Archive for the ‘Casino Night’ Category

Low Budget Holiday Activities in Dallas for Kids with Autism

Monday, December 30th, 2013
 

There is one week left before the holiday break ends and the Brent Woodall Foundation for Exceptional Children reopens for the new year. You may be wondering what in the world you are going to do with your kids this week so we have compiled a list of low-budget activities to do with children with autism and their siblings in Dallas- Fort Worth, Texas.

 

Springfree TrampolinesSpringfree Trampoline’s Show Room

Get some holiday jitters out by trying out trampolines in Springfree Trampoline’s showroom in Plano, Texas. You may remember Springfree from their recent Sensitive Santa event, through which they offered Dallas families of children with autism the opportunity for a photo with Santa in a sensory-friendly setting. Cost: Free

 
 
 
 
 

Urban TrampolineUrban Trampoline Park Family Night on Thursdays

Visit one of Urban Trampoline’s three locations (Southlake, Frisco, or Mansfield) to experience a super-fun, highly-active, and low-cost activity. Urban Trampoline offers activities appropriate for ages 2 and up. Family Night is on Thursdays and for just $35, a family of five will get one hour of open jumping time and dinner.  Cost: $35 for 5 people

 
 
 
 

SCI-TECH_COVERSci-Tech Discovery Center

The Sci-Tech Discovery Center offers interactive and sensory play for children in Frisco, Texas. Cost: $7

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Artie's PlayhouseArtie’s Playhouse on Saturdays

Artie’s Playhouse at Artisan Center Theater puts on plays and musicals for children of ages two and up every Saturday at 10 AM. Check their website for current productions and special showings. Cost: $5

 
 
 
 
 

IMG_8216The Train Exhibit at Children’s

Calling all train lovers! Check out our countries largest model train display in the lobby of Chidlren’s Medical Center of Dallas. Eight trains run simultaneously at this exhibit, which is open 6am-10pm daily. Cost: free (inquire with Children’s about parking fees)

 
 
 
 
 

NickelManiaNickelmania and NickelRama Games

Collect your nickels and head on over to Nickelmania in Carrollton or NickelRama in Garland, Texas. With your nickels, you can enjoy a multitude of games. Admission $1.95

 
 
 
 
 
 

Paradise PondParadise Pond

Paradise Pond is an indoor play place for children 2- 12 years of age, located within the First Baptist Church in Grapevine. It has 10 different stations, including: a grocery store, basketball toss, legos, trains, cars, magnets, dress-up, a small climbing wall, an over-sized bounce house, and a two-story play feature with a slide. Open play time is Thursday & Friday mornings from 9-11 AM. Cost: $1/ person

 
 
 

Send an email to erin@woodallkids.org and let us know about your experience at any of these places!

 
 

Thomas Goes to DisneyLand!

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013
 

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Read about one parent’s personal experience traveling to Disney Land with her autistic child:

 

My family went to DisneyLand in California during Spring Break and my son, Thomas, had a wonderful time!  We were nervous about the trip as Los Angeles and Disneyland are very crowded places with many unexpected events, and we knew Thomas did not like to get on airplanes.  But Thomas handled everything better than we thought! I would like to share with you what I think is very helpful for kids like Thomas to have a great time at Disneyland or any theme park.

We called American Airline ahead of time to reserve our seats to make sure we all were seated together.  Our flights were full both ways and the agent said they could not assign seats until the day of the trip and that there was still no guarantee we would be together.  I told the agent that Thomas was autistic and we really needed to sit together.  Right away the agent transferred me to the ‘Special Assistance’ department that was able to assign seating for us.

At the gate I requested we be pre-boarded to reduce Thomas’s anxiety. Then we were able to board the plane earlier than most of the passengers to get Thomas settled down.

On the plane Thomas requested our noise-reducing Bose headphones and wore them the entire flight. The headphones really reduced the noise on the plane and made him feel secure. I also had his favorite toys, an iPhone and iPad, to keep him occupied.  During take off and landing when we were not allowed to use electronic devices, I had back up toys.

When we entered Disneyland, Lego Land, and Universal Studios, we went to ‘Guest Relations’, which is normally right inside the entrance.  All of these parks normally will give you ‘guest with special assistance’ passes, which will reduce the time you have to wait in line to enter certain rides and attractions.  This was a huge help, especially at Disneyland where the wait time could be one to two hours long.  The less time Thomas had to wait in line, the less anxiety he had.  He ended up getting on more rides than I ever expected.  For the first time, he also got on some of the rides all by himself!  He has never done that before. We use to always have to be with him on the ride or he would not go.  During this trip, there were still some rides he would not go on, but that was completely okay!

We loaded all of his favorite games on an iPhone so he had something to do while waiting in lines and for special events (i.e. parades and a firework show). This kept his anxiety level down. We also had the noise reduction earphones with us at all times.  Thomas used the headphones on most of the rides, during parades, and the fireworks show, when the environment got really loud.

Overall, this was a very positive experience for us!

— Thomas’s Mom

 

Related Posts:

Travel Ready

Oh, the Places You’ll Go… With Autism!

 

Seven + Ways to Help a Picky Eater with Autism

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
 
 

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images-1One parent shared an article by Autism Speaks, Seven Ways to Help a Picky Eater with Autism, and asked if the Brent Woodall Foundation had any other tips to add to this list.

We at the BWF are big proponents of schedules. Offering a visual schedule to show your child there is a beginning and end to the challenge of tasting new foods will help take the responsibility off of you, the parent, and put that responsibility onto the schedule. The schedule will show your child what is expected and what their hard work will earn in the end.

The shared article kind of touches on this, but another suggestion is to find reinforcers that are similar to the new food your child is trying out. For example, if you’re trying to teach your child to eat raspberries and you know your child just loves strawberries, offer a bowl of strawberries that have similar texture and sweetness as the reinforcer.

And while we agree that overloading unhealthy reinforcers such as candy can be harmful if given too much for too long, we understand that in the BEGINNING it is very important to make the reinforcer really GREAT. So for one raspberry, give a big bowl of strawberries. Eventually you can increase the expectation and lower the reinforcer.

 

Related posts:

Serious Schedulers

The Opposite Kids

 
 
 
 
 

Parent Resources: Grants and Upcoming Workshops

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
 

Dear Parents,

We have recently come across a couple of grants and upcoming parent workshops you might be interested in. Here are the details!

Grants

AutismCares is a group of leading autism organizations who have come together to support individuals with Autism and their families during natural disasters and other catastrophic life events. The organization offers Financial Support Awards that provide financial relief up to $1,000 for individuals with ASD and their families to help cover costs associated with critical living expenses such as housing, utilities, car repair, funeral expenses, and other essential items on a case-by-case basis. Download an application form here. 

 

ACT Today is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission is to raise awareness and provide treatment services and support to families to help their children with Autism achieve their full potential. The organization provides financial assistance to help with the cost of ABA, Speech, and Occupational therapy. View open application periods here.

 

Free Parent Workshops by PEAS:

While we have not been to these workshops ourselves, here is a list of free parent workshops you might want to check out. PEAS is an organization dedicated to creating a network of support for families of children who experience life with a disability label. Its website can be found here.  Let us know what you learn!

 

PEAS Meetup: Classroom Accommodations and Modifications: What Parents Needs To Know
Read more. >>

Facilitators: Kelly Mastin and Cindi Paschall

Thursday, May 2, 2013 from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

The Arc of Northeast Tarrant County (Arc House)

1806 Haltom Road, Haltom City, Texas 76117

 

PEAS Meetup: How Was School Today? When “fine” and “okay” are not enough!
Read more. >>

Presenter: Jeanine Pinner. Texas Parent-to-Parent

Thursday, May 9, 2013 from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

The Arc of Northeast Tarrant County (Arc House)

1806 Haltom Road, Haltom City, Texas 76117

 

Learning Together Workshop Series Session: Making the Best Use of the iPad and Other Cutting-Edge Technolody Tools to Enhance Learning

Read more. >>

Presenter: Susan Fitzell, M. Ed, CSP

Saturday, May 11, 2013 from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

University Christian Church – Room 207

2720 S. University Drive

Ft. Worth, Texas 76109

 

PEAS Coffee Talk: Resources Every Parent Should Know About: Helping Our Children with Disabilities Live Safe and Enriched Lives

Read more. >>

Presenter: Jeanine Pinner, Texas Parent-to-Parent

Friday, May 10, 2013 from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

The Arc of Northeast Tarrant County (Arc House)

1806 Haltom Road, Haltom City, Texas 76117

 

Best wishes,

The Brent Woodall Foundation

 
 

When we were scared, searching, and feeling quite hopeless…

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
 
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Written by Kerri, a Woodallkid’s mom
 

Jakob DisneylandThe Brent Woodall Foundation came into our lives at a time when we were scared, searching, and feeling quite hopeless. Our 2 year old son at the time had just been diagnosed with autism and we were quickly discovering that the price to help our little boy was very much out of our reach. We were lost and heartbroken.

We were so fortunate to meet Tracy Pierce Bender and the Brent Woodall Foundation. What an amazing non-profit organization with a mission to help children with autism and their families. From all I have seen in the past 4 years, they go above and beyond to do exactly that. My son loves his therapists that he spends time with every day and he has learned and grown so much. We have learned to teach our child at home and communicate with him and owe all of this to the Brent Woodall Foundation.

When our son started there he was a very withdrawn little toddler who did not even make eye contact or acknowledge us. He has come a long way and I am so excited to see where he can go. The Brent Woodall Foundation designs and adapts his programs to work for him, because every child is different. If something does not work for him, they change it. They are easy to talk to and work with and they clearly care about my child. I drop off my little boy every day into loving, capable hands and pick him up with the feeling that my child is understood and respected. They are his “team” and like family. We celebrate his successes together. What more could I ask for?

Through parent training and other support, the Brent Woodall Foundation has also given us the skills and confidence to be better parents to our son, to teach him and learn from him. Thanks to Tracy Pierce Bender and the Brent Woodall Foundation we have found the qualified, loving, and dedicated therapy that our child so needs and which has brought us so much comfort and happiness. The thought brings me to tears regularly. I am beyond grateful to them and always will be.

A Comprehensive List of Apps to Go!

Monday, March 4th, 2013
 

iPadSo a lot of you have been asking about popular iPod, iPhone, and computer applications for kids with autism and developmental disabilities. Here are several educational apps suggested by our Woodallkids parents!

lock and keyBefore you get started, here is an awesome tip from a very special Woodallkid mom on how to lock your child out of specific apps. In devices that have iOS 6 software, there is an option called Guided Access. Go to your Settings app- General- Accessibility- Turn Guided Access ON- Set a Passcode. Then you can go into each app that you want to lock and turn the passcode on! Here’s a How To manual. 

 
 
 

Learning your ABCs:

 

Alpha Tots PocketAlpha Tots Pocket ($1.99) is one of our favorite apps that provides an interactive activity for every letter of the alphabet. Whether they are *H*ammering nails, *K*icking soccer balls, or *Z*apping spaceships, kids play, problem solve, and learn to this 2012 Parent’s Choice Award game. Here’s a sneak peak of the Alpha Tot activities for H and K.

 
 
 
 

Reading & Writing:

 
 

Word WagonDuck Duck Moose Kindergarten ($1.99) provides many great apps for all subject matters; however, we particularly like their Reading and Writing programs. Your child can follow different animal characters around and earn Sticker Awards and Stars for completing activities. Most of Duck Duck Moose’s programs offer levels for pre-school through grade 1. Check out a sneak peak of Duck Duck Moose’s Word Wagon and Reading.

 

 

iWriteWords ($2.99) is another great app for learning to write. Your child can help Mr. Crab gather numbers in sequence by dragging him with your finger and drawing the letter at the same time. Once all the letters in the word are drawn, a drawing appears. You can download the iWriteWords Lite for FREE to preview iWriteWords. According to iTunes, iWriteWords Lite has all of the same features as iWriteWords, but it is limited to only 3 letters and 3 words.

 

Also see:
Spell Write Read
Starfall Learn to Read

 
 

Math & Numbers:

 
 

Tally TotsTally Tots Pocket ($1.99) is another favorite of ours. It has a lot of awesome features, including: a sing-a-long number song; 20 activities for 20 numbers; audio and visual cues that help kids associate numbers with sounds; kid friendly navigation; frequent repetition that teaches young kids how to count; positive verbal reinforcement for completed tasks; and fun surprises for motivation. Click here for a quick look.

 

Monkey Math School Sunshine ($0.99) is hosted by a monkey, who leads your child through 8 interactive games that teach sequencing, patterning, counting, adding, and subtracting. Your child can collect prizes to fill their own aquarium. Here’s  a sneak peak!

 

Also see:
Park Math
Bugs and Numbers

 

Language:

Word SlaPpsWord SLapPs ($4.99) is one the more expensive apps on this list; however, it is a really awesome app because you can customize it for your own child. This app was developed and designed by a speech pathologist to teach your child nouns, actions, sight words, “where” questions, etc. You can use your own images and pair your own voice to words, as well as teach vocabulary from a second language! There is a LOT to this app and well worth the money. Take a look here!

 
 

Also see:
Baby Bumblebee Vocabulary

Enjoy! Let us know your favorite apps by commenting on this post! Or email erin@woodallkids.org.

 

 

Oh, the Places You’ll Go… with Autism!

Monday, March 4th, 2013
 
 
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PrintTravel is filled with unpredictable moments and for a child with autism, these moments can be disastrous. So let’s talk about some ways to make it easier to travel with your 1 in 88.

Expectation:

Show your child what is expected of him/her and what is to be expected of the trip. This is a great time to get your visual schedules out that we discussed in a previous blog, Serious Schedulers. Include on your schedule the steps it takes to travel from packing to the security line to sitting on the airplane to getting to your hotel room. Have your child watch videos about your destination. If it’s Disney Land, talk about all of the characters you might see and the rides you might go on. Look at pictures of the nearby beach. Watch travel shows about Disney Land and Anaheim, California with your family before you go. Use this as an opportunity to teach and get yourself and your family excited about an adventure!

Motivation:

Choose trips that tailor to your child’s interests. You can use activities that you know your child LOVES doing as reinforcement for trying new things. Perhaps use a visual choice board to help your child understand his or her options.

Special Passes:

Keep a look out for special passes for families with disabilities. Most large theme parks provide passes that will let families with special needs easily skip through the ridiculously long ticket lines.

Awareness:

No matter how much you prepare, it is very possible there will be hiccups in your plans. Let’s expect this and plan accordingly! Just in case you get separated, have your child wear identification. Many parents also have their children wear a bright blue “I have autism” shirt to make others aware of what their children and families are working with. Use this opportunity to teach others about autism, which will in turn help others be more patient, respectful, and understanding of your situation.

Downtime:

Let’s be honest. We all need down time- you and your family. No matter who you are, traveling is stressful. Allow yourself some time to relax and be boring in your hotel room. Think of this as fuel for your next awesome activity.

Flying:

Recently there has been a big push by the autism community to make flying easier. According to this NY Times article, several airports have begun to offer “’mock boarding’ experiences” so that families can practice all of the steps it takes to successfully walk through those big glass doors of the airport with your luggage in hand, ready for your adventure. NY Times also mentioned TSA Cares, a hotline to help people with disabilities and their caretakers through security checkpoints. PEOPLE magazine said to look out for a newly developed nonprofit, AIR (Autism Inclusion Resources), recently developed by a Philadelphian physician, that “helps families soar” through the skies to their destinations.

 

Oh_the_places_you'll_go

Tell us about your travel tips and adventures!

Send us a picture of your family while on vacation and let us know if you have any travel tips! We will touch back on the topic of traveling before the next holiday! Email pics/tips to erin@woodallkids.org.

IEP Pointer of the Week: 

Make sure that all goals are written to independence in your child’s Individualized Educational Plan so that your child has a chance to reach his or her fullest potential!

Web resources:

www.autismtravel.org

www.medicaltravel.org

http://www.autismontheseas.com/

AutismontheSeas_2012_MASTER_with_ONE_Tagline_final

 

 
 

Three Amazing Programs for When Your Child Turns Six

Monday, March 4th, 2013
 

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When your child turns 6, what happens next?

At the Brent Woodall Foundation, there are multiple options to support children who are getting a little older. When your child reaches 6-years-old, he or she can either graduate from the Brent Woodall Foundation or you have the option of enrolling him or her into some great programs: PALS, TIES, or CALS.

 

old pics 845 (1)PALS stands for Practicing Advanced Language Skills and is designed for children ages 4-7. This is a great program for kids who need a little bit more practice on the social aspect of language and communication. PALS students work on reading, understanding body language, idioms, and inferences, and joining in on conversations, etc. It is one thing to be able to use language and communication and another thing to understand the function (the why and when) of these skills.

 

photo (28)TIES stands for Targeted Intervention for Elementary Students and is for kids ages 7-10. It is set up like a normal classroom setting and teaches elementary-aged children the behavioral skills needed to move into a less restrictive educational setting. Kids work on Reading, Writing, Math, Language, and group skills, etc.

 
 
 

70CALS stands for Communication and Life Skills and is great for kiddos who need a lot more support. It uses ABA methods to teach children with communication and learning challenges who have not made much progress within tradition special educational environments and who require customizable, intensive teaching. CALS focuses on teaching your child the function of communication skills and encouraging your child’s cognitive skills needed to function in an everyday environment. CALS constantly seeks to help your child reach his or her fullest potential!

 

For more information on these programs, visit the BWF’s website at www.Woodallkids.org, or email info@woodallkids.org.

When your child becomes a pre-teen, what happens next? We’re doing some research, so stay tuned in January and February!

 
 

You’ve Got Skills: Understanding ABA and Autism

Monday, March 4th, 2013
 

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ABA works for everyone. Some of the therapists at the BWF like to joke that they use ABA on their overbearing parents, some on their stubborn husbands…  :)

So why is this?

ABA therapy collage

 

Think of ABA therapy as dealing with *skills* rather than with *bad behavior.* All children have strengths and weaknesses no matter their developmental abilities. ABA builds upon each child’s strengths and teaches them more skills by breaking them down into smaller tasks that are taught in a consistent, structured manner. Regardless of your child’s abilities, ABA is always helpful because it focuses on understanding why behaviors occur, rather than merely inserting procedures. ABA is concerned with, not just modifying behavior, but really changing behavior, and can be used to teach a variety of skills to overcome developmental deficits, as well as successfully decrease behavioral excesses.

 
 
 
 
 

IEP Pointer(s) of the Day:

In almost every meeting with BWF founder Tracy Pierce Bender, the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process is brought up because it can be a very daunting challenge for a parent to deal with. Starting today, we will post an IEP Pointer of the Day on every blog post. Hope this helps!

DO NOT sign your child’s IEP before reviewing the goals the plan supports for your child BECAUSE once you have signed the IEP, it is very difficult to change it. An IEP can always be reviewed, you can always request a meeting to make changes to your child’s IEP, but it is a long process that can get in the way of your child’s progress. Why not start the year off on the right start from the beginning?

Schools base IEPS off of a 1- to 2- hour assessment of your child, which offers a tiny glimpse into your child’s abilities and potential. So it is completely okay to request another assessment and further evaluation before signing off on your child’s IEP. Don’t be afraid to ask and to ask again.

Serious Schedulers

Monday, March 4th, 2013
 
 
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In almost every Coffee Chat, Tracy Pierce Bender has stressed the importance of creating a schedule for you and your child to follow. Regardless of what you are introducing—a new word, skill, food item, etc.—schedules are important because they show your child what is expected and they help you as the parent stick to a consistent system. Having a schedule takes part of the responsibility to enforce off of you, the parent, and puts the responsibility onto the schedule. It also shows your child (and YOU) that there is a light at the end of the tunnel; once you work through steps 1-3, you get a break and positive reinforcement. Below are some examples of schedules you could create for your home.

Let’s say your child is beginning to imitate sounds. Focus on 5 words your child is most motivated to learn, decide which sound(s) you want to teach in relation to the words your child is motivated to learn, and then prioritize. Once you have this down, create daily opportunities to practice these sounds. For example, Sally loves cookies and knows that there are cookies in the pantry. Lock the pantry door and only allow Sally a cookie if she approximates a sound related to “cookie.” Or maybe Sally just learns “o” for “open” at first. Make your schedule consistent at home and at school.

Here’s another example: You’re trying to teach Bobby how to say or approximate the word “drink” and you know he loves to sip his apple juice before he goes to school. Create a schedule: Get dressed- Drink- School. This schedule shows what is expected and this routine will elicit a routine in language; it will help Bobby understand the function of language.

Have a schedule that works well for you? Send a picture of it to erin@woodallkids.org and we’ll post it on this blog!