By: Ann Reece
Lakewood Elementary ASD Program
1500 Bogie Lake Rd.
White Lake, MI 48383
I hope everyone enjoyed their snow day! I spent some time test-driving a new game I bought called The 7 Habits of Happy Kids. My ever-patient husband humored me by playing a round with me so I could be better prepared to introduce this game to the kids next week. This game pairs perfectly with our book (by the same name) and follows the Leader in Me process and materials. Players get to practice acting out the habits while they experience all of the benefits of playing games (turn taking, losing, problem solving, etc.) I am excited to share this with the kiddos soon!
By: Ann Reece
What do I do over a break? Watch some t.v., catch up with some friends, oh--and read some awesome autism literature! Temple Grandin's newest book (released April 30, 2013) is fantastic! I've been working on this one since it came out (I was the dork at the bookstore May 1 to pick it up) and I will admit that it's a slow-go because it's very technical and science-y. Temple discusses some of the latest brain research that has been done on autism. Much of this research was actually done on her! There are great visuals of the fMRIs that have been done on the brains of people with autism and how they compare to other individuals. The book is divided into two parts, the first describing the brain and how people with autism are different or the same as other people. The second part is how to play on the strengths of those with autism to ensure they reach their potential. I'm nearly there, and with another snow day (or a few quiet evenings) I can't wait to dive in! This is a great book for people involved in the autism community, although it's not my first recommendation for newcomers (relatives, friends, etc. looking for some initial info about autism). If you have some time, check it out!
By: Ann Reece
Here is a short clip about the importance of priming. Many of you are really skilled at prepping your child for what is coming up next. We know that children with autism have difficulty predicting and picturing their future. Priming is a verbal means to share information with kids about what the next expected outcome is. Adding visuals to a verbal warning or cue is a great strategy to increase likelihood of comprehension. I like his explanation and how he checks for understanding by having the child repeat what was said. As life moves fast don't forget to gain your child's attention by getting on his/her level and even saying his/her name before explaining what's in store. This strategy is great for ALL kids and reduces anxiety and stress for everyone!
By: Megan McQuillan
Are you using visuals throughout your world? It is often easy to think about the visuals that children need to help navigate the school setting. In the home, visuals can reduce the amount of frustration in multiple settings and situations.
Going somewhere? Try showing a picture of someone you will see or what the place looks like. If you are participating in a fun activity show a picture or video clip of what you might be doing. This will help ease transitions and give priming for what to expect. YouTube has a vast assortment of experiences and clips--PREVIEWING IS REQUIRED--Ann and I many a time have found weird and inappropriate clips trying to provide video modeling and priming. We view clips before ever showing them to kids. If you are having trouble with a specific time together consider creating a mini-schedule of photos or words to schedule that time more specifically. This could look like a "to-do" list, a first-then box (first homework, then games), or step-by-step "direction guide". It can be hard to remember to carry a camera around to snap these moments. Consider using your phone to take photos or video. It is a quick and portable method to go visual.
Thinking in pictures can be like swimming upstream if you are a kinesthetic (hands on) or auditory learner. If you have to write notes or see things to remember them, you are in luck! Going visual is natural for you. If you have to "do" to learn this might take some work for you, but maybe not. Auditory people are the hardest to sway. You typically can hear your information and roll with it. Therefore, it's natural for you to just speak your directions or information to others. This is the last way kids with autism want their information, so you, my friends have the most work to do (Sorry!). Want to know what kind of learner you are? I am sure there are tests online that you can take, but if you are at Lakewood swing by and see one of us to give you a 2 minute exam. We ask about 3-4 questions and can easily pinpoint what may work best for you. Regardless, you have to work around what may be natural or unnatural to do what is best for the way your child learns. But, you probably knew that already! As always, if you need assistance or ideas for going visual or ways you do that you want to share with us, just let us know!
By: Megan McQuillan