Autism and Wandering Resources (update)

Studies show that nearly half of children with autism attempt to wander off or bolt from a safe supervised place (Autism Speaks). Children with Angleman Syndrome also tend to have an obsession with water and will tend to wander if water is nearby. The following resources includes wandering kits, articles and additional resources on the topic of wandering.

What is Wandering?

When a person, who requires some level of supervision to be safe, leaves a supervised, safe space and/or the care of a responsible person and is expected to potential dangers such as traffic, open water (drowning), falling from a high place , hypothermia, heatstroke, dehydration.

Types of Wandering

  • Goal-Directed Wandering- wandering with the purpose of getting to something ( a place of obsession, water, etc.).
  • Non goal-directed wandering- Wandering with no purpose, random from one place to another.
  • Confusion Wandering-Wandering due to disorientation or confusion.
  • Bolting/fleeing- The act of suddenly running or bolding, usually to quickly get away from something, or in negative reaction to an event, anxiety or stress.
 Facts and Statistics
  • Roughly half, or 49%, of children with an ASD attempt to elope from a safe environment, a rate nearly four times higher than their unaffected siblings.
  • In 2009, 2010, and 2011, accidental drowning accounted for 91% total U.S. deaths reported in children with an ASD ages 14 and younger subsequent to wandering/elopement.
  • More than one third of ASD children who wander/elope are never or rarely able to communicate their name, address, or phone number.
  • 32% of parents reported a “close call” with a possible drowning.
  • 40% of parents had suffered sleep disruption due to fear of elopement.
  • half of families with elopers report they never received advice or guidance about elopement from a professional.
Source: Interactive Autism Network research report: Elopement and wandering (2011)
Source: National Autism Association, Lethal Outcomes in ASD Wandering (2012)

Caregivers Information

Autism elopement and wandering kit for families (Parenting Chaos)

Big Red Safety Toolkit (National Autism Association)

28 page toolkit that provides information on preventing wandering. The toolkit includes the following information:

  • Caregiver checklist
  • Family wandering emergency plan
  • swimming lessons tool
  • Root-causes scenario and strategies tool
  • Caregivers log
  • How to get tracking technology in your town.

First Responder Resources

First Responder Checklist– A checklist for first responders developed by the National Autism Association

First Responder Notification Form

First Responder Tips

GPS Tracking Technology

The AngleSense Guardian Kit

  • Comes with a GPS device, embedded SIM card, customized wearables and a magnet key for parents $39.00 monthly service plan.

7 tracking devices to find a lost child with autism (Friendship Circle)

Articles

5 simple ways to prevent wandering in children with autism (Autism Parenting Magazine)

Autism and Wandering (SFGate)

Autism and Wandering: How ABA can help keep kids safe. (HuffPost Parents)

Teaching safety skills to children with autism (Our Crazy Adventures in Autismland)

The autism epidemic that can no longer be ignored (HuffPost Parents)

Wandering: A hazard for more than a third of kids with autism (U.S. News)

Wandering & Autism: Elopement within the classroom (Autism Classroom Blog)

Wandering & Autism: Students who flee, bolt, run and elope (Autism Classroom Blog)

Resources on Teaching Scissor Skills

One of the ways to improve fine motor skills is helping children and adults develop cutting skills also help with pre-writing skills and pencil control. Below are resources that will help in developing and teaching scissor skills.

Cutting Skill Development

2 years- snips with scissors

2.5 years- Cuts across a 6-inch piece of paper

3.5 years- Cuts along a 6-inch line

4.5 years- Cuts out a circle

6-7 years- Cuts a variety of shapes and pictures.

Resources on Teaching Scissor Skills

5 easy ways to introduce scissor skills

How to teach a child to use scissors

How to use scissors

Scissor cutting skills: Why they are important

Teaching kids how to use scissors

Teaching preschoolers to use scissors

The importance of teaching your child how to use scissors

Tips for teaching scissor cutting skills

Practice Scissor Skills- The following links below include practicing cutting straight lines, curved lines and circles, zig-zag lines and mixed lines.

10-page scissor skills packet (Mama’s Learning Corner)- geared towards preschoolers and kindergartners.

12 free shapes and cutting page (www.mpmideas.com)- geared towards preschool aged children

Construction truck scissor cutting practice sheets (MO & MH)- Kids will practice cutting lines.

Cut, copy and glue for spring (Your Therapy Source)- Free 3-page packet in black and white. Includes a butterfly, ice cream cone and a snail.

Free cutting and coloring pack (Tot Schooling)- Cutting pack features straight, diagonal, curved and zig zag lines.

House scissor practice (Teaching Station)- Download free worksheets. Includes shapes of circles, squares, triangles, and rectangulars.

Printable preschool cutting busy box (Fun with Mama)- post includes ways to teach kids how to use scissors and develop cutting skills

Rocket scissor practice (Teaching Station)- Kids will practice cutting and pasting shapes to make a rocket.

Snake spiral worksheet (www.education.com)- Kids can both color and cut out the spiral design.

Trolls, hair-cutting (Tot Schooling Net)- Several different levels of difficulties.

Shopping Center Teaching Activities For Children and Adults With Special Needs

Shopping Centers (or malls as we call them in North America) provide a great way for customers to walk from one store to another without the hassles of having to leave one store in order to go into another. Through the years, Shopping centers  have added on movie theatres, arcades, and food eateries. This has led to a variety of ways of teaching children and adults with disabilities a number of skills.

 

Money Management.

Increasing money skills can be used in almost all areas of a shopping mall. Opportunities include stores such as banking, clothing , restaurants, etc. examples of items to teach include:

  • Will identify coins
  • Will identify money
  • Will count change
  • Will create a budget
  • will fill out deposit slip
  • Will fill out a withdrawal slip
  • Will use an ATM
Sensory

A shopping center provides a low-cost and effective way of arousing more of  more of the five senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch). Yankee Candle offers candles with a variety of fragrances including apple pumpkin, apple spice, beachwood, black cherry, etc.  Bath and Body Works also provides samples for both olfactory (smell) and touch. Samples of fragrances include lotions, cream, massage oils and fragrance mist. Window shopping is an additional opportunity to enhance visual cues with teaching a number of basic skills.  Other places include day spas, massage chairs and nail salons. Examples of sensory teaching activities include:

Window Shopping (Visual)
  • Will describe the color of the outfits
  • Will identify which items cost the most
  • Will describe how many of the outfits are the same, different
  • Will describe the various shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangular)
  • Will count the number of items in the window
Olfactory (Smell)
  • Will identify a good smell
  • Will identify a bad smell
  • Will identify the smell (i.e. smells like apples)
Tactile (Touch)
  • Will identify the object
  • Will tolerate hand massage
  • Will touch the object
  • Will describe the shape of the object

***  Be mindful some children and adults may have sensory processing issues and can be oversensitive to sights, textures, flavors and smells.

Social Skills

Teaching social skills involves communication, decision-making, self-management and relationship building. Locations in a shopping center to develop these skills includes, eatery and restaurants, banks, department stores and movie theatres. Samples of teaching social skills includes:

  • Will greet the store associate
  • Will say thank you
  • When promoted, will ask for help
  • Will wait patiently
  • Will make eye contact
  • Will use appropriately voice tone
Teaching Prompts

A few guidelines in teaching new skills:

  • Teach a new skill at least 2-3 times. The shopping center allows multiple opportunities to work on a number of skills including money management, and social skills.
  • Allow the person to think for themselves use prompt levels to help navigate levels of independence: Independent, verbal, gestural and physical.
  • Allow for real choice-making. Choice is more realistic when it involves at least 3 items or more. Choosing a new outfit or an item from a menu are perfect examples.
  • Always remember to praise!

 

 

4 Tips On Task Initiation For Children and Adults

Task Initiation is often a challenge for children and adults with an executive functioning disorder. For a child, it may be lack of initiative in doing homework while for an adult, it may include forgetting or putting off paying bills. Children and adults with task initiation issues generally have a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, Intellectual disability or a learning disorder.

Signs of a task initiation impaired executive functioning skill would be someone having difficulty in getting started on a task and keeping the effort needed in order to complete the task. A child or an adult require external cues in order to complete the task. Also, it will require understanding what is expected and understanding the task. Here are a few strategies:

  1. Limit Distractions. In the classroom any type of added sensory input can defer the student from getting started in their school work.
  2. Create a List. Visual support will help to increase getting the work done for a school-age child, you may want to create a to-do list which the steps are broken down into smaller steps. When a person with an executive function is given a task, it may be overwhelming, making it more difficult to get started.
  3. Use Cues. A clock or a timer will help the child or adult stay on time and understanding the amount of time it will take to complete a task
  4. Break task down. Create where the work is done in chunks so that the work will not be as overwhelming for the student.

30 Must-Know ADHD Teaching Resources

Studies show that in the United States, 6.4 million children between the ages of 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. The average age of ADHD diagnosis is 7. Males are almost three times to be diagnosed with ADHD than females.

30-adhd-teaching

The DSM-V defines ADHD as a persistent pattern of attention and or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning of development. Inattention symptoms include the following:

  1. often fails to give close attention to details
  2. often has difficulty sustaining attention in task or play activities
  3. often does not listen when spoken to directly
  4. Often does not follow through on instructions
  5. Often has difficulty organizing task and activities often avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in task that requires sustained mental effort.

Hyperactive symptoms include:

  1. trouble paying attention
  2. restlessness
  3. excessive talking
  4. loud interaction with others
  5. frequent interventions
  6. may have a quick temper

The following links provide tools, resources and information for parents and special education educators on providing support to children diagnosed with ADHD.

Accommodations

Information on classroom accommodations including teaching techniques, learning style, schedule, environment, material, assistance and behavior management.

8 easy classroom accommodations for students with ADHD( Blue Mango)

10 ways to support students with hyperactivity and attention needs  (The Starr Spangled Planner)

Accommodations for ADHD students (ADDCoach4U)

Classroom accommodations for ADHD(Understood)

Every 504 plan should include these ADHD accommodations (ADDitude)

Top 20 ADHD accommodations and modifications that work (Promoting Success Blog)

Classroom Tips and Strategies

The following links are tips and strategies that are specific to teaching techniques and helpful information on behavior approaches, rewards, eliminating distractions and seating arrangements

15 strategies to help students with ADHD (Student Savvy)

30 ideas for teaching children with ADHD (Kelly Bear)

50 practical strategies for teaching ADHD without drugs (ASCD Edge)

ADHD and piano lesson teaching strategies (Teach Piano Today)

ADD/ADHD in the classroom: Tips for teachers and parents (hsana.org)

ADHD Teaching Strategies for the Classroom( Promoting Success Blog)

Classroom interventions for ADHD (pdf)

Classroom rules that keep student’s attention on learning (Additude)

Helping the student with ADHD in the classroom (LDonline)

How can teachers help students with ADHD (Education World)

Ideas and strategies for kids with ADD and learning disabilities (Child Development Institute)

Setting up the classroom (ADD in Schools)

Supporting students with ADHD (Free Spirit Publishing)

Teaching students with ADHD: Instructional strategies and practice (U.S. Department of Education)

Tips for teaching students with ADHD(ADHD Kids Rock)

Concentration

Tips and information from websites on helping students concentrate in the classroom.

5 simple concentration building techniques for kids with ADHD (Empowering Parents)

5 ways to improve your child’s focus (Understood)

17 ways to help students with ADHD concentrate (Edutopia)

Ways to improve concentration in kids with ADHD (Brain Balance)

Executive Functioning

Executive functioning helps students analyze a task, planning, organization, time management and finishing a task. The following links provide articles on understand executive functioning and its relationship to ADHD.

Classroom strategies for executive functioning (Understood)

Executive functioning explained and 20 strategies for success (Minds in Bloom)

Executive function skills (CHADD)

Executive Functioning Issues (Understood)

Handwriting for kids with ADHD (Look! We’re Learning)

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Image result for duchenne muscular dystrophy awareness month

February 13th is the first day of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Week. Here are some facts on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy:

  • It is one of the nine types of muscular dystrophies
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy was first described by French neurologist, Guillaune Benjamin Amand Duchenne in the 1860’s.
  • It is an inherited disorder
  • It is caused by an absence of dystrophin, a protein that bonds the muscle cell
  • It is characterized by progressive muscle degeneration
  • It occurs in about 1 out of every 3,600 male infants
  • Risks include a family history of Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Symptoms start appearing between the ages of 3-5.
  • By the age of 12, most males affected may lose their ability to walk
  • Breathing difficulties and heart disease usually start by the age of 20
  • Very rare are females affected by the disease.
  • Early symptoms include muscle weakness in the hips, pelvic area, thighs and shoulders.
  • By teen years, the heart and respiratory muscles are affected.
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy carriers are females with one normal dystrophin gene on one x chromosome and an abnormal dystrophin gene on the other x chromosome
  • Most carriers do not show any signs or symptoms.
  • Affected children may have delayed motor skills including sitting, standing and walking.
  • Survival into the early 30’s is becoming more common due to advances in cardia and respiratory care.
  • Duchenne is associated with a heart disease that weakens the cardiac muscle
  • Between 400 and 600 boys in the United States are born with these conditions each year.
  • there are a few cases which results from new mutations in affected males
  • steroid drugs can slow the loss of muscular strength
  • There is no known cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy

10 Must Read Articles On Special Needs Children and Safety

 

safety

According to the National Autism Association, children with special needs are at an increase risk for injuries than the general population. The following article links provide information on additional tips and resources on a variety of safety topics.

7 safety strategies for kids with special needs

How to teach fire safety to special needs kids

Keeping children with disabilities safe

Keeping your autistic child safe

Special needs children and safety

Teach home and community safety skills to kids with special needs

Teaching stranger safety skills to children and adults with disabilities

Teaching stranger safety to kids with autism

The importance of teaching children body safety

Traffic safety for children with special needs

Braille Teaching Resources

 braille

January is Braille Literacy Month.  Invented by Louis Braille, at the age of 15 years old while attending the National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris. Braille lost his sight during a childhood accident at the age of 4. Braille is not a language, rather it is a code that uses symbols formed within units of space that consists of six raised dots , 2 across and 3 down.

The following sites describe Braille:

Braille: Deciphering the code

Braille: What is it?

What is Braille

The following links below include resources on teaching braille:

 

braille-teaching-resources

 

Braille Teaching Resources

  1. A kitchen curriculum for the parents of visually impaired children. A functional skills curriculum for visual impaired children from infants to 12 on up.
  2. 3 tips for teaching young children with a visual impairment how to become strong readers. Kristen Smith describes ways to prepare young children for reading including creating story boxes, and using all the senses.
  3. 5 ways to teach your blind child how to use an iPad. This article includes a few demonstration via videos and an infographic.
  4. 10 strategies for teaching math to children with visual impairments. Hillary Kleck shares ten strategies for teaching math to children who are blind or visually impaired.
  5. Creating a theme for your braille classroom. Liz Eagan shares tips and suggestions on creating a braille station in the classroom.
  6. Fun ways to teach braille to partially sighted students. Game activities for students that are partially sighted braille readers.
  7. Tips for promoting braille in the classroom. A number of suggestions that give students the opportunity to explore and understand braille
  8. Ten tips to help you teach yourself braille. Wonder Baby’s article includes a braille cheat sheet and a downloadable Braille alphabet and numbers sheet.
  9. Teaching Braille Writing. Tracy Fitch outlines 5 ways to help new learners on using a braille writer.
  10. Tracking activities for pre-braille learners. Resources including a variety of tactile material that can be glued to index cards or braille paper

15 Great Fidget Sensory Gifts For The Holidays

With the holidays approaching, finding the right gift for someone with sensory issues can be challenging. Fidget toys are great gifts for both children and adults, especially for children diagnosed with autism and ADHD. Fidget toys provides sensory input in a less distracting way. They can help improve concentration and attention to task and also help children and adults focus and remain calm as well as decreases stress and anxiety.Below are links to a variety of fidgets including texture, tactile and visual.

fidgetgifts

 

 Texture Fidgets

Tangle Creations Jr.- amazon.com
Metallic Texture-amazon.com
Brain Noodle-Therapy Shoppe
Tangle Hairy-Office Playground
Bumpy Gel Sensory Ball- Children’s Therapy Store
Palm Size Massage Balls- Therapy Shoppe

Stretch Fidgets

Stretching String-Therapy Shoppe
Stretchy Happy Face-Office Playground
Spaghetti Stress Ball- Office Playground
Pull and Stretch Bounce Balls-Amazon

Squeeze Fidgets

Poppin Peeters- Jet.com
Bug-Out Bob-especial needs

Chewy Fidgets

Oval Chewy Necklaces-Therapy Shoppe
Scented Textured Chew Stixx- Therapy Shoppe
Chewable Gem Beads Necklace-Stimtastic

 

Benefits of being an Autism Mum — Upside Mum

Firstly, the title is for effect. I’m not a big fan of the term ‘Autism Mum’ and only use it when it’s the only succinct way to describe what I’m talking about. I don’t mind other people using it, I just try not to use it myself. I’m just a mum. I have a child […]

via Benefits of being an Autism Mum — Upside Mum