Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Safe and Fun Halloween

Halloween is a favorite for many kids, but our children with special needs might not automatically see the fun in it. Some common problems and behavioral solutions for helping you child with special needs participate in and hopefully learn to love Halloween:
  1. You got the cutest costume, but your child won’t wear it! Desensitize you little one to the costume. You may have to start small by rewarding them for just touching it or even being in the same room as the costume. That’s okay! Work up in baby steps to putting just part of the costume on for just a few seconds and finally increasing the time that your child can tolerate wearing the entire costume. Taking small, manageable steps and rewarding small successes is the key!
  2. Don’t risk it! If your child already seems to be apprehensive about Halloween, avoid any situations that might scare them such as scary games, movies, or haunted houses. Keep Halloween fun and reinforcing until your child becomes comfortable with it, then later you may be able to introduce them to ghosts and goblins. Even if you feel they’re ready, you may want to test their reactions to these things at another time of year so that if they don’t like it, they don’t associate it with this fun time of year.
  3. Trick-or-treat! Rehearse with your child what they should say and do (and not do!) when trick-or-treating. It may even be a good idea to do a trial run the day before with a few familiar neighbors and give them some favorite candies beforehand to give to your child during the practice session. This way you know your child is getting rewarded and you also get an idea of how much they can handle on the big day.
  4. Tip #1 isn’t working out or you don’t have enough time? Try getting creative and making a costume out of your child’s existing clothes. You can get felt from a craft store and make ears, tails and more to attach to an existing outfit, allowing your child to be comfortable, but still participate in the fun!
Use this card as a cute and creative way to help your child join in the Halloween festivities even if he can’t yell, “Trick or treat!” (Download PDF)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Extra Help for Parents & Caregivers

EmSeeQ Emergency Locator — The first and only cellular-based locator system helps recover wandering and lost loved ones. This unique system provides peace of mind to parents and caregivers. Unable to find their way home or function well independently, impaired individuals— including children with autism—are at grave risk due to exposure to the elements or hazards they may encounter while wandering. The wristwatch-style device uses cellular telephone technology to securely locate the wearer in the event of a wandering emergency. The device is effective and reliable nationwide—anywhere cell service is available—and integrates directly with the E-9-1-1 emergency response system.

When an EmSeeQ wearer wanders off, the caregiver calls 9-1-1 after a thorough search of all the usual places. The caregiver receives a case number from emergency officials and calls the EmFinder’s toll-free hotline to report the missing person. EmFinders remotely activates the missing individual’s EmSeeQ device and the activated device calls 9-1-1. The EmSeeQ device is activated only after a caregiver has reported the missing person to the police, and the Emfinders Emergency Operations Center can provide emergency responders with valuable health-related information that may aid in the successful rescue of the EmSeeQ wearer.

The device is also very affordable, costing less than a typical cell phone, with a service plan that runs about $25 per month. Two bracelet models are available: a watch-style band with a buckle, and a secure clasp-style band that requires two hands for removal to ensure that it cannot be removed by the impaired individual. To find out more:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tips for Planning Travel

Fall is in the air. Perhaps you're planning a trip to visit family for the holidays or a weekend road trip to watch the leaves turn colors. Family vacations and road trips can be more stressful than fun for families of children with autism. Elaine Hall, author of Now I See the Moon and creator of “The Miracle Project,” a theatre and film arts program for children with special needs that focuses on celebrating and honoring their unique and often unrecognized talents, offers tips for making your family vacation a positive experience for all: