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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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

St. Patrick's Day Slime

For an easy St. Patrick's Day inspired sensory activity for kids, you'll want to try this super stretchy homemade slime recipe!

St. Patrick's Day is easily one of my oldest son's favorite holidays simply because green is his favorite color. So when it comes to making St. Patrick's Day sensory activities for the kids, of course, it has to be green.

This green slime is filled with sparkly glitter and lucky leprechaun gold and provides an amazing tactile sensory experience for the kids!

How to make slime with gold coins for St. Patrick's Day

Easy St. Patrick's Day Sensory Activity for Kids: Make Slime to Hunt for Gold!

This slime recipe is super easy to make and it is so so stretchy! The best part is that it uses materials I already have on hand. However, if you don't have a craft stash hoarding problem like I do, then you might want to zip to the dollar store to pick up a package of coins to bury in this slime.

You can customize it however you'd like with glitter and lucky coins from the dollar store. My kids, especially my youngest K, especially loved to add coins and try to bury them deep into the slime, just so he could pluck them out a bit later.

How to make slime with gold coins for St. Patrick's Day
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Wednesday, March 07, 2018

How to Make Your Own Social Stories for Free

Step-by-step instructions on how to write your own social stories for FREE!

Social stories have been such a valuable tool for us as a family. When your child has hyperlexia, using written words is a must. It's how they best learn. So naturally, social stories were appealing to my son when we first started implementing them.

I know it's often easier to just search Google for a printable social story that fits your current target skill or goal, but sometimes it's hard to find the perfect social story for your child. Sometimes you just have to write your own and that can be both overwhelming and a bit time consuming.

These tips and instructions on how to make your own social stories for free are designed to make it easy and stress-free to write your own.

How to make your own social stories for free

How to Make Your Own Social Stories for Free

Making your own social stories is super easy, but can be a bit time consuming. 

However, if you are ambitious enough, you can easily make your own social story for free. There's really only two things you need to make your own social stories:

  • A program to make the social story: Word, Publisher, Powerpoint, or even Google Docs works!
  • Some clipart or photos related to the theme of the social story
But perhaps even that seems like an overwhelming task for you...

No worries, I'm here to help!

What You'll Need to Make Your Own Social Stories

1. First you'll want to read these handy tips on how to write a social story so you know what to include and what not to include. You'll definitely want to keep the printable cheat sheet handy as you make your own social stories.

2. Then download one of the free social story templates because hello, that's easy, right?!

3. Next, look for clipart or photos related to the theme of your social story. Pixabay is usually my go-to for free stock photos and clipart. Yes, it's totally free! Or, alternatively, you could take your own photos and insert them into your social story.

4. Finally, open up the free social story template in the program of your choice and start writing.

That's it! Super easy. And best of all, free!

Alternative Suggestion for Making Your Own Social Stories

You can also use apps to make your own social stories for free. I highly recommend the app Social Stories Creator and Library. It's free and makes it easy to write your own social stories right on your phone or iPad.

Just a heads up though, if you have a child with hyperlexia or hypernumeracy, they can easily solve the math questions that pop up when you go to delete any social stories you create in the app. So it might be best to print off physical social stories than store them locally on the iPad. I know my son would be like, "It's so fun to delete things because they ask me math questions!" Ha!
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Friday, March 02, 2018

Free Potty Training Social Stories

Are you toilet training your child with autism? Then you'll definitely want to check out these fabulous free potty training social stories for kids.

Potty training was definitely a struggle for one of my sons and an absolute breeze for the other, so I believe that potty training is only successful when your child is truly ready for it. So if you and your child are ready to tackle the goal of being potty trained, these free potty training social stories are hear to help it become a reality!

My oldest son required visual supports and reminders when he was potty training. We relied on visual schedules and social stories in order to help him master all the little steps from wiping to flushing to washing his hands when he was done. It was extremely helpful for him!

We also used the Potty Time video, signs, and songs to help reinforce the skills. I highly recommend all the Signing Time videos, by the way. They're fantastic.

Anyway, on to those free social stories about toilet training, right?

Free potty training social stories for kids

Free Printable Potty Training Social Stories for Kids

1. Potty Training Social Story for Girls - You'll need a Teachers Pay Teachers account (it's free to sign up!) in order to download this 8 page free printable social story geared towards girls.

2. Potty Training Social Story for Boys - Just like the social story for girls above, this 8 page free printable social story requires a free Teachers Pay Teachers account in order to download it.

3. Super Simple Going to the Bathroom Social Story - This social story is pretty basic and uses "big boy" terminology, so best suited for boys.

4. Using the Bathroom at School Social Story - Public washrooms can cause all sorts of issues for kids with sensory issues or autism, so it's kind of nice to have social stories like this one geared towards a specific scenario, such as using the bathroom at school.

Video Potty Training Social Stories for Kids

This is a pretty detailed video social story about potty training. 

Free potty training social stories for kids
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Thursday, March 01, 2018

Free Social Story Templates

Use these free social story templates to write your own social stories for kids! Three different templates are included.

While it's nice to be able to find lots of free social stories online, sometimes they're not quite what you need. Maybe you need the social story to be more personalized. Or maybe you don't like the wording used in the free stories you find.

Sometimes you just need to write your own social story.

So to make it even easier for you to write the perfect social story for your child, I have included three free social story templates below.

Free templates to make your own social stories

About the Free Social Story Templates

Each of the social story templates below are two pages in length. One is the cover page that includes a place for the title and an image. The second page allows for one image and text. Simply duplicate or copy the second page for each page you need for your own social story.

To change the images, simply right click on the image placeholder and select remove picture or change picture. Then you'll be able to easily add your photo.

There are three templates: one for Publisher, one for Word, and one for Powerpoint.

Personally, I prefer to use Publisher to write social stories because the formatting stays in place better and it's easier to duplicate the pages. Powerpoint would be my second choice for the same reasons. Word is so finicky, but most people are familiar with Word. That's why I included it. Use what you are comfortable with or at least have the program for.

Download the Free Social Story Templates

Simply click the button below and enter your email address to receive your free social story templates. They will come as a zipped folder, which you will need to extra. It includes three templates: one for Publisher, one for Word, and one for Powerpoint.

Free templates to make your own social stories
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Friday, February 16, 2018

Where to Find Free Social Stories

Looking to find some free social stories for children with autism? Then look no further than this list of social story resources!

Social stories have been a valuable tool for my son over the years. I have written quite a few personalized ones for him over the years and have witnessed how successful they have been for him.

But writing social stories on your own can be time consuming, especially if you want to include clip art and photos. It takes forever to find good photos to include!

So to save you time (and money!), here are some of the best places to locate free social stories for kids.

Where to find social stories for free

Where to Find Social Stories for Free

1. Free Printable Social Stories Library - I have created some free social stories for kids and will be continuing to add more in the future.

2. Free Potty Training Social Stories - A great collection of free printable and video social stories about toilet training.

3. Free Halloween Social Stories for Kids - A massive collection of Halloween themed social stories. Includes printable social stories as well as video social stories.

4. Social Stories Library from ABA Resources - There are so many printable social stories here! Topics range from school, safety, emotional self-regulation, and behaviors, just to name a few.

5. Folder Stories from File Folder Heaven - There are lots of free social stories here that cover topics such as washing hands, trying new foods, and apologizing.

6. Free Social Stories from Positively Autism - Not a huge collection of social stories, but still lots to choose from.

7. Huge Social Stories Library from One Place for Special Needs - There are literally pages upon pages of social story resources here, including printable and video social stories.

8. Social Stories Library from ISEA - A great list of social stories covering topics such as using my school voice, riding the bus, losing a tooth, hugging, and more!

More General Resources for Finding Free Social Stories for Kids

1. Teachers Pay Teachers - You can find tons of printable social stories on TPT. Simply type in your keywords in the search bar and then select free in the leftside menu. You will need to create a TPT account first, but it's free to join!

2. YouTube - You can also find lots of video social stories for free on YouTube.

3. Pinterest - Pinterest can be a wonderful resource for locating specific social stories. The only downside is there are so many that it can be overwhelming.

Other Social Story Resources You'll Love

Where to find social stories for free
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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

4 Tips for Managing Sensory Issues During the Winter

Tips on how to manage sensory issues during winter.

Winter can be challenging for many reasons, especially if your child is autistic and/or has sensory issues.

New transitions.

New routines.

New clothing.

All of these seemingly simple things can throw kids off and cause issues.

Our biggest issues during winter revolve around winter clothing. From zipping up to remembering to wearing mitts to chewing nonstop on the top of the coats, both of my kids need extra support for helping them manage their sensory issues. These are my top tips for managing sensory issues during winter.

4 tips for managing sensory issues during winter

How to Support Your Child's Sensory Issues During Winter

Don't worry, these tips are nothing crazy or difficult to implement. They're simple little changes you can do once that will (hopefully!) help all winter long.

4 tips for managing sensory issues during winter
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