Tips to Reduce Sensory Overload this Holiday Season

Sensory OverloadThe holiday season can be a stressful time. If you are a parent of a child with special needs, those issues can intensify over this time of year. The holiday twinkle lights, carolers, the aroma of a large home-cooked meal — can be an overwhelming experience for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Here are a few tips on how to prep for the holidays with children who have sensory needs.

  1. Plan. Plan. Plan. Plan as much as possible. When possible, do a trial run to practice group situations and settings and introduce the smells of new foods in your home.
  2. Find a Quiet Room While Out and About.  If you know you are going to be at a friend or family members house for a holiday party or while overnight, ask that person or hostess ahead of time if there is a room that your child could use as a quiet room.
  3. Schedule morning activities. Generally, kids do better in the morning than in the late afternoon or evening when they are tired. Schedule events and gatherings earlier in the day rather than late in the day.

As we are swept up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we frequently take for granted things that those with sensory processing needs find challenging. We hope you are able to find some peace and quiet this holiday season.

Let us help you. We offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and our services are outlined here. We encourage you to call us directly, toll-free, at (844) 263-1613 or email us at info@totalspectrumcare.com. We are based in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Autism-Friendly Holiday Gift Guide

Autism-Friendly Holiday Gift GuideThe holidays are just around the corner, and sometimes it can be challenging to find the right gift for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. So, we’re going to give you some hints and guidelines to make shopping more comfortable for you.

  1. Know the child. This first suggestion may seem obvious, but it is still true. If you know the child and the child likes to collect something, like cars or trucks or stickers or stuffed animals, then your job will be more comfortable. For many autistic children pattern repetition is essential, so no matter how many the child has of something, more is always welcome.
  1. Something soothing. Many autistic children have difficulty soothing themselves, so something that sways or rocks is always welcome. Consider a rocking chair or a hammock. Even something like skates, with which a child can move with repetitive motions might be a good idea.
  1. Puzzles. Lots of autistic children like puzzles. And remember, there are all kinds. There are the traditional jigsaw puzzles of all sizes, shapes, and difficulty, and there are also 3-D puzzles made of wood or plastic like a Rubik’s Cube.
  1. Outing. If the child is okay with an outing, then the child who loves airplanes might be thrilled to just go to an airport where he or she can watch planes landing and taking off. The child who loves animals might welcome a trip to the zoo. Intangible gifts like this could be in the form of a coupon book with, for example, homemade tickets for five day-trips to the ocean.
  1. Visual Toys. Often children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are very visual. That is, they are more interested and focused on visual things. Gifts in this category would include objects that when moved have shifting sand or water or oil that changes shape. Also, there are magnetic toys with small pieces that stick together in different shapes. Even Lego is a possibility which the child can shape him- or herself. Make sure the gift is age-appropriate.

May your holidays be a happy time, and maybe some of these ideas will help you find the perfect gift for the autistic child. And if you’re having difficulty over the holidays, ABA therapy can help.

Applied Behavior Analysis helps to extinguish undesirable behaviors and reinforce desirable ones. ABA can improve your child’s toileting behaviors, eating behaviors, speech, and sleeping routines. ABA can be life changing for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. If you are trying to decide how to handle a child with ASD or what type of therapy is most appropriate for your child, please contact us today.

Let us help you. We offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and our services are outlined here. We encourage you to call us directly, toll-free, at (844) 263-1613 or email us at info@totalspectrumcare.com. We are based in Elmhurst, Illinois.

What to Expect When Your Child Begins ABA Therapy

What to Expect When Your Child Begins ABA Therapy As you know, ABA or Applied Behavior Analysis therapy has a long history and is the only therapy shown to work in controlled scientific research for children with ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder.

But if you’re new to ABA, you may not know what to expect. Here are some quick guidelines to prepare you and your child for ABA therapy.

  1. Insurance. First, your insurance provider will need to be contacted to find out if they will cover ABA therapy. Most insurers cover ABA for children with ASD.
  2. Assessment. Your child will have an assessment to determine their strengths and weaknesses. To help your child, we need to know what they’re good at, and what is lacking. We will also need to talk to you about specific issues or problems or triggers that you’re dealing with.
  3. Integration. Depending on what—if any—other therapies your child is undergoing, we may want to talk to some of those professionals to help the different therapies work together. This would be with your permission, of course.
  4. Balking. Since routine is typically very important to children with ASD, any change in routine, including the addition of ABA can be a disruption and some behavior may worsen temporarily. We can help your child, and soon the child will be actively participating in new and welcome behaviors.
  5. Training the parent. We are going to discuss with you at length how to continue ABA therapy at home between sessions and help you cope with challenges as they arise. Soon the world of ABA therapy will be second nature for you.

Applied Behavior Analysis helps to extinguish undesirable behaviors and reinforce desirable ones. ABA can improve your child’s toileting behaviors, eating behaviors, speech, and sleeping routines. ABA can be life changing for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. If you are trying to decide how to handle a child with ASD or what type of therapy is most appropriate for your child, please contact us today.

Let us help you. We offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and our services are outlined here. We encourage you to call us directly, toll-free, at (844) 263-1613 or email us at info@totalspectrumcare.com. We are based in Elmhurst, Illinois.

How To Plan a Community Outing with Your Autistic Child

How To Plan a Community Outing with Your Autistic ChildFor families living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), sometimes the thought of a family vacation – or even a community excursion – can be overwhelming. Try these simple and useful tips for venturing out in public and leaving your anxiety at home.

Plan Ahead

As much as possible, plan your trips and let your child know the schedule and what to expect. Keep a schedule posted in your home and review it with your child regularly. Prepare all members of your family – particularly your child with the disability – with a plan of the day’s activities.

Sensory Bag

Bring along activities so your child will have something to do if your outing involves downtime. Choose items that work best for your child’s sensitivities and put them in a small bag that is easy for them to carry with them on trips. Surefire winners include unique electronic games that the child may not always be allowed access to, favorite snacks, drinks, and sensory toys.

Have an Exit Plan

Some rough patches are to be expected. If your child begins to show signs of non-negotiable stress, it’s time to go. If your outing is a day of family leisure, be accepting of the fact that you may need to leave early.

Plan what will work best for you and your family. Consult other families, to see what has worked for them, or talk to professional members of your team for more suggestions. Let us help you. We offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and our services are outlined here. We encourage you to call us directly, toll-free, at (844) 263-1613 or email us at info@totalspectrumcare.com. We are based in Elmhurst, Illinois.