world in a different way. It can help with anxiety by allowing the child a method of releasing tension and stress that they otherwise would not be able to express.
Playing music can encourage a child to be more social and communicate with other children. When we look at a band playing a concert, we see that all of the musicians are working together cohesively and building off the sounds that each person is making. Introducing musical instruments can help facilitate positive interactions with others.
Think about when you hear a new song on the radio that you like. You immediately will begin to have your own interpretation of the lyrics and the instruments used. The song could help you learn a new word or expression. The song could help you better understand a certain social situation or give you a new perspective. Seeing and understanding the world from someone else’s view is a valuable and important life skill.
Putting children together to play or listen to music can help them interact with one another and build the confidence needed to make that big step towards initiating a conversation. These types of activities often lead to dancing which not only provides exercise for the children but it also helps build fine motor skills and stimulates the senses. Most importantly, music is fun!
Hooper, Wigram, Carson, & Lindsay (2011) concluded that a practitioner can use “musical experiences to develop a relationship that promotes health by resolving an individual’s physical, emotional and psychological difficulties” or can promote “health by providing music as a stimulus to reduce or eliminate inappropriate behaviors that tend to be considered an ‘unhealthy’” (p. 23).
One of our Registered Behavior Technicians and a current Masters level student in ABA has started a music program at Positive Synergy. I got a chance to talk with Johnny about this and he said the following: “These past few months have been very exciting at Positive Synergy.
After nearly a year in the making, the music program is up and running and has been very well received by both our kiddos and staff alike. The music program concentrates on further developing gross and fine motor skills, honing in on listening and imitation skills, promoting interaction and cooperation among all of the students, and most importantly, providing an outlet for the students to plug in and express themselves with the multitude instruments that are offered.
The Positive Synergy music program is excited to further grow with group sessions, as well as incorporating music in ABA sessions and providing individual lessons with regards to piano, bass, and drums. This summer is going to "ROCK!”.
Below is Excerpt from the full-length documentary:
MUSIC IS MY THERAPY
You may have heard the term “self-care” floating around lately. So what is it? Self-care is the things you do for the most important person in your life……yourself!
Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Your kids, significant other, pets, work are those who receive the most from you. However, in order for all the special people in your life to receive the best care from you, you need to care for yourself. I know, I know how in the world are you supposed to find time for that?
Sometimes, you have to demand that time or be real creative in making time for yourself. Some of us are lucky enough to have extra help at home when you need to just take some space. Other times, we are the only person we have in getting stuff done day after day. Regardless of your situation, it is important to find ways you can cater to your own needs.
My self-care routine usually entails a workout once a week, painting my nails one night a week, and taking an hour each Saturday to go wherever I want to (for example, driving to Target 5 towns away just to take a drive).
Your self-care might involve gardening, lighting candles at night to relax, and enjoying a hike in the woods. This is the most beautiful aspect of self-care, you get to pick what you do for yourself! Self-care also does not mean you have to perform these activities alone. You could take your kids out for ice cream or make time to see a friend you have not had a chance to see very often.
No matter what you decide is best for your situation, it is important to remember one thing. It is not at all selfish to recognize small things you can do for yourself each week in order to perform all the roles you are involved in. Being a parent is the most demanding role of all.
The sacrifices you perform for your children are seen daily. Your children will benefit from seeing you perform self-care for yourself. This can also assist in you teaching your child to recognize what they do for themselves for self-care.
When - May 8th
Time - 4:30 to 7:30
Do you have a child that has a hard time following directions or rules? Does your child sometimes exhibit unsafe behavior? Do you want to better understand human behavior, and how to properly motivate and encourage your child? Then Safety Care for Families may be for you!
QBS has developed Safety-Care for Families, a training program that allows professionals to support family members in a home or home-like setting. This innovative course provides parents and others at 18 and up with the skills interventions needed to improve behavior and to prevent, minimize, and manage potentially dangerous incidents.
The Safety-Care for Families curriculum consists of four sessions, attendance to all 4 sessions are not required. Families may pick to attend essentials 1 or complete the entire series! Essential skills are presented in a lecture format while advances skills are training in a small group for individualized instruction. To participate in any session, a participant must have attended each of the earlier ones.
The training will cover the following:
Part 1 – 2 ½ hours
Part 2 – 2 ½ hours
Part 1 – 2 ½ hours
Part 2 – 2 ½ hours
Changing Lives. together
1573 Fall River Ave
Seekonk, MA 02771