This question is fairly easy to answer: the adults build their OWN toilet training skills first! Why is that critical to success? Because kids with ASD will need trainers with better observational skills, better ability to adapt the environment and their prompts, and better understanding that the job isn’t done until the child is 100%…… Continue reading How Do You Start Potty Training with an Autistic Child?
My handout packs for pre-writing and handwriting with neurotypical kids have been a big success; lots of therapists, teachers, and parents have learned things that took me decades of professional experience and continuing education to master! NOW…it is time for children with special needs to get their own handout pack! I started with an expanded…… Continue reading Teaching Special Needs Kids How to Write? I Wrote a Handout Pack for YOU!
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
After writing The Practical Guide to Toilet Training the Autistic Child I got a lot of feedback on how great the book was. And how long. It seems that some professionals and a lot of parents are so crushed for time that they wanted a “Cliff Notes” version (showing my age, I guess…!) So I decided…… Continue reading Make Life with Your Special Needs Child Easier: The Special Needs Toileting Handout Pack is Finally Here!
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)?
Hydration…a fancy name for drinking enough water. It could be the key to successfully potty training an autistic child. Why? Because if nothing much is going in, or nothing healthy is going in, nothing good will come out. A child who has a history of struggling to nurse or feed from a bottle often turns…… Continue reading Why Hydration is Your Superpower When Potty Training an Autistic Child
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
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
M.E. couldn’t pay attention to her homework. The landscapers had arrived, and the muffled sounds of their equipment had her looking around and running to the window every few minutes. Her brother sat on the floor with his LEGOs, oblivious to it all. He was four years younger, but his behavior was easier to…… Continue reading Is Your Child Jumpy, Distracted, Or Controlling? Sound Sensitivity Could Be The Problem
My first Early Intervention home visit always involves seeing the child sitting in their high chair. I learn a few very important things. I learn how the child is handled by the parent or caregiver, including whether they use the available strapping to secure them. Many don’t, and don’t realize that it is part of…… Continue reading How To Pick A High Chair For Your Special Needs Child
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
Yes, I said the word transform. I know that hyperbole isn’t always appropriate when you are a therapist (we try to hedge our bets with predictions), but I am willing to go out on a limb in this instance and say that learning this single Happiest Toddler on the Block technique will make a difference with…… Continue reading How Using Dr. Karp’s Fast Food Rule Transforms Kids With Special Needs
When you see it, it looks like Helen Keller crossed with a Roomba. A child enters a space, even a familiar space, and runs the perimeter without stopping to play or examine things. They may trace the room with their fingers, or repeat this process many times before they “land” and engage in some kind…… Continue reading Does Your Child Hate Big Spaces? There is a Sensory-Based Explanation for all That Complaining
I love Halloween, but not everyone does. Kids with sensory sensitivity top THAT list! The strange transformation of their classrooms, homes and yards aren’t exciting; they are disorienting. The masks and loose costumes? Pure Hell. But at least here in America, it often seems like it is almost unpatriotic to shun this holiday unless you…… Continue reading Halloween is Coming: For Sensory Sensitive Children, It’s No Celebration