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6 Tips for an Autism-Friendly Fourth of July

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6 Tips for an Autism-Friendly Fourth of July

July 4th

is a wonderful holiday to celebrate, it’s also a noisy and busy one. This can present challenges for those on the spectrum.

For starters, I suggest thinking about what size of celebration is right for your family and child. It could be sparklers after a family backyard barbeque. Or maybe it’s going to town for full-out fireworks.

If you decide to attend a fireworks display – or even a big party – here are some tips to consider:

Fireworks!

1. Prepare your child in advance.  Talk about what’s going to happen at the party or fireworks display. You can show him an Internet video of fireworks – perhaps playing it quietly first, then slowly turning up the volume. If your child responds to visual aids, you can create a story about the day with pictures or photos. Explain that there will be lots of people.

2. Focus on the fun! Tell your child why you enjoy fireworks or a holiday barbeque with friends. Let him see that you’re excited to attend. This will help him get excited too. Describe the activities you know he’ll enjoy, whether it’s seeing a friend or the ice cream cone he’ll get as a treat.

3. Bring along favorite items such as toys, games and snacks. This can provide a crucial distraction if your child gets antsy while waiting for activities to start.

4. Have a blanket, towel or chair for your son. Creating a defined space that’s “his own” can help a child with autism feel more comfortable in a crowd.

5. Consider bringing headphones to help block out excessive noise. As we all know, fireworks can pack a lot of sensory stimulation!  Also consider sitting some distance from the display – someplace you can still see the colorful explosions, but without the intense noise.

6. Make sure your child knows how to ask for a break from the crowd or noise. If your child is verbal, he may only need a reminder.  However, many children on the spectrum do best with a visual aid. For example, provide your child with a special card to hand to you when he needs a break from the stimulation.

opens in a new window[Source: https://www.autismspeaks.org/tips-autism-friendly-fourth-july ]

6 TIPS FOR AN AUTISM-FRIENDLY FOURTH OF JULY

Year of 2017

Woodworking Program helps Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Woodworking Program helps Adults with Developmental Disabilities

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Woodworking Program helps Adults with Developmental Disabilities

6 Tips for an Autism-Friendly Fourth of July

An initiative that began with one person in a woodworking shed has grown into a vocational program for people with developmental disabilities.

Skidz Reimagined was created by Tony Mitchell, president of Residential Community Care in Lebanon. People in the program learn woodworking and carpentry skills as a stepping point toward finding a job in the community.

For example, Jay D. Farmer is an adult with cerebral palsy in the program.

“He has been attending the Skidz Reimagined program for a couple of months now and loves it. He is a hard worker, he takes pride in his work, and he likes building the furniture and seeing how he turns the lumber into useful items,” said Holly Boyd, Jay’s service coordinator with the Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

The finished products are offered for sale to the public, including items such as deck chairs, butcher block kitchen islands, bookshelves, end tables, birdhouses and other home decor.

Skidz Reimagined, located at 560 W. Main St. in Lebanon, is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Mitchell tells more about the program and its impact.

Q: What is Skidz Reimagined?

A: Skidz Reimagined is a vocational habilitation program that is part of Residential Community Care and is centered around woodworking.

Skidz offers individuals with developmental disabilities a robust learning experience that is centered around building independence and success in work environments. For those individuals not able to maintain a job, we instruct the proper work skills necessary for employment and social skills necessary for working with co-workers, supervisors and those beyond the work environment.

Q: How did it begin?

A: Skidz started out in a small woodworking shed in April 2015 making small crafts for individuals in our day program. We started with one individual, and within about three months, we added a couple more individuals and needed to add on to the shed.

By September 2015 Skidz was working with an average of five individuals a day. We then moved into a 3,200-square-foot building on the property. Come June 2016, we outgrew that space and moved into a 13,000-square-foot building where we average working with 18 individuals each day. Some days we will have 25 individuals with special needs working.

Skidz Reimagined grew to a dynamic vocational program for adults with developmental disabilities.

Q: How does Skidz Reimagined help people with developmental disabilities?

A: At Skidz, our individuals learn in an environment that empowers them to be as independent as possible in the workforce. We use the woodworking as the resource to teach our individuals the proper social and communication skills needed to keep and maintain a job in the community. In addition, we work with them on learning and understanding why it’s important to appreciate the value of a good work ethic.

Q: What makes this program unique?

A: One big reason Skidz is unique is we pay each individual $8.10 (Ohio minimum wage) per hour when they’re working. For many individuals, they now feel like they are finally earning a decent paycheck. This has led to many of our individuals having pride in their work. Many of our individuals have begun to recognize that by focusing on their abilities instead of their disabilities, they are getting one step closer to being as independent as possible.

Another reason Skidz is unique is that our individuals have many opportunities to be a part of their community while working at Skidz. Whether it is going to pick up materials or going to customers’ homes or business to install a project, they get an opportunity to be a part of that experience. Very rarely do any of our staff leave the shop without taking at least one individual with them. This helps further their education on how to communicate with customers as well as suppliers.

Q: Why is it important to teach vocational skills to people with developmental disabilities?

A: As with any person, learning what your gifts or strengths are is very valuable in life. This provides a greater opportunity for you to not only be productive but also enjoy that process. Many individuals with special needs will not further their education past high school. More often than not, any non-disabled person that doesn’t want to further their education will learn a trade. While learning this trade is important, if they don’t learn how to communicate effectively with their co-worker or boss, they are hindering their chances of being successful in that trade.

At Skidz we use the woodworking as our “tool” to teach the individuals the importance of good communication and social skills, therby providing them with a greater opportunity to gain and maintain a job in the community. Plus, they really enjoy the end product they helped create.

 Contact this contributing writer at lisa.knodel@gmail.com.
People's Care

Four Skills You Can Transfer to a Healthcare Career

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Changing careers to healthcare, but think your previous experience is irrelevant? Think again. These four common skills are all transferable.

If you’re a newcomer to opens in a new windowhealthcare or are considering entering it, you may think your job history and experiences outside the field are irrelevant. You’re wrong. Many of your strengths and skills — whether they include customer-service expertise or the ability to multitask under pressure — are probably more relevant and transferable to healthcare than you realize. A healthcare professional and two recruiters offer a rundown on some valuable transferable skills as well as advice on how to showcase such attributes during your job search.

Common Transferable Skills and Strengths

  • Compassion and Empathy: Tony Rush, a nurse in the orthopedic trauma unit at a major medical center in Rochester, Minnesota, was in the seminary for several years after high school but ultimately decided not to enter the priesthood. He then worked as a counselor for troubled and refugee youth before entering opens in a new windownursing. Rush says his seminary training and counseling experiences sharpened some of the strengths — empathy and compassion for the poor and troubled, opens in a new windowgood listening skills, an understanding of opens in a new windowdifferent cultures, and a respect for teamwork — that make him a good nurse. “If I [had] gone into nursing right out of high school I wouldn’t be the RN I am now,” he says.

 

  • Strong Communication Skills: opens in a new windowSpeaking clearly and listening carefully are other transferable skills that are indispensable for people who hope to be at the bedside providing quality healthcare, says Gabriel Heckt, a vice president at healthcare recruiting firm Martin, Fletcher. Clinicians must communicate effectively not only with patients, but also with physicians, managers, colleagues and patients’ families. The ability to provide accurate and concise documentation is also very important in healthcare, Heckt notes. A new clinician’s communication skills could have been tested and improved in many nonhealthcare job situations, such as speaking up in meetings, writing stellar memos and understanding the verbal and nonverbal language of the 2-year-old child she nannied.

 

  • Customer-Service Know-How: Rush jokes that every nurse should have worked as a waitperson before entering nursing (although he never waited tables himself). Good servers must be organized and able to multitask, as must good nurses, Rush says. More importantly, good wait staff, like good front-line healthcare workers, must provide satisfactory customer service. “Hospitals are judged on patient satisfaction,” Heckt says, noting that outgoing hospital patients evaluate workers on whether they were “friendly/not friendly,” “helpful/not helpful” and other measures. Candidates for clinical positions often set themselves apart if they can demonstrate that they provided good customer service in a restaurant or “in an office when seven phones were ringing and you had to greet people,” Heckt says.

 

  • Grace Under Pressure: Healthcare organizations are usually overjoyed to employ people with opens in a new windowmilitary backgrounds. Veterans who have been on the front lines of a war or conflict have undoubtedly accumulated skills transferable to a fast-paced, high-stakes healthcare job. “Obviously time is of the essence, and they’ve had to quickly think on their feet,” says Douglas C. Ansary, Arizona regional director of recruiting for Banner Health’s Talent Acquisition Group. The consequences are far less dramatic in most jobs than in the life-or-death setting of the battlefield — or emergency department. However, people with experience working in other pressure-cooker settings where their adrenaline is regularly pumping — like the stock trading floor — probably have a leg up when it comes to managing the stress of a healthcare environment.

How to Showcase Your Transferable Skills

Once you’ve identified your transferable skills, you still need to impress potential employers with them. You’ll catch the eye (and prevent an employer’s online application system from weeding you out) if you use keywords on your resume that showcase your transferable skills and that match the keywords in the employer’s job posting (such as “effective listening skills”).

Then, expect open-ended opens in a new windowbehavioral questions in an interview, since healthcare employers today generally identify behaviors important to a specific job and then try to ascertain through interviewing where and how job candidates have applied those behaviors in other jobs or through past experiences. Take advantage of the opportunity to give thoughtful answers referencing the skills and strengths you gained through previous jobs, volunteer work and life experiences that will help you in your new line of work.

Healthcare hiring managers know that if job candidates have “demonstrated behaviors in the past they will do it again in the future, and their behaviors would be applicable from one industry to the other,” Ansary says. “It doesn’t matter where they’ve come from as long as they’ve shown the same aptitudes they’re going to use in healthcare.”

? At People’s Care we are always on the search for motivated, compassionate people ready to make a difference. To find out more about working with People’s Care, visit our opens in a new windowcareers page. ?

Four Skills You Can Transfer to a Healthcare Career

Year

2017

Believe!

For People With Developmental Disabilities, Food Work Means More Self Reliance

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For People With Developmental Disabilities, Food Work Means More Self Reliance

Every child wants to grow up to be independent — to leave their parents’ home, find work, build a life of their own.

But that seemingly simple step into adulthood can be a monumental challenge for children with developmental disabilities like autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, or any of a range of other such disabilities that opens in a new windowaffect about one in six American children, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most of them remain dependent on their parents and families for support well into adulthood, or they end up living in a home under the care of professional caregivers. Only a fraction of adults with developmental disabilities end up finding steady employment.

But some people are finding work and a path to self-reliance by working in the food industry. Parts of this industry are particularly well-suited to many people with developmental disabilities, like Victoria Reedy of Schenectady, N.Y.

Reedy is 23 years old and lives with her parents and two sisters. When I met her in her parents’ home, she was dressed casually in a sweatshirt and wore sparkly nail polish. She’s of average height now – about five feet five inches – but growing up, she says, she was a very small child.

She has a condition called opens in a new windowpanhypopituitarism, which is a problem in her pituitary gland that causes it to not produce enough hormones, including growth hormone.

Vicky’s condition affected the development of her brain as well. She struggled with a range of learning problems while growing up, and school felt extremely hard. “I struggled at just about everything but art,” she says. “I had a really hard time reading, [a] hard time writing, and learning things in general.”

Her speech was affected, too. And she shied away from social interactions. As she grew up, she depended on her parents and a close friend for everything outside her home, from getting around to handling money.

Here is Vicky!

Victoria Reedy, 23, has worked at Puzzles Bakery since the day it opened in 2015. It’s her first job as an adult and she says it has helped her grow and become more independent.

Rhitu Chatterjee/NPR

But today, Vicky is a very different person. She’s more confident and independent. She even takes the bus everywhere, all by herself. “I take the bus just about everywhere I have to go, unless I’m traveling with Mom or Dad or any of my friends,” she says.

That’s because a year and a half ago, Vicky got a job at a bakery in downtown Schenectady.

Puzzles Bakery & Cafe in downtown Schenectady is bright and spacious. The winter sun filters through the glass door and windows and fills the front of the café. On the day I visit, it’s packed with customers sitting down for lunch at the small white tables lined on either side.

Vicky is a senior café attendant here. She stands behind the counter, matching orders coming out of the kitchen, making sure the right order goes to the right tables.

Vicky also handles customers herself sometimes. She trains interns, organizes food and clean tables when necessary. Some of her favorite tasks, though, involve working behind the scenes, in the kitchen. She loves doing dishes, slicing meat and cheese on an electric food slicer. It’s mechanical, somewhat repetitive work that takes time, but Vicky says she finds it satisfying.

In the time that she has worked here, Vicky has even made new friends among her colleagues. Her colleagues say she has grown tremendously at the job. She’s now one of the few employees who have a key to the store, so she can open and close the café when necessary.

Sara Mae Pratt, 26, is Vicky’s boss and the owner of the cafe. She says she’s very proud of Vicky. “She’s come such a long way.”

As have many of her other employees, who have some sort of a developmental disability. Pratt opened Puzzles Bakery & Cafe in April 2015 with the goal to employ people with special needs, who otherwise struggle to find jobs. “There [are] not a lot of opportunities, certainly not in the way of employment,” Pratt says. Once they graduate from the school system, they often “kind of fall off a cliff,” she says.

And statistics back up her point. opens in a new windowAccording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities who are employed is about one-third of the percentage of people without any disability. And some 50 percent of people who are employed struggle to complete their tasks due to their disabilities, opens in a new windowaccording to the BLSopens PDF file . Many face compensation gaps and discrimination at their workplace, according to the Arc of the U.S.A, an advocacy group for the developmentally disabled.

The BLS also finds that those who are unemployed opens in a new windowreport many obstacles to finding employment, including the absence of sufficient and appropriate training.

Pratt knew a lot of this from her personal experience. Her 23-year-old sister, Emily, has autism. As her sister approached adulthood, she says, she and her parents worried what her sister would do once she graduated high school and no longer had any support from the state education system. “I certainly struggled with what my sister will be doing for the rest of her life. She has a very long life ahead of her.”

Her sister is too disabled to work – she recently moved out of their parents’ home and into a group home, where she could have round-the-clock help. But Pratt wanted to help those who could work, to find a sense of self-reliance and purpose in their lives.

Before deciding to open a café, she did a lot of research and found that working with food is a particularly good fit for many people with developmental disabilities. For one, “food is very forgiving,” she says. “If you mess up, [it’s] not a big deal. You can throw it away, try it again.”

And it’s no surprise that Vicky enjoys simple, repetitive tasks like doing dishes and slicing and arranging food, she says. “It can be quite therapeutic to kind of do the same thing day in and day out, and it’s something many people with developmental disabilities can actually excel at.”

There is another factor about this work that helps people like Vicky overcome their struggles with social interactions. “They actually get to take part in the creation of this food and bring it to the customer and see that smile on their face,” says Pratt. “They’re seeing this day in and day out. That’s the really wonderful thing about food, it really connects people.”

Food Work

Madaline Hannon, 23, a café attendant at Puzzles takes a sandwich to a customer. Hannon has autism. Her parents say the job has helped her become more social and independent.

Rhitu Chatterjee/NPR

Similar bakeries and restaurants exist elsewhere in the country. Some, like opens in a new windowJack’s Bar & Grill in Arvada, Colo., employ people with special needs. Others, like opens in a new windowSunflower Bakery in Gaithersburg, Maryland, also train and then place such individuals at other businesses in the food service industry.

Today, more than 50 percent of Pratt’s employees have a developmental disability, she says. That includes 23-year-old Madaline Hannon, who has autism. She has limited vocabulary and according to her parents, she has always been painfully shy.

Now, though, Hannon works four days a week at Puzzles. She only works three hours a day and spends a lot of it serving customers, mostly during the lunch rush.

Dressed in a loose T-shirt, jeans and a baseball hat, Maddy stands behind the counter, keeping an eye on every plate of food that comes out of the kitchen through a little window on the wall behind the café’s counter. She matches the food on the plate with the orders flashing on a little screen above the window, then she calls out the order loudly to find the right customer. “Order for Mary Ann!” she says, holding a plate with a sandwich in her hands. When the customer raises her hand, Maddy walks over the plate of food to her, then wishes her a good day. She rarely makes eye contact, but she interacts with every customer as she serves them their plate of food.

And she tells me she enjoys the work. She’s been working here for about a year and a half, and she says she now has big dreams for her future.

“I wanna work at Disney World, in a bakery,” she says. “They have more gourmet stuff.”

Maddy still lives with her parents and unlike Vicky, she still depends on them to bring her to work and take her home at the end of her shift. So, I ask her if she’d be willing to leave her parents’ home and move out of Schenectady to pursue her dream. “Definitely, yes,” she says with a smile.

Her mother, Kathleen Hannon says, this job has transformed her daughter.

“[The] Maddy that walked in here the first day probably didn’t say hello to people who’d come in,” she says. “Today, she’s out there. I know she will talk to the customers. And we’ve seen a big difference at home. She’s happy!”

The job has given Maddy a sense of belonging, she says. “It’s her job. It’s her friends. It’s her responsibilities. And that’s important. We all want that. We all want to fit in. We all want to belong. We all want friends. And I think that’s helped a lot.”

She says her daughter recognizes that she’ll always need extra support, but the job has made her realize how much she can do on her own.

“She’s wandering further and further away from us,” says Kathy Hannon. “She’s looking for more independence.”

opens in a new windowPeople’s Care ?

opens in a new window[Source: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/01/14/508602730/for-people-with-developmental-disabilities-food-work-means-more-self-reliance ]

Year

2017

This Cafe is Run Entirely by Adults with Down Syndrome

This Cafe is Run Entirely by Adults with Down Syndrome

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THIS CAFE IS RUN ENTIRELY BY ADULTS WITH DOWN SYNDROME

People’s Care is a firm believer and advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities being leaders in the workplace.

This café is run entirely by adults with Down syndrome

Inspiring Workers
(Picture: FACEBOOK.COM/HUGSANDMUGS)

Hugs + Mugs is a café in Illinois that is unique, because it’s run completely by adults with Down syndrome.

The store opened in 2014 and has a mix of coffee makers and interns who use the design studio at the back of the shop to create custom gifts sold in store and opens in a new windowonline.

Dave Luzwick, director of adult programming and job placement with Gigi’s Playhouse in Hoffman Estates, said:

We think it’s one of the best kept secrets in the Northwest Suburbs.

The café also sells seven different gelato flavours, milkshakes and smoothies.

 

opens in a new windowGiGi’s Playhouse Hoffman Estates is a training centre that provides “resources, specialised teaching, and support to individuals with Down syndrome, their families and the community”.

They even offer a combination of therapeutic and education programmes free of charge.

People begin by going to two 12-week sessions at Gigi U where they study a variety of subjects including maths, literacy and public speaking.

Following completion of the program, students begin an 18-week internship at the café, which acts as a transition period after which they are ready to take a job in the community.

opens in a new windowOriginal article

Thriving With Cerebral Palsy, Maysoon Zayid: “I got 99 Problems… Palsy is Just One”

Thriving With Cerebral Palsy, Maysoon Zayid: “I got 99 Problems… Palsy is Just One”

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Thriving With Cerebral Palsy, Maysoon Zayid: “I got 99 Problems… Palsy is Just One”

March is CP awareness month, and we absolutely love this inspirational (and hilarious) TED talk by Maysoon Zayid!

Maysoon is an actress, stand-up comic, philanthropist, and advocate for the disabled, Maysoon Zayid hilariously describes her upbringing and how her palsy is “just one” of her many problems.

Me and my pet

Pets + Children With Autism

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Pets + Children With Autism

Having a child with autism can keep you busy: doctor’s appointments, therapies,
IEP meetings, and more. And then there are the daily challenges of parenting a child with autism. You have plenty to keep you busy – and, yet, at some point, you may have asked yourself, “Should we get a pet? Or would that just add more chaos?”

You’re not alone in asking that question. Over the years, a number of researchers have wondered the same thing, and the answer is a resounding “Yes!”: Having a pet can be a wonderful thing for children with autism.

One group of French researchers studied pet ownership among 40 families that included children with autism. They found that children who received a pet around the time they were Kindergarten-aged showed improvement in two important social skills: sharing with others and comforting people in distress. Interestingly, children who had had a pet since birth showed no improvement over children without pets. The researchers theorized that it could be the act of bringing a new pet home and watching other family members care for and bond with it that made the difference. They got to see the active welcoming and inclusion of the pet on a much simpler level than human interactions.

Additional research conducted by Gretchen Carlisle of the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine produced similar results. Carlisle’s research showed that children with dogs had better social skills than those who did not. In addition, she found that children with any kind of pet were more likely to do things like introduce themselves, ask for information, and respond to questions. Carlisle theorizes that pets act as a “social lubricant,” attracting attention from other people, which then creates additional opportunities for children with autism to practice their social skills. Pets also provide an obvious and easy topic of conversation.

Wondering what type of pet is best? It depends. Most of the research involved dogs, but suggests that just about any type of pet could potentially provide beneficial effects. Naturally, it then becomes a decision of what works best for your family. Allergies, of course, should be one consideration. After that, think about your child’s particular challenges. If your child is easily overstimulated, an older dog or cat might be better than an energetic puppy or kitten. Or, if your child likes everything in its place, a pet like a hamster, rabbit, or guinea pig might be a good choice. Getting a pet might be a little more work for you, but it could go a long way toward helping your child develop important social skills.

Pets + Children With Autism

Year

2016

Family

Becoming a Community Advocate

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If you’re a support staff for an individual with special needs, a child with autism or a caregiver for a senior, you understand the importance of being your own advocate. Insurance companies, school systems, and care centers all have budget constraints, so they’re unlikely to offer more than they have to. It’s up to you to fight for what you need. However, there are many people in your community who have neither the skills nor the resources to advocate for themselves. Have you considered advocating on their behalf? Here are just a couple of ways you can help.

Education advocacy

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires all public schools to accommodate and modify educational practices for children with disabilities. Those accommodations and modifications are determined during an Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting between parents, school administration, a special education representative, and a general education teacher. Appropriate accommodations vary depending on a child’s needs, ranging from preferential seating to one-on-one, in-home education. Many of the accommodations are expensive, however, and with education budgets being tight, schools are sometimes reluctant to provide these services. Parents who don’t know their rights under the law are less likely to secure the accommodations and modifications their child needs. If you have experience in this area, whether you’re an education professional or a parent with a special needs child, you could provide life-changing guidance to a family in need. The law stipulates that parents may bring support of their choosing to IEP meetings – know the law, and be a voice for people who don’t.

Senior advocacy

Seniors are another vulnerable segment of the population, and not all of them have a family member to advocate on their behalf. You can help deliver the services seniors need – the opportunities are endless. Many seniors need help navigating issues like Medicare, taxes, long-term health insurance, veterans’ benefits, etc. Whether you work with governmental agencies, care facilities, or insurance companies, your help can have a huge impact in a senior’s life. If you’re unsure of where to start, contact your community’s senior outreach program or a local retirement community.

Community advocacy

In addition to one-on-one advocacy, you can be a community leader on behalf of people who can’t fight for their own needs. You could advocate for increased funding for schools, reduced property taxes for senior homeowners, and even for increased community activities targeting children, seniors, and families.

Some people become community advocates after having to advocate on behalf of a family member. Some are drawn to advocacy by virtue of their professional skills or leadership abilities. What community advocates have in common is a desire to use their experience to help make things better for everyone. What can you do to improve the lives around you?

Becoming a Community Advocate

Year

2016

Happy Kid

Helping Your Child Overcome Social Anxiety

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Helping Your Child Overcome Social Anxiety

Many children with developmental disorders often feel uncomfortable and out of place, which can cause extreme social anxiety. Anxiety can affect a child’s academic performance, friendships, emotional state, and even his physical health. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to help.
Plan ahead. It’s almost impossible to learn anything when you’re scared and anxious, and that’s certainly true for children with developmental disorders. Trying to coach your child on social behavior when you’re in the car on the way to an event wouldn’t be very helpful. Instead, start well in advance, and pick a time when your child is relaxed and happy, so that he’ll be better able to absorb the lesson.

Set the stage. Due to their social deficits, children with developmental disorders can’t visualize what is likely to happen in a given situation. You can help by giving a realistic preview: what the event is for, who will be there, what they’ll be doing, and what the proper behavior is. Stick to concrete terms your child will understand. For instance, instead of saying, “Sally will be really excited because it’s her birthday,” focus on the facts: “People will sing happy birthday and eat cake and ice cream. Then Sally will open her presents while you and the other guests watch.”

Role play various scenarios with your child: knocking on the door, greeting the host, offering a gift, etc. Knowing what to do will reduce your child’s anxiety and lay the groundwork for a successful experience.

Work through some “what ifs.” You don’t want to increase your child’s anxiety by giving him new things to worry about, but you do want him to be able to adapt if things don’t go exactly as you practiced. “What if Sally’s older brother is the one who opens the door?” “What if no one offers to take the gift?” “What if they play a game you don’t know how to play?”

The important thing to remember is that children with developmental disorders often don’t understand the social behaviors that are second nature to us. It’s similar to the idea of teaching someone how to breathe. How would you describe the first step? How would you demonstrate? You’d have to take something you’ve been doing your whole life without even thinking about it, then break it down into components you can teach – and that’s exactly what you need to do when it comes to helping your child cope with social anxiety.

Helping Your Child Overcome Social Anxiety

Year

2016

Kid

Emotions Matter

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Emotions Matter

Emotions are an incredibly powerful force in our lives! Emotions fuel our mental state, they tell us how we feel and how to respond to certain situations. So, what if a person has difficulty recognizing their emotions?

Children with Autism often experience that difficulty. They find it hard to recognize the facial expressions and what emotions they hold. And on the other end, they have trouble controlling their own emotions and reactions. The good news? We can do something about it.

Here are some of the tips for parents to use in helping their children develop and improve their ability to express and respond to emotions:

Associate simple words with emotions. One way to help your child remember and recognize emotions is by pointing out emotions as they organically arise. Take for example watching TV- If a character is smiling and joyous, point out his face and demeanor while saying “Look, Edward’s smiling. He is happy.”

Focus your child’s attention. Another helpful way in developing your child’s response to emotions is by improving their concentration skills. You can work on this trait by allowing him to focus on a person while they are speaking.

Respond to your child’s emotions. One good way to backup your child’s emotional recognition skill is by responding to their emotion by recognizing and verbally expressing what emotion is present. For example, “You’re smiling. You must be happy.”

Encourage your child to maintain eye contact. Having your child maintain eye contact when communicating with someone is an effective way in helping them practice and improve their emotional recognition skills.

Utilizing resources that are available to you is also important; other parents, blogs, social skills groups, one on one therapy, etc. Every child has their own pace of learning and developing. So, despite any hiccups or bumps in the road, remember to stay positive!

Emotions Matter

Year

2016

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