Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Recreation/Leisure and Special Needs

Blog #176~ Special Needs Summer Recreation Programs

Blog #176~Special Needs Summer Recreation Programs

The heat is on!  Are you looking into programs for your child with special needs this summer?  There are many types of programs available including camps, athletic and leisure programs.  A great place to start is to contact your local park district to see if they offer any special recreation programs.  For programs in here in Illinois click on this link: http:// www.specialrecreation.org

Here are some links for special needs summer programs:

Special Olympics- http:// www.specialolympics.org

Buddy Up Tennis- http:// www.buddyuptennis.com

Top Soccer- http://www.topsoccer.us

I Can Ride Bike Camps- https://www.icanshine.org

Easter Seals- http://www.easterseals.com

Gi Gi’s Playhouse- https://www.gigisplayhouse.org

American Camp Association- https://acacamps.org

Very Well has a list of Inclusive Sports Programs- https://www.verywell.com/special-needs-sports-programs-3106922

Friendship Circle List of Camps- http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2013/02/13/25-summer-camps-for-individuals-with-special-needs/

Diveheart Scuba program- http://diveheart.org

Diveheart 2013 336

My son Nick (pictured above), is 23 years old and has Down syndrome and autism.  He has participated in many of these programs over the years.  These include local library programs, Special Olympics, Challenger Baseball League, Top Soccer, adaptive swim lessons (thru the park district special needs program), Diveheart scuba and I Can Shine Bike Camp.  During the summer months he also attended ESY (Extended Summer Year) summer school.  These programs helped him to learn new skills, have a structured routine, and develop friendships.

Nick at ESY Summer School…..

 

I Can Shine Bike Camp….

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Many of these programs are available for children with special needs throughout the U.S.  My son Nick had great experiences in participating in these programs. It never hurts to just try a new program, you never know what might be a good fit!  If you know of a program you would like to share, please contact me.  I’m always updating my resource list on this website and sharing them with other support groups.  Here’s to a great summer 🙂

That’s what is in my noggin this week!

~Teresa 🙂

Follow Nick:

Facebook and Pinterest @Down Syndrome With A Slice Of Autism

Instagram #nickdsautism

Twitter @tjunnerstall

 

 

 

 

Posted in Autism, Down syndrome

Blog #119~Autism Survival Kit

Blog #119~ Autism Survival Kit

Recently I was reading a Facebook post.  It was a poll, asking parents to name their number one necessity item needed for their child with autism.  This got me thinking what would I include in an autism survival kit?  My son Nick, is 21 years old and has Down syndrome and autism. Here is a list of 21 things that you might want to pack in that survival kit.  Note, the last 4 are MY essentials 🙂

survival_kit

  1. Rug shampoo machine
  2. Plumbers snake
  3. Paper towels in bulk
  4. Deadbolt or key pad locks
  5. Child proof locks and rubber bands for cabinets
  6. Noise canceling earphones
  7. Weighted blankets
  8. Swing set
  9. Mini trampoline
  10. Essential oils with a diffuser
  11. Chewy tubes
  12. Figit toys and stim objects
  13. Melatonin
  14. Back up iPads and iPods
  15. Laminator for PEC pictures and schedules
  16. Nail polish remover
  17. Back up clothes for trips and community outings
  18. Coffee
  19. Wine
  20. Earplugs
  21. A good sense of humor

Figit toys…..

figit toys

Transition Timer….

transition timer

Laminated PECS pictures….

IMG01 (13)

This is why I included nail polish remover….

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School is going to be out for the summer. ESY (Extended School Year is a short day), so arm yourselves and be ready.  What is YOUR necessity item that you would add to the kit?  I’d love to hear it!  That’s what is in my noggin this week.

~Teresa

Nick sensory toys

Posted in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Autism, Down syndrome, Education and Special Needs

Blog #115~SETT to Talk

Blog #115~SETT to Talk  

For the past few weeks, I’ve been writing about the SETT meeting process.  Recently, we did a SETT meeting at Nick’s school to re-evaluate the device he uses to communicate. This is called an Augmentative and Alternative Communication device (AAC). Nick is 21 years old and has Down syndrome and autism.

SETT is an acronym for Student, Environment, Task and Tools. The team gathered to ask key questions and get information that will help to pinpoint what technologies would best suit the student.

S= Student (abilities, learning styles, concerns)

E= Environment (What places will the talker be used and how)

T=Tasks (What type of work and learning will the student be doing?)

T=Tools (What tools are needed on the device to make it a success for Nick?)

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In Blog #114, I covered Nick’s abilities, learning style, needs and concerns.  The last three areas we brainstormed on were the Nick’s environment, tasks that we wanted Nick to be able to do on the talker and what tools would be needed to make this a success. Take a look at what the team came up with in these areas: 

Environment: 

* Uses a “change” visual

* PECS book at home – items to request, pictures of people, task strips

* Private SLP services – 1:1 for speech and occupational therapy

* Video modeling strategy successful

* Attends ESY (Extended School Year-summer school)

* Bowling, mall, library, out to lunch

* Church

* Job: delivery run to CEC for STEPS

* Shopping at Meijer and Wal-Mart

* Goes to movies, lunch/breakfast, and the park

*Has a respite worker at home

* Production class: shredding, sorting, bagging, cleaning

*Visits to family – grandparents, aunt and uncle

*Older brother, Hank, attends NIU

*Cooking

* Functional reading and math

* Yoga

* Dance party Fridays

* Uses classroom leisure choice board independently

* Small group or 1:1 instruction, especially for unfamiliar tasks

* Adult supervision for safety

* Visual supports

* Cues to stay on task for jobs he knows

* Needs to know expectations, both visually and auditorally- what to do, how many to   do, how many are left

* Does visual schedule for the day

* Benefits from hand‐over‐hand and modeling for fine motor tasks

* Looks for peer models

* Task strip for hygiene routines, with point  prompts, at home

* Visual learner

* Flexible with symbol sets – familiar with PCS, SymbolStix, Proloquo2Go

* 15 buttons on current AAC home page

* Uses visual support to order at restaurants instead of his AAC device

Picture14

Tasks: 

*“That’s gross”

* “I like that”, “I don’t like that”

* “That’s crazy”

* Flirting

* Gain attention

*Need help

* “Stop”

* “I need a break”

* Emotions

* Preferred items and activities

* Requesting

* Sharing his humor

* Order at restaurants

* Communicate what’s bothering him

* Sensory vocabulary – “hot”, “loud”, “crowded”

* “Where is the fire alarm?”

* “I’m tired”

* “I’m mad”

* Ask questions

* Share personal information

*Basic needs – bathroom, drink/thirsty, hungry

* Greetings

* Age‐appropriate vocabulary

* Comments

* Weather and calendar vocabulary

* Names – People past and present

The team looked at what tools would be needed on the device that would work for Nick.  Each member could choose the top three most important aspects to focus on in particular (these have 3 *** by them):

IMG_4318

Tools:

* Portable

* Shoulder or waist strap

* Durable

* Waterproof

* Loud enough for all environments

* Ability to add vocabulary

* Combination of single words and phrases***

* Import photographs

* Easy to program

* Ability to program on the fly

* 7‐8” screen size

* Sturdy case (“bounceproof”)****

* Quick and consistent response from AAC device***

* Category‐based******

* 2‐3 hits to communicate message**

* Online tech support

*Cloud or USB backup

* Warranty

* Cost

*Dedicated communication device

* Ability to hide buttons

* 8‐12 buttons per page

* Keyboard‐sized buttons or larger

*Long battery life

* 1 charger for whole system

* No replacing batteries

The SETT process was enlightening.  The team covered a lot of ground in looking at many aspects of communication for Nick.   As you can see, there are so many things to consider when looking into a voice output device.  Nick just got his new AAC device last Thursday.  I can’t wait to share with you how he is navigating it!  That’s what is in my noggin this week!

~Teresa 🙂

 

Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Education and Special Needs, IEP (Indivdualized Education Plan)

Blog #102~Special Needs Summer School- ESY

 

Blog #102~Special Needs Summer School~ESY

During the summer months, a child who has special needs may qualify for ESY (which stands for “Extended School Year”).  ESY is usually a half day program which allows someone like Nick who has Down syndrome and autism to continue working on IEP goals.  This benefits the student with special needs by keeping the momentum and daily structure which is so vital.

Nick’s teacher, Andrea Lawler put together a montage of his summer school program. Flipping through the pages of this book made me smile. It also put a lens on all the cool things Nick gets to do in the ESY program.  Take a look……….

Nick’s ESY Yearbook 2014 at Neuqua Valley High School:

Part of our morning routine was our “Morning Meeting.” Here Nick is letting us know that he is happy, however, he usually loved to be a goof and always point to sad! 🙂

Picture1

Nick’s version of yoga! Everyday we did a yoga routine with the “Let’s Get Ready to Learn” program.

Picture2

Who doesn’t love fireworks! Celebrating the upcoming 4th of July with a little fireworks show!

Picture4

Nick thinks this is way cool 🙂

Picture5

Mid-rock, one of Nick’s favorite dance moves. Who doesn’t love a dance party every now and then!?!

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Enjoying his snack time.

Picture7

Once a week we would go to the computer lab.

Picture8

Bingo game with some augmentative-communication during speech group!

Picture9

Being silly while working in the production room sorting sugar packets.

Picture10

The students went to the production room on Mondays! No fire alarms in the room though. 🙂

Picture11

Watching and listening to our book during reading group. This was Nick’s favorite spot to stand in during group time. He’s doing “elbow” which is his version of a high five.

Picture12

Placing his order during one of our weekly community trips. This trip was to Burger King.

Picture13

Who doesn’t love Burger King breakfast!?!

Picture14

This smile says it all!

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into Nick’s world at ESY. A BIG thank you to Nick’s teacher, Andrea Lawler for putting together this awesome summer school yearbook.  In addition, I want to thank  all the teachers and aides for taking the time out of your summer break to continue to teach Nick. This allowed me to continue going to work without having to hire respite care. It also kept me from going bonkers with him home all day.  That’s what is in my noggin this week.

~Teresa 🙂