AAC tools and devices aim to facilitate, supplement, or replace verbal speech.
Picture exchange systems, communication boards, choice cards, and speech generating devices are all examples of AAC options.
AAC isn't just for people who have motor impairments which limit their verbal speech. AAC can also be used for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Delays, or Cognitive Disabilities.
Parents, beach time is here- and it’s no secret that you are longing for the care-free, laid-back atmosphere of your beach vacation! We also know that you may be dreading the long drive there as traveling with your little ones can be quite a daunting task! So, to help you maintain your sanity- we compiled a list of some great activities to keep your children occupied and happy!
This great idea comes from greyhouseharbor.com. Making a simple visual of your destination and how close you are to being there helps curb the inevitable question…”Are we there yet?!”
Try this greatfree printable for a Road Trip Scavenger Hunt. Aside from you and your children having fun, your occupational therapist will be very happy that you are practicing visual discrimination and visual scanning skills while on the road! Turn up the excitement by allowing the winner to choose where you stop for lunch!
Reach into your cabinets and grab a cookie sheet for hours of travel fun! You can use it to play ma...
Handwriting can be a tricky skill for children to learn and those pesky U's and NI's on report cards for handwriting can worry a parent! Here are some simple tips and tricks for lessening your worry and helping your child become a more confident and legible writer.
1. Make sure you have age appropriate expectations for your child.
Unfortunately, I have noticed a trend of pre-school and kindergarten aged children being held to developmentally inappropriate standards. I can't tell you how often I hear a parent tell me that their pre-K student is expected to write from memory both upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet and that their Kindergarten students are expected to compose multiple sentences regarding a given topic. Let's pump the brakes here guys! A child's ability to form an oblique line (like in the letter A) doesn't fully develop until about 4 and a half years of age and a true hand dominance is not expected to befullydeveloped until 6 years of age. With tha...
Self-regulation is the ability to control your impulses and emotions, direct your focus and attention, and maintain a calm and organized state of arousal. Mastery of this skill has been shown to predict success in adulthood and is critically important for successful childhood experiences at home, on the playground, and in the classroom.
When does self-regulation start to develop?
In infancy! Self-regulation begins as "co" regulation. At this point in development infants rely on the earliest form of communication, crying, to alert their caregiver of their need for soothing, changing, or feeding. This relationship and daily exchange between you and your child is the beginning of your child's ability to learn regulation.
Over time, as your child's language, cognitive, sensory, and motor capabilities develop, the amount of support they require from you decreases and SELF regulation begins to develop. Many things influence your child's ability to learn and apply self-r...
Teaching any child how to resist their impulses and stay on task is a difficult feat, but teaching a child with executive functioning difficulties how to inhibit their impulses can make even the most patient parent want to run for the hills! Here at Abilities, we can help children with Autism and ADHD stay on task and independently complete daily routines by implementing some pretty simple strategies. A therapist favorite for promoting on task behavior is the Time Timer! This tool is a great way to teach children the concept of time as a system of measurement. Showing time disappear helps to teach children how to pace themselves as they work. It also functions as a motivational tool, encouraging your child to stay on task as they can see that break time is nearing!
Visual schedules are another useful tool for helping to keep your child on task and to ease difficult transitions. Visual schedules serve as an external reminder to complete specific tasks,...
The concept of sensory processing and sensory processing disorder has rocked the pediatric world over the last few years. Many of us are left scratching our head and asking…. “What does Sensory Processing mean?” “Does my child have a disorder?” “How will therapy help my child?”
First, it helps to have a general understanding of what is meant by the term sensory processing. Basically, sensory processing refers to a person’s ability to register, attend, assign a meaning to, and respond to our basic senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. On top of processing all that incoming input, there are also internal sensations that we must respond to which detect changes in our body position or our need for nourishment and voiding of our bowel/bladder. The term sensory processing refers to this entire process. When talking about Sensory Processing Disorder, we break this process down further into what we call sensory modulation and sensory discrimination. Sensory modulation refers to a pers...
Social stories are short narratives aimed at describing the social rules and expected behaviors of various situations. They have been a valuable tool for helping children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other social-emotional disorders. These carefully worded stories provide children with specific strategies for success in different social situations. Social stories can also be used to help children prepare for upcoming life transitions (starting school, moving to a new town/city). Here at Abilities, we use social stories frequently to help our children overcome challenging situations. While it may take a little prep work, generating a quick social story for a child that is struggling to be successful with transitions or social exchanges is definitely worth the extra effort. Below is an example of a social story about an upcoming life transition and the new social expectations that come along with it.
Many parents can attest that managing their child’s meltdown is both physically and emotionally draining. You may begin to question the effectiveness of your parenting skills, become embarrassed by your child’s actions, or become emotional and reactive yourself. While these moments are undoubtedly difficult, try to remember that meltdowns, and how you respond to them, are an important part of your child’s development. Be sure to stay in control of your emotions and to be clear and consistent in your expectations and consequences. Providing your child with this clarity and consistency during their tantrums will help them learn how to: delay gratification and accept consequences, understand the importance of meeting certain expectations, and illustrate the hard lesson that life is not always fair.
But what if your child seems to spend a large part of their day melting down over what seems like nothing? What do you do when being clear and consistent just isn’t paying off? First, and most...
Working with children every day, I have seen firsthand the impact of a positive preschool experience on a child’s motivation to succeed in school. Children learn very quickly whether they are the “smart kid”, the “funny kid,” and unfortunately, if they are the “bad kid”. Shaking these labels can be difficult for a child- especially if the label has negatively affected their ideas about what they can and cannot do.
What causes a negative preschool experience?
Many factors can create a less than optimal pre-school experience. Most often, it’s a combination of large classroom size, high teacher/caregiver expectations, and a developmental delay. Children who struggle to tune into, or tune out, the sensory input in their world, communicate their wants and needs effectively, or perform fine motor pre-academic tasks can appear to be a “behavior problem”. Once a child has been identified as having “bad behavior” they are frequently disciplined and teachers/caregivers may become less likely to a...