Monthly Archives: November 2012

CARPOOLING: A socialization strategy

Carpooling is an easy way to help your child to foster relationships. It’s not like we live close to any classmates, but that’s not even the point. I’d gladly drive out of my way to take someone home in order to see my son walking out of school with a buddy, instead of alone. Engaging with that kid. Goofing with him/her. I could very easily pick them up right at the school gate, but I don’t. I make them walk a distance, with all the other kids. I see it as an “equalizer” of sorts. He’s walking home with a friend, just like everyone else. Plus, that is valuable social time. Same goes for the drive home. When I’m driving my son and his band buddies, there is constant chatter, constant horsing around, constant boys being silly. I love it.

The other day I was panicking, running late for an appointment, but when I saw my son walking down the street with his pal, I stopped stressing and gladly made the extra stop to take his friend home. My son is worth it.

I offer to drive my son’s friends home, but they have to walk to a certain street corner first. I force “social time” upon my son in this way. We both love the results!

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3rd Postcard Mailed Today for ARM Campaign

The 3rd in a series of three postcards — promoting speaking engagements for Debora Smith, the mom behind ARM | Autism Resource Mom — has been released today.

Limited speaking engagements for parents groups and professionals are still available!

For those in the Orange County, CA area, reserve your booking by calling 714-501-8735. The talk is free. The information is priceless.

Social Skills Training with our Eyes Wide Open!

We have enrolled in a PEERS® [Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills] course with our son. It’s a manualized, social skills training intervention program that I’ve been reading about and hearing about for several years now. I finally made the time to make it part of our lives for the next three-plus months.

http://www.semel.ucla.edu/peers

It’s a 14-week course for me, my husband and son—we’ve got 12 more sessions to go. Our son loves it! I really like the fact that we all have to be involved. It keeps everyone on the same page. We learn the same buzz words to use to avoid confusion and to help with skill mastery. There is a homework assignment each week. So far, the assignments have been somewhat within his comfort zone—but I know with each week it’ll be necessary for him to expand his own personal boundaries. I’m looking forward to watching that.

Over the course of the next few months, I’ll report in—hopefully with encouraging news.

[To find a Certified PEERS® Provider near you, please click here: FAQ.]

Learning how to be a friend, make a friend and keep a friend.

PEERS: Learning how to be a friend, make a friend and keep a friend.

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

As we approach the end of another year, it’s always constructive to take a look at the highlights of the past 12 months. In our family, we do this at Thanksgiving—it just seems appropriate to be thankful for what we have and where we are.

Something we like to do is find one area where each of us has improved. It may be a skill learned. A behavior adjusted. You name it. And we highlight the progress. Maybe anxiety kept your child from participating in social activities earlier in the year, but now she attends an anime club. That’s beautiful progress! Maybe lack of self-confidence kept your child from speaking up for himself. But now he orders for himself in a restaurant. Huge step forward! Perhaps mom completed her first marathon. Awesome! Tolerance with change may have replaced inflexibility. Such growth!

So get out the photos, day planners and whatever else you use to guide you through your days, and gather as a family to reminisce.

[Please don’t limit this exercise to your kids with ASDs. It’s fun for everyone—mom and dad, too!]

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Now is a great time to gather as a family and reflect on the past year. Celebrate growth on everyone’s part!

Pick Your Battles

For some reason, when my son cooks fish or chicken fingers, he uses the potholder to flip them. I don’t know why he’s averse to using utensils. I tried and tried various ways to remind him and change him, but it didn’t work. It’s very frustrating to open the potholder drawer and find them covered with crumbs. After months and months of trying and failing to change his behavior, last week I gave up the fight. From now on, I told him, he has to clean off the potholder before returning it to the drawer. When I see him clean it, he’ll get bonus points toward rewards.

Results? No more crummy potholders! I’ve actually watched him take the time to walk to the sink to brush off the crumbs before returning the potholder to the drawer. Aha!

Moral to this lesson:  If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Also, flexibility on mom’s part is always a good thing.

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It’s important to know when to be flexible. That goes for us as well as for our kids.

2nd postcard released in ARM advertising campaign!

The 2nd in a series of three postcards — promoting speaking engagements for Debora Smith, the mom behind ARM | Autism Resource Mom — has been released this week.

Limited speaking engagements for parent groups and professionals are still available!

 

For those in the Orange County, CA area, reserve your booking by calling 714-501-8735. The talk is free. The information is priceless.