Monthly Archives: May 2012

Kindness Counts

Kindness inspires kindness.

Kindness inspires kindness.

I really like the whole concept of random acts of kindness. They are another way for us to create our own little miracles—for others and ourselves. If you’ve never performed one before, I urge you to try it. You’ll make someone else feel good—and find that it does the same for you. And then some.

If you perform random acts of kindness in the presence of your child, well, that’s a double jackpot. Remember, kids are sponges. There’s no better lesson than being a good example. Hold the door open for someone. After recycling your bottles and cans, give the cash receipt to the homeless person who’s also cashing in his returnables. If you have leftover tickets from the county fair, look around for a large family in the ticket line and give them yours.

No need to make a big deal about it. Eventually, you may see the same behavior in your child. And when that happens, you’ve just created yet another phenomenon.

Insurance Coverage for Autism

DID YOU KNOW?  Effective July 1, 2012, California is one of the 29 states that requires insurers to provide coverage for autism treatment.

The new California Autism Insurance Mandate goes into effect on July 1, further defining the responsibilities of all health insurers. This gives many families with commercial insurance coverage access to mandated behavioral health services for autism. At last!

Autism Health Insurance Project works with families and helps them get health insurance and other coverage for autism-related interventions. AHIP has info on state-regulated and self-insured health plans.

Become familiar with the laws in your state. [Get info from your state department of insurance or

TIP: Everybody Exercise!

May 22, 2012


Everybody Exercise!

Studies show that exercise decreases anxiety and depression while it increases memory, alertness, attention and motivation. Therefore, it’s a smart idea to schedule your child’s toughest subject right after PE each day.


As parents, we’re forever prompting our kids – “What do you say to the nice lady?” “What’s the magic word?” “Don’t forget to thank his parents for inviting you over…” “Did I hear you say excuse me?” – and, if you’re like me, you’re hoping and praying that all this nagging pays off; That when you’re not around, your son or daughter remembers his or her manners and does you proud.

And this goes for any kid – on the spectrum or not.

In the quiet hours my mind finds lots to worry about. Will my son find a girlfriend someday? Will he be a gentleman and a gentle man with her? When he’s out with friends will he still respect his elders? Will he stop to hold the door open for a man with a cane or a woman with a stroller?

Well, yesterday in the market, my son put at least one of my worries to rest. A woman was pulling an ice cream container out of the freezer case and it slipped out of her hands. Before I could utter a word he swooped in and picked it up for her and kept on walking. Be still my heart.

I praised him for his act of kindness and he simply shrugged and said, “Well, I didn’t want her to have to bend down to get it.”

I’m a happy and proud mom. Maybe I don’t need to nag so much anymore.   Image

TIP: Beware the IEP!

May 15, 2012


The Individualized Educational Program or IEP is a legally binding document between you, your student and the school. It is filled with accommodations, modifications and other ways to help your child be as successful as he can be in school. Among those “other ways” are goals. If your IEP is anything like my son’s, there are pages and pages of goals.

And this is fine. I’m all for a structured environment with benchmarks. But my focus this week is what happens after high school graduation? There are no more IEPs. And if that also means no more goals for your child, well, you may want to re-think that.

Pomp and Circumstance may be a long way off for some of you, but like I said last week: PLAN AHEAD. It’s never too early to begin a system of goal-setting at home. During the school year, I center my son’s “goals” on grades/report cards. Then to begin each new school year, I incentivize him to try new social situations, join a club, attend a football game or a dance, etc.

The idea is to make goals a part of your life – with or without the help of an IEP. Because there will come a day when the IEP is done. You and your child should be prepared for that day.


TIP: Plan Ahead

May 8, 2012


Plan for transitions. Big ones and not-so-big ones. If you consider the planning and preparation phases to be as important as the transition itself, you’ll be on the right track.


Plan Ahead

Six-year-old “Piano Man” Shares His Gifts on The Today Show

And people insist on saying that individuals with autism are disabled. Right. What a little love. His chubby little fingers slapping the keys and a sweet vibrato in his voice. Ethan is quite able, my friends. All individuals with autism have wonderful gifts. I urge you to celebrate those gifts rather than focus on any deficits you may think they have. Bravo, Ethan, bravo!



BANANA PUMPKIN Muffin Recipe — So moist and GFCF!

Check out my recipe for Banana Pumpkin Muffins – deliciously moist and GFCF, too!

Just posted on my NUTRITION page of my blog.


ARM Tip of the Week

May 1, 2012

Visual supports can be instructive and entertaining when it comes to your child’s responsibilities around the house.

Allow flexibility in the way your child goes about doing these jobs. What’s important is the end result. So I don’t leave anything to chance. My favorite technique is the BEFORE & AFTER Method. I enjoy Before & After photos in magazines so I use the same technique with my son.

Since our ideas of a clean room [or whatever the duty is] may be different from those of our kids, it’s a good idea to visualize that for them.

No, thanks!

Take a photo of your child’s room in both states—messy and neat. Put both photos on a card or piece of paper. Write YES under the neat one, and NO under the messy one.

Then when it’s time to do that particular job, just hand him the visual support as a reminder of your expectations.