Archive for July, 2013

Going to Middle School

The Autism Society has created a document with tips to help students on the autism spectrum transition to middle school. Read it HERE.

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Helpful Hints for Doctor’s Appointments

Doctor's office

The doctor’s office can be a scary place. Here are some tips to make your child’s next trip to the pediatrician a little smoother.

  • Talk to the doctor or a staff member ahead of time. Find out what procedures your child is scheduled for. If you are seeing a different health care provider than typical, let them know that your child has sensory difficulties and may require a little more time and explanation.
  • Try to make the appointment first thing in the morning or right after lunch to decrease the chances of the appointment running late. Keep in mind your child’s natural rhythm when picking an appointment.
  • Make a visual schedule of what to expect. Steps may include waiting, standing on a scale to be weighed and measured, taking temperature, waiting again in the exam room, having the doctor check eyes, ears and chest, etc. Let your child check off the steps
  • Bring a large, soft button up shirt or bathrobe from home and a pillowcase or towel to sit on if your child has difficulty tolerating the paper gown or table cover.
  • Have your child complete wall pushups in the exam room when waiting for the doctor to come in.
  • Read children’s books about going to the doctor. Mickey, Dora and Clifford all have books about their own doctor’s appointments.
  • Play doctor at home. Set up a reception desk, waiting area and examination room. Practice the steps of a doctor’s appointment so your child will know what to expect during the real thing.

Apps We Love: Combo 101

Why We Love It: Do you have a child heading to middle school next year? This app is a great tool to teach the process of opening a combination lock. The whole purpose of the app is to use a combination lock to open a locker or safe. Initially, the combination is set up with numbers that are simple to locate on the dial. Then the child works up to locating harder digits. Although a real combination lock is a bit easier to turn, the option to simplify the combination helps keep the kids from becoming overwhelmed and giving up.

combo 101

Why Kids Love It: Middle school is a big change for our kids at the clinic, and they seem to get a real sense of pride about mastering the art of combination locks. The app uses a timer to track how long it took to open the lock, so the kids can try to beat their best score. The timer is not visible on the screen during the unlocking process, so there is no distraction or sense of pressure for the task. To keep the kids engaged in what can be a tedious practice, there is an option to place a picture from your device’s camera roll on the inside of the locker as a surprise and motivator.

Available iTunes Store $0.99

Handwriting Practice for the Summer Months

Children work very hard on handwriting skills each day during the school year. Don’t let the summer months slip by without encouraging handwriting practice. Here are some ideas to incorporate handwriting into vacation without bringing out the structured workbooks.

  • Play games that include handwriting in the activity, like the board game Scattergories Jr. or have your child complete Mad Libs.
  • Alter the rules of board games or card games to include a handwriting component. Have your child write their questions to play Guess Who, or write the new color after using a “Wild” card in Uno.
  • Create a fortune teller. Put your child in charge of writing the words for the inside flaps. Here is a link with instructions. There are also templates for math-themed fortune tellers. We like to make ours with sensory activities written in them, such as jumping, catching a heavy ball, etc. Check out our indoor proprioceptive activities post for more ideas.shopping list
  • Have your child write out a shopping list of his favorite groceries that you will be buying at the store. During the shopping trip, have him cross off the items as you place them in the cart.
  • Take a picture of a family activity each week and have your child write about it. Young writers could simply label the picture, while older children could write a journal entry.

Water Games to Support Sensory Diets

Summer is the perfect time to use water games to support your child’s sensory diet. Most water games primarily provide proprioceptive input, which is often calming and organizing in nature. Activities that involve lifting, pushing, pulling, dragging, squeezing or crashing all provide proprioceptive input. However, if your child has tactile sensitivities, they may find small water droplets to be alarming, uncomfortable or even unbearable. Let your child explore water games on their own terms and be flexible with the rules and expectations.

  • Play catch with water balloons. After each catch, have each person take a step backwards.waterballoon
  • Make a water obstacle course. Set up obstacles for your child to go over, under, around, etc., but increase the challenge (and fun) by having him carry a cup of water through the course to dump into a bucket on the other side. Continue until the bucket is full.
  • Have a pool? Blow up a dozen or so balloons and place them in the shallow end of the pool. Have your child compete against a sibling, friend, or their own best record to see how many balloons they can grab and hold under their bodies in 30 seconds. (When you’re done, make sure to clean up any broken balloon pieces.)
  • Car washing sponges are a great way to add some weight to a scavenger hunt. Have your child fill a sponge with water and hunt for objects you have hidden in the back yard. When she finds an object, she should “tag” it by squeezing out the sponge and soaking the object, then head back to fill the sponge again.
  • Print out pictures of monsters, cartoon villains, or another character your child is interested in. Hang them from trees or a fence (try weighting them down by taping a clothespin to the back so they don’t blow too much in the breeze). Have your child use a water blaster to take aim and soak all of the “bad guys”. The tube-shaped water blasters that squirt water out by pushing a handle are great for this.