Sesame Street has launched a new initiative, Sesame Street and Autism, and we are more than excited about it! “See Amazing in All Children is an initiative that offers families ways to overcome challenges and simplify daily activities”. To prepare for this week's post, we had the pleasure of exploring their site. Here are some highlights...
11 Things We Took Away from Sesame Street and Autism:
1. Every child, with or without autism, is a unique individual.
• It is easy to notice how our exceptional children are different than their typically developing peers. As a parent, it is next to impossible to ignore the moments when you see your friend’s children, nieces and nephews riding bikes, excelling in school and playing appropriately with friends. Your child’s struggles are your struggles, too. We know that. But what we also know is that even the typically developing peer has their quirks, their struggles. Remember that. Remember that every child, autism or no autism, is unique. You cannot compare, you can only love your child wholly and happily for exactly who they are.
With Holiday breaks upon all of us this week, we want to encourage you to consider using schedules at home as a means of filling free time with enjoyable, productive activities for you and your child. In this week’s post, we will outline exactly why we believe in schedules and how to use this teaching tool to help individuals of all ages on the spectrum successfully engage in purposeful activities at home.
In short, schedules can promote positive behaviors in individuals with autism. By using schedules at home, you will be able to organize all aspects of the day and in turn, you will create a more harmonious living environment for the entire family.
As adults, we know what our average day is going to look like, what time we will drop kids off at school, go to the grocery store, go to and from work. Our children, and especially our children with autism, lack this certainty. Try to imagine you are completing a task with no knowledge of what will come next or what is expected of you. Even the mental image is a little unsettling. For children with autism, the more uncertainty there is, the more anxiety there will often be.
Tips for a Successful Holiday from a Parent of Autism:
In our house, all holidays are exciting and a bit of a wear-out. We have more meltdowns, emotions are more extreme, and disappointment is more likely. I am not an expert, just a parent, but I wanted to share some things that I am constantly reminding myself, and my family, as we plan for the holidays.
Less is more: As an adult, I can easily become overwhelmed by the number of activities and events during holidays, and if I am overwhelmed, then most likely my son is too. I am still learning that it is okay to say no...to the kids, to friends, and even family. Not everyone is going to understand why I say no to fun activities at times, and I have to accept that I can't always explain our limitations. Often I simply use the phrase "I wish we could, but that is too much for us right now."
"Working with kids with autism has changed me forever."
By definition, autism is a disorder that impairs an individual's ability to communicate and interact with others, but if you are a parent, friend, educator or sibling of autism, you know it is much more. At St. Gerard House, we are blessed with the opportunity to witness firsthand the beauty and complexity of autism every day.
This week, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Ford Chumley, one of St. Gerard House's Registered Behavior Therapists. When asked what he has learned from working with individuals on the spectrum, Ford replied, "I know now that they don't need our sympathy or sorrow. Their needs are altogether the same as anyone's."
Regardless of where you are in your journey with Autism, this topic is for you. Why? Autism is a whole-body disorder, and we firmly believe that what your child eats greatly impacts its symptoms. As we continue to narrow in on the importance of dietary changes in dealing with autism, it is our hope to help you understand the connection between gut and brain, the way that what we ingest directly impacts the way our brains function in every day life.
1 in 68 in the United States. As this number decreases, the odds of living with autism increases for all of us. If you are living with autism in your house, in your workplace or classroom, you know that it is a wonderfully complicated condition, full of joys and triumphs, complexities and challenges.
We are all, in some way, living with autism.
The St. Gerard House team is excited to share with you the launch of our new website, as well its various features, including a weekly blog post. In these posts, we will share with you updates on our programs, success stories, at-home tips and more. Our blog will serve as a resource on all things autism, the topic we hold most dear here at St. Gerard House.