Since becoming a certified sleep therapist I am now helping an OT client with their struggle to fall asleep. The child is taking stimulant medication as well as an anti-anxiety medication. Both drugs contributing to his difficultly falling asleep in the evening. The side effect profiles of these drugs are not surprising. The ASD…… Continue reading Screens, Sleep, and the Special Needs Child
What does it take to get a child with autism to completely independently, and calmly, use the toilet in a public place? Solid skills at home, comfort with being in an unfamiliar bathroom, and no option of using a Pull-Up. Get your child so good at using the bathroom at home that they could…… Continue reading Can Your Autistic Child use the Potty in a Public Place Yet?
This happens all the time; the drug that is supposed to be metabolized doing the day can still disrupt sleep at night. One of my clients is begging his father to make his brain “turn off” so he can sleep at 11:30PM! It only has a half-life of 12 hours folks. It is still…… Continue reading Sleepless ADHD/ASD Kid Taking Stimulants? A Drug-Free Solution
No parent wants to think about this subject. Not one. But it is essential to realize that abuse happens. The statistics are concerning. The majority of abuse continues to happen in the same locations as for neurotypical kids: the child’s home, relative’s homes, and the homes of family friends. But because autistic children also…… Continue reading Reduce Your Autistic Child’s Chances of Being Sexually Abused by Toilet Training Them
You will need to address your own sleep skills. This is more than the classic “Put your mask on before trying to place a mask over your child’s mouth” on an airplane. Raising a child with autism is a lot of work. A lot of love, but a lot of time and effort. Nothing is…… Continue reading The Secret Weapon To Get Your Autistic Child Sleeping Better
Toilet Training a child with autism is not easy. It just got easier. The Practical Guide to Toilet Training the Autistic Child: Sensory-Motor Secrets for Success is finally done! I wanted to share everything I have learned as a pediatric occupational therapist for over 25 years. And everything I have learned from families…… Continue reading The Practical Guide to Toilet Training the Autistic Child: From Diapering Differently to Using Public Facilities
Almost all young children are little natives; they often prefer to be naked or almost naked. Even when chilled, a lot of kids balk at putting on clothing. If your child has an ASD diagnosis or a sensory processing issue, their desire to stay undressed may not be just a preference. They may find the…… Continue reading Why Learning to Get Dressed Is Such a Challenge For Autistic and Sensory Kids
It isn’t that parents and professionals think potty training an autistic child will be easy. They know it could be a challenge and it could take longer than training a neurotypical child. They simply don’t expect it to be so consistently tough and to have so many unexpected twists and turns. Some of them can…… Continue reading Why Does Autism Create so Many Toilet Training Struggles for Kids (and Their Exhausted Parents)?
Families ask me to come to their homes and teach their autistic kid how to correctly brush and floss their teeth. As an occupational therapist, I know good tools can do half of my work for me (Shush: don’t tell anybody that it isn’t always my many years of training and experience that make the…… Continue reading Toothbrushing Tools For Autism That Work!
Novelty can be very difficult for kids with autism. Very. Difficult. Learning a new skill is only one type of novelty in the life of an autistic child. But it can go badly, and without much warning. The meltdown from being asked to switch things up can be substantial. Mostly out of proportion to…… Continue reading A Simple Strategy to Manage an Autistic Child’s Fear of Practicing New Skills
Over a few decades of being a homecare OTR, I have seen a lot of different reactions from parents. And received a lot of different requests. The most honest ones are from parents who think their child is constantly defying them. They would like some pointers so they can stop wishing they were on a…… Continue reading When Your Child’s Defiance is Coming From Being Neurologically Disorganized
I finished writing “The Practical Guide To Toilet Training The Autistic Child: Sensory-Motor Secrets For Success”. It was a labor of love, and a lot of work. I got to the chapter on safety and balance, and decided that I couldn’t wait until it is published to put out another post on why “dry…… Continue reading Use Dry Runs With Autistic Kids During Potty Training (Wait; What’s a Dry Run?)
Toilet training for kids with ASD is complex, and it can take a while. But while you are working on developing communication skills and increasing sensory tolerance, don’t forget to work on clothing management. WHY? Autistic children tend to have difficulty quickly and accurately sensing urgency. Unless you are glued to their side, and…… Continue reading Why Teaching Dressing Skills is Essential to Potty Train Autistic Kids
In many ways, kids with ASD are much the same as all children. They laugh, they play, and they need to learn basic self-care skills. They push your limits, and they warm your heart. Toilet training isn’t one of those warm-your-heart events. Potty training, all the way to full independence (where you don’t tell them…… Continue reading What’s So Different About Potty Training An Autistic Child?
Most toddlers getting their first haircut are known to fidget and squirm around. Some cry. But they grow up, and out, of their fear and distress. If your child has sensory sensitivities or sensory modulation issues, haircuts stay difficult-to-torturous for a much longer time! Confusion, fear of strangers, and stubbornness don’t elicit the same…… Continue reading How To Help Sensory and Autistic Kids Cope With Haircuts
Interoception. The eighth?? sense? The key to calming? If there was a way to produce therapist catnip, it has to be by mentioning “interoception”! We are all buzzing about this. But understanding how the ability to sense internal homeostasis (that is what interoception is) makes kids happier is harder to convey in practical, non-medical…… Continue reading The Easiest Way To Trigger Interoceptive Calming In Your Child
The pandemic has created gaps in consumer staples and rising prices for everyday items. One of those staples is…diapers! Well, when things get harder, it is time to think out of the (diaper) box. If your child is over 18 months of age and has typical motor and cognitive development, there is a fair chance…… Continue reading Diaper Sticker Shock? Train ‘Em Now!
Wirecutter, owned by the New York Times, just did a piece on great gifts. The PURO BT2200 models were featured because they are child-sized NOISE-LIMITING headphones with a BUILT-IN MIC, which is great for virtual school participation. I am recommending them because they will not destroy your child’s hearing. They max out at 85 decibels.…… Continue reading Doing Quickshifts? Modulated Music? Therapeutic Listening? Get These Affordable, Comfortable, Kid-Size Bluetooth Headphones From PURO!
Remote learning isn’t easy. Helping a special needs student navigate it isn’t easy either. Here are some strategies to improve outcomes and reduce everyone’s stress about it: If your child’s OT has created a sensory diet for them, this is the time to use it. A sensory diet is a series of activities and actions…… Continue reading Remote Learning Strategies for Special Needs Students
Holding a spoon or fork isn’t an intuitive skill for children. Neither is assisting another person, of any age, to self-feed. Parents really have struggled with this issue, and there must be many more out there who are struggling still. This post is intended to help both parties be more successful. Young children use a…… Continue reading How To Help Your Toddler Hold a Spoon