It’s that time of year again. When the fragrant smells of holiday baking, the flickering lights of zealous holiday decorators and the anticipation of the big guy’s visit all come together to make for seriously painful sensory reactions from our kids on the autism spectrum.
Sensory-defenders may receive so much input from the holiday assault on their senses that they may need a quiet place to process, or even a total escape from the overwhelming sights, smells and general excitement. You may see aggressive stimming (hand-flapping, rocking, spinning, verbal repetitions), meant to help regulate a nervous system gone off the rails, so to speak.
Sensory-seekers may feed on the sensory onslaught and get further amped by the excitement of the season. They may act aggressively, looking for pressure, or other sensory-regulating motions. You may see aggressive stimming, meant to help regulate a nervous-system gone off the rails. You see how that works?
And to be fair, most kids (and adults) are a complicated combination of both.
So, what can you do to help? Here are three easy steps that’ll help your friends on the spectrum and their righteous families enjoy the season.
Chill Out, Just a Little.
I’m not asking you to stop competing with your neighbors for the best Christmas lights display, and I’m certainly not asking you to put away the the Santa that sings Mele Kalikimaka while twirling in his grass skirt. I’m just asking that you be mindful of the fact that these things can be overwhelming to a population of children and adults that is quickly growing. Perhaps Santa could be switched off for a few hours, or maybe the lights on your tree don’t have to be set to ‘dazzle’ for an evening or two.
Be Ready for Plan B
They and their parents may need an out, a plan b, an escape route, and while they’ve likely planned it out before they’ve even left their door, it is up to you to help them execute it. Maybe they’ve got to leave quickly. You can grab coats, or wrangle siblings and meet them at the door. Maybe, they just need that aforementioned quiet area. Direct them to a room with low-lighting, no sound and complete privacy. Don’t worry, parents generally won’t be shy in telling you exactly what they need. Just be ready to listen.
Don’t Take it Personally
Sure, you’ve spent hours perfecting your place settings. The Christmas crackers are homemade and each contains an item that your guests will adore. You’ve made different dishes for the tastes, allergies, and lifestyles of all your party-goers. You’ve even dimmed the lights, lowered the music and prepared for your sensory-sensitive, food-aversive guest. And he or she, walks through the door, takes one look at your jingle bell earrings and falls apart. Relax, it isn’t you, it’s your stupid earrings. No, seriously, it’s just the combination of everything was too much.
Keep these things in mind this season, and we’ll all have a Happy Holiday.
My kids are the apples of my..eyes, the fruits of my...well, labour, the icing on my cake, the silver lining to my cloudy disposition. I love those two tiny people more than anything and yet...I have my suspicions that they can, on occasion, be complete assholes. I’m not just talking about their indifference to a good night’s sleep or their penchant for toys that make noise. I’m talking about the times they make seriously misguided choices resulting in rude, cruel or just plain ignorant behavior. And this might be hard for you to hear, but I’m guessing your kids might possibly be guilty from time to time, too.
Your kids (and mine) will sometimes lie, cheat and otherwise be less than stellar human beings. I know that when you watch them sleeping they look like perfect angels but trust me, I work with children for a living, after all, and none of them are perfect. Even little N, who told me I was better than a Pokemon, and little G, who said I smelled like Skittles, are not perfect. But, you know what, that’s okay. Just make sure you are aware of it, and deal with it when need be or else those ‘perfect angels’ might grow up thinking their bad behavior is okay.
It’s Probably Not a Reflection of Your Parenting
I don’t know you, so I can’t say for sure, but I’m pretty sure the vast majority of us don’t raise our children to be mean. So, if you suspect your child is dabbling in being a class A jerk, don’t beat yourself up about it. And, if you notice my kids are doing it, kindly let me know. I’ll look at the facts presented with an objective lens (or more likely, a ‘what did she do now? lens) and decide how best to deal with it. You’d be smart to do the same.
It’s Exploratory Behavior (Most of the Time)
Sometimes kids like to try things on for size. Is my kid acting ‘too cool for school’, ‘like a mean girl/boy’ or a total bully? This doesn’t mean my child (or yours) is any of these things, it just means they are exploring their options and it’s up to us to make sure they don’t decide to continue down a bad path. Child-centered media makes being mean look pretty glamourous. Have you ever watched an episode of anything written with girl viewers in mind? It’s an uphill battle for sure, but I’m willing to fight.
You Probably Did it Too
You might remember your childhood as being rosy, but the truth is we all made some poor choices. Can you remember ever being on the wrong side of a teacher? Remember taking a turn in some bullying yourself? Did you ever lie to your parents to get a friend or sibling in trouble? Sure, you did. You most likely didn’t like it, especially if you spent any time on the other end of that kind of behavior, so be aware that your kids might be guilty, at times, too.
That Doesn’t Make it Okay
Just because you don’t teach it, or encourage it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consistently address bad behavior. I’m not talking about whiny, cranky, or defiant kids here. I’d have a second full-time job if I had to address each and every misdemeanor. I’m talking about when our kids hurt others with their words or actions. Teach them it’s not okay, and remember to model what you expect. It’s okay to adore your children, but it’s also important to be aware that it’s our job to take an honest look at how they are behaving and help them make the best choices they can.
I woke up. I stepped gingerly out of the bedroom. I found my husband. I had to ask. I didn’t watch the results coming in because, well because American politics is stressful and anger-inducing. American politics, with its anger and fear-mongering can make you want to curl up with a picture of Justin Trudeau and fall asleep wrapped in a Maple Leaf decorated duvet while listening to The Tragically Hip.
“Who is their President?” I asked. I didn’t expect I would be surprised. Surely, common sense prevailed. Surely, I would get to tell my girls that history had been made and there would be a Madame President to discuss over breakfast.
“The Bad Man.” My husband said.
“No, you’re just saying that.” I laugh. He wanted to see the look on my face. He wanted to have a laugh, right?
“I’m not kidding.” He said.
It’s one of those things you know. You’ll always remember where you were and how you found out. Like the day Princess Diana died, or September 11th or when you read your first Harry Potter novel.
This won’t be measured prose, or even well-thought out, for that matter. This is a completely reactive and emotional response to one of the scariest things I’ve ever had to witness.
You knew I’d write about it, right? I feel I’m at a safe distance, up here in Canada, to see your American Election results for what they are. A complete and utter abomination of all things good and fair. A terrifying testament to what a large portion of your country is thinking. A confirmation of the racism, misogyny, and general hate in the hearts and minds of enough of your population to elect a fucking MadMan.
He’s a bad man, an evil man, and he didn’t even have to hide it from you to garner your support. You elected a boogeyman and now you have to live with it.
Many of you voted for Hillary. Many of you see the monster for what he is. You fear for minorities, people with disabilities, women and children, LGBTQ and those seeking asylum from dictators and wars and other such atrocities.
You’re shocked. You’ve no choice but to watch the next four years unfold like some fucking slow-motion nightmare from which you can’t wake up.
I’m so sorry. Come up here. We have civil rights and freedoms for everyon. We can protect you from him.
I guess, it’s true, anyone can grow up to be President of the United States.
It’s brutal, to be honest, to watch Kate become confused. Though I’ve little experience with Alzheimer’s patients, it occurs to me that there might be a strong similarity, at times. Surely, there is some research in this area. I’ll have to check, at another time. Tonight, I sit instead, and try to imagine myself in Kate’s world.
Sure, she’s painfully literal, and rarely gets our references, but those things are often the things that television writer’s use to ensure a giggle and to let us know the character has autism of some kind. It’s surface stuff. Those are the things that we can usually find the funny in. Thankfully, because the funny is so very important.
However, Kate’s confusion is not funny. It’s not a one-liner on a sitcom or the fact that you must be careful not to ask her to ‘hold her horses, or keep an eye on something. It’s more than that. It can be absolutely devastating.
It’s about the lens through which she sees the world. A lens which changes the most basic of social interactions into bizarre rituals that intimidate and mystify.
It’s about the connections she cannot make, though she tries because she would love to have a best friend to play with even if she doesn’t always understand the game.
It’s about her desperate attempt to understand the concept of time and her anger that her birthday doesn’t come back to her soon enough.
It’s about the confusion that scares her when she works herself into a meltdown over things that just don’t make sense.
And I hope, so much, that we are helping Kate navigate all these things in all the ways that she needs.
I don’t have a thyroid problem (I had that checked) or any other medical reason for weight gain. In fact, I don’t have any legitimate excuse to be fat, at all. I’ve suffered no serious emotional setbacks in recent years (though I act like I have, at times; but I tend towards the dramatic on a good day). I simply must have decided, at some point, that I would no longer limit myself in the areas I could control. Food, obviously, being one of those areas. I guess I decided I wouldn’t like it restricted in any way. I likely would have allowed myself some unlimited spending as well if I didn’t think they might restrict my food in jail. I feel like I’ve taken on the attitude of those fat cats that I so admire. You know, the ones that say, “I want it all and I want it delivered”. Those cats, those self-serving little assholes have kinda been my heroes lately, and maybe that’s not for the best.
By the way, this isn’t going to be some declaration that my attitude changes today, or worse, an invite to follow me on my weight-loss journey because I’m still working on those things and I don’t really want to share it with you or anyone. Part of my problem, you say? Perhaps, but that’s not for you to worry about, is it?
This is, however, a journal, of sorts, of some of the things gaining the weight has caused me to lose.
With each pound I’ve gained, I’ve lost a little more confidence. I do boast the fiery temperament and the strong liver my Irish heritage affords me, so it might surprise you to know, that I have serious confidence issues. Maybe you relate? Maybe, if you know me, you’re thinking, ‘she wasn’t lacking confidence Saturday night when she argued loudly that a Barrister was a person who served gourmet coffees.’ But I do feel inadequate in many ways, with my weight at the top of the list. Sometimes, I think what appears to be confidence might, in fact, be just the opposite. We fat girls have to compensate somehow, I guess.
With each pound I’ve gained, I’ve lost the energy to do the things I used to love. This is the worst of it, I think. I do want to set a good example for my girls. I do want to be healthy and strong, and really, really rich (well, I do). I remember how it feels to have the energy and strength to play with my kids and to ski with my husband. I am rudely reminded with every new ache and pain that this weight is going to stop me from doing those things, or at least stop me from doing them without fear of a major injury.
With each pound I’ve gained, I’ve lost the ability to shop in a regular store. Do you know how purely shitty it is to love clothes and fashion and basically be shunned from it because of your weight? Sure, I did this to myself, but can this fat girl not even get a sweater without that fucking keyhole cut-out at the neck that reminds everyone that fat people dare only show that tiny triangle of skin. How I despise having one store to choose from for all my clothing needs. How I hate when I see every other fat woman wearing the same Fall wardrobe and we exchange a glance that says: ‘I hate these fucking fat girl clothes and I know you do, too.”
With each pound I’ve gained, I’ve lost the respect of strangers. If I’m not crazy, there is a difference in the way I am treated in public. Strangers are less kind and less helpful. I lack an authority that comes with being thin and put together. Maybe I’m assumed lazy, or unpleasant. Maybe I make those same assumptions about other fat people and feel shitty about it. I wish I didn’t have to wear it day in and day out. But, if wishes were fishes right…
Anyway, you know me. If I’m over-sharing embarrassing personal thoughts to ten thousand people who’d really rather chat about autism, it must be Thursday.
Well, I’m so glad you asked…*walks to podium and adjusts mic*
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we.
A few short years ago, in Disney World of all places, I attempted to dress Miss Kate up in a sparkly Princess Jasmine costume (her sister was all decked out as Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog” and I figured I would parade my two little princesses around the parks like most obnoxious visitors. Kate had other ideas because as soon as the bedazzled material touched her skin, she reacted as if the cloth was on fire. This might seem like a tantrum of sorts to some. Some kind of, I don’t want to be Jasmine, I want to be Belle or Buzz Lightyear, or Frank Underwood, or some such shit. Well, a mama knows, and I knew that this wasn’t a costume preference tantrum (though we’ve had a few), this was a full-on sensory blowout and it told me what I had suspected for months before. Our little girl had autism and it had been cemented for me at the happiest place on earth.
Since then, we been through a lot. Many, many hours of therapy (with great success) and all the ups and downs that come with raising a child on the spectrum. She began to manage her sensory issues much better. Chewy tubes and body brushes, weighted blankets and pressure vests, a body swing and a sensory lamp to name a few of the things we’ve spent load of money on to help Kate learn to self-regulate. There is really nothing we haven’t tried to help soothe our girl. These things combined with some intense therapies helped Kate manage some of the sensory issues that would send her into the dreaded meltdowns. There were many times she was carried kicking and screaming from the grocery story because the giant den of sights and smells was just too much, and (like rugby, as my husband points out) I just didn’t get it. We are in a better place now, because she has learned to self-soothe in many constructive ways.
So, she found her way back to costumes, only this time it was in the form of her first love and hero, Buzz Lightyear. Buzz was cool, and he had phrases that could be repeated over and over and would almost always elicit a smile.
Soon she would find The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their ninja ways would give her great comfort.
Eventually, she would find a whole league of superheroes she could pretend to be and she hasn’t slowed down a bit.
Now, I’ll attempt to explain why autism seems to be synonymous with Superhero. Lofty goal, says you? Nah, this is gonna be so much easier than introducing a new food, bedtime after a routine change or ‘explaining rugby to your uninterested wife’.
I think there are a number of reasons dress-up play appeals to Kate. Firstly, she is playful at heart, and this is particular exciting for us because play can be an issue for children with autism. Repetitive and ridged play can often hamper social interaction with peers. While, her play can be very structured and a bit one-sided, and this is a nice way of saying: it’s Kate’s way or the highway, she does seek to play with her peers.
The dressing-up seems to appeal to both her sense of fantasy and the fact that she very much relates to the characters she impersonates. She tends towards superheroes for the most part, though her closet boasts some seriously princessy costumes as well. Here’s why I think she relates to the supers of the world.
Superheroes have an alter-ego:
Just like a child on the spectrum, superheroes live two distinct existences. The one inside their complex brains and the one for the outside world. I wish I could express that idea far more eloquently, but that’s what you get. Superheroes also live two distinct existences. Is it possible that our little girl and her spectrum friends, in some way, make that rather abstract connection? You bet your ass it is.
Superheroes can be solitary:
Superheroes tend to live a very solitary life. Few Supers can relate to the average person because of their vastly different lifestyles. For kiddos on the spectrum, peers are great, but can be quite difficult to relate to, at times. They can’t possible understand the logistics involved in the organizing your toys just right while the seam of your sock just isn’t right. How could they possible comprehend the herculean effort a day at school can be with its people and their incessant and unrealistic demands?
Superheroes have different/special abilities/downfalls:
This is key. Superheroes have super-sensitive hearing, sight or strength, among other powers. Children on the spectrum also report many of the same abilities, only the real world application of such powers can result in some painful sensory-overload. Do you think Superman ever had a meltdown? Surely, he has.
Superhero language is often scripted and therefore safe:
Sometimes it can so hard to know what to say or how to react. Catch phrases such as Buzz's “To Infinity and Beyond”, TMNT's “Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go Ninja Go” or Wolverine's "You know sometimes when you cage the beast, the beast gets angry" (okay, maybe that's a stretch for some) can often fill in when the right words just cannot be found. These phrases will often encourage a positive response from others (until they become a tad overused) and they are safe and reliable forms of communication.
Superheroes are freaking awesome:
Everyone loves a superhero. Except their nemeses (I had to look that plural up), of course. Why not adopt the persona of someone that evokes love and adoration from the masses. When it’s tough to fit it our little people have to find a way to stand out and still reach the rest of us.
As cheesy as it may sound to some, there are superheroes among us, and they live on a spectrum of which we can barely conceive. In fact, you might want to feel honored to be among them.
Dear Quiet Moments,
I suppose you think I yearn for you. You’re so cagey and rare that you probably think you’re at the top of my priority list.
You don’t even make my top three.
In fact, you’re rather dreadful. Worse than the dentist and a pap on the same day. Worse than two kids with the flu and an incontinent cat. And worse than the sound of windchimes.
The idea of you is so distressing that I wrack my brain for something to focus on should you be thrust upon me by some unknowing Grandparent or other kind soul.
I remember that last time I had a moment to think. It wasn’t date night because Alex and I are pretty good are filling those nights up with mindless activities that allow us to detach from thinking. It was a Sunday afternoon when Alex went skiing and the girls went to see Grandma. I noticed I was alone and frantically organized the house, avoiding only the laundry, because, please I was not that desperate. Once the house was in order, I began to sift through the pile of books beside the bed. Books that I had bought or borrowed with every intention of reading, someday. They are terribly neglected in favor of books on autism interventions but this would have been a great opportunity to have a go at one. As I was flipping through a fantasy novel that would have been perfect had I been able to get lost in it, my mind was infiltrated with the thoughts I spend all my cognitive energy trying to push out:
Did I do this to Kate?
No, that is silly. I am smarter than. I’ve read countless books detailing the link between genetics and environment in autism diagnoses. Experts haven’t blamed the mother for years; not since the ridiculous refrigerator mother theory.
I reached for a text to back up my thoughts and placed the fantasy novel back on the pile.
Wait…I can’t do this again. I need to spend some time on me. Maybe I’ll watch a little TV.
I turn the TV on and find I have multiple choices on our much neglected list of recorded shows.
As I scroll through I see we have twelve episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles taped for Kate.
Funny Kate, such a boy brain, she has. I wonder if autism really is the ‘extreme male brain’ as some have suggested.
I wonder if I contributed to that when I forgot to take my folic acid. Or maybe I didn’t forget. Maybe I took those vitamins religiously. I can’t remember. I remember I drank root beer a few times. Probably a diet coke or two. That can’t be good. I know I ate feta cheese. There is something about feta, isn’t their? I flew to Boston. Has anyone studied the effects of air travel on the fetus, yet. I’m going to check…
On and on this will go until I can root myself in an activity that is either more meaningful or mind-numbing. Either will do, I don’t really care.
??:?? am - Wake, grind the palms of my hands into my eyes and search for the glowing numbers that will either start my heart racing or put my mind at ease. Does it really say 8:88? Rub eyes again, take another look. 4:19am. Make mental note to contact optometrist. Roll over, attempt sleep. Brain laughs and laughs. Brain decides to run through a list of things that are currently causing me great anxiety. Eyes snap open and Brain is told to shut it down. Brain fights to be heard, so audiobook is implemented to shut out brain. Audiobook is just the right amount of murder and intrigue and Brain settles down. Prepare to sleep for two luxurious hours...alarm sounds rudely. Palms to eyes, take in the clock. 6:20am. Did I sleep? Fuck.
6:27am- Black cat climbs up and snuggles in. Cat is soft and warm. Considering surrender when youngest child pokes eye to encourage wake-up time. Youngest asks: "Is Terry Fox dead or dead-dead?"
6:28am- Encourage child to ask Teacher. Usher child to bathroom to begin morning routine. Pretend thirty-five minutes will be more than enough time to get everyone ready and out the door. Feel gratitude that husband chauffeurs kids to school.
6:44am- Silently celebrate finishing shower and getting dressed in record time. Make lunches. Watch husband make breakfast. Scroll phone for four minutes, feel guilty.
7:04am- Kiss children, grab purse, forget lunch and rush out the door, feel guilty.
7:11am- Arrive at Tim Horton's to order coffee. Fight the urge to order a pumpkin-spice muffin and lose.
7:20am- Make the highway without an traffic to speak of. Regret muffin, but not enough to not eat it. Feel guilty.
7:50am- Arrive at work. Enter classroom and finish coffee while computer boots up. Wonder if 'boots up' is still a computer term. Decide new winter boots are needed. Wonder if LLBean has any boots on sale. Wonder if LLBEAN was a real person. Decide to google for answer. Feel confident that question is crucial and relatively more important than preparing for a classroom of five-year olds.
Leon Leonwood Bean (October 13, 1872 – February 5, 1967) was an American inventor, author, outdoor enthusiast, and founder of the company L.L.Bean.
8:10am- Bell sounds. Students rush in. Lesson plan comes up. Day begins.
8:15am- Student A raises hand: "I have an uncle and his name is Alan." Inform Student A that though this is a lovely anecdote, we must get to our morning meeting and start our day. Student B: "My cat likes lemonade." And so on.
8:16am-3:05pm- (The School Day) Imagine trying to teach the cutest bunch of kittens to knit when they just 'don't wanna'. Still totally worth it, because of the cute thing, mostly. Mid-day, feeling utterly exhausted when the Principal approaches me and asks about a little girl with a terrible cough. I inform the Principal that the little girl has swollen testicles. Principal informs me that the word I am looking for is: tonsils. Principal kindly laughs.
3:30pm- Sit at desk to prepare for tomorrow. Prepare to leave instead. Decide planning tomorrow's day at home will be a safer bet.
3:55pm- Pull into driveway and sit in van longer than necessary to hear end of audiobook chapter. Decide to ask husband for iTunes cards for Christmas to feed audiobook obsession.
4:00pm- Enter house to be greeted by children. The eldest wishes to discuss potential new Fall Wardrobe. The Youngest wishes to discuss the death of Canadian Icon, Terry Fox.
4:40pm-Youngest asks for food. This can only be one of her two meals. Pita bread and peanut butter or Pesto on flatbread. Reach for the pita bread and pull out the last slice. Shit, shit, shit there are dark marks on it. She is going to notice. This batch of bread looks different from the other batches. Try to cover the dark marks with distraction while handing the child the pita bread. Walk quickly back to kitchen to begin next "meal".
4:41pm- Youngest shouts: "Mama, my bread has dots on it!" She then promptly places the pita in the garbage and reaches for goldfish. Pretend not to notice and pray that husband didn't buy the whole grain goldfish by mistake. Feel guilty.
4:45pm-Remove packaging from frozen lasagna. Feel guilt for not cooking fresh lasagna more often, for not cooking from fresh more often, for not cooking more often.
5:30pm- Husband arrives home. Surprised he isn't tasked with cooking our meal, is pleased to smell lasagna. Makes no comment about its level of freshness.
6:05pm-Youngest child wants to talk about her birthday again. Time is abstract and a difficult concept to understand so is often confused because her birthday is not 'tomorrow'. Have the same discussion about her May birthday that we've had most days since May.
6:17pm- Eldest decides she needs an Instagram account. She is instructed to 'ask her father'.
6:18pm- Exasperated by what has been a relatively uneventful day, state: "Is it bedtime yet?" Make same tired comment every evening. Husband no longer politely reacts. Beginning to annoy myself.
6:19pm- Announce the following words to no one in particular. HOMEWORK, BATH, SNACK, BOOK, and then BED, let's go! (Ipad time if you're good). No one moves.
6:20pm- Decide I will read my book and ignore everyone if they plan on ignoring me. See how they like it. Yeah, they'll come running when they see how hard the bedtime routine is without me.
6:22pm- They don't appear nervous.
6:24pm- They don't appear to notice my aggressive stance on tonight's bedtime.
6:25pm- Husband yawns
6:26pm- Turn pages of book angrily without reading a word.
6:27pm- Husband: "Did the kids do their homework yet?" Kids jump to attention.
7:09pm- Homework and baths complete, snack being prepared. Youngest is eating flatbread and pesto. Eldest is eating apple slices. Finally, something to not feel guilty about.
7:33pm- Eldest wishes to read a book about kittens. The youngest finds a book on Terry Fox.
7:45pm- Children rewarded with ten minutes of screen time for reading. Wonder, vaguely, if this is a parenting mistake. Shrug off the guilt for this one in favor of wallowing in guilt regarding the elation that bed time is near.
8:00pm- Remove screens. Tuck children.
8:01pm- Sit down.
8:02pm-Scour DVR for mindless entertainment to play in the background as I prepare to lesson plan.
8:03pm- Youngest calls: "Mama, Terry Fox is my best friend, but not my real best friend, but my dead best friend ok?"
There are days when I can’t bring myself to write. Which is strange because, for the most part, I need writing, like I need air or sleep or the expensive towels. Basically, it’s rather important to me and my mental health. So, it surprises me when for weeks and sometimes months, at a time, I can hardly produce a single sentence.
Maybe it's because I am back to work. I love my class but working for a living can be a drag, can't it? What did Oscar Wilde say again?
Work is the curse of the drinking classes
I'm a selfish writer. I know that. I write what I want, when I want and share only what suits me. It’s my blog, after all. Even though, there are those that feel it’s a direct line for their complaints.
I suppose you have every right to have an opinion about what I write since I insist on sharing publicly. Many of you share with me your almost entirely constructive criticisms. I think they make me a better writer, don’t you?
What the hell is she going on about now? (RaisingaPrince)
She swears too fucking much. (Patriots12)
Why should we care about autism? Isn’t there a vaccine for that? (MrSmith)
And my personal favorite:
There is not enough vomit in the world. (BeerMan)
But it’s not the negative attention that slows me down, or the lack of remuneration. After all, I get paid small amounts of American dollars for writing listicles each week but have never brought in a penny for writing here, on this blog. I can bang out ‘17 Reasons Cake is a Breakfast Food’ in my sleep but to tell you anything else seems nearly impossible at the moment.
So, why am I stuck? Why am I sitting here writing about not writing?
I have no idea, which is strange because according to Anonymous1967:
This asshole is a friendless know-it-all who could fill a book with her specific brand of bull-shit.
Anyway, guess I wanted to tell you that we are still here.
I’m not done sharing our story.
Planning activities for children involves a keen understanding of their personalities and the kinds of things that encourage them to develop their current skillsets. Such is the case when putting together a fun activity plan for children with autism. Often times, these children have refined sensory perceptions and niche skillsets which allow them to explore color, sound, sight and touch in their own unique ways. We’ve compiled a list activity ideas for children for autism, helping you create fun pastimes that are sure to have them learning all while having a great time. Read on to find out more!
Box of Beans
Fill a large box with dried beans. Add a series of small figurines or toys throughout the box of beans. Have the child sift through the beans in order to find the toy! This provides for a heightened sensory experience for the child, having them navigate their way to the end prize all while processing texture and touch. If you want to amplify the experience even further, dye the beans a series of primary colors which will allow them to process distinct colors throughout their hunt.
A fun game of Bingo can improve communication skills and socialization skills for children with autism. Playing with other children can encourage fair play and healthy competition. Additionally, bingo boards can be customized to fit the specific child, based on their needs. That is, if they struggle with colors, the bingo board can be focused on colors so that they may learn how to associate certain colors being called out to those on their own board. Also, with technology improve entertainment for all, bingo through the web is a fantastic option and can make planning such a game that much easier. Great new bingo sites are available to help inspire you plan a great bingo game that any child will love.
This idea one is really simple to plan but very effective when put into practice. Ask the child to close their eyes, and then hand them just about any object. Be sure to choose objects that have unique shapes and textures to make the activity all that much more challenging. Have the child explore the object with their eyes closed in order to guess what it may be. They can describe the object in their own words or have them use pictures and images to guess the object when they open their eyes. This tests their sense of touch and allows them to explore the world around them. It can also improve their verbal skills if they are describing objects in their own words, or improve their skills of association and sight, if they choose to describe objects using images.
Often times, children with autism are pegged as limited, resulting in them participating in very routine activities. However, these children should be challenged to step outside of their comfort zones, which can help them grow. Improvisational skits are a great way of achieving this, all while incorporating an aspect of collaboration with other children as well. Hand them a specific object and have them plan an entire skit around that one object. The children will be having fun with others in a heightened social setting, all while exploring their own creative capabilities.
These four activity ideas are sure to encourage any autistic child to leverage their sensory perceptions in order to navigate the world. Not only will they be having fun, but they will learn to break out of their comfort zones and gain confidence in themselves. We’re sure these will be a hit!