Posts Tagged ‘Father Autism’

“We go to give back to the hard workers at the Brent Woodall Foundation, who helped my Ashley on the road to recovery from autism.”

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
 
 
Written by Erin Alcorn, staff contributor
 

205127784002_233295101002_1000_0198“When Ashley was two years old, she was nonverbal, ate only two or three types of food, and cried a lot out of frustration,” said Dana, Ashley’s mother.

Ashley started receiving Applied Behavior Analysis therapy at the Brent Woodall Foundation for Exceptional Children, a charitable nonprofit dedicated to empowering families of children with autism and other developmental disabilities, when she was just two years old and unable to look anyone in the eye, communicate what she wanted, or play with her sibling. Ashley began in the Intensive Intervention Program, through which she received at least 15 hours of one-to-one Applied Behavior Analysis therapy per week. Ashley’s parents and the behavior analysts at the Foundation worked together to create a customized education plan to help Ashley reach her fullest potential.

“By the time Ashley graduated, we knew she would be ready for Kindergarten. She now speaks in full sentences, she is a very happy child, and although she is still picky about her food choices, she eats about everything most children her age eat,” said Dana.

A year and half after graduating from the Brent Woodall Foundation, Ashley just finished her kindergarten year as an exceptional six-year-old student in an all-inclusive classroom. “She made wonderful grades and her teachers raved about her,” chimed Dana.

Ashley also just wrapped up her second season playing basketball for the Coppell YMCA. The skills Ashley developed in the one-to-one therapy and social skills groups at the Brent Woodall Foundation played a key part in helping Ashley learn to share, take turns, and be a team member.

Dana recollected on her favorite moment of the season. “The timer went off and Ashley didn’t realize it. She ran with the ball all the way down the court and scored! All of the other young players were confused, but the parents cheered loudly for her.”

One of Ashley’s favorite events of the Brent Woodall Foundation was the annual Walkabout for Autism, a fundraising event that allows the Foundation to offer families like Dana and Ashley’s the therapy and training they need to change their lives for little to no cost.

“We have gone to the Walkabout every year that we can,” said Dana. Here children enjoy the games, face painting, and bounce house and Dana enjoys the raffle prizes as well as the friendships she developed with the other parents and staff at the Foundation.

“We go to give back to the hard workers at the Brent Woodall Foundation, who helped my Ashley on the road to recovery from autism.”

 
Pictured above: Ashley and her sister at a past Walkabout. 
 
 
 
 

A Spectacular At-Home Visual Schedule

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013
 
Ideal Visual Schedule
 
 

For many parents the words “visual schedule” spark images of printed picture icons, heavy-duty Velcro, costly lamination, and a level of bright creativity only a third grade teacher can expect to pull off successfully.

 

Polished ScheduleFor some children this type of schedule is ideal. It may even be the perfect fit while at school or other activities outside of home. For some therapists this type of schedule may be considered the ideal at-home schedule as well. However, the folks at Woodallkids Outreach have found that this vision often does not match the reality of a home environment.

 

They have also found that this is perfectly fine!

 

While any at-home visual schedule should be organized, readable, show completion, and prepare children for a written schedule, it is important to note that a schedule on a piece of paper with hand written instructions and a simple reinforcement system, such as check marks or happy faces, can be just as effective for some children as that “ideal” polished schedule of perfection.

 

Below is an example of how one Woodallkids Outreach family incorporates this principle into their morning routine with a list of things we just love about this at-home visual schedule.

 

hand written schedule

1. It does not require any expensive materials or programs.

2. Each day Lukey gets to choose the colored markers his sister uses to decorate the schedule and which set of stickers he wants to use as check marks – encouraging ownership throughout the day.

3. His sister’s help not only encourages their daily interaction, but also allows his sister to be an important part of an activity that is inevitably a large focus of the day for the entire family.

4. By involving his sibling, Mom has provided a time every day that promises an opportunity for his sister to receive praise for her contributions (writing skills, reading ability, creativity) and support of her brother.

5. It is easily adjustable so that when plans change, rather than only providing a verbal explanation, Mom can simply draw a line through “swimming” and write down “Shopping with Grandma” instead.

 
 
 

While this type of schedule may not be ideal for every child, it is important to realize that any child’s schedule can be modified to fit the needs of both the child and the family regardless of how it is assembled. One of the most important goals of the Woodallkids Outreach Program is to help your family creatively incorporate behavioral principles not only throughout your day, but also with the involvement of your entire family, and incorporating an individualized visual schedule is often a great place to start.

 

From the desk of Bethany Covington,
Assistant Director of Outreach
Brent Woodall Foundation

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Happy Father’s Day from the Brent Woodall Foundation

Saturday, June 15th, 2013
 

In honor of Father’s Day, one of our very special Woodall-dads graciously answered questions about his role as stay-at-home dad to Jenna, a five-year-old girl with autism.

 

Jenna 2What is your role as parent in Jenna’s daily life? What is your day like getting Jenna to therapy?

Richard: “I retired early to take care of Jenna.  I am her primary caretaker as my wife works full time.  I get Jenna up each morning and feed her breakfast. Then I get her dressed and ready for school, I pack her bags, and make her lunch. Each day I drive her to school, various therapies, and doctor appointments. Then I take her back home where I prepare her dinner until my wife gets home to share the duties. Taking care of Jenna is a 24-hour job.”

 

How does autism affect your role as a father?

Richard: “There is no down time, as anyone who has a special needs child knows quite well.  You are constantly second guessing yourself, thinking you are not doing enough or that you need to do something different.”

 

What do you want most for Jenna?

Richard: “I think the ultimate goal is for her to have a happy childhood and to be able to interact and communicate with us and the people around her, as well as to give her the knowledge and life skills she will need to be an independent adult.”

 

What special activities do you do with Jenna- just you and her?

Richard: “Anyone who knows Jenna knows her favorite thing to do is to swing. I take her outside in the back when we get home from school to swing –weather permitting.

Also, almost every night Jenna and I share some Häagen-Dazs Sorbet.  It is our special treat for just the two of us.”

 

Jenna 1What do you love most about being a dad?

Richard: “I love watching my children grow and seeing that they are not much different from myself in the things they do.  I also love to play around with them. We have a lot of fun and I just love having my children around.”

 

What advice would you give other fathers?

Richard:  “I would have to say to other fathers to make sure your children know you love them. Time is love, so spend as much time with them as possible. Always express to your children, as well as show them, that you love them.  I grew up never hearing those words from either of my parents. While they may know you love them by your actions, your children still need to hear those words, ‘I love you.’”

 

Does your family have anything special planned for Father’s Day, or have they told you yet?

Richard:  “I don’t know; they have not told me yet. It’s a surprise. They always surprise me.”

 

Dads, we thank you for your unconditional love and devotion and we hope that you thoroughly enjoy this special day with your families. Happy Father’s Day!