Saturday, August 28, 2010

Life is Good in Arnwineland

Life is good in Arnwineland. We bought a house!

The Hubbo & I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary!

My little girl had her braces taken off! We celebrated by eating corn on the cob!

I finally have a tomato plant, that I have managed not to kill! (An amazing feat for one with a black thumb...)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sensory Info To Help with the Start of School

There are so many good articles out there now with sensory tips for starting school. Rather than reinvent the wheel I thought I would share some particularly good ones with you:

Sensory Diet Applications and Environmental Modifications
This extensive article by Victoria L. Nackley, OTR/L will give you tons of ideas for developing a sensory diet at home and school.

Hartley's Blog: Sensory Diet for School
Along the same lines as the link above, this nice little blog piece is by a Mom who shares her son's sensory diet. I thought it was great, especially the part about packing a lunch with different food textures - genius!

Surviving Sitting
This is an article I wrote for National Autism Resources with tips to help students sit & focus in class without using medication.

Back To School with Sensory Smarts
This is from Nancy Peske & Lindsey Biel's website Sensory Smarts. It has transition ideas, communication ideas and a few tips on accommodations. Also check out their tips for teachers.

Sensory Sensitivities & the School Bus
This article is short and sweet. If my son were still riding the bus I would print it out and hand it to his driver and his classroom teacher.

If you have a favorite article to add please share it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

You Are Not a Mistake

My son started his second year of high school today. I know this is going to sound like a cliché, but I remember sending him off to kindergarten like it was yesterday. He knows he has autism, he knows that some things that are easy for others are hard for him. He knows that in some subjects he has to work much harder to keep up. In junior high he went through a time where he didn't want to be different.

He felt like he was a mistake.

It's hard to watch somebody go through something like that. However, deep within my heart I know he is not a mistake. I know that he was made to be exactly the way he is. I know that God is going to do something great through him. Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” My son is no accident. He's a wonderfully made work of art. He was created by a God who wants to be close to him, to guide him, and to use him to do something wonderful.

I remind him of this often.

I believe this with all my heart about my kids.

I believe this about myself.

I believe this about you.

ABA intervention for Autism

I'm a big believer in intensive ABA programs for young children with autism. ABA uses a one-on-one teaching approach, under the supervision of a behavioralist. ABA ideally should be done 20-40 hours a week. Controlled trials have shown ABA improves social skills and language when provided for at least 25-40 hours per week for 2 years (Lord & McGee, 2001). Efficacy is greatest when behavioral interventions are used early, but improved skills have been reported with adolescents and adults (Weiss & Harris, 2001). For us personally we saw very fast gains in receptive and expressive language. Those gains slowed down when it came to social skills. I
m not saying ABA should be the only option, but according to the research it should be the main option for young children with autism. you can visit National Autism Resources for more information on Autism ABA materials.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Best Fidget Toys Ever

I review lots of products, books, toys, and games. I just found one thing that's been out for a long time and I can't believe I never saw it! Out of all of the fidget toys I've seen this is the best - the Tangle Relax. I have always been a fan of Tangle toys. They work well as a classroom fidget because they are durable and quiet.

However, forget all the other fidget toys you used in the past, I’m telling you right now the Tangle Relax is the best! I love it, my son loves it, and my daughter loves it. It’s similar to the Tangle toy in that it offers lots of finger movement. However, this Tangle has a clear layer of bumpy rubber over the top of it. It feels phenomenal.

When you start playing with the Tangle Relax It is literally addicting. As a matter of fact, I couldn't get it back from my kids. So I broke it in half and made two mini Tangle Relaxes for both of them. I actually think it's even better as a fidget toy now that it's smaller! The original size of the Tangle Relax literally gets both of your hands totally involved. It is extremely engaging. When I broke it in half it still offers a great tactile fidget experience, but on a smaller scale. This is so cool for two reasons: first of all it's like having two toys in one, which is great for people who tend to lose things and second of all it's just enough of a fidget to help someone stay focused. I'm telling you this is the best fidget toy ever.

I love this thing so much I asked National Autism Resources to put it on sale in the autism shop, which they did. So if you are looking for a good fidget toy I am telling you this is it.

Update 6/12/11: I just wanted to update that this toy is still going strong! It got a little dirty so I washed it with dish soap and let it air dry and it's good as new! I love this fidget!!