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.
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, so there is no better time to brush up on your developmental milestone knowledge! Remember- early intervention is key! Talk to your pediatrician if your child is not meeting these milestones to determine if a referral to a speech-language pathologist or audiologist might be necessary.
BIRTH TO 3 MONTHS
Reacts to loud sounds
Calms down or smiles when spoken to
Recognizes your voice and calms down if crying
When feeding, starts or stops sucking in response to sound
Coos and makes pleasure sounds
Has a special way of crying for different needs
Smiles when he or she sees you
Enjoys physical contact
Makes eye contact
4 TO 6 MONTHS
Follows sounds with his or her eyes
Responds to changes in the tone of your voice
Notices toys that make sounds
Pays attention to music
Babbles in a speech-like way and uses many different sounds, including sounds that begin with p, b, and m
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.
Melting down, throwing a tantrum, having a fit... just a few ways to describe that bright and shiny moment in your day when your child transforms from a little angel into a tyrant at the drop of a hat. While we all knew going into this parenting thing that meltdowns and tantrums were par for the course, it's still a difficult scenario to manage- especially if you feel like you can't quite figure out what's setting your child off!
Over the last several years, the concept of sensory overload and resulting “sensory meltdowns" have spread like wild fire across parenting blogs. But what does sensory overload look like? Are we just "explaining away" our child's bad behavior? These are difficult questions to answer, and often times the answer is different for each child and each family. First, it is important to know that the feeling of being overloaded with sensory input doesn't only happen to individuals with sensory modulation disorders. In truth, we ALL succumb to sensory overlo...
Your cell phone rings, you look down at your phone to see it's your daycare calling. Your heart sinks thinking that something might be wrong with your little one. Apprehensively you answer your phone and are immediately informed that your child has bitten a classmate. For many, embarrassment creeps over them and they begin to profusely apologize, stressing to the director that they will address this behavior with their child- confidently assuring them that it won't happen again. A week later, another phone call from the daycare, it's happened again, and this time you can sense the frustration in the director's voice...
Unfortunately for many parent's this is an all too familiar cycle. A cycle that can provoke feelings of frustration, embarrassment, anger, and despair. But what is a parent to do?
First, as I always stress, it is important to have realistic expectations for your child. This starts with know...
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,...