Written by: Dr. Liz Matheis and Featured by: Psychology Today
College is coming. You’ve known that it’s coming. You’ve visited colleges, you’ve created a list of potential schools, you’ve filled out applications, and you’ve completed personal statements. Now, the wait is on. Once you and your college-bound child begin to hear about acceptances and rejections, decisions will be made, and a wave of relief will come over all of you. Phew!
Both you and your child will be able to enjoy all the celebrations and field trips that come with being a high school senior with an acceptance letter in hand, and a hoodie that proudly marks the college mascot with which you will both begin to identify. It’s an exciting time that culminates in a graduation ceremony where you will think about how quickly time has passed from your child’s birth to now, how proud you are of your child’s accomplishments, and how hard you will all celebrate. It’s an exhilarating time for all of you. Enjoy every morsel and every moment of it. You will have all earned it by June,
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Written by: Colin Guare, Janice Rodden, Dr. Liz Matheis, Randy Kulman, PH.D. and Featured by: ADDItudemag.com
Resistance is futile; the future is digital.
Statistics from Common Sense Media show that more than 30 percent of children in the United States play with mobile devices while still in diapers. More than one-third of third graders own a phone. Tweens spend up to an hour a day texting. High school students spend 8 to 11 hours each day with digital technology, if you include multitasking. And, according to Pew Research Center, nearly 75 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds have smartphones they use “almost constantly.”
“Boys actually spend an hour more than girls on technology, especially in middle school,” says Jodi Gold, M.D., author of Screen-Smart Parenting: How to Find Balance and Benefit in Your Child’s Use of Social Media, Apps, and Digital Devices. “That’s mostly related to video games.”
Screens are a part of our children’s lives, and always will be. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. Technology offers a lot of benefits, but the fact is that — when left unsupervised and unlimited – it can also get in the way of exercise, in-person relationships and social skills, good eating habits, effective study habits, self-care, and more. What’s more, kids with ADHD are at greater risk of becoming over-stimulated by violent media and games; they’re hyperfocus can also make video-game addiction a real threat.
A 2009 study at Iowa State University identified a link between “video game addiction” and attention deficit disorder. The study was published in Psycho- logical Science and reports that 8 percent of American children between the ages of 8 and 18 who play video games fall into the category of “pathological” gamers. Pathological gamers spend an average of 24 hours a week playing video games — more than twice as much as non-pathological gamers — and received poorer grades in school.
They were more likely to be boys, and two times as likely to have been diagnosed with ADHD. The lead researcher on the study, Douglas Gentile, concludes, “One could interpret this finding as a predictable type of comorbidity, given that many addictions are comorbid with other problems and that ‘Internet addiction’ has been previously found to be correlated with attention problems.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children age 6 and older consume no more than 2 hours of screen time each day. As your child grows and gains independence, this limit may feel impossible. But many families are able to set and live within healthy limits on video games and apps. “The goal is to have consistent technology rules, but also be flexible and individualized to the needs of that child,” says Dr. Gold.
Use these strategies to help your family strike a reasonable balance between the need for rules and the needs of each family member:
The Positive Side
Many of us worry that electronics are a distraction for our children. Criticism of the effect of screen time on children is everywhere, but little research focuses on the positive influence of technology on the lives of kids with ADHD.
“Digital technology in moderation improves cognitive abilities in school-aged children,” says Dr. Gold. “Digital technology can actually make your kids smarter, if it’s used wisely and it’s used in moderation. There are lots of good studies to support this.”
Dr. Gold feels technology is an asset for middle-school students, in particular. At that age, they stop imaginative play – they put away the toys because it’s no longer cool to play with LEGOs, even though they still have a desire for it. By playing online games such as Minecraft, they get to continue building and being creative and imaginative. There are certainly healthy places for play online.
Liz Matheis, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and certified school psychologist, advocates harnessing the iPad’s appeal and turning it into a tool for success. “Your child with ADHD loves his tablet, so why not use it to help your child achieve the very goals most important to his success at school – getting organized, remembering assignments, and handing in homework!”
When schools allow tablets as an assistive technology, children and adolescents can use them successfully to:
A Healthy Play Diet
Balance video games with other types of play – that’s the advice of Randy Kulman, Ph.D., founder and president of LearningWorks for Kids, an educational technology company that specializes in using video games and interactive digital media to teach executive-functioning and academic skills. Rather than viewing video game playtime as negative, consider it part of a healthy “play diet.”
If your child is spending a substantial proportion of his time engaged in outdoor exercise, socializing with friends, and completing his homework, then spending some time playing video games is not a bad thing. Video games can give kids things to talk about with their friends, sharpen their digital skills, and improve some critical thinking skills, as long as they don’t overdo it. Conventional wisdom calls video gaming a distraction that gets in the way of learning. But for tweens and teens with attention deficit, it may actually offer a way to enhance executive function.
Though many parents will argue that video games are distracting, and an obstacle to learning, research suggests otherwise. In his book, What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, James Paul Gee, Ph.D., notes that what makes a game compelling is its ability to provide a coherent learning environment for players. Not only are some video games a learning experience, says Gee, but they also facilitate metacognition (problem solving). In other words, good games teach players good learning habits.
Many video games that offer your child or adolescent the chance to have fun and to polish his executive skills at the same time. Here are four that are popular, entertaining, mentally rewarding, and cool: Portal and Portal 2, Starcraft and Starcraft II, the Zelda franchise, and Guitar Hero.
Kulman recommends Bad Pigges, Roblox, and Minecraft to help kids with ADHD improve focus, concentration, and planning skills. “Watch your child play for a few minutes,” says Kulman, “and you’ll see that he plans, organizes, and problem-solves while engaged in a video game — skills we’d all like our ADHD kids to develop.” Those game-playing skills can transfer to everyday tasks, by helping your child identify the thinking and problem-solving skills that are necessary to play the game, and by talking about how the skills they use in the game can be used in the real world.
Minimizing screen time increases a parent’s responsibility to devise other activities. This is tough for those juggling jobs, two or more children, or the zillion other daily tasks that make life the pressure cooker it can be. But Kilcarr sees a developmental advantage in cutting out TV and screen: Children get the chance to use time on their own. Getting to this point may take a while and it may require some prodding, but, ultimately, your child will develop ways to entertain himself. Everyone benefits.
As ADHD awareness increases and research into the effects of screen time on children progresses, experts may indeed find more definitive links. In the meantime, it’s essential to exercise caution where screens and kids are concerned. You may be surprised at just how little your children really miss the screens if you help them fill their time with more interesting activities that speak to their passions.
Strategies to Minimize Screen Distractions During Homework
By Randy Kulman, PhD
1) Ask your child to voluntarily to give up her cell phones for a set amount of time when engaged with homework. I actually learned this strategy from teens, who recognized that checking their texts and social-media feeds disrupts their focus and attention while doing homework. Once these teens recognized that it took them far longer to complete their homework with distractions, they became willing either to shut off their cell phones or to hand them to their parents. I typically suggest a 30- to 60- minute “handoff,” after which time your teen can check his phone for messages and then return to homework if necessary.
2) Keep computers and other technologies in public areas. This can make teenagers more aware of staying on task because others may see them goofing off. This approach is similar to sitting at the front of the classroom in an effort to be more focused on tasks.
3) Focus not on shutting down Minecraft, but rather on developing basic time-management skills. I encourage teenagers to read the time-management chapter from my book, Train Your Brain for Success: The Teenagers Guide To Executive Functions, and for parents to review some of our articles to learn more about time management.
4) Develop expertise with apps that help with focus and time management. Two of my favorites are “Timer Plus,” which gives a pre-set amount of time to complete a particular activity, and “30/30,” which creates categorized tasks and helps users keep track of how long they have dedicated to a particular project.
Written by: Dr. Liz Matheis and Featured by: Shield HealthCare
You’ve heard about the I&RS Plan and the 504 Accommodation Plan as well as the IEP, but what are these documents? How are they different? When are they relevant to your child? And most importantly, how do you get one if your child needs one? We’ll take a look at the I&RS vs. 504 Accommodation Plan vs. IEP.
Within the public school environment, when you begin to notice that your child is struggling and needs accommodations, you can request an Intervention and Referral Services Action Plan (I&RS). As you begin to have more data, you can request different plans, but let’s start with the I&RS Plan.
Intervention & Referral Services Action Plan
Based on the NJ Administrative Code (6A; 16-8.1; Establishment of Intervention and Referral Services) all school districts are required to have an I&RS committee available for students who are struggling with a learning, behavioral or health issue. The I&RS team is typically composed of the Principal, Guidance Counselor, teachers and the I&RS Coordinator. Other members, such as the Reading Specialist, Occupational/Physical or Speech therapist, and School Nurse can also be members.
An I&RS plan is developed and implemented within the school in order to provide accommodations and support to the student. This plan is created by the I&RS team in conjunction with the student’s parent(s). Accommodations are based on teacher observations and interventions already used. No testing is required.
The types of accommodations that can be a part of an I&RS plan range from preferential seating, extended time on assignments or tests, providing a bathroom or snack break, providing verbal and non-verbal cues to help re-focus, and providing study guides. This plan is reviewed every four to six weeks with the intent to remedy the situation and eliminate the plan.
Although this plan provides supports, the ultimate goal is to find solutions to the issue at hand. The belief is that the area of difficulty is short-term and by implementing a few strategies, it will be resolved.
The 504 Accommodation Plan
The 504 Accommodation Plan is guided by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure that a student with a disability has access to accommodations to improve academic functioning, as the disability affects the student’s ability to access the general education curriculum, perform academically and make progress.
In order to qualify for a 504 Accommodation Plan, a student must have a diagnosis; however, a diagnosis does not ensure that your child will be granted a 504 Accommodation Plan. The diagnosis can include a physical or emotional disability, recovering from a chemical dependency, or impairment (e.g. Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), a food allergy, a concussion that restricts one or more major life activity.
A document is created that specifies the disability as well as the accommodations needed by the student. Accommodations can consist of: moving a child’s seat, permitting a child to have frequent snacks or drink in the classroom due to a diagnosis (e.g., diabetes, etc), providing extended time on tests or assignments, modifying test questions, and/or providing statewide testing accommodations. Other accommodations include a personal aide to ensure safety around food allergies, or modifying the duration of a day for a child who has suffered a concussion.
Note that a student is not able to receive specialized instruction (e.g., In Class Resource program or Out of Class Resource Replacement) through a 504 Accommodation Plan.
The Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
An IEP is guided by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and is a plan and program that provides special education and related services to a student who is identified as having a disability that negatively impacts ability to receive academic instruction. A student who receives special education services is entitled to modification of curriculum, classroom accommodations, specialized instruction, and related services such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and/or counseling.
An IEP is a comprehensive and legal document that incorporates a student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance (PLAAFP) in which each teacher/therapist provides feedback about the student’s performance within the subject area and related service. Information from the PLAAFP guides the goals and objectives, which are specific identification of skills and areas that will be addressed through the IEP program. Goals and objectives are also ways of measuring growth within those areas over the course of the school year.
A child who is referred for special education and related services is tested by the Child Study Team. These evaluations can consist of the following: Psychological Evaluation, Educational Evaluation, Social Evaluation, Speech Evaluation, Physical Therapy Evaluation, Occupational Therapy Evaluation. Other evaluations, such as a Central Auditory Processing Evaluation, neurological exam, or psychiatric evaluation are often conducted by professionals outside of the school. Parents can request that the school cover the cost of these evaluations, or pay for them privately. Note that a parent can also gain an independent evaluation (Psychological, Educational) on a private basis, and submit these reports for the Child Study Team to review.
A student with an IEP is re-evaluated every three years to determine continued eligibility. However, a parent can request a re-evaluation sooner than three years, but not less than one year. An IEP is also reviewed annually; however, a parent can request a review of the child’s program as well as related services at any time.
I&RS vs. 504 vs. IEP
To clarify things a little better, an I&RS plan is what you can seek when your child needs formal accommodations, but does not have a documented disability (learning, behavioral or emotional).
You can request a 504 Accommodation Plan when your child has a diagnosed disability and requires classroom and statewide testing accommodations.
You can request a Child Study Team evaluation for a potential IEP when your child has a disability (learning, emotional, medical or behavioral) that requires the modification of curriculum and other special education programs, related services, and classroom and statewide testing accommodations.
I hope this has taken the mystery out of which plan is right for your child! If you still have questions, feel free to email me: email@example.com.
Written by: Don Meyer @ Sibling Support Project
In the United States, there are over 4.5 million people who have special health, developmental, and mental health concerns. Most of these people have typically developing brothers and sisters. Brothers and sisters are too important to ignore, if for only these reasons:
Sibling Support Project
A Kindering Center program 6512 23rd Ave NW #322 Seattle, WA 98117 206-297-6368 firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by: Chrissy Sunberg, M. Ed., AAC
The winter has finally arrived. For some families this time of year is welcomed and for others it can be dreadful. As for my family, we welcome it with open arms. It gives us a chance to slow down and relax on a Saturday afternoon. If you know me, you know that I love Netflix. There is nothing better than enjoying a good movie with my family, making popcorn and sipping hot chocolate. This has been a family tradition for us since my kids were younger. I think we had the opportunity to view every age appropriate tv show and movie. Comedies, dramas and educational shows/movies. I’m excited to share with our readers educational tv shows for children that have learning challenges and for the families that support them. Enjoy!!
First, I want start with my favorite web-site about movies, tv shows, books and so much more, www.commonsensemedia.org. This site provides reviews on movies from parents and kids, tips for parents on watching age appropriate movies, tv shows, books and video games.
Oldies but goodies:
Another thing I want to mention is that certain tv shows can promote learning and social skills for children that may have a hard time reading social cues, understanding sarcasm and reading a room. I suggest sitting with your child and making the learning experience more interactive. While watching you may want to discuss with them how to read facial expressions and explain what each situation means. Some questions you can ask are:
Photo from: Pexels
Written by: Dr. Liz Matheis and Featured by: Shield HealthCare
A child with special needs (or as some parents and children would rather call it: a disability) can be a very demanding job for parents. Throw into the mix a sibling or two and now you are managing several different worlds of need. Oh, and a spouse or partner – now it’s a party but without the disco ball!
Now let me change the perspective: what it’s like to be the sibling of a child with special needs. In my house, my daughter can be exceptionally demanding and difficult on most days. These are the days when I find myself drained and unable to respond to my other two children with patience or just plain old consideration.
When I sit with my thoughts at the end of the day – the daily day-in-review beat down you are all familiar with – I feel guilty. I feel like I’ve cheated my two boys. I feel like I didn’t connect with them about their day’s struggles or celebrations. I feel like I became consumed by the intense emotion that gets riled up in me and that I work so hard to manage.
Every few months, my older son will confide in me that he needed something from me but didn’t tell me because his sister needed me more. He doesn’t ask for help or vent especially on the days that my daughter is especially difficult because he can see I’m exhausted. I understand why he does what he does but I’m also sad that he feels like he has to wait.
It’s not his job but I realize that there is a unique dynamic that happens in the home of a family with a child with special needs. When I think about my own children’s’ experiences as well as the experiences of the children with whom I work professionally, there are a few things to note about their day to day.
They Feel Like the 3rd Wheel
We all do this. We know our child’s needs and we anticipate, accommodate and plan ahead. We wake in the morning with a plan in mind for the day’s activities or schedule and we know what to avoid or how to make it easier or more pleasant for our child with special needs.
We don’t think in this same way about our neurotypical children. We think that they will adapt and be ‘okay’ because, for the most part, they can, and do, just go with it. Well, at least much better than our child with special needs. And when they resist, we push back… harder… because we know we can get them to agree.
But, the truth of the matter is, they feel like the third wheel. They know they are here for the ride but that the focus is on their sibling. They know that their parents will jump on the need of their special needs sibling, quickly. They know that their needs may have to wait. They see their parents’ distress, they see the tantrums, they see the doctor’s visits. They see it. They see it all. And they feel the need to ‘be good’ so as not to create more demand on their parents.
They Become Another Adult in the House
Although it may not be said that the sibling of a child with special needs has to help out, they know and we need their help. We need them to do their homework, to know when to take out the trash, to leave parents alone, to get ready for the next day, and stay on top of their school work.
We need them to delay gratification. We need them to know when to intervene with their sibling and when to leave the room. Sadly, they become another adult in the house, even when we, as their parents, don’t expect it or even want it. They just take on additional responsibilities and become little adults.
To Help, Validate and Celebrate Often
Although it is very easy for the moments to become days and the days to become months and the months to become years, as parents of our neurotypical children, we need to stop trying to get through the day. Instead, I encourage us to set a reminder to take a moment to ask about our child’s day – ask about that Math test, the drama within their friend group, and remember what is important to them. To remember to celebrate a good grade on a test or project, or getting a part in the school play. And to comfort them when things just didn’t work in their favor. To acknowledge that they too are an important member of the family.
We may know this logically, but we may not be conveying it clearly and often enough.
Let’s make it a point to validate and thank our neurotypical children for what they do for our families, emotionally and physically. To recognize that our child with special needs is indeed demanding, difficult and needy and that there is a special place in the family and family dynamic for everyone.
Make statements like, “I know that it’s hard to live in this house sometimes, but thank you.”
“Thank you for doing your homework without being asked.”
“Thank you for helping me out when I didn’t even ask you.”
“ Thank you for being patient. Thank you for being tolerant.”
“Thank you for being sympathetic.”
Find the Time to Be One-On-One
I know it’s easier said than done, but in the same way we make time for our child with special needs, we need to set aside time for one-on-one time, out of the house, with our neurotypical child. Set aside time once every two weeks and put it on the calendar. Go out for a walk, a mani/pedi, dinner, lunch, a movie, or a stroll in the mall. Whatever is interesting for your child and gives the two of you uninterrupted time to bond. It’s easy to get lost in the day to day care of your child with special needs, but setting aside the time (and treating it like a doctor’s appointment for your special needs child) will get that time on the calendar. Treat it as a sacred appointment and try not to postpone or reschedule.
My fellow parents of special needs children, I see you, I hear your struggles. I know this is a big balancing act in managing everyone’s needs. I’m not asking you to do more, but I am asking you to disperse your energy a little differently.
Written by: Dr. Liz Matheis
Featured by: PsychologyToday
Finding and maintaining your co-parenting alliance
Parenthood. It’s a journey that, when we enter into it, we’re not exactly sure what to expect. For many of us, it’s a bumpy journey with some smooth roads along the way. We get onto the parenthood road thinking it will be exactly like our idyllic own childhood—or nothing like it, if ours was rocky—while integrating our presently held values.
Many parents—though certainly not all—split parenting duties with a spouse or long-term partner, ex-partner, or another adult. When you take the experience of parenthood and multiply it by two, you can end up with either alignment or misalignment. That alignment is known as the co-parenting alliance (Abidin & Kobold, 1999). Misalignment in any parenting relationship can be downright ugly—but when a child with special needs is involved, it's even more critical that parents align themselves effectively to ensure the child is getting the care and support they need.
The Co-Parenting Alliance, Defined
Let me begin by defining the co-parenting alliance. In essence, it’s how parents split up the responsibilities of the home as well as the care-taking. In some homes, moms may tend to the inside of the house, as well as manage homework, doctor’s visits, and play-dates, while dads tend to the outside of the house and take the lead on sports and extra-curricular activities, maybe even finances. These more "traditional" configurations are not as common as they once were, and there are countless other configurations that are possible as well. But however the responsibilities are split, parents are aligned when they talk about and agree on household rules, expectations for behavior, school performance, consequences, and household finances.
Photo from: Pexels
Written by:Nicole Filiberti, LCSW
Planning an activity for your family to enjoy is no easy feat. Moods and irritability levels can change by the minute, sibling rivalry can take its toll, and unexpected changes in plans can all cause even the most well-intentioned plans to end in frustration and stress. When you add special needs into this mix, such as individuals with an Autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, behavioral challenges and more, another level of complications arise that require additional planning. Here are some ideas for family activities that cater to individuals with special needs.
Trampoline parks have been popping up in many towns lately. A lot of them have special sensory hours regularly built into the schedule. Check your local trampoline park's website or give them a call to find out if they offer this option. Very often, sensory hours include more staff supervision, limits on the amount of people allowed to jump at once, and a more quiet environment.
Another family activity could be enjoying a music class together as a family. Many music therapy offices offer ongoing classes or special events in which youngsters with special needs can connect and express themselves through the use of music. This can certainly be an event that the whole family could enjoy together, creating special memories.
Connecting to nature is another great option for a family to enjoy together. When the weather is nice, heading to a local park to explore and have a picnic can be a very enjoyable activity. There are plenty of sensory things to explore, touch and see. Other than park rules and regulations, you won't have to follow a whole lot of strict rules and can leave whenever you need to leave, staying for as little or long as your schedule and needs dictate.
Engaging in various activities as a family is a fun way to connect and create memories. For your children with special needs, making an effort to keep active as a family can help their social skills, increase self-esteem, and build life skills. There are plenty of resources listed on the internet and the next time you are at a skating rink, museum or gymnastics class, ask the staff if they offer any special programming for individuals with special needs. You just may be surprised by the options available.
Photo from: Pexels
Written by: Judith Orloff, M.D. and Featured by: Psychology Today
Learn differences, similarities, and areas of overlap on the empathic spectrum.
As a psychiatrist and an empath, I often get asked, "What is the difference between empaths and highly sensitive people?" Following are the similarities and areas of overlap. (I also devote a section of The Empath’s Survival Guide to this important distinction.)
Empaths share all the traits of what Dr. Elaine Aron has called “Highly Sensitive People,” or HSPs. These include: a low threshold for stimulation; the need for alone time; sensitivity to light, sound, and smell; and an aversion to large groups. It also takes highly sensitive people longer to wind down after a busy day, since their ability to transition from high stimulation to being quiet is slower. Highly sensitive people are typically introverts, while empaths can be introverts or extroverts (although most are introverts). Empaths share a highly sensitive person’s love of nature and quiet environments, their desire to help others, and their rich inner life.
However, empaths take the experience of the highly sensitive person much further: We can sense subtle energy (called shakti or prana in Eastern healing traditions) and actually absorb it from other people and different environments into our own bodies. Highly sensitive people don’t typically do that. This capacity allows us to experience the energy around us, including emotions and physical sensations, in extremely deep ways. And so we energetically internalize the feelings and pain of others — and often have trouble distinguishing someone else’s discomfort from our own. Also, some empaths have profound spiritual and intuitive experiences — with animals, nature, or their inner guides — which aren’t usually associated with highly sensitive people.
Being a highly sensitive person and an empath are not mutually exclusive: One can be both, and many highly sensitive people are also empaths. If you think about this distinction in terms of an empathic spectrum, empaths are on the far end; highly sensitive people are a little further in; people with strong empathy who are not HSPs or empaths are in the middle; and narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths who have “empath-deficient disorders” are at the far opposite end.
The Empathic Spectrum
Narcissists Loving empathic people HSPs Empaths
The gifts of sensitivity and empathy are precious. We want to keep opening our hearts and break through to new heights in the empathic spectrum. We need these gifts now more than ever.
Adapted from The Empath’s Survival Guide
Photo from: Pexels
Chrissy Perone-Sunberg, M.Ed., AAC
I’m officially an associate certified coach from the International coaching federation. After completing my training program at ADDCA I became an ACC. I’m an ACC certified by the ICF now.
This is what I needed to do to qualify for ICF status.
As the world’s largest organization of professionally trained coaches, ICF confers instant credibility upon its members. ICF is also committed to connecting member coaches with the tools and resources they need to succeed in their careers.
ICF offers the only globally recognized, independent credentialing program for coach practitioners. ICF Credentials are awarded to professional coaches who have met stringent education and experience requirements and have demonstrated a thorough understanding of the coaching competencies that set the standard in the profession. Achieving credentials through ICF signifies a coach’s commitment to integrity, understanding and mastery of coaching skills, and dedication to clients.
I am excited to share my new skills with you and your families!
Written by: Dr. Rick Manista
While family vacations are supposed to be a time of fun and bonding, traveling with children on the Autism Spectrum can be more challenging. Children on the spectrum are prone to meltdowns that can occur at the drop of the hat. Families have to be careful about sensory issues, dietary restrictions, schedules and how others respond to them. Here is a list of family friendly vacation destinations that are also autism friendly.
Besides getting all the chocolate you can eat, Hershey offers individualized service for families. Children on the spectrum can have a wide variety of symptoms and needs. Hershey partnered with Parent to Parent of Pennsylvania to create a new service. Hershey gives guests a questionnaire to families to identify their individual needs. The families then receive a detailed list of rides and attractions that would best suit the families. No unexpected surprises!
Legos are the most beloved toy of the Autism community. It is no surprise that Legoland offers amazing services as well. Legoland consulted with Autism Speaks to become entirely autism-friendly. They create simulating sensory activities, quiet areas, and training the entire staff on autism awareness and sensitivity.
The first cruise line to be called “autism friendly”, the Royal Caribbean has a wide variety of activities in a small settings. All of the staff members have been trained on autism awareness. They offer modified activities for children, sensory friendly shows, and sensory toys for children. Plush everyone would love the exotic ports of call.
With the water sports, kids clubs and amazing beaches, Beaches Resorts have partnered with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Starts to obtain their autism certification. Besides having a variety of dining options, they also offer “Amazing Art with Julia”, and art class with Sesame Street’s first character with autism.
Myrtle Beach was named the first autism-friendly city! A resident created an initiative to train hotels, restaurants and tours to be autism friendly. Families can get a “CAN” card that lists various businesses that participate. Families can get to the head of the line or even get a meal faster at a restaurant.
Shannon Airport became Europe’s first airport to have a sensory room. This room is for children and adults with neurodevelopment challenges to relax before a flight. The room includes a wheel projector, cooler-chaznign LED lights, bubble tube, and undulating wavy wall.
London has various quiet green spaces for families and calm museums to tour. The West End frequently has children’s shows and adaptive shows for children with autism. Many airlines, such as Delta and Virgin Atlantic, offer rehearsal programs for children, to help them prepare and know what to expect during their flight!
The best for last (and probably most expensive) Disney world offers a wide variety of accommodations for children on the spectrum. This includes a rider swap system, where one parent rides while another parent waits with a child, break areas, and tons of dietary options. For guests who cannot tolerate long lines, Disney’s Disability Access Service allows guests to schedule a return time for an attraction that is similar to the wait time. They also have a an online guide for guests with disabilities. They have also introduced “After Hours Events” where guests can purchase a ticket for $125, go to the park with no lines and all you can eat ice cream and popcorn! This option is great for children who cannot tolerate lines, crowds and the heat.
Photo from: Pexels
Autism Travel Destinations. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://autismtravel.com/
Best vacations for Kids with Autism. (n.d.). Retrieved from https:/.
Presented tonight to the Parsippany High School Student and Parent Community! The college students were forthcoming in sharing their adjustment to college and gave awesome tips on time management, how to choose the right college, how to choose a major and how to make new friends.
Kevin Sales joins us as an undergraduate senior year student at William Paterson University with an interest in industrial/organizational psychology. He is also an active e-board member on the University’s psychology club. Kevin’s post graduation plans include a master’s degree in industrial/ organizational psychology with a focus on human factors.
We are excited to have Kevin as a part of our team!
Written by: Delaney Ruston, MD @ Screenagers.com
“Today I want to focus on how to fight fire with fire—that is how to get tech to be the enforcer of tech time. There are a myriad of apps and tools out there can help set up a system that reduces anxiety and struggles around screen time.”
Today’s blog discusses the benefits of properly monitoring screen time while providing resources such as third party apps and built in cell phone features to help with this. This blog also features some real experiences people have had using these tools and techniques.
Dr. Liz Matheis
Dr Liz Matheis and her team specialize in assisting children and their families with Anxiety, Autism, AD/HD, Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Struggles