Nov 30, 2014

Shopping with Your Child with Autism

Shopping seems to be an important activity in the month of December.  Whether it is food shopping, toy shopping or just plain old, "I have to pick up one more thing," shopping, we all seem to do a bit more of it during this month. So what strategies can parents and family members try to use to make this experience a tiny bit easier?  What advice can teachers offer families about this subject? Here are a few...

Running Errands

  • Make a visual or written travel schedule, teach it, and use it
  • Use a photo book with various places in it
  • Use their favorite place as the last place before home
  • Have one of their favorite electronic items used only for travel
  • Reserve a special toy for time when the best behavior is needed
  • Keep snacks handy
  • Use headphones for places with large crowds
  • Crete a visual support to show where you are going and when you will be done
Many of these suggestions lean toward helping the child to understand the expectations of the activity.  They do not mean that the child will like what they are hearing.  I know that most kids complain when told of some of the errands they are running. Then they barter with their parents to include some place fun for them.  But the key is that the expectations have be explained.  This is needed as well with children with autism.  However, the plan for the day should be visual and available throughout the entire trip. 

Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping presents it's own set of challenges. Most people have a history with certain stores and certain behaviors.  This link gives a great story with a very specific technique to try to make that experience smoother. Here are some ways to teach your child to utilize a grocery list, wait in line and handle money. Why?...Because if they can help you shop they are learning a life skill and they have something to concentrate on! Again the key to the grocery shopping might be in the pictures.  This webpage gives pictures to assist in the grocery shopping experience. Even with these ideas, you still need to start small. Don't plan a 3-hour shopping trip just because you have incorporated these techniques. 

Best Wishes!

Nov 27, 2014

Dollar Days on Autism Related Teaching Products

Happy Thanksgiving!  

I am happy to announce Dollar Days on my TpT store.  This will be going on today and tomorrow. Ten items have been marked down to one dollar!!!  Enjoy your day.

Nov 18, 2014

December Printables for Autism Classrooms and Special Needs Classrooms

Snow, winter, holidays and football are just a few topics tackled in the Winter Printables for Autism Classrooms.  This 63 page resource has a page or two (or three) for each winter related topic. Hopefully these pictures will give you an idea about what the pages look like.  If not, just check out the preview on the TpT Page.

Winter Printables for Pre-k, K, and 1st.

Some pages have a narrative.  Others are work activities.

Featured Topics:

New Year’s Eve
Martin Luther King
President’s Day
Football (activity page only)
Groundhog’s Day
Valentine’s Day 
Pie Day (activity page only)
Rubber Ducky Day (activity page only)

Nov 17, 2014

Tips for Conducting Group Lessons & Fall Task Cards

Group lessons can be difficult at times in an autism classroom.  Having everyone on the same page certainly can prove to be challenging. However, there are some ideas out there that can make the task a bit more productive (notice I did not say easier).  Here are some tips: 
  • Have your materials ready in a box or bin before the lesson begins.
  • Only keep on the table the items you are discussing at the present time. Do not clutter the table with extra things.
  • Use hands on activities as much as possible.
  • Keep your materials for the lesson behind you or they may end up on the floor.
  • Use a topic board with photos or picture icons to show the students what the lesson will be about.
  • Use a topic board to review the lesson at the end. Always close out the lesson with a quick (could be only 30 seconds) review of what was discussed.
  • Remember to alternate sides when presenting to each student.  Don’t feel the need to always work from the student on the left side to the student on the right side.
  • Remember to transition the students.  Clearly let them know the lesson is finished by telling them or showing them a sign.  Also, always direct them to the next activity.

Need a quick lesson lesson that is engaging and meaningful? Oh, and not to mention timely?  If you do here are the fall themed versions of my popular identifying same and different task cards. These can be used in a group or individually. 

Task Cards-Fall Items (Identify the Same) and Task Cards- Fall Items (Which One is Different?)


Each set includes 16 fall related pictures. Each page has 4 cards. Laminate the page, cut the rectangular card and have students:
a.)Say or point to the same.

b.)Use a clothespin or paperclip to mark the correct answer.

c.)Develop a creative method to have students identify the same.

Nov 16, 2014

Preparing for Family Gatherings and November Lesson Ideas

The holiday lesson plans are already due! November has come and almost gone.  It is hard to believe that this is the time to start preparing our kiddos with autism or other communication needs for family gatherings and large crowds. I guess the biggest obstacle for helping with this skill is recognizing that we do need to help with this skill.

One of the first things we can do is to teach social scripts related to the gathering or social event. This would let the students know some of the language to listen out for and some ways to respond to common phrases they may hear at the family gathering. 

The second thing that could be done is to role play the situation. This could involve identifying different scenarios from sitting at the table and passing food to what to do when a someone else wants to watch a different tv show.  The types of challenges that need to be addressed will vary with the child.  Each child may have an issue they have dealt within the past at family gatherings. Just ask their parents if there is anything specific.  The goal would be to give the child several options for dealing with that challenge. Also, we want to to give them the language to express themselves.

A third option would be to write a social story specific to the child or teens needs.  Here is a link with ideas on how to write a social story. A social story is a personalized story that helps an individual know what to expect in a social situation.  Social stories do not ensure that there are no challenges.  However, they do offer some insight to the person about what the expectations are for the social situation.

If you are still looking for lesson ideas for  November, here are the activity ideas related to Thanksgiving. 

After you check out the lesson plan printables, click over to the freebie for the Turkey Matching File Folder.

 Turkey File Folder Game Freebie

Don't forget this cute 1:1 correspondence pumpkin counting activity with differentiated task cards!

 Pumpkin Counting with 1:1 Corresponence
                                                            Pumpkin Counting Activity