Depressed mum drowned herself after being refused residential care for severely autistic daughter


This just shows the consequences of how social care decisions can relate to the real lives of the persons they are dealing with. In these situations social services or anyother equivalent body should not only listen to what is being relayed to them, but also understand the situations and then take the appropriate actions.

In this situation it is not clear if they were even listening, but there was no understanding and certainly no appropriate actions.

Will ‘ lessons be learnt’, I do not feel they will.

Family court criticises council for failing to fully consider alternatives to adoption


Original post from Community Care

‘………………by

Picture credit: Image Source/Rex Features
Picture credit: Image Source/Rex Features

A family court has told Gloucestershire Council to re-examine its plan to place a child up for adoption following a “systemic failure” in its handling of the case.

In a judgement made earlier this week, family court judge Stephen Wildblood criticised Gloucestershire for taking a year to issue care proceedings following its decision to remove Child C from his mother and for failing to fully explore alternatives to adoption.

The boy, now six, was taken into foster care in May 2014 due to concerns about neglect, his mother’s mental health and a person known to pose a risk to children continuing to have contact with the child.

But it then took Gloucestershire until May 2015 to make its placement application, a delay the judge called inexplicable. “That has absolutely nothing to do with limited resources,” he said. “It is simply bad practice.”

Long-term fostering

Judge Wildblood also criticised the placement application itself, especially over its failure to consider long-term fostering as an option for the child.

The council did discuss with the boy’s foster carers the option of them becoming his special guardians or adoptive parents, but they wished to remain foster carers. As a result the council’s care plan concluded that since Child C could not return to his mother, he should be adopted.

However, when the children’s guardian talked to the foster carers after the care plan had been filed, they said they would be happy to continue caring for the boy as a long-term foster family. The boy also now regards the foster carers as his family and the children’s guardian recommended that Child C should stay with them.

The judge noted, though, that Gloucestershire Council refused to commit to keeping Child C with his foster carers even if the court ordered it.

“The local authority’s response was that it would give no commitment to C remaining with his current foster carers if a care order were to be made, even if the court made such an order having expressed the view that he should remain there,” said Wildblood in his judgement, in which he also floated the option of giving directions for a special guardianship application if the council’s stance on this did not change.

The judge also said that adoption presented potential problems, including disruption to Child C’s life and the question of whether it was likely he would be adopted given his age.

In addition, after submitting its original plan, the council amended it so that it could first assess whether Mr D, the father of Child C’s younger half-sibling, could become his carer before deciding whether to go ahead with adoption.

While Mr D initially told the council he would not be able to care for the boy before changing his mind late in the care proceedings, the judge said it was “very unfortunate indeed” that the council had not reapproached him before submitting its original care plan given that Child C and his half-sibling were close and still in contact.

‘Deeply frustrating’

The judge also said that if the council had done a psychological assessment of the mother closer to the time when Child C entered care rather than in March 2015, the earlier provision of therapy to the mother might have opened up the possibility of the boy returning to his mother.

Given this, Wildblood concluded that the council’s placement application was “inadequately considered”. “The local authority must consider the realistic options that arise and must put its case into order,” he ruled.

“The local authority must therefore look at the options that arise and file proper evidence in relation to them. The case will have to come back before me later this week when I will have to give further directions as to how that will be achieved.

“It is deeply frustrating that a case such as this has to exceed the timescales provided by section 32 of the Children Act 1989 and that should be recorded as having been caused by systemic failure by the local authority.”

Kathy O’Mahony, Gloucestershire’s operations director for children’s safeguarding and care, said: “I am saddened by the judge’s comments. We did take the previous case seriously, but the early delay in this case happened over 6 months ago and I will be asking for a review to understand why this delay occurred.

“The current delay at this stage of proceedings is due to a family member coming forward late in the proceedings to confirm they would be assessed and we should pursue that option. The family member in the past has told us they would not wish to be considered, and we have had to pause now to give them that opportunity.”

The council refused to comment on the judge’s criticisms about the lack of consideration of long-term fostering as a option for Child C.  …………’

My 10-year-old daughter was bullied – is this why she has tantrums?


Original post from The Guardian

‘………….By 

She’s not doing any work at school, is extremely sensitive to criticism and sees offence where there is none. Annalisa Barbieri advises a reader

'A friend who works with young children in a psychiatric capacity told us there was nothing wrong with her and asked if she was being bullied.' Photograph: Phil Boorman/Corbis
‘A friend who works with young children in a psychiatric capacity told us there was nothing wrong with her and asked if she was being bullied.’ Photograph: Phil Boorman/Corbis

Our only child, who is 10, has had regular, uncontrollable temper outbursts for the past four years. She was bullied at school for nearly two years by three “friends”, between the ages of six and eight. We were unaware of all of this. At home we were seeing sustained tantrums, often from the minute we got back after school. Unfortunately, we didn’t know what to do at the time and would often shout back at her and threaten to withdraw treats.

When she was about seven we realised we needed considerable help and were even starting to think she had a condition such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. A friend who works with young children in a psychiatric capacity told us there was nothing wrong with her and asked if she was being bullied. We said no. We decided to go to our GP but went to the school first to see if they could offer advice. They told us only then about the past year of bad behaviour and the bullying by the three friends.

We were shocked – these girls came for tea and were her three closest school friends. We were also relieved as we believed we had found the answer to her behaviour.

The bullying continued. She is a clever girl but was producing little or no work in the classroom, often folding her arms and refusing to work. She started to try to stay off school. On more than one occasion, I returned home with her to calm her down.

As she grew older she started to tell us things, describing feeling alone most days and how other children poked fun at her. She had started to answer back to teachers and play the class fool.

I read everything I could find on bullying and the effects it could have on neural development. I was convinced her behaviour, which the school was now very concerned about, was a result of bullying. The school didn’t agree, saying the bullying had stopped. Her behaviour at school was now the problem.

At home we reversed our approach and reaction to her behaviour and stopped fighting fire with fire. We asked for a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) referral and she started a course of weekly, private counselling. We were also successful in getting her a place on a day course by Kidscape. It was a great day and helped her to see she was not alone and was not, in her words, a freak.

The CAMHS referral didn’t go beyond the initial triage on the two occasions on which we were referred (a year apart). It was acknowledged that she had a high level of anxiety about school and friends but that she was able to function normally. The counselling lasted a year and the conclusion was that though she was a happy, well-balanced, thoughtful child, she was “highly anxious” about friends and friendships.

Her tantrums at home are getting worse and she is becoming increasingly physical, though she is very articulate about the tantrums. She feels remorse and shame after an outburst. She explains that when she feels hurt or upset she holds it in until she gets home; it then bursts out without her having any control. She describes her brain as having two sides – a happy side and an angry side. Sometimes the angry side takes over and she cannot control it. She tries very hard to stay in the happy side and not let the angry side win.

She is extraordinarily sensitive to criticism and sees offence at every turn. Sometimes there is an outburst because I smiled at the wrong moment and she thinks I am laughing at her.

I contacted three specialists: professionals in child psychotherapy, child bullying and autism. No one can diagnose your daughter from a letter, but the professional in autism thought it was worth you exploring autism/Asperger syndrome and pathological demand avoidance as possibilities. But the only way of knowing is for your daughter to have a formal diagnostic assessment.

You may know that girls on the spectrum present differently and can be very hard to diagnose. Many health and education professionals can miss it because girls learn to mimic “how to behave” socially. I have put some links at the bottom here, which I’d like you to look at, including how to get a diagnosis. Certain things made me wonder: the explosions as soon as she gets home from school, the seeming inability to read your facial expressions, the high anxiety over some social situations. Children with autism can also be bullied because the way they communicate and interact may be different from their peers, and they may misinterpret social situations.

Your very much longer letter told me of the many avenues you have tried in an attempt to help your daughter, although there was nothing about her early years. But I see some routes were not fully explored because other professionals offered you alternative theories. I also wonder if the bullying has become the sole focus and so stopped one, perhaps, seeing anything else that might be going on?

Ben Lloyd, a child and adolescent psychotherapist (childpsychotherapy.org.uk) also wondered if the bullying was a symptom or the cause.

Leaving aside the autism for a moment, Lloyd explains: “A task of parenting is to help channel ordinary, healthy aggression and help a child to regulate their own emotions that are in the first place unfamiliar to them. It sounds as though your daughter has not been able to develop a way of tolerating ordinary enough frustrations that are necessary for emotional development to take place.”

It certainly doesn’t sound as if your daughter has learned to modulate her emotions or has emotional containment. But we don’t know why. Obviously a child with autism would find this much harder.

I would search the autism.org.uk website for sections on autism spectrum disorder, Asperger’s, pathological demand avoidance, women and girls andgetting a diagnosis. Then I would go to your GP and start again to find help for your daughter (or you can do this privately if you prefer). I would also recommend you get some counselling (aft.org.uk; bacp.co.uk) to support yourself.

Your problems solved

Contact Annalisa Barbieri, The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU or email annalisa.barbieri@mac.com. Annalisa regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

Follow Annalisa on Twitter @AnnalisaB   ……………’

High School Ending? 3 Tips to Support the Transition Read more at http://special-ism.com/high-school-ending-3-tips-to-support-the-transition/#Jcc2P1Ei4Lx3ug0R.99


Original post from Special-ism

‘…………..by Zach Zaborny

Zach-Zaborny-300x300With the Summer months on the horizon, comes the end of another school year. If you have a child that is a senior in high school, that means graduation. If you have a child that is a senior in high school, with autism, that means it’s time for a new transition period. As a parent, you might be wondering what might be next for your child. Maybe they are going to college. Maybe they are going to a trade school. Maybe they are going to work somewhere. Maybe they don’t know what they want to do next.

I happen to be on the autism spectrum and after I graduated high school, I had to go through a transition period. It was new and scary and exciting, all at the same time. But, with the right supports around me, I moved along pretty well.

I would like to share three simple tips that can help your child with autism, have a successful time transitioning after high school. So, here they are:

1. Make a Plan, Even if it’s a Small One

The most important thing you can do as a parent when your child is finishing high school, is to help them have a plan in place, even if it’s a small one. As someone on the autism spectrum, I enjoy structure and don’t do well with the unknown, so I like to always have a plan. After your child graduates, the plan can include a number of things.

If you want to help your child go to college, that’s a plan that plan might include finding a suitable college, looking into college resources, on campus vs. off campus visits, or many other college planning related activities.

 If your child wants to try and get a job, that’s a plan that may include meeting with a high school counselor who could have community links for available jobs or working on a resume.

If your child isn’t sure what they want to do and they want to explore different options to find something that best fits what they want to do, that’s a plan that could include sitting down and determining interests that your child would like to pursue.

A plan in this case, means just doing something.

2. Have a Support Figure Lined Up after  Graduation

Another great way to help with success for transition after high school, is to allow your child the chance to have a support figure in place, aside from you. As a parent, you do so many great things for your child, but no parent can do everything at once. A great example of a support figure can be a resource teacher from school or a counselor.

If they want to go to college, the support figure can be there to check in on them and ask how school is going or just to be there to talk if your child needs an extra ear. In a college environment, the support figure might be found within the school’s disability support services or university counseling services, as colleges typically have a counseling department.

The same thing can be said about work.  If your child gets a job after high school, the support figure can stay in touch with your child to see how the job is going and just generally check in with your child. In this instance, a school guidance counselor might be a good support during work or the employment search. During a visit to a potential workplace, it would be good to ask a manager what support staff might be available on the job site.

It’s important for the support individual to be around after the transition period starts, to help your child deal with change as a way to say, “It’s okay. Change might be scary, but I’m still here. I’ll be around if you have any questions or just want to talk.”

When I graduated high school, I headed off to college.  I continued to stay in contact with my therapist and I was glad I did. Having that resource available was great and it was nice having someone other than my parents, that I could talk to.

3. Give Your Child Time

Graduating and experiencing life after high school involves the unknown and probably some trial and error. As a parent, you can help your child by allowing them to try new things when they graduate to let them see what works and what doesn’t. If your child decides to go to college and changes their major ten times, then that’s okay. If they want to get a job and if for some reason it doesn’t work out and they want to try a different job, that’s okay too.

Part of the transition period after high school means that your child will have new experiences to encounter and they might not always be perfect on the first try. Allow extra time for adjustments. If your child will be living independently, there will certainly be time for mistakes and that is okay!

Be a cheerleader during the transition period, not just a coach.

If your child is graduating and going through a transition period, remember these three tips: Make a plan, line up a support figure and allow time to see what works and what doesn’t. By following these three tips, you and your child, could have some nice success during the transition time.  ………..’

 

What about mom? Reducing stress in mothers of children with autism


Original post from Mother Nature Network (MNN)

‘………….By: Jenn Savedge

Researchers find that when moms of children with disabilities get stress relief, the whole family benefits.

Photo: Nadezhda1906/Shutterstock
Photo: Nadezhda1906/Shutterstock

Pick up any book, read any article, or watch any program about autism and you will see that the focus is front and center on the child.  His wants.  His needs.  His troubles.  And that is how it should be.  Kids with autism face varying degrees of social, economic, and academic struggles and most information about the disorder focusing on helping them deal with these issues.  But take a closer look at these kids and you will see something almost hiding in the background.  The parents.  Particularly, the moms.

Academic research has shown what most people already know – parents of children with autism experience more stress, illness, and psychiatric problems than parents of children without disabilities.  Yet autism services – such as counseling and assistance – are only available for the children affected by autism.

But a study published recently in the journal Pediatrics, took a closer look at the health of these moms and found that when efforts are made to help them reduce stress, everybody in the family benefits.

For the study, researchers enlisted 243 mothers of children with varying disabilities and randomly enrolled them in either mindfulness practice or ‘positive psychology’ sessions.  Each week the mothers attended the 1.5 hour sessions.  Their stress levels and health were assessed at the beginning, middle, and end of the study.  At the beginning of the study, 85 percent of the women had significantly elevated stress levels, 48 percent were clinically depressed, and 41 percent had anxiety disorders.

Researchers found that after the six week study period, the mothers in both groups experienced significantly lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression. They also reported getting more sleep and feeling an overall improvement in life satisfaction.  Mothers in Mindfulness-Based sessions saw the greatest improvements.

It doesn’t take a scientific study to prove that a mother who has lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression is better able to care for her family.

The study’s authors argue that autism professionals should be trained to meet the health needs of the parents, as well as the children with autism.  And that doing so would improve the parent’s ability to care for children with complex developmental, physical, and behavioral needs.

When mom gets relief, the whole family benefits.

Related posts on MNN:

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.  ………….’

 

What Happened To The 9-Year-Old Smoking In Mary Ellen Mark’s Photo?


Original post from npr

‘…………By CHRIS BENDEREV

http://www.npr.org/player/embed/417782675/418011786

A good photograph can speak volumes about its subjects, yet still leave you wanting to know more.

The acclaimed and prolific American photographer Mary Ellen Mark, who died May 25 at the age of 75, was known for her humanist portraits: homeless children in Seattle, prostitutes in India, a family living out of their car. In 1990, she took one of her most memorable shots, titled, “Amanda and her cousin Amy.” The location is listed as Valdese, N.C.

"Amanda and her Cousin Amy": Mary Ellen Mark photographed Amanda Marie Ellison, 9 (right), and Amy Minton Velasquez, 8, in Valdese, N.C., in 1990. Courtesy of Mary Ellen Mark Studio and Library
“Amanda and her Cousin Amy”: Mary Ellen Mark photographed Amanda Marie Ellison, 9 (right), and Amy Minton Velasquez, 8, in Valdese, N.C., in 1990.
Courtesy of Mary Ellen Mark Studio and Library

“This photograph raises a lot of questions and leaves me with a slightly uneasy feeling,” says Jeff Jacobson, a New York photographer and a friend of Mark’s. “That, I feel, over and over again is the hallmark of her best work.”

In light of Mark’s passing, NPR sought to find out more about the two children in the photograph, particularly Amanda: Why was she smoking and wearing makeup and fake nails at age 9? What does she remember of the photo shoot? And what has happened since that sunny afternoon in 1990?

She now goes by Amanda Marie Ellison — her surname was Minton at the time of the photo. She is 34 years old, lives in Lenoir, N.C., and indeed still remembers the photo.

“Never forgotten it. Never in my life have I forgotten it,” she says.

Ellison says Mark formed a bond with her over multiple photo shoots, but after Mark left, Ellison lost track of the photographer’s name and phone number. For 25 years, she says she searched for the photo to no avail. Then last month, after Mark’s death, her cousin posted the picture to Facebook and tagged Ellison.

“I cried. I cried. Because … all at once, there it was,” Ellison says.

In 1990, Mark had been sent to rural North Carolina by Life magazine to cover a school for “problem children.” Ellison was one of those children. “She’s my favourite,” Mark told British Vogue in 1993. “She was so bad she was wonderful, she had a really vulgar mouth, she was brilliant.”

Mark added: “I was something of a problem kid. I was emotional, wild, rebellious at school. I’m very touched by kids who don’t

Photographer Mary Ellen Mark in New York City in 1987. Courtesy of Mary Ellen Mark Studio and Library
Photographer Mary Ellen Mark in New York City in 1987.
Courtesy of Mary Ellen Mark Studio and Library

have advantages; they are much more interesting than kids who have everything. They have a lot of passion and emotion, such a strong will.”

Ellison openly concedes she was a “wild” child, but she says she was just emulating the adults in her life, all of whom by her memory were drug-addicted, residing in a low-income housing complex nicknamed “Sin City.” It was around that time that she began to smoke.

“If I couldn’t get [cigarettes], if somebody wouldn’t give them to me, yes, I’d steal a pack of cigarettes and be gone,” she says. “I’d sit in the woods and smoke ’til they were gone.”

Two years after the photo, at age 11, Ellison says she was taken into foster care and later lived in group homes. She says she developed an addiction for hard drugs when she was 16.

Amy Minton Velasquez, Ellison’s cousin and the other child in “Amanda and her cousin Amy,” corroborates much of her account.

“I mean, I had a rough childhood,” Velasquez says. “But I will say this: that youngin’, she was put through things that would probably make the hair stand on your head if you really knew.”

Ellison says at age 9 she knew there were deep problems with her childhood; she viewed Mark’s photos as not just a fun diversion but as a possible solution.

“When she came along and took those photos, I thought, ‘Well, hey, people will see me and this may get me the attention that I want; it may change things for me,’ ” Ellison says. She thought someone would see the images and come rescue her. “I had thought that that might have been the way out. But it wasn’t.”

Jacobson, the New York photographer, says Mark was not the type to give her subjects false impressions. But he says, “In any photographic encounter, the one person that always benefits and always is in a more powerful position and always knows more is the photographer.”

By her own admission, Ellison’s adulthood is still tumultuous. She has served time in prison and says she is still “surrounded by crazy people and drugs.” But she says her life has improved, and she wishes she could talk again with “that photographer lady.”

“If I had to guess,” Ellison says, “I would say she would be, I don’t know, overwhelmed with joy that I have made it this far.”

 

Belfast City Airport gives children with autism their first-ever airport experience


Original post from BBC News

‘………..By Jayne McCormack

Many of the children were nervous about getting on a plane for the first time
Many of the children were nervous about getting on a plane for the first time

For so many families, getting through an airport to go on holiday can be a very stressful experience.

But for families who have a child with autism, the bright lights, loud noises and unfamiliar settings can be too much to take, meaning that many of them simply cannot go abroad.

On Sunday, however, ten autistic children and their relatives were invited to Belfast City Airport for a trial-run through security, as well as getting on a plane, in preparation for their first-ever overseas trips later this year.

The event was organised by Parents’ Education as Autism Therapists (PEAT), a Northern Ireland-based group that is dedicated to helping autistic children.

Nicola Booth, PEAT’s lead behaviour analyst, said the idea came about during discussions with parents.

Chris and his nephew, Lucas, who couldn't wait to get on the plane and even got a souvenir to take home
Chris and his nephew, Lucas, who couldn’t wait to get on the plane and even got a souvenir to take home

‘Sensory issues’

“A lot of parents were saying airport travel is very difficult for them to even think about,” she said.

“So with our partner at Queen’s University Belfast, the centre for behaviour analysis, we made videos filmed from the perspective of an eight to 10-year-old child, right through from arriving at an airport to what happens on the plane for the children to watch.

“We needed a practical aspect as well, and thankfully George Best City Airport gave us permission for the kids to experience it all.”

Nicola said many of the families have never been able to go on holiday because of fears about their children might react.

“We know what happens when we get on a plane, but for some of the kids with sensory issues, even the weight of the seatbelt can be too much for them,” she said.

“We also have parents who take separate holidays, where one parent stays at home with the child and the other parent takes a break and then they swap.

“That’s not what we want – we want our kids and their families to go and do what other families are able to.”

Eithne McVerry's seven-year-old grandson, Neil, gives the thumbs-up for his first airport experience
Eithne McVerry’s seven-year-old grandson, Neil, gives the thumbs-up for his first airport experience

‘Take it for granted’

Eithne McVerry and her seven-year-old grandson, Neil, took part in the experience.

“He’d never been on a plane before, and his parents are getting married in June so we’re hoping he’ll be fine for then,” she said.

“He was worried it was going to be noisy, but he came through security well. He really enjoyed running up and down the plane and seeing the cockpit as well.

“A lot of people do take it for granted getting to go on holiday, they don’t realise what other parents go through.”

‘Disneyland Paris’

Jenny, who is planning her family’s first holiday this summer, said her five-year-old daughter, Lucy, enjoyed the day.

“Recently Lucy’s been quite nervous about mechanical noises, like trains and even lawnmowers, so we thought this would be a good opportunity,” Jenny said.

“We have a trip booked to Disneyland Paris, which isn’t a long flight, but if she doesn’t want to go we’ll have to go home and that’s that, but so far, so good.”

After the children had a chance to explore the plane and sit in the cockpit, their airport experience came to an end
After the children had a chance to explore the plane and sit in the cockpit, their airport experience came to an end
Although their plane did not actually take off, they got to watch another plane flying up into the air
Although their plane did not actually take off, they got to watch another plane flying up into the air

‘Tomorrow’

Although some of the children were a little agitated getting on and off the plane, there were smiles all round as they headed home with an airport goodie bag.

Fun over for these first-time flyers, for now at least, but what was the verdict? Did the children enjoy it and more importantly, will they want to do it again?

“He wants to come back again tomorrow so I think that says it all,” Eithne told me, as Neil smiled and gave a massive two-thumbs-up.

More on this story

11 Summer Brain Builders for ADHD Kids


Original post from Additude

‘……………by Sandra Rief, M.A.

Don’t let your child lose academic ground this summer. Keep him learning while school is out by incorporating these fun, ADHD-friendly, educational tips into your daily routine.

Stop the ‘Summer Slide’

summer

While kids do need a break from school, this doesn’t mean they need a break from learning. Studies show that children who don’t exercise their brains during the summer can lose up to two months worth of valuable, hard-won learning. For kids with ADHD, particularly those with coexisting learning disabilities, it’s critical that they engage in educational activities year round to help them retain what they’ve worked so hard to achieve. Here’s how to prevent your child from losing academic ground this summer.

Read Every Single Day

summer1

“It’s very important for kids to read every day,” says ADHD education specialist Sandra Rief. “Reading anything—comics, song lyrics, or magazines like Sports Illustrated for Kids or National Geographic for Kids — counts.” The point is, kids will make reading a daily habit if the material taps into their interests and passions. Encourage independent reading by signing up your child for a summer book challenge at your local library or bookstore, and aim for books with no more than five foreign or frustrating words per page.

Read Together to Check Comprehension

summer2

Motive your child to engage with books reading aloud to him and with him, taking periodic breaks to make sure he understands the material. Ask comprehension questions such as “What do you think will happen next?” or “Why do you think that character did that?” These discussions keep kids focused and help them retain what they’ve read. If your child can’t summarize what you’ve just read together, this may point to a working memory problem.

Build Reading Skills with Dyslexia

summer3

Nearly half of all children with ADHD also have dyslexia – a common, language-based learning disability. If your child struggled to learn the alphabet, vowel sounds, and sight words, or stumbles slowly over words when reading, have your child evaluated right away. Dyslexic children cab benefit enormously from listening toaudiobooks — a great tool to develop language skills, build comprehension, and expand vocabulary. Listen together and periodically take breaks to summarize the story and ask your child questions.

Stress-Free Writing Projects

summer4

Writing is stressful and intimidating for many ADHD and LD kids who struggle with the overlapping brain processes of planning, organizing and remembering long enough to get their thoughts on paper. Spelling and handwriting challenges only add to the anxiety, so focus on making fun and stress free over the summer. Encourage your child to start a multimedia blog, send emails to a friend or family member, begin a photo journal or scrapbook, write a comic book, or even draft photo captions for a summer photo album. For tech-savvy writers, consider investing in an app like Book Creator, Scribble Press, or StoryKit.

Review Math Skills with Games

summer5

Fun, interesting math lessons lurk around every corner during the summer. “Board games like Monopoly, Mastermind, and Qwirkle are terrific for practicing counting, adding, and subtracting,” Rief says. “Money and dice games provide opportunity for math practice, too.” Online interactive math games like FunBrain, Cool Math 4 Kids, and Math Cats also make practicing math skills less like work and more like play.

Presentation Preparation

summer6

The new Common Core being implemented in 48 states now emphasizes oral presentation skills as a target competency. Help your child master public speaking by starting with subjects she finds personally interesting: performing a magic trick, building a go-cart, or cooking up a great meal. Together, write down key talking points on index cards, and help her rehearse. Once she’s ready, she can present to you, a sibling, or a family pet. Use your smartphone to record a video your child can post to YouTube if she wishes.

Take Reading To The Stage

summer7

Amp up your child’s oral reading fluency and public speaking skills by putting on a mini play together.Readers’ Theatre Scripts are specially adapted from leveled children’s books, but any book or poem your child is reading will do. Split up the parts, then have your child rehearse by reading and rereading his lines. Once he’s ready, perform your scene together.

Take Learning Outside

summer8

 

Some ADHD kids just need to be outside. Turn whatever he’s doing outdoors — building a fort, playing sports, climbing a tree, or swimming — into a learning experience. At the end of each day, ask your child to write a few sentences about what he did in a journal, or make a list of the things he should remember to bring to the beach tomorrow. Reading and writing can be done outside, too. Search for educational games that are of interest to your child and play them outside in the fresh air.

Build New Organization Systems Together

summer9

Use the summer to devise new organization systems with a clean slate and fresh eyes. Redo his homework area together to make it a more cool and motivating place to work. Work together to add some new shelving, filing systems, or furniture to facilitate better work flow. And figure out what school supplies and systems he’ll need to stay organized when the school year begins.

Sneek Previews of the Year Ahead

summer10

Ease your child into the academic year ahead by requesting early access to text books and reading lists for the year ahead. Begin talking about concepts casually. Before the other students return to school, arrange to walk your child through the halls and meet the new teacher in his classroom.Early meetings with the teachers are critical in making sure everyone is prepared and excited for the school year ahead.

Summer Fun Resources:

summer11

For Sandra Rief’s list of fun educational activities, click here.

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Stop, Seek Stay


Original post from  National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

‘…………..Know what to do if you see a child with autism wandering.

Nearly half of children with autism will wander, or elope, from safe environments. And more than one-third of children who wander are considered nonverbal. Finding and safely recovering a missing child with autism presents unique and difficult challenges for families, law enforcement, first responders and search teams. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has special search protocols and checklists to help first responders.

Children with autism go missing under a variety of circumstances. They may seek out small or enclosed spaces. They may wander toward places of special interest to them. Or they may try to escape overwhelming stimuli such as sights, sounds, surroundings or activities of others.

Attraction to water

Children with autism often have an extremely high attraction to water. Because of this we strongly recommend first responders and search teams immediately check all nearby bodies of water in an effort to head-off the child. These bodies of water include but are not limited to streams, ponds, lakes, rivers, creeks, storm-water retention/detention basins and swimming pools.

Other dangerous attractions

Children with autism may exhibit other interests that pose similar dangers such as:

  • Roadways/highways.
  • Trains.
  • Heavy equipment.
  • Fire trucks.
  • Roadway signs.
  • Bright lights.
  • Traffic signals.

Immediate response

When a child with autism goes missing, it is important to quickly identify any unique interests the child has and create a list of their favorite places. First responders should talk to anyone who knows the child well to ask for information about any interests, stimulations or obsessions the child may have. This information could provide key clues leading to a safe recovery.

As with all critically missing children, time is a vitally important factor in a safe recovery. Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to contact us at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) for additional assistance and resources, including search-and-rescue experts who immediately deploy to provide recommendations and technical assistance in cases of critically missing children.

Resources for law enforcement

Preparing those who are close

We recommend families of children with autism talk to those closest to them about their child. This could be neighbors, teachers, friends, extended family or anyone who might spend time with or near the child. If your child does go missing, they should immediately call local law enforcement. But they should also begin searching.

By talking to those who are close to your child now, you will prepare them in case your child does someday go missing. Tell these people about any particular interests your child has, such as water, roads, trains, trucks or lights. Tell them about anything that frightens your child like animals or loud noises.

For example, if your child is attracted to water and there is a creek behind your child’s school, his or her teachers should know to look there first. Many times it is the person last with the child who can help the most.

What parents and guardians can do

  1. Be aware of bodies of water near places where the child spends time.
  2. Talk to those who are closest to your child. Neighbors, teachers, friends, extended family and anyone who might be near your child when he or she wanders away are often the first people who can help find your child quickly. Inform these people of anything your child is attracted to or scared of.
  3. Encourage those closest to your child to stop, seek and stay until help arrives.

AutismAware-Button

See the full infographic for more tips.

Download More Tips for Parents, Guardians and Community Members Here:

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Additional resources

For more information about autism and wandering, check out www.awaare.org, a collaboration of autism agencies providing resources and tools, including the Big Red Safety Toolkit.

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