Summer is a great time for getting outside and spending time with family and friends, but the entire experience can often be overwhelming for autistic children (and their loved ones). The weather is already heating up, so we’ve put together our top activities to help you and your child get the most out of your summer together.
1. Create a home movie theater for outdoor movie fun
Going to a theater can be a fun and exciting experience — often involving lots of great opportunities to practice interactions and use learned skills — but can also be a bit overwhelming for those with autism. For a fun twist, why not consider creating an at-home theater in your backyard? It’s relatively easy to achieve:
Hang sheets on the side of your house or a tall fence and set up a projector. Lay out tons of pillows and blankets to create a homey, cozy outdoor atmosphere, and set up plenty of camping chairs or benches for additional seating. Hang strands of lights and paper lanterns for even more coziness. Invite family and friends to join your movie party, then pop some popcorn, gather up everyone’s favorite snacks, and settle in for a great time!
2. Get outside for long walks in the woods
3. Get to the lake or the beach for sun and sand
4. Try new physical activities
5. Make up a new game
An Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting is a tool that special education professionals and other support staff use to plan, monitor, and revise a child’s education plan for the coming year or other chosen time periods. These meetings are essential to ensure that the child will receive the support and services that they need to achieve the goals set for the coming period.
Parents and other relatives will usually be present, and it’s important to understand that for many of them, this meeting can be an incredibly emotional event. It is not at all unusual for these family members to become confused, angry, upset, or exhibit other intense emotions during the meeting.
As members of the support staff, we need to ensure that the meeting is productive while remaining helpful and supportive to the family.
BE PREPARED & PROFESSIONAL
Parents and other family members attending the meeting are looking to you to assure them their child is in good hands. Coming to the meeting prepared and exhibiting professionalism during the meeting will go a long way toward making them more comfortable.
Actively Assess the IEP During the Meeting
An IEP meeting is an active discussion to make sure everybody involved in the child’s education is working toward the same goals. Don’t hesitate to provide your input during the meeting.
Be a Good Listener & Actively Participate
All participants in the meeting are there for a reason. It’s essential that everyone has a voice and has a chance to be heard.
Direct Support to the Families - Advocate for Them
It is critical that the family members in attendance feel that the support staff is their child’s advocate - not their enemy. Be sure to address their needs and concerns throughout the meeting.
It is essential that parents and other loved ones present at the IEP feel that their child’s needs are being met. We can help ensure that the meeting is productive and addresses their needs and concerns by coming prepared, ready to listen, and willing to take action.
Books are a critical part of every young child’s development. You probably remember certain books you had as a child that taught you about animals, shapes, colors, numbers and more.
For children with autism, books are a great sensory toy that can help them recognize emotions, understand social cues, and receive valuable sensory input.
We’ve gathered a short list of our favorite interactive, sensory, or counting books to help your child’s development in a fun and stimulating way.
Point to Happy
Never Touch a Monster
Touch! My Big Touch-and-Feel Word Book
The Ocean (Touch and Explore)
Dog’s Colorful Day
The Three Little Pigs: A Nosy Crow Fairy Tale
Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure
Enjoy the Best Books to Touch, Learn, and PlaY
For children with autism, books are a great way to combine playtime with critical development of knowledge and skills. These books provide a stimulating visual, or sometimes tactile, sensory experience while teaching them about emotions, social cues, counting and numbers, and more.
This list includes our favorite interactive, sensory, and counting books for young children with autism. If you purchase one of these books, let us know what you thought!
Sensory toys are those that give autistic children the sensory inputs that they desire. These sensory inputs include visual, tactile, and vestibular inputs, among others. For children undergoing Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), these toys can provide the rewards used to reinforce positive behaviors.
With Christmas right around the corner, we wanted to show our top 10 sensory toys for children with autism.
1) Therapy Swings
2) Balance Board/Teeter
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