Tag Archives: Tips

TIP: Self-Advocacy


According to the brilliant minds at Wrightslaw, there are three components to effectual self-advocacy:

1)     Know yourself

2)     Know your needs

wrightslaw IEPs

This book is an invaluable resource for parents, educators, advocates and attorneys. Every parent should own one!

3)     Know how to get what you need.*


* Peter W.D. Wright, Esq., Pamela Darr Wright, MA, MSW and Sandra Webb O’Connor, M.Ed., All About IEPs (Virginia, Harbor House Law Press, 2009), 87.


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!]


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

Use the Magic Words

5 Magic Words Turn Negative to PositiveImage

When talking with your kids, make a conscious effort to start your sentences with five positive words ‘I like the way you’re…’ instead of these three negative ones: ‘Why haven’t you…?’

Quitting Is Never An Option

A good rule of thumb to teach your kids is to never quit. That means that giving up and not trying is simply not an option. No amount of effort can ever be considered failure.

I’ve seen this pay off in spades when my son was on his middle school’s cross-country team. Sure, he might have come in dead last at every meet, but he never gave up, never stopped. That made me so very proud. His coach praised his positive attitude and teammates cheered as he neared the finish line. Of course I was reduced to tears every time. He may not come in first, second or 19th, but my guy is no quitter. It’s a character trait that speaks volumes.

Don't Quit

Don’t allow quitting to be an option for your child. It sets a dangerous precedent.

Keep Your Kids Moving!

I find it a constant challenge to keep my kid active. If your attempts at pulling your child away from the computer/TV are unsuccessful, try to think outside the box:

Shared interest—I learned early on that the only way I could pull my son away from his books [not that reading is a bad thing!], was to tie the activity into something he’s interested in. When he was young, I’d tie games into names of U.S. Presidents or states or cities. For example, toss the ball and name the next President, starting with Washington and going in sequential order. [An easy task for my son, who at 5 knew them all. I, on the other hand, used a cheat sheet. Shhhh!] Too much work? Naw. I was thrilled to see him tossing a ball. This can be adapted to any activity, any subject matter.  Image

And putting a start and stop time to these ‘dreaded’ activities can help with cooperation levels. Or attaching rules: 12 successful catches, 10 jumps, etc.

Physical activity is crucial for our kids, so parents, it’s time to get creative! If you have a successful strategy, please share it here.

TIP: Dealing with Disrupted Plans

June 22, 2012


Autism Resource Mom has had her ARMs wrapped around some personal business over the last few weeks. But she’s back now and rarin’ to go. Sorry for any inconvenience caused during her absence.

Dealing with Disrupted Plans

We’ve all had to be flexible. No matter how hard we try to prepare every last detail, there are things out of our control that can upset our arrangement. What do we do then? You or your child is ready to lose it. How do we “talk them down”?


Disruptions are hiccups in our daily lives.

One approach that has worked for us is what I call the Delayed-Reaction Plan: Let’s say, for example, that we were traveling and missed our connecting flight. Trust me, I know this doesn’t go over big with our kids. Been there, done that. But I offer this explanation to my panicked son:

          We were going to wait 15 minutes and then board the plane to go home. We will still do that, it’ll just be a bit later. Now, we have some extra time, so we’ll go have dinner, walk around, visit the restrooms and then we’ll come back to this gate, wait 15 minutes and board the plane to go home. It’s important to show that the same procedure will occur, but a few steps have been added in between; there’s a delayed reaction.

And when your child learns to go along with this, heap on the praise for his flexibility! We really lucked out a few years ago when this happened to us. We had to be put up for the night in a hotel, which was unsettling for our son because he hadn’t figured on it. Anyway, he was tolerating the change. When we finally boarded our plane the next morning, he spotted his favorite villain from James Bond films on board – actor Robert Davi. He could hardly stay in his seat the whole flight from Newark to L.A. At baggage claim he was jumping out of his skin—but he wouldn’t dare go speak to him, so I went over to the movie tough guy and told him my son was a fan. “Where is he?” he asked. I explained that he’s quite shy and he said, “So am I. Where’s your son?” I motioned to my shy one to come over and he did! They shook hands, exchanged a few shy words, posed for a few photos and, well, it made his day.

What did my son take away from that whole experience? “I’m so glad we missed our connection!” I know we got lucky. Wishing you missed connections and fun successes like ours!