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.
Is that normal? Do other children act like this? What should I do when he acts like this?!
Parents, how often have these thoughts run through your mind? If you are anything like me, or the parents I work with every day- then you are no stranger to this feeling of bewilderment about your child! To help you navigate these land mines of parenting- we have compiled our Top 5 Strategies for modifying your child's most challenging or embarrassing behaviors...
Ignore Unwanted Behaviors!
This can be the most challenging strategy of all- but arguably the most important! Children LOVE attention- some even love negative attention. Often times, unwanted behaviors are unintentionally reinforced through this recurrent loop of giving your child attention when they are engaging in unwanted behaviors. So, remember- unless your child is hurting themselves or someone else- ignore, ignore, and then ignore some more!
Most children also suffer from a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out). Paren...
Teaching typically developing children how to use the toilet is difficult enough- but what about our children who have developmental delays, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down Syndrome, and communication challenges? Here are a few considerations and strategies to use when toilet training your child with special needs.
If your child is sensitive or upset by the sensory aspects of going to the toilet, try controlling your child's sensory experience during toileting.
Get your child familiar with sitting on the toilet by practicing for a few minutes every day.
Make him comfortable- consider letting your child wear socks, warm the temperature of the room, provide a foot stool for better support, consider a toilet seat reducer/insert to decrease fear of falling in the toilet, use warm flushable wipes, and try noise canceling headphones or background music to block out upsetting background noises.
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...
As you celebrate with loved ones, keep in mind that holiday meals are not the time to make progress in trying new foods. It is a time to maintain the skills and positive feelings about eating that have been gained in therapy. The holidays are a fun but often challenging time for picky eaters. Numerous factors can cause this stress:
Being with unfamiliar foods
Eating at different times, in different homes/places, and with different people than usual
Being served food by someone who doesn’t usually fix your child’s plate
Being around well-meaning family members who encourage and maybe push your child to eat new foods
Here are a few suggestions that may reduce the stress of eating holiday meals if your child is at a very picky stage or new to therapy and just making gains in trying foods and building confidence about eating.
Don’t let well-intended family members push your child about eating. He or she already has enough struggles with the challenges she feels about...
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.