Teacher Appreciation Week: A Thank You List

This week we want to celebrate the amazing impact teachers (including paraprofessionals, school speech pathologists, and school occupational therapists) can make on our kiddos lives, especially those who work with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Children with Autism have varying characteristics that, as parents and therapists, can transform us, challenge us, and teach us. We understand the often unrealized desire to put our own needs on the back-burner to dive head first in caring for those with atypical needs. We hope that as you do one of the most important professions, teaching and preparing our youth for social settings and their futures, that you read our thank you list to re-boost your end of the year energy. And hopefully, you will understand a little bit more the incalculable gratitude we have for you that is oh-so-difficult to show on an everyday basis.

One of many fun sensory activities used by educators and therapists!
  • We want to thank the teachers who come in early, leave late, and often have to spend their own money to have adequate supplies, therapeutic/sensory materials, and even allergy friendly foods for their students.
  • We want to thank the teachers in our kiddos lives who take the extra five minutes at the end of an exhausting workday to give our children that extra interaction.
  • We want to thank the teachers who redirect our children with ASD in the classroom with loving grace instead of frustration.
  • We want to thank the teachers who look at our children with ASD and feel an outpouring of empathy that is visible and palpable in your daily interactions with them.
  • We want to thank the teachers that find something in common with our children with ASD and capitalize on it by generating discussions, activities, or feelings of belonging to those that don’t always fit in.
  • We want to thank the teachers who create lessons plans with our differentiated learners in mind, and do so with excitement to help them learn in a way not typical to the traditional classroom.
  • We want to thank the teachers who make it a vital importance to implement IEP accommodations, and do so out of a heartfelt desire to make an often uncomfortable child that much more comfortable in a social setting.
  • We want to thank the teachers that take our children with ASD out of a stressful situation and into a hallway or place of safety while a meltdown occurs, so that our child will not be taunted by peers for an uncontrollable event.
  • We want to thank the teachers who treat the parents of children with ASD with amicable fellowship, and are not irritated by our sometimes fretful emails, but instead take the time to reassure us of situations.
  • We want to thank the teachers of those with ASD for making an impact on our child’s lives in a way we sometimes cannot. It is said that it takes a village to raise a child, and the truth in that is some days you have as much affect on the lives of our children as we do.
  • We want to thank the teachers who remove our children from harmful situations, both social and towards themselves, with the care of a loving guardian.
  • We want to thank the teachers who show up, day in day out, tired or well rested, stressed or relaxed, happy or emotional, and STILL find a way to have an uplifting, impactful, and compassionate school day. Your effort will never go unnoticed, even if our thanks some days goes unsaid.
From the bottom of our hearts and the depths of our souls, we thank you.

Enhancing Learning Opportunities: Bath Time

A neuro-typical toddler is learning from his/her environment all day, every day.  At Spectrum Autism Services, LLC. our goal is to ensure that the same can be said for even our earliest learners with ASD.  It is our belief that teaching children to learn and interact with others in their natural environment (home, grocery store, park, library, grocery store, doctor’s office, etc.) is the key to maximizing their success.  As a result, we have created this list of tips for parents to use during bath-time

Tips for making the most of bath-time

  • Stay in your child’s attention spotlight aka position yourself so that you are face to face and at the same level as your little one. Yes…this means the floor : )  This will allow you to capture eye contact and easily participate in your child’s play. (Life hack: get a kneeling mat, your knees/bottom will thank you)
  • Encourage the development of independent life skills.  A typical toddler will often yell “My turn” or “I do” when parents are providing more help than they need.  Children with ASD often need our help learning to perform these tasks independently. When your child is ready to get in the bath provide support but encourage your child to begin undressing/dressing independently.  It may be helpful to partially remove his/her shirt initially and let them attempt to take it the rest of the way off to avoid frustration and make sure the child is successful.  You can also encourage independence by having your child participate in washing himself/herself with soap/bubbles and a washcloth.

Bath-time is a great time to sing/teach sensory social songs with finger movements.  Some of our favorites include:

    1. Itsy Bitsy Spider
    2. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
    3. Five Little Monkeys
    4. I’m a Little Tea Pot
    5. Wheels on the Bus
  • Imitation is one of the most important skills to teach a child with ASD.  Encourage the development of this skill by imitating your child actions both with and without toys.  Don’t forget to praise his efforts to imitate you as well. Encourage speech by labeling toys in the bath tub and the actions of your water baby : )  Use the 1 up rule (if the child is nonverbal label items/actions with one word, if the child is regularly using single words use 2 words to label items/actions, and so on. When possible limit the number of people in the bathroom to you and your child.  This will allow you both to focus on your interactions with each other free of distractions.
  • Bathing is an enjoyable experience for many children.  Capitalize on this! Laughs and smiles are great signs that your child is having fun and realizing what a great playmate (read: teacher) you are!
  • It is never too early to teach cleaning up. Yes… we are moms too : )  When you are letting the water out (or before if water going down a drain scares your little one) have him/her help place bath toys in a bath tub storage basket.  You can also have him/her put his/her clothes in the hamper.