AUTISM: Resources /Support
The hardest words I NEVER comprehended said to me. "she has AUTISTIC-LIKE Behaviors" have any questions?" My reply" No". How can you ask a question about something you know NOTHING about? And so began our journey.
I have tried a ton of things to help my girl out and to educate myself on our journey through autism and this is a list of things that have worked for us. My girl is on no medications and has never been on any for sleep, moods, or attention issues.
- TACA (general info/support)
- SAN GABRIEL VALLEY REGIONAL CENTER ( assessment /info)
- PARENTS PLACE (general info/support/ connections to advocates) West Covina
- AST (for ABA and social skills in some areas)
- 10 things every child with autism wishes you knew - CLICK HERE
- Big girls use the potty ( my girl is a visual learner, so this one helped) - CLICK HERE
- Mother Warriors (for moms/parents just for support really) - CLICK HERE
- Louder Than Words (again for support and to see the journey and extremes) - CLICK HERE
Great app. iTunes ( all or most are FREE !)
Also check in the month of APRIL during Autism Awareness month there are always great deals or free apps during the month too.
- Kindergarten.com. Tons of flash cards emotions/actions/categories
- The social express (lite version) great for social skills/emotions
- Touch and say
- Little critter books , just me and my mom
- Pepi bath (great for boys and girls with all things bathroom related)
- See me go potty (customize avatar to look like your child)
Web sites for sensory items
- Small exercise trampolines are great and take up little space
- An inflatable pool used as a ball pit even a small one is great for sensory
- Any corner can have a hammock swing installed
- Foam balance beams are great they come apart and form shapes too
- Small pop up tents encourage pretend play and are easy to store
- Plastic storage containers with sand are great for sensory
- Shaving cream with small toys another sensory game and great motivator. Just put them in a large bowl and squish away! Or the same can be done with water.
- Bubbles!!!!!! An every occasion motivator
This is a valuable tool to help children with time management and to plan ahead. Priming children on the autism spectrum is very important and having a visual schedule for them is very helpful. Knowing what is occurring next on the schedule also gives the child the opportunity to interact and a sense of accomplishment with it by removing the tasks upon their completion and placing them in the pockets. These schedules can be completely customized as your child's routines change.
Laminated pictures with velcro , it is very easy to change the schedule.
Visual calendar/ mark off or use favorite stickers.
I use this to keep track of movie dates, school vacations, play dates, Disneyland trips, anything my girl is looking forward to.
Reward box filled with prizes/work for bigger prize event.
This was used to help with coping, say with taking turns playing games, learning to tie her shoes, cleaning up after her self. A card was filled and when completed she got something from the "box" OR if it was a big issue we were working on....
Movie, new toy, trip to park or preferred place, preferred snack.
Token Economy Is also used to help motivate using pictures of preferred characters, the tokens can be used to help get homework completed or chores, use in the week and they get an item out of the box when the chart is filled.
These tokens were often used during her ABA sessions to motivate her, she was given the option of choosing which token she could place next.
All the above are just suggestions again, some may or may not work for you, I tried many things, not all worked for my girl.
I will say the hardest thing was potty training, took a complete year for both 1 and 2 on the toilet. It was a nightmare causing her to become sick and me at the brink of throwing in the towel. I could not find a re enforcer stronger than my girls fear of releasing in the toilet (#2) except for her desire to go to Disneyland. That was the push she needed along with their app that "inspired" and helped her through her fear and the day she did it I promised her she would get to go to Disneyland. Then it hit me, what am I going to do now after Disneyland? That is when the calendar came out with the Star Wars stickers (she loves Star Wars) and the month went by with mostly successes and another trip to the park. It was her motivator and our reason for a yearly pass.
The calendar continued for several months the same and we continued with our monthly trips, without it she would not try going on her own and revert to holding it. It was all we talked about in our house for months, we were traumatized , she was at the point before this breakthrough where she was holding her bm's for a week and getting UTI's. It was so frustrating, we tried everything .
We are on our second year of being pass holders now because we love it there, it's hard at times but so are other places. Lali is getting better each time and maturing as well learning to coup and try new things, she has come a long way in three years since we started this road of recovery .
Our week was like this: one on one ABA therapy 2 1/2 hours a day , OT (50 min week), Speech therapy (50 min a week), and early school (pre pre kindergarten 4 hours day). Imagine a 3 1/2 to 4 year old having a week like that. Most adults don't have that crazy a schedule.
We are done with the ABA but still have social skills classes to do but haven't found one we like yet and honestly WE needed a break from it to be a family and for her to just be a kid. She is now up to 6 hours a day at school with the OT and speech still the same but within her school day so things have calmed down a bit for us now.
Above are coping strategies that were taught to Lali to use when she was mad , frustrated or sad. She was 3 1/2 when these were introduced to her....3 1/2! She has it now, and rarely needs them to calm down, but when she did it independently without being prompted or shown the visual, what a feeling!
One of our last visuals made before ABA wrapped up, this helped Lali to stop yelling and calmly ask to speak with me about her feeling when she was upset, amazing how fast it worked!
We have been on this roller coaster ride now for 4 years. I read so much when I first found out it made my head spin. It got to the point where I had to just stop. I never wrote about it because it consumed everything in my life before and there was a grieving process I went through that even my counselor didn't understand (ex shall I say).
Now that my girl has progressed I have more breathing room and am not so caught up in her targets ( goals) so much as just enjoying her and enjoying being her mom. I was too close to the battle before she had a lot of aggression due to her inability to communicate her wants, that is all but gone now. She did not now how to cope with her anger or frustration, she has learned those skills now. All the hard work is and has paid off to this point we still have puberty, boys, OH BOY. To be continued......