Lighting Up the Web Blue: Apps on Sale for Autism Awareness

April 3rd, 2013
 

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, several apps for kids are being offered at discounted prices or for FREE. Here are four sites featuring apps you should look into! Email Erin@woodallkids.org to give a shout out to your favorite apps- tell us why you like them! Also, look back at the Brent Woodall Foundation’s “Apps to Go!” blog post for information on other apps we like!

 

The I Teach Hub offers a comprehensive list of applications, organized into relevant categories, including Early Intervention and Curriculum, Social Skills, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Daily Living, and Speech and Language Development.

light it up blue bwf 2013

The iMums website features several apps that are now FREE for Autism Awareness Month. It won’t hurt to try at least some of them!

 

Smart Apps for Kids features more discounted or free applications and has included the dates for these limited time offers!

 

Let us know what you find by emailing Erin@woodallkids.org!

 

Related blog post: Apps to Go!

 
 
 
 

A Comprehensive List of Apps to Go!

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!

March 4th, 2013
 
 

 

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

March 4th, 2013
 

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

March 4th, 2013
 

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

March 4th, 2013
 
 
 

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!

 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

The Importance of ABA Therapy and Speech Therapy

March 4th, 2013
 
 
 

Blog logoYou have a non-verbal child. If you have to choose between speech therapy and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, which one should you choose?

At an international autism research convention that Tracy attended, Dr. John McEachin, a licensed psychologist who has provided behavioral intervention to children with autism for more than 35 years, presented a soon-to-be-published study on the effectiveness of ABA therapy. ABA therapy is the only intervention empirically proven to provide results and it has been projected so far that children need 40 hours per week of ABA therapy for it to be most effective; however, Dr. McEachin’s study states that less hours of ABA therapy are JUST as effective IF the parents are really involved as well. Specific children, receiving less than 40 hours per week of ABA therapy, progressed just as fast because they had extremely involved parents.

So if you can only do one thing, do ABA. And stay involved!

This does not mean stop with speech therapy. Always continue with speech therapy, and try to find a therapist that combines speech and behavioral therapy, and preferably one that understands alternative sources of communication. You can have your speech therapist communicate with the Brent Woodall Foundation. Give the speech therapist, the BWF, and anyone else involved with your child’s therapies permission to talk with one another because this will help solidify your child’s schedule and goals.

Need a recommendation for a speech therapist? We can provide you with a few of our favorites! Just ask! info@woodallkids.org

Here’s an interesting article that also talks about the intensity and duration of ABA therapy.

Catch you at our next chat!

 
 

The Opposite Kids

March 4th, 2013

Riley's Coffee Chat Logo 2

(Picture by Riley Woodall- enjoy!)

 
 

Today in Coffee Chat we talked about different ways to cope with your child beginning to limit his or her food. Children in their 2s and 3s have been coined the “opposite kids”— they want to do everything opposite of what you say. They are a totally different kind of bread. When kids are really young, their taste buds are very sensitive, and they begin to restrict their foods around 3-years-old. When you have a typical 3-year-old PLUS autism, it can be rough. So here’s a few things that Tracy Pierce Bender suggested trying.

 
 

1)   Train your child’s palate (rule of 11)

  • It takes 11 tastes before your palate is trained so work towards this goal. This helps the palate get use to something that is different.

2)   Little steps at a time

  • If you’re working on eating a whole muffin, try working on one piece of a muffin at a time.
  • 90% of this process is compliance. Once your child is compliant with eating one bite, begin to increase the amount of bites needed to receive the reinforcer.

3)   Pace yourself

  • Do one trial a day at first. Create a schedule for your child to follow. This shows your child what is expected and that there will be an end to this HORROR. ; )

4)   Make the reinforcer great.

  • You eat the grape, you get the whole box of yogurt covered raisins.

We also talked about doing ABA therapy with your child at home:

“My child is in his own world at home. He is more responsive at his therapeutic center. I want to give him his space, but I just can get him to respond to me at all when doing ABA therapy at home.”

  • Go to the Brent Woodall Foundation’s training sessions and ask the therapists to give you tips. Show the therapists how you work with your child at home and let them train you.
  • Yes, it is important to give your child his space, but if he is always in his own world, that begins to interfere with his learning.

How can I teach my child at home and be successful?

  • Sometimes kids look at you as their parent and not their teacher so it can be hard to give direction at home. Determining what is appropriate to work on at home is very important. Maybe the programs your child is working on at his or her therapeutic center are not right for the home environment. Ask your child’s case manager to help you gather programs and create a schedule for the home environment.
  • Observe your child’s therapy sessions with more than one therapist and ask the therapists to work on the programs your doing at home. Watching different people work with your child will give you a variety of ideas of things you can do yourself.

One parent: “Even in leisurely time, I’m still working with my child. Even when watching TV, I’ll be pointing things out to him, staying engaged and keeping up the conversation.”

The First Chat

March 4th, 2013

Pierce's Coffee Chat LogoThe Brent Woodall Foundation is extremely excited to introduce our new blog that follows the topics discussed at our weekly Coffee Chat meetings! Our first Coffee Chat was a blast. We discussed some very interesting topics over delicious snacks and warm coffee!

Proactive Parents and the Reason for Coffee Chat:

At the BWF, we understand there are two parts to our mission. One is to empower YOU, our parents, and the other is to encourage your involvement in your child’s therapy. We understand how the roles of various family members can affect your child’s development, and our programs are designed to show you how to connect with your child. A part of your involvement in your child’s treatment and development is the attending of events and meetings provided by your therapeutic center. The BWF provides free parent trainings, parent support groups and workshops, and various special events so that families can connect with their children while also supporting the organization that is assisting their family. Bringing your child to the Walkabout for Autism or the BWF Carnival not only supports the foundation, but it also teaches your child how to be a part of a social event. All of our events offer a safe, accepting environment for our families to get involved with and be proud of their children’s therapy. Coffee Chat is one of these events. Tracy started Coffee Chat to give you another option to get involved. It is a weekly open forum where you can feel safe to discuss topics relevant to the development of your child. Sick of sending emails to an @woodalllkids.org address? Well then come to Coffee Chat!

BWF Parents Facebook Group:

The BWF Parents Facebook group is a wonderful way to get involved and connect with other parents. Why not have some fun while supporting your child? To join this group, log on to your Facebook account, search for “BWF Parents”, and click “Join Group.” Email erin@woodallkids.org for questions.

Speech Tools:

There was a unanimous agreement around the Coffee Chat table this morning that DynaVox provides many great communication devices for children with autism and other developmental disabilities, who are also non-verbal. “DynaVox is incredible,” said one parent. And with communication device vocalizations not sounding so creepy these days J, DynaVox tools also offer great audio imitation devices. “Some of our kids are doing really well with their devices, and they are even beginning to imitate the voices generated by them,” mentioned Tracy.

Another parent asked, “When would I implement a communication device into my child’s program?” It is completely on an individual basis. Tracy would first analyze how the child is developing his or her vocal language before deciding to implement a device.

The role of the public school in implementing these devices came up in our discussion about speech tools. Schools can be very helpful in obtaining a device for one’s child, however, Tracy discussed the importance of the parents educating themselves about the programs and devices being considered for their children. “Let them know ahead of time that you are familiar with the devices and tools being considered for you child,” stated Tracy. This will help your child receive what will be most effective.

THE BIG EXCITING NEWS:Riley's Coffee Cup Logo

The BWF will hit its 10-year mark in 2013, labeling it a sustainable organization, which will help us receive more grants! We plan to take full advantage of this.

If you do not know already, the BWF will kick-off its anniversary year with a concert, Notes for Autism: A 10th Anniversary Musical Celebration, to honor the BWF, our staff, and our families, on December 1, 2012 at the Van Cliburn Recital Hall of the Bass Performance Center in Fort Worth. Parents at Coffee Chat were concerned they could not bring their children, however, Tracy assured them they could. The hall will be set up so that parents have flexibility to bring their children with out the fear of disturbing other guests. For more information and to reserve tickets, visit www.woodallkids.org.

Stay tuned for special anniversary events in 2013! We have a lot of ideas brewing! ; )

THE EVEN BIGGER EXCITING NEWS!

We won’t tell you until you come to the next Coffee Chat. ; )