Monthly Archives: December 2011

Tablet helps autistic learn, communicate – The Times of India

Tablet helps autistic learn, communicate – The Times of India.

I was perusing the news about Autism. Something I do frequently. It is nice to see something on the positive side since lately the news hasn’t been great.

One of my students is non-verbal. We are teaching him to communicate with the iPad using Proloquo2Go. This is not an easy process, but it is one that will pay off in the end. We are already seeing remarkable changes in this child who has not really spoken at all.

He can tell us that he is hungry – and choose what he wants, thirsty – and choose what he wants, and other various things like “I need a break”, and simple responses such as “yes and no”.

If you have a child with Autism that is mostly non-verbal, I would recommend an iPad with some form of communication app. There are several out there. I just recommend Proloquo because I personally have used it. The other programs can/could be just as effective!

Remember patience and rewards! These kids eat that up!

~Kari

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Big Smiles

Yesterday was our last day at school before Christmas Break.

We had a blast!!

The school had a “Social” which is basically the gym full of fun carnival style games that the kids can play and the cafeteria is turned in to a giant dance floor with a DJ!! For a child with Autism, this can be either a sensory overload, or tons of fun! One of our kids doesn’t like the gym and another doesn’t like the cafeteria – something that can be easily worked around.

S0, for the first few minutes, another aide and I took the 3 that will go into the gym inside, while the 4th kid went to the cafeteria with the teacher. It was so cool to see them take in all the sights, sounds, and smells as we wandered around and played a few of the games – even if they didn’t win.

After a while, I took the other two to the cafeteria, while the one that doesn’t like the cafeteria hung out with an aide in the gym. This was THE best part!

Our kids were dancing!! Dancing like no one was watching! Dancing like no one cared! It was incredible!! Arms and legs flailing around, jumping, laughing, smiling!

I often wonder how they are feeling at those moments. I wonder what they are thinking. I wonder if they feel free and happy. They sure seem like they are. They may not hold a beat perfectly, they may not know the songs, but they were flying with happiness yesterday. It was awesome being a part of that moment.

I have 2 weeks off work before I get to hang with them again. I can’t wait for more life moments like this one!

~Kari

 

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Christmas Break Boredom?

Howdy!

Are you afraid your child with Autism will get bored over the Christmas Break? Even the average kids get bored, but dealing with a child with Autism can be a bit more challenging.

I follow the Autism group over on Facebook and a topic of discussion was ideas to help keep the kids busy and entertained during the Holiday break.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Make homemade Playdough – I loved doing this when I was a kid!! I thought of an individual in my class first thing when seeing this idea… he likes to eat Playdough… so… to avoid the scare that comes with that territory, I found a website that has 10 recipe’s for Edible Playdough! Check them out here – Family Corner
  • Shaving Cream Paint – Who would have thought? Here is a site for instructions – Painting with Shaving Cream
  • Bathtub full of waterbeads and glowsticks! Doesn’t that sound like fun? Heck I would do that!
  • Christmas Card Collage – Take all the Christmas cards that you were going to throw away and cut them up and make a Christmas Collage. Helps with the motorskills as well as makes a neat new decoration for the Holiday!
  • Make sugar cookies and let them help decorate!

There are many more ideas out there if you Google it. Just remember to actually spend time helping your child with these activities. I know that you may feel you need/deserve a break (and you do!!), but remember they need you too during this time!

Create some memories!

~Kari

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Always Unique Totally Interesting Sometimes Mysterious

Well if that isn’t the truth.

  • Always Unique – I have heard it said that if you meet a child with Autism, you have met ONE child with Autism. Because Autism is a spectrum disorder, each child is completely different. Although they may display some of the same behaviors, they are completely unique.
  • Totally Interesting – Each of the kids I work with are very interesting indeed! Each of them make me smile, laugh, cringe, cuss (under my breath of course), and entertain me!
  • Sometimes Mysterious – I catch myself wondering what in the world these kids are thinking. At night… when I am lying in bed, I often catch myself smiling at the thought of these kids and what they must think of us!

I wish, at times, that I could be more specific when talking about these kids. I have so many wonderful stories about each of them, but privacy keeps my lips sealed. Just know… that they are my heart and soul… they are a good reason to get up in the morning … and I will do everything I can to make their journey with Autism a little easier.

~Kari

 

 

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Friday!

We love Friday’s!

Academics in the morning and a movie in the afternoon. The kids were great today.

It is nice when they are all on a good day cycle. We have bouts of days where it seems they are all off, all on, or somewhere in between.

Today I was thinking that average people have our on days and off days, we just express it differently. There are some days where I wish I could stomp and scream, but society has taught me that it is not okay.

We are there to help assist these kids with learning to deal with their emotions differently.. hell, to RECOGNIZE their emotions.

  • I’m MAD
  • I’m HAPPY
  • I’m SAD
  • I’m CONFUSED

Sometimes, even as average people, we have a hard time recognizing exactly what emotion we are feeling at any given moment.

Another week in the books. Only 7 more working days until Christmas break… I will be happy to be off work for the first couple of days… then I will miss them and want to go back.

Happy Friday!

~Kari

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Man With Autism Absolutely Stuns an Entire Crowd

Man With Autism Absolutely Stuns an Entire Crowd.

See what I mean???

~Kari

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Field Trips!

Howdy!

Our class goes on Field Trips!!

We try for this once a week. We get to go to all kinds of places and the kids get to experience life outside the four walls of the classroom. Taking these kids out in to the real world serves a couple of purposes.

  1. It teaches the kids that public places aren’t always scary and that they can have a great time doing something different from the strict schedules of school/home/life.
  2. It teaches the WORLD that there is a thing called Autism and that the kids that have Autism can enjoy a “normal” life too!

Number two is probably the most difficult. The kids are easily managed, but the public is a whole different issue. I often wonder why people are so afraid of difference. I do understand that they DON’T understand and that is what makes them afraid.

I see why some parents are more apt to keep their kids protected in the safety of their home instead of dealing with stares and comments from complete strangers. It is aggravating for sure. However, if we keep these kids locked up in little safe zones, then they can never fully blossom.

We all want our children to succeed. We want their lives to be better than ours. With kids with Autism, we want the same… why wouldn’t we? I am not dumb to the fact that these kids may never be doctors or lawyers, but they CAN be productive members of society.

  • Order food from a restaurant – (using speaking tools if they are non-verbal).
  • Shop at a grocery store.
  • Enjoy a movie.
  • Paint pottery
  • Work at jobs that are suited for them based on skill sets that are being taught in and out of the classroom.

If one person that saw us out and about today realized this, then we have met a part of the goal. It only takes a few people at a time to make the change.

We can and will make a difference.

~Kari

 

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