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How to Prepare Your Child With Autism for the New School Year

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How to Prepare Your Child With Autism for the New School Year

Before you know it, summer vacation will be over and the kids will be headed back to school. For children with autism the transition back to school may be a challenge. You can help prepare your child for school’s return by focusing on new routines while emphasizing past successes. Consider: Requesting meetings with teachers- Short conferences with your child’s teachers are a great way to start the school year off right. Use these meetings as a way for your child to become comfortable with the teachers and to explain your child’s strengths and challenges. Spending time at school- Check with the school’s principal and your child’s teachers to schedule time at school. Walk the hallways, have conversations, and let your child become comfortable in the classrooms and general school spaces. Slowly adjusting your summer schedule- We suggest slowly adjusting your summer schedule to coincide with the upcoming school schedule. Move bedtimes up over time, start waking up earlier, and schedule additional “study” times of reading and writing to help prepare for school. Our team at Exceptional Kids is committed to helping kids with disabilities in school. Visit us online to view all of our outstanding resources for families and...

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The Connection Between Technology and ADHD

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The Connection Between Technology and ADHD

There are often misconceptions about the connection between technology and ADHD. Many people assume that technology use can lead to or negatively impact those with ADHD. Research has proven that this simply isn’t true. What we do know, thanks to research, is that kids with ADHD can actually benefit from targeted technology use. Used wisely, technology allows children and adults with ADHD to stay organized, multi-task, and focus. Many people with ADHD crave the rapid fire pace of information that many technology applications are known to provide. Consider how much you can get done in a short amount of time on your computer, phone, or tablet. This information and application management may seem overwhelming to you at times, but to adults and kids with ADHD it can actually have a calming effect that requires their brains to rapidly process new content. The Exceptional Kids blog is an excellent place for you to stay up to date on current research, events, and information. Visit us online...

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Fun Ways to Start New Traditions With Children Who Have Special Needs

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Fun Ways to Start New Traditions With Children Who Have Special Needs

Family traditions don’t have to center on important holidays or annual celebrations. Instead, look for ways to start new traditions that celebrate your family and your connection to one another. Your family has much to celebrate and starting new traditions is a great way to honor your unique make-up. Some fun new traditions to consider include: School celebrations- Celebrating the first day of school is fun but there are other ways to anchor traditions in your child’s school experience. Make it a tradition to review the week’s work and accomplishments each Friday evening or keep a list of new skills learned in a place of prominence in the house. Special meals- Holidays and birthdays certainly deserve special meals but so do Tuesday nights! Consider choosing one night per week that is set aside for family time and enjoy a special meal chosen by family members. Service projects- Finding ways to be of service to the local community is an excellent family tradition. Look for service options that all family members can participate in regardless of ability. At Exceptional Kids we’re constantly on the lookout for fun things for kids with disabilities to enjoy. Check us out online to learn...

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Inspiring Program in Oregon Helps Young Kids With Disabilities Get Mobile

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Inspiring Program in Oregon Helps Young Kids With Disabilities Get Mobile

An innovative new program in Oregon called “Go Baby Go!” has helped young children with disabilities become mobile thanks to simple conversions of ride-on toys. Aimed at young children under three years old, this program allows families to overcome the steep price tag of wheelchairs. Commercial wheelchairs for children under 3 years old can cost as much as $30,000, and without insurance help (which is hard to obtain for infant and toddler wheelchairs), this is often a price tag that is completely out of a family’s reach. Go Baby Go! works with families to meet the personalized mobility needs of their children using ride-on toys that can be purchased at any toy store. They integrate common materials such as flexible pool noodles, fabric ties, plastic ties and activation switches to customize the toy for a particular child. Each vehicle costs $200 and offers children a host of benefits beyond increased mobility. The converted ride-on toys can also have a positive impact on a child’s cognitive, interpersonal, and language skills. Go Baby Go! should inspire more people to take the initiative to create fun things for kids with disabilities to enjoy. Everyone deserves a playful childhood, after all! Visit us online at Exceptional Kids to learn...

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Things to Keep in Mind When Raising a Child With Autism

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Things to Keep in Mind When Raising a Child With Autism

If someone you love has been diagnosed with autism you understand the developmental, emotional, and physical concerns that come with the disability. Finding the best treatments, most successful interventions, and appropriate surroundings can be a challenge and you may feel frustrated or confused. In these times it is always a good idea to remember these simple reminders about raising a child with autism: Everyone is different- Although the disability has many common symptoms, every child with autism is different. Instead of relying on generalities about people with autism, spend time learning what your child prefers, likes, and responds best to. Be consistent- A child with autism will typically do best in situations that are clear and consistent. Establish a predictable routine that promotes feelings of peace and security. Growth may take time- Children with autism may need more time to master a skill or become comfortable with a routine. Make sure to give them the time they need to be successful. Our team at Exceptional Kids is always searching for ideas, information, and resources for kids with autism and their families. Stay connected with our blog to learn...

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Understand ADHD to be More Sensitive to Parents and Kids

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Understand ADHD to be More Sensitive to Parents and Kids

When children receive a diagnosis of ADHD, there are many misconceptions that may come with the disability. People may not understand, or may hold preconceived notions, about what works best for the child. If you better understand ADHD you will become more sensitive to the needs and feelings of children and their parents. Kids with ADHD: Appreciate routines- Predictable and comfortable routines tend to be best for children with ADHD. The routines allow a child to know what is happening next and increase success in school and social settings. Benefit from physical exercise- Increased physical exertion is beneficial to many children with ADHD. Finding ways to become active helps children release some of their energy and refocus on the task at hand. Have individual differences- Two children with ADHD won’t exhibit the same symptoms, behaviors, or social concerns. It is important to understand a child’s individual differences and not make broad assumptions about children with ADHD. Check out additional articles on our Exceptional Kids blog to learn more about kids with ADHD and how they can be best served at home, in school, and throughout the...

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Learn More About Williams Syndrome

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Learn More About Williams Syndrome

Williams Syndrome, a genetic condition present at birth, affects between 20,000 and 30,000 people in the United States and occurs equally in males and females. People with Williams Syndrome are known to be strikingly verbal, highly social, and drawn to music. However, these attributes that bring joy and make individuals with Williams Syndrome friendly and endearing also accompany a variety of medical and cognitive concerns. Babies born with Williams Syndrome often have serious cardiovascular problems and may require repeated surgical interventions. They also tend to be irritable or “colicky” babies that experience slow weight gain and related feeding problems. As they grow, children with Williams Syndrome may struggle with kidney issues, sensitive hearing, musculoskeletal problems, developmental delays, learning disabilities, and ADHD. The most common cognitive concerns as children with Williams Syndrome grow and develop are understanding abstract reasoning, number concepts, and spatial relations. Paired with physical challenges, these cognitive concerns typically require individuals with Williams Syndrome to receive supportive housing and specialized employment. In spite of these difficulties, children with Williams Syndrome are often described as being highly endearing and polite, traits that could serve them very well in life.  Often adults with Williams Syndrome have very defined strengths and weaknesses, so encouraging a child’s strength and helping to find improvements or workarounds for weaknesses like spatial reasoning can help set your child up for success.  Even with the challenges, living with a child who has Williams Syndrome is often a very rewarding experience. To learn more about disabilities in kids stay connected with our Exceptional Kids blog and the information and resources we’ve gathered for our...

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Fidgeting Might Help Kids With ADHD Concentrate

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Fidgeting Might Help Kids With ADHD Concentrate

One of the most common symptoms of ADHD in children is fidgeting. It is often an early indicator to parents and educators that further evaluation and treatment may be necessary. Recent research indicates that not only is fidgeting incredibly common it may also be a way that children naturally cope with ADHD. The first study, published in the Child Neuropsychology journal, indicates that children with ADHD that fidgeted the most during a test were also the most accurate. Sensors were placed on the children’s ankles to measure activity levels during a test designed to assess their ability to attend to a visual task. The Journal of Abnormal Psychology recently published another study with similar results in which children were asked to perform a variety of memory and concentration tasks. This research indicated that the children with ADHD that moved the most performed the best. Understanding fidgeting as a coping mechanism may transform the way children with ADHD are treated and how parents and educators can best meet their academic needs. At Exceptional Kids we are committed to gathering resources to support kids with ADHD and their families. Stay in touch with us to learn...

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Studies Indicate Starting Therapy Young Has a Positive Effect on Kids With Autism

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Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) typically receive a variety of services designed to help reduce their core autism symptoms and improve their adaptive behavior. Because every child with autism is different, these services vary greatly based on individual needs. However, recent research suggests that regardless of specific services there is a benefit to starting these therapies between ages 18 to 30 months. Researchers at the University of Washington Autism Center tracked kids with autism that participated in a randomized and controlled trial of the Early Start Denver Model. (ESDM) These children, ages 18 to 30 months, were evaluated on their adaptive behavior, challenging behavior, diagnosis, autism symptoms, and IQ. There was no significant difference in autism symptoms at the end of the ESDM delivery. However, this controlled group maintained gains from the early intervention program for more than two years after it ended. These findings indicate that parents, physicians, and service providers should work together to ensure early intervention occurs and that provided services align with the child’s specific needs. Stay connected with our Exceptional Kids blog to discover even more resources and information for kids with autism and their...

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New Kid’s Book Explains That Talking About Disabilities Isn’t Taboo

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New Kid’s Book Explains That Talking About Disabilities Isn’t Taboo

One of the best ways to teach children about differences is to share children’s books that help to demystify disabilities. The stories provide something to talk about and help children to see that people that seem different are just like everyone else. One of our favorite new resources for helping children better understand those with disabilities is a book titled “It’s Ok to Ask!”. This book was written by a team of experts at Gillette Children’s Specialty Health in St. Paul, Minnesota. It features five children each using a different adaptive device including a tablet to communicate, leg braces, a specialized bike, and a wheelchair. Throughout the book other children ask each one of them about their specific device. This conversationalist approach to demystifying disabilities is very natural to children and encourages them to ask when they have questions instead of making assumptions or staring in silence. The book also helps prove to children that others aren’t defined by their disabilities and are very much just like them. The Exceptional Kids blog is dedicated to discovering resources and information for families about things that help kids with disabilities. Check us out online to learn...

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