Monday, April 16, 2018

Free Social Stories About Friendship

A collection of free social stories about friendship include free printable social stories for kids about how to be a good friend.

There is a huge list of social skills to tackle when it comes to raising children and many kids struggle with certain social skills like sharing or being a good sport, for instance.

Another area that many kids may have difficulty with is friendship.

There are so many aspects to consider when it comes to friendship from how to talk to friends, how to play with friends, how to make new friends, and how to be a good friend. There are even more topics as children grow up, such as peer pressure, for instance, that they may need guidance with too. So when it comes to teaching kids about friendship, there are so many factors to consider.

Social stories are a great tool for teaching social skills to kids, especially autistic children. You can simply use a social story to teach each of the different friendship skills your child may need to be a good a friend. Below you will find free social stories about friends, including free printable social stories for kids and social skills videos.

Free social stories about friends

Free Printable Social Stories About Friends

Whether you are looking for a playing with friends social story or being a good friend social story, these free printable social stories about friends are a great starting point! Some of these are pretty simplified and others required a free Teachers Pay Teachers account in order to download, but I hope you will still find them helpful.

1. Free Being a Good Friend Story from All Things Special Ed on Teachers Pay Teachers

2. Free Making Friends Social Story by Teacher Gomez on Teachers Pay Teachers

3. Free I Can Make Friends Social Story by Kelli Writes Social Stories on Teachers Pay Teachers

4. Free Being a Good Friend Social Story by Miss Allison's Class

5. Free Being with my Friends Story by Tania Kraus

6. Free Talking with my Friends Social Story by Tania Kraus

7. Free Walking with a Friend Social Story by Tania Kraus

Video Social Stories for Kids About Friendship

Video social stories can be a great way to teach kids about friendship. Here are some helpful videos!

Free social stories about friends
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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

To the Parent of a Child Who Was Just Diagnosed with Autism (8 Things You Should Know)

Things I want parents to know when their child is diagnosed with autism. Great practical autism parenting tips!

A couple of recent conversations with parents of kids awaiting diagnosis or who had just received a fresh diagnosis reminded me of just how loaded the term autism is. Many people are terrified of their children being labeled and perhaps most are terrified of the word autism itself. It is something I have written about before and I could easily write more about.

But I remember those early days after J's diagnosis. There was just so much to process, even though I was relieved to finally have a diagnosis.

So, here I am, many years later, ready and willing to pass on my best advice. Advice that I hope parents of freshly diagnosed autistic children will find helpful.

8 things you should know when your child is diagnosed with autism

What you Should Know Now that Your Child has Been Diagnosed with Autism

Now, obviously, there are a billion other things I would like to tell you about parenting an autistic child, but I am afraid I would overwhelm you. Ha! I get a wee bit passionate about this particular topic. Although, I tend to stay away from the controversial topics and just say "do your research" instead. 

So to the mom or dad currently reading this, there are 8 things I think you should know about your newly diagnosed autistic child.

8 things you should know when your child is diagnosed with autism
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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Autism Meltdowns Are Rarely Ever About the Little Things (Like Cheerios)

A personal reflection on a child's autism meltdown. 

Autism meltdowns are commonplace in our house. If you are a parent of an autistic child like myself, then you have likely been through your fair share of meltdowns with your child as well.

For some reason, I felt compelled to write about a certain meltdown that occurred recently. I took to Instagram to share the story, but quickly hit the word limit. I didn't even know Instagram had a word limit. Now I do know. 

Anyway, I stripped the story down until the basic gist of the story still remained intact. You can see the original short form on Instagram here. Below you will find the original full version that I had hoped to share.

A personal story about an autism meltdown that started with cheerios

Autism Meltdowns: Why It's Never Just About The Cheerios

It is never just about the cheerios.

See, yesterday started off like any other Sunday morning. The kids sort of slept in. You know, until like 7 or 7:30, I am not really sure. As usual, they helped themselves to some cereal and, with bowls in their hands, slipped into J's room to play. I could hear their giggles from across the hall while I laid in bed, catching up on my blog emails and notifications.

Just a regular lazy Sunday morning.

Fast forward about 40 minutes, where the four of us piled into the car, the kids still in their pajamas, so we could go do a Pokemon Go raid. Because that is what we do. We game together every single day and explore new areas of the city together, in search of those digital pocket monsters. We have a lot of fun playing Pokemon Go together, even when it is freezing cold out, like it has been here in Saskatchewan.

The kids each had a bag filled with sliced apples. And another bag filled with cheerios.

Not just any cheerios.

Apple cinnamon cheerios.

But then I had to stop for a red light halfway to our destination, perhaps hitting the brakes a touch harder than usual.

That is when one certain bag of cheerios, slightly open, slid off the back seat and onto the floor of our car.

Little tiny Os now littered the floor.

Apple cinnamon cheerios were everywhere.

Then, as if a light switch was suddenly turned on, screams from the back seat.



An autism meltdown.

At that particular moment, the world around J was simply too much.

And the only solution he could muster up was to turn around, head back home, and refill that bag with the exact same number of cheerios.

We reassured him that there were still plenty of cheerios in the bag.

Nope. He was not happy with that.

He needed to have the bag refilled to the exact same number of cheerios until the moment they spilled upon the floor.

There was only one possible way to fix this problem, according to him, and he would most definitely not budge. Typical for him during meltdowns.

And we were not going to turn back around just to refill the bag of cheerios, even if that seemed like the easiest way out.

Instead, my husband and I guided him through the meltdown as best as we could, letting the meltdown run its course.

This meltdown was hard. Not for me, goodness no. But for him. It is always hard for him. He was helpless and distraught at this particular moment. He was angry and frustrated. Visibly upset.

He was simply overwhelmed.

And he exploded.

Just like the bag of cheerios.

But it was never about those damn cheerios in the first place.

It never is.

His meltdowns are always a build up of something else.

What was it in this case? That, I have no idea.

When we got home some 20 or so minutes later, he still went on, in between yelling and crying and hitting, about the apple cinnamon cheerios and how he needed more in that bag.

Of course, we had no more. The last of the Os from the box were emptied earlier into that bag and then subsequently, on the floor of our car. That is how things work...of course...

But as with all meltdowns, they eventually subside. And as always, I am there for J during and after those meltdowns.

Because I am his safe place.

After the meltdown, it was like the cheerios never even existed. They were no longer important to him.

Because meltdowns are rarely ever actually about the little things like cheerios.

They are always the expression of something else, something bigger.

Yesterday, cheerios were the breaking point for him. Today it could be something entirely different.

But all that matters is that he knows I will be there to help him pick up the cheerios.

Other Autism Parenting Resources You'll Love

Autism Resources for Parents

Weekly Autism Planner

What I Want My Autistic Son to Know

A personal story about an autism meltdown that started with cheerios
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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Activities & Printables That Teach Kids How to Take Turns & Share

Social skills resources, activities, and printables for helping you with how to teach turn taking and sharing to kids.

Turn taking and sharing can be tricky concepts for kids to master, but it is certainly an important social skill to teach your kids.

The social skills resources below will help make teaching kids how to take turns and share so much easier! With hands-on activity ideas and helpful printables, you're going to love these resources!

Turn taking activities & ideas for teaching kids how to share

Tips for How to Teach Turn Taking Skills to Kids

Practical advice and suggestions on how to best teach your kids the concepts of taking turns and sharing.

1. 8 Tips on How to Teach Turn Taking Skills

2. 4 Simple Ways to Practice Taking Turns from Encourage Play

3. Tips to Encourage Sharing in Your Children from Mama Instincts

4. 4 Tips to Teach Your Child to Share from The Realistic Mama

Free Printable Resources to Help Kids Learn About Taking Turns

These printable resources will help your kids master the hidden rules of sharing, build vocabulary, and visually guide them through the process of taking turns.

1. Free Visual Turn Taking Cue Cards

2. Free Turn Taking Hidden Rules Social Skills Printable

3. Free Printable Turn Taking & Sharing Social Script

4. Free Social Stories About Sharing & Turn Taking

5. Free Let's Take Turns Visual from Creative CiCi on Teachers Pay Teachers

Fun Activities to Help Kids Practice Taking Turns & Sharing

Around here, we believe in the power of play and hands-on learning. It's how kids learn best! These social skills activities will make practicing the social skills of taking turns and sharing much more fun!

1. Musical Imitation Game

2. Pom Pom Turn Taking Game from One Time Through

3. Pass the Ice Cream Sharing Activity from Sunny Day Family

4. The Sharing Ball from What Do We Do All Day?

5. Elephant & Piggie Shape Sharing Activity from Mosswood Connections

Other Turn Taking Resources

There are lots of other ways to make this social skill concept fun and easy to teach, such as by reading books together or singing songs about sharing.

1. Best Children's Books About Taking Turns & Sharing from Living Montessori Now

2. Taking Turns & Sharing Songs & Rhymes from Bits of Positivity

3. Picture Books that Teach Kids About Sharing from A Book Long Enough

4. Picture Books About Sharing from All Done Monkey

Other Social Skills Resources You'll Love

List of 50 Social Skills to Teach Kids

Social Skills Apps for Kids

Huge Collection of Social Skills Resources

Turn taking activities & ideas for teaching kids how to share
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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Free Social Stories About Sharing & Taking Turns

Does your child have troubles with taking turns and sharing? These free social stories about sharing and taking turns are super helpful!

Learning how to take turns and share is something we work on a lot by playing board games together, but sometimes my son needs a bit of extra help with this area, like a lot of kids do.

I have shared 8 tips for teaching this particular social skill before and these tips are super easy to implement. Tips like using visual cues, social scripts about sharing, modeling, and learning about the hidden rules of turn taking, for instance, help autistic kids tremendously to learn the ins and outs of what's involved with sharing and taking turns.

However, some kids need more precise rules and guidelines for mastering social skills, so that's why social stories are helpful. They outline what is expected when it comes to sharing and taking turns with friends and family.

So if your autistic child needs a bit of help with turn taking and sharing, then you'll find these free social stories for kids about sharing and taking turns to be a great resource!

Free social stories for kids about sharing and taking turns

Free Printable Social Stories About Turn Taking & Sharing

These free social stories will help make teaching turn taking and sharing a breeze! I have not personally downloaded or sampled the social stories below, but decided to roundup what I could find for free. You'll need a Teachers Pay Teachers account (which is free!) in order to download the following stories.

1. Free Taking Turns Social Story from Iced Coffee Talk

2. Free Taking Turns Social Story from Calm Classrooms

3. Free Spanish Social Story About Sharing from Educating Everyone 4 Life

4. Free Sharing Comic Strip Social Story from ModelMeAutism

5. Free I Can Share with my Friends Social Story from Kelli Writes Social Stories

6. Free Sample: Tayla Teal Takes Turns Social Story from Rainbow Friends

Video Social Stories for Kids About Sharing & Taking Turns

Here are some handy video social stories that the kids will enjoy watching.

Other Social Story Resources You'll Love

Free social stories for kids about sharing and taking turns
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Monday, March 19, 2018

What I Want my Autistic Child to Know

A personal reflection on the things I want my son to know about being autistic.

I recently had an interesting conversation with a mother whose son was recently diagnosed with autism. In particular, we were discussing how the word autism seems to be such a scary term for so many people. They see autism as a negative. Something to be afraid of or sad about.

But here's the thing, autism is not a label to be feared or sorry for.

It really isn't.

Yet, people apologize when they learn my son is autistic, like it's a burden somehow to be raising him. And that's just a ridiculous notion to me.

Unfortunately, as he grows older, he's going to be facing these negative associations his entire life. So it's important to me now to help him be confident about who is he. So when - not if - he encounters these negative discussions about being autistic in the future, he will be adequately prepared to handle them. At least that is my goal.

So how am I preparing him? What am I doing today that teaches my son that being autistic is perfectly fine?

Things I want my son to know about being autistic

To My Autistic Son, Here's What I Want You to Know...

While there are probably a billion things I want my kids to know, one of the most important things, to me, is to make sure my kids understand and celebrate the qualities that make them, as well as others, unique. 

The personal reflection you are about to read over at CBC Parents captures my thoughts on this topic, as well as some of my thoughts on others' reactions to learning my son is autistic. It's a post I am particularly proud of.

Things I want my son to know about being autistic

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

How to Decide Which Therapies are Right for Your Autistic Child

Advice on how to choose therapy for a child with autism and 19 questions that will help you pick the best therapy for your autistic child.

Once your child received their autism diagnosis, you likely jumped into research mode, trying to figure out what therapy to choose for them. 

I admit, it can be overwhelming since there are lots of options, some good and some not so good. It is further complicated by things such as finances, insurance, and being able to find a therapy or therapist locally, for instance.

So whether your child has just recently been diagnosed with autism or you are currently exploring new therapy options for your child, this list of questions will help you decide how to choose the best therapy for your son or daughter.

It will help you critically evaluate your options so that you can ensure you are picking a therapy that will help and support them.

15+ questions to ask when choosing therapy for a child with autism

What is the Best Therapy for Autism? Which Therapy Should You Choose?

When it comes to deciding on what the best therapy for autism is, I highly suggest doing your research first

Always read scientific research, if available, and reach out to autistic adults for their input and insight, if you can. 

Learn everything you can about the pros and cons for each therapy.

There are lots of bad interventions and "therapies" that focus on fixing or curing your child with autism, which should be a huge red flag to you when deciding on therapy for your child since autism is not something to be fixed or cured. Any "therapy" which claims it can be fixed or cured should be avoided.

Please note, I am not here to endorse or advocate for any particular therapy. Instead, I want to assist you in your decision making process so that you can identify what may or may not be a good fit for your child.

There are lots of wonderful therapy options available from speech therapy to occupational therapy, but it can be a bit overwhelming to navigate and evaluate all the options. Thankfully though, I have compiled a list of 19 questions to ask when deciding which therapies are right for your autistic child. I hope you find these questions helpful!

15+ questions to ask when choosing therapy for a child with autism
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