Ultimate Guide for Holiday Situations for Children & Teenagers with Autism

Ultimate Guide for Holiday Situations for Children & Teenagers with Autism

Ultimate Guide for Holiday Situations for Children & Teenagers with Autism

*This post may contain affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but if you purchase something through our link our family will receive a commission. Please see our disclosure policy for further information.

Ultimate Guide for Holiday Situations for Children and Teenagers with Autism

The Holiday season is quickly approaching and this can bring about excitement, but also new experiences for you and your child. They may cause your family more anxiety and stress with learning the new social situations. These new experiences could include the new holiday decorations inside and out, new foods to experience, family gatherings, and exchanging and receiving presents, just to name a few.

All of these new experiences can cause a lot of sensory overload and anxiety for some kids and we need to be mindful of that this holiday season. How can you tell when your child is experiencing sensory overload?

Pay attention to your child’s behaviors. Are they covering their ears or closing their eyes? Are they running away from the situation or crying and melting down? These can be some signs that your child may be experiencing sensory overload.

Check out our FREE Ultimate Holiday Sensory Guide and download the guide below!

Ultimate Holiday Sensory Guide Preview

This guide provides your with fun holiday and winter sensory strategies to help your loved one have a great Holiday Season!

Provides information for these types sensory experiences:

  • Proprioceptive Input
  • Vestibular Input
  • Visual Input
  • Auditory Input
  • Oral Motor Input
  • Olfactory Input
  • Tactile Input
  • Calming Strategies

Strategies you can try to help you Survive the Holiday Season for Children and Teenagers with Autism or Sensory Processing Difficulties

  1. Avoid large crowds by shopping online or going at times during the day when the stores are less busy.
  2. When decorating your home inside and out, do this gradually to help your child adjust to the new decorations. See if there are ways they can help participate in this with you so they can be apart of the decoration process.

We found some Holiday LEGO sets that may be a great option for kids that love to do LEGO activities that they could put together and then you could all enjoy the Holiday masterpiece!

Check out this Holiday LEGO Train set!! 

3. Help your child figure out calm down strategies when they start to feel overwhelmed. This could be finding a safe place in the house where they can calm down and relax. Are there certain toys/games your child enjoys that helps them calm down. My brother loves being able to retreat to his iPad or his computer when he is feeling overwhelmed. If you are at a family members or friends house see if they will allow your child to retreat to another room where it is quiet and they can regroup.

4. Make sure to give your child/teen breaks throughout the day/activity so they can recharge and adjust to the new setting and/or people.

5. Never feel like you have to go to events/activities that you know will be overwhelming for your child/teen. Do what you feel is best for YOUR child to have a great Holiday experience. Try to see the world through your child or teenager’s eyes. If they aren’t having a good experience, I am sure you are not either.

6. Help your child understand the new routine and if there may be any changes to the plan, so they can better prepare themselves for the new situation. If you need to, try to keep things in a familiar routine for your child especially with bedtime rituals to help them get enough sleep. I know if I don’t get enough sleep, I am not able to be the best person the next day.

7. Prepare some quiet time activities to do together to help your child through some of the busy times of the Holiday Season. Check out these Christmas No Sew Quiet Books! 

8. Help your child by talking through new situations so they can feel more prepared for the new situations they may encounter. Check out our Christmas Social Skills Situation and Problem Solving Cards!

Christmas Social skills Situation Cards Preview Image

Behaviors

9. Be proactive and understand that meltdowns will happen during this time and know that it is okay. Recognize the signs for your child to understand when they are starting to feel overwhelmed. Do they start to shut down and retreat, do they run away, do they scream, or do they cry? Try to understand what situations are really hard for your child and try to adapt them so that your child can participate, or it is okay to sit some activities out if it is just too much for your child.

Does your child struggle with the transitions between activities or do they have a hard time waiting their turn if you are opening presents?

  • You could try playing games during the waiting times together. Do they like counting or letters? You could play an I spy game or a scavenger hunt.
  • They could also be the one in charge or handing out the presents to everyone, so they have a specific job to complete.
  • You could play a Christmas song they enjoy and let them know that when the song is over, then it will be their turn again to open presents.
  • Maybe they need to open presents slowly and just open one up and then have the opportunity to play or interact with that present for awhile and then come back to opening more presents.
  • You could try to play interactive physical games during times of waiting or during transitions. You could pretend to be a penguin and waddle around, or jump around like a reindeer.
  • You can make colorful dots out of construction paper and make a colorful ornament obstacle course where they can only step on certain colors. You could play musical chairs with Christmas music.
  • You can always try to use visual timers to help with wait times as well, so the child understands how much time they need to wait for.
  • You could provide them with a tactile or fidget toy to play with during wait times.

Looking for more Behavior Strategies?

Holiday Situation Behavior Strategies Download the PDF Guide and Strategies below by entering your name and email! You will be sent this FREE resource right to your inbox!

The Holiday’s can be a stressful time of year for everyone, but especially for children with sensory concerns. We hope that these strategies can be helpful for your child and your family to help you all have a wonderful Holiday Season!

We would love to know if there are strategies that were helpful or if you would like to add more to the list as well! Let us know in the comments below!!

 

Are you looking for more Amazing FREE resources? Check out our 180+ Amazing FREE Resource Guide for Families with Children with Autism!

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Awesome Lego Sets for Teenagers

Awesome Lego Sets for Teenagers

Holiday Gift Guide LEGO sets for Teenagers

*This post contains affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but if you purchase an item through one of our links this will provide our family with extra income. Please see our disclosure statement for further details.

Lego Sets for Teenagers

Awesome Lego Sets

In our family we take legos very seriously! We love putting together amazing Lego sets! My brother loves following the step by step directions to allow him to build amazing architecture pieces! These Lego sets can be a great activity for your teen to complete on rainy/cold days inside or as part of the whole family! These are great options as ways to help them take breaks away from screen time and allow them the use creativity and learn step by step processes.

Below is a combined list of Lego Sets that my brother has loved putting together and we wanted to share them with you in hopes that it will inspire you to create your own Lego Creation!

LEGO Architecture Chicago Skyline

 

The Chicago Skyline has been a fun set to put together as we are from the Midwest area and we have traveled to Chicago multiple times as a family. We have been able to personally see these structures in person!

LEGO Lincoln Memorial Set

 My brother loves learning more about our US history in his homeschooling lessons and then he loves being able to create the items he has been learning about in person!

LEGO Big Ben

Big Ben is an awesome Lego set to see completed as it is so tall! It is a great piece to add to your collection!!

LEGO Minecraft the Cave

 My brother has loved creating his own in person Minecraft set through tons of LEGO sets!! This is a fun set to put together as it represents the cave setting in Minecraft.

LEGO Minecraft the Farm

The Minecraft Farm set is fun to put together as it looks like a real Minecraft farm with the animals and plants!

LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon

This Star Wars set is huge!! It was so much fun to put together, but it looks AMAZING put together!! You won’t want to miss this set if you are a Star Wars Fan!!

LEGO Creator Expert Winter Toy Shop


The LEGO Winter Toy Shop is a great option if you are looking for ways to have your teen help you decorate for the Holidays! They can participate with putting this set together and then enjoy this set throughout the Holiday Season!

LEGO Creator Modern Home

 

This Modern home set was fun to put together as we love learning about different houses and how they are formed. My brother and I love playing the Sims together and his was a great LEGO set to be able to build a house together in person with!

These were some of my brother’s favorite LEGO sets to put together and we hope you find fun and enjoyment with them as well! We would love to hear what LEGO sets are your favorites! Let us know in the comments below!!

 

Are you looking for great Autism Resources? We have created a 180+ Amazing FREE Autism Resources Download! Download the FREE resource below by adding your name and email.

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Video Game Gifts for Teenagers with Autism

Video Game Gifts for Teenagers with Autism

Video Game Gifts for Teenagers with Autism

*This post contains affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but if you purchase something through one of our links we will be able to earn some income for our family. Please see our disclosure policy for further details.

ideo Game Gifts for Teenagers with Autism

Video games have been a huge part of our family and they are my brother’s favorite free time activity to play. As the older sister I have even loved getting to participate with all of the new video games my brother enjoys. We know that these activities can become very expensive and time consuming, but this is something our family enjoys to do with my brother.

We wanted to compile a list of some of my brother’s favorite electronic consoles that he uses and some of his favorite games. We would love to hear from you if your teenager loves to play video games and what some of their favorite games might be!

Ipad and Computer

My brother’s two favorite items are his iPad and his computer. He could spend hours playing games or doing learning activities with these two items. Below are pictures of the items that he uses on a daily basis.

Ipad Pro

ASUS Gamer Computer Laptop

Steam

My brother loves using his Steam account on his computer to play video games. His favorite video game to play on Steam is Team Fortress 2!

Steam Gift Card

Xbox

He has also loved getting to play games on his Xbox. I also enjoy playing games with him on his Xbox together. Especially the Lego Dimension games.

Xbox 1

Xbox Games

Lego Dimensions Xbox One

Lego Dimensions allows you to play the game with various lego characters and you can purchase additional packs and characters to go on various adventures! It is a lot of fun to play together!

WWE 2K18 Xbox One

 

This is a teen rated fighting game, but we still have fun playing this game together to see who can win the battle!

Nintendo Wii

Our family loves the Wii Systems! These games can be super fun and interactive! We have used the Wii and the Wii U. We have also purchased the Wii Fit where we can do fun interactive games together and get our sweat on at the same time!

Nintendo Wii U

 Nintendo Wii Fit

Below are two of my brother’s favorite games to play with the Wii. They can also be fun games to play as a family as well!!

Mario Strikers Charged

Super Smash Brother Wii U

 

We know that videos games are not for everyone, but our family has had a lot of fun playing new video games over the years. We hope that some of my brother’s favorite games will be helpful for you and your family as you look for video games for your teenager as well.

Please let us know in the comments below what some of your teenagers favorite games are! We would love to learn more and expand on what we currently have!

 

Are you looking for great FREE Autism Resources? Check out our post about 180+ FREE Autism Resources Here for the free Download!! 

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Strategies for Helping Children and Teenagers with Autism with Thanksgiving Social Situations

Strategies for Helping Children and Teenagers with Autism with Thanksgiving Social Situations

Thanksgiving Social Situations For Family Gatherings

Thanksgiving

It is that time of year for the Holiday season and this can bring on new experiences, especially new social situations. These new social situations can bring added stress for children and teenagers with autism. Thanksgiving can be a time when we get together with extended family members and this could mean answering a lot of new and confusing questions, especially if the extended family members may not understand your families situations.

If you are going to a family members house for Thanksgiving or even having family members over to your house here are some strategies to help your child or teenager feel less stressed. Every person responds to situations differently, and it is important to try to understand what situations are stressful for your child or what activities may be harder for them to deal with. Below are some strategies that you can try to help your family situation.

Strategies

  1. Talk with your child ahead of time about the family gathering so they know who might be coming and what they can expect for the family gathering. Are you going to just eat lunch/dinner and then sit around and watch TV, or will there be games/activities to do with the family? Some children like to understand what will be happening ahead of time and this can help ease anxiety for some children if they know what to expect.
  2. If your child becomes overwhelmed by a large group of people try to have a plan ahead of time to help your child. Some examples could be find a room in the house where your child can retreat to, to find quietness and do an activity they enjoy. You could bring a game, book, music, or electronic that they enjoy to help them calm down.
  3. If you can tell they are getting stressed and anxious, help them in those situations by talking with them or helping them walk away for a little while and then try to come back.
  4. Try giving your child specific jobs you know they can do to help them participate during the meal time. Such as setting the table, filling up water glasses, bringing food to the table, or telling everyone it is time to eat.
  5. What if my child is a super picky eater? If you know they won’t eat the food that is being served for dinner, make sure to bring food items you know your child will like to make sure they don’t go hungry. Don’t feel pressured to make your child eat in front of the family members, as this will be added stress on your child. You can talk to your child about polite ways to say no thank you to foods they do not like.
  6. What if a family member asks my child questions they don’t know how to answer?  You can help your child in these situations, by answering parts of the question or giving your child more prompts to help them to understand how to better answer the question. You can rephrase the question to be yes or no, or you can ask the question in a way to help guide them to the answer.
  7. Remember, in all situations to remain calm and to show your child how to stay calm. If they start to see you get stressed and anxious those feelings can rub off onto your child and then they can start to feel more anxious and stressed.

Social Situation Cards for Problem Solving Different Situations for a Family Gathering

We have created a FREE download for you to help you and your child prepare for a family gathering, by providing you with various social situations you may encounter at a family gathering. This allows you to opening talk about new and different situations with your child or teenager to help them prepare and understand some of these new situations. Various social situations include: topics with grandparents, toddlers & babies, dogs/animals, greetings & goodbyes, when accidents occur, situations with food, and irony and idioms. Download the FREE resource below by providing us with your name and email address and you will receive an email with the download in your inbox.

 

Thanksgiving Social Skills Situation Cards Preview


The holiday season can be a time of newness and added stress. We hope these tips and the FREE resource can help you and your loved ones better prepare for the holiday season. Please let us know in the comments below if there are strategies that have worked well for your family! The more strategies we can give for families the better!

Halloween Social Skills Situations

Halloween Social Skills Situations

Halloween Social Situations

The Holidays can bring up new and different social situations and this can be stressful for some kids. Halloween is fast approaching and we wanted to help provide you with strategies to help bring up some of these difficult social situations.

HOW CAN WE HELP?

One way to help your child understand different social situations is by talking through them. Help them develop a plan before they get in the situation. Practice makes perfect. Helping them problem solve before the situation, will hopefully help keep them safe and help them make good choices.

Halloween can involve new situations with trick or treating, going out into the dark around the neighborhood, going to halloween parties, going up to strangers houses, talking with new people, scary movies, haunted houses, new foods, and dressing up in costumes.

These can be new and different experiences where we are put in new social situations. We can help our kids by talking through some of these new situations ahead of time. We have created a great FREEBIE to help you talk through some of these new social situations.

We have created Halloween Social Skill Situation Cards to help them problem solve different social situations. 

These are great social topics to talk through with your middle school or high school student.

Halloween Social Situation Cards

Download your FREE copy below by giving us your name and email!

These cards help you address social situations for Halloween Parties, Trick or Treating, Talking with Strangers and MORE!!

What social situations have you encountered over Halloween? How did you handle it with your child? Leave your comments down below!

Are you looking for more Halloween resources? Check out our post about Tips for Halloween for Children with Autism and download your FREE Trick or Treating Social Story!! 

Are you looking for help with personal hygiene and Bathroom Life Skills? We created our FIRST EBOOK all about these skills and tips and techniques on how to help your child become more independent with these skills! Check our Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom HERE! 

 

Tips for Halloween for Children with Autism

Tips for Halloween for Children with Autism

Tips for Halloween For Children with Autism

Halloween can be a fun holiday, but for some children and  families Halloween may cause more stress than fun.

We want to try to create a fun halloween for ALL children and to remember we may need to adjust how we approach the holiday.

For some children wearing a halloween costume may not feel good to them or scare them. Try to pick out a costume that your child will enjoy wearing, but if wearing a costume is too overwhelming for your child, don’t force them to wear one. You could try to find a t-shirt with a cartoon character they like or have them wear a hat or headband if they can tolerate that.

Tips for Picking out a Halloween Costume

  • Find a texture that your child will be able to tolerate. Try to have them go to the store to try on the costume with you.
  • Try making your own costume out of comfortable clothes you know they like. Such as a soft cotton shirt and sweat pants could be paired with a tail or ears.
  • If they are afraid of wearing a mask, don’t make them
  • Find a character that they are motivated by such as a favorite cartoon character or video game character
  • Find a costume that will be okay with the weather wherever you live
  • Provide opportunities for your child to wear the costume ahead of time to help them get used to wearing the costume
  • If your child cannot tolerate a costume, you could try a Halloween themed alternative such as a pumpkin shirt, orange colored shirt, or even a princess shirt.

Talk to your child about Halloween and Trick or Treating ahead of time so they can understand the process. 

One way you can talk to your kids about Halloween and Trick or Treating is through our FREE Trick or Treating Social Story!!

Trick or Treating Social Story

Provide us your name and email address below to download our FREE Trick or Treating Social Story!

Use social stories and pictures to help your child understand why we dress up in costumes and the process for how we complete the steps for Trick or Treating. Also be sure to talk to your child about safety awareness and ways to stay safe with you on Halloween.

If your child has difficulty going house to house find alternatives for them to participate with trick or treating. Maybe they could stay home and help a parent hand out candy to other kids. Maybe they could just go to one house of a family member or a best friend where they feel comfortable to help participate in the experience. If they become overwhelmed with the face to face interactions see if a sibling or friend can collect the candy or items for them. If they are afraid of the dark, see if there are opportunities in your neighborhood where they do trick or treating activities in the day time when it is light outside. See if your local nursing home has a trick or treat night where you can go to an indoor building. You could try practicing and role playing trick or treating at your home ahead of time and create this to be a fun experience for all of your children.

If you are invited to a Halloween party and large crowds are hard for your child maybe you could arrive early when the crowd is small and leave before it gets to be too large and overwhelming for your child. If you notice your child is getting overwhelmed, but can’t verbally tell you this help them to leave the situation and take a break. You could try taking a break in your car, or if it is a party where you know the family well, see if they will let you retreat to a quiet room to spend some time alone for a little while.

Ways to keep your child SAFE this Halloween

  • Talk to them about strangers and how to stay with you
  • Tell them about how to contact you if they get separated from you
  • Make a plan ahead of time about what houses you may go to and/or the route you may take
  • Talk to your child about going to houses with their lights on and to houses where they know the people
  • Tell them not to eat candy or food items if they don’t know what it is
  • Talk to them about how to go up to the houses and how to talk to the people answering the door
  • Try not to let them run outside and walk with you
  • Teach them about how to look out for cars if you are walking around the neighborhood
  • Talk to your child about a safe word that you come up with ahead of time, so if someone was trying to pick them up, they can ask what is the safe word and if they don’t know it then the child can know not to go with them.

In addition you can talk to your child about the different halloween decorations and what sounds they may hear with the decorations. Some decorations make noises when you go up to them and may scare you. Talk to them about how the decoration is not real and will not hurt them. If they can handle it maybe play them different sounds they could hear, such as howls, eerie sounds, or even screams.

Remember not all children will be able to verbally say “trick or treat”. Be patient and allow time for children to answer your questions. If they don’t respond to you, don’t get mad and instead remain calm and don’t raise your voice. Be patient and respectful to all of the children that come to your door.

We would love to hear what your strategies are for helping your child have a fun and safe Halloween! What are strategies you have used with your child to help them have a safe Halloween? Leave us your comments down below!

We wish you all a SAFE and FUN Halloween!! 

Are you looking for more resources?

Check out our post about Halloween Social Situations and download our FREE Social Situation and Problem Solving Cards HERE!

Does your child need help learning personal hygiene self care skills? Check out our first Ebook all about Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom HERE! 

How to use Visual Timers to help Children with Autism with Transitions

How to use Visual Timers to help Children with Autism with Transitions

*This post contains affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. Please see our disclosure statement for further details. 

Visual Timer Free Download

Visual Timers to help with Transitions and Behaviors for Children with Autism and Special Needs

Lately, I have been getting a lot of questions about how to help children with transitions and behaviors with life skill activities. I wanted to take the time to share some of my experiences with using visual timers to help children with transitions and decrease their frustration and anger.

The concept of time can be difficult for children and teenagers to learn. If we are constantly verbally telling a child they have to do this activity for 5 minutes, but they have no idea how long 5 minutes is (they may think that seems like FOREVER) and then they can become frustrated and angry. Teaching the concept of time can be difficult, but with the help of a visual timer, the child can visually see how fast the timer is going and how much time is left before the activity can be over.

This way when they ask you, “how much time is left?” you can show them the timer and they can visually see it for themselves.

How does this help with transitions?

If you are working with a child that needs to complete an activity that they would prefer not to do, but need to (such as take a shower or brush their teeth) you can get out the timer and set a certain amount of time that they need to work on that skill for. This will give them a clear explanation of what is expected of them for time to work on that specific skill. They still may not like to complete that skill, but they will understand how long they need to participate with that skill.

I also like to use verbal cues of “First we do this… (a non-preferred activity) Then you can do this (a preferred activity). This phrase can help the child better understand what is expected of them. Both of these techniques allow you to communicate with the child in a way that they will understand better and then hopefully there won’t be as much frustration for the child. If we can give them clear expectations in a way they can understand, our hope is that they will be more successful at completing the activity.

Additionally, changes in routine and schedule can be difficult for some children. When using a visual timer, this can allow you time to explain to the child that we will need to start our next activity when the timer goes off. Allow them time to prepare for the change with setting a visual timer for about 5 minutes (or however long they need) to help them realize they need to start to clean up and move on to the next activity. This way there isn’t an abrupt change and hopefully they will do better with dealing with the change in the activity.

We have created a FREE behavioral strategies checklist for you to download that could be helpful for you and your family! Download the checklist below with your email address!

Behavioral Strategies FREE Preview Image

I have compiled a list of visual timers that are available from Amazon down below. The only timer that I have personally used is the Time Timer and I loved using this timer. It was large enough for the child to see from across the room and the bright red color count down was easy to see as well. It really helped the child to understand how much time was left to work on the specific skill we were addressing. The rest of the timers listed were highly recommended from Amazon and I wanted to be able to provide you with a variety of options to choose from to see what will work best for your situation.

Time Timer

This timer was my favorite and was easy to use and set. It was easy for the child to see from across the room with the bright red coloring. I would highly recommend this timer for someone looking for a visual timer for their child.

Time Tracker Mini

This timer looked nice for a smaller space or something you could hold onto. When the time is set, the green light glows, then changes to yellow as a warning to prepare for the end of the task, and then red to indicate the end of the activity. You can also use sound to alert the child that the timer is going off as well. This could be a great tool to use to help with transitions!

Time Tracker

This time tracker timer is a larger than the mini one, but does a great job as well! It has 3 light colors as well with green, yellow, and red and then 6 sound cues as well to help the child understand how much time is remaining. Since this is a larger timer it could be used in a room or a classroom and the child would still be able to see the timer. This is another great tool to help with smoother transitions between activities.

Time Timer Watch 

This could be a great visual timer for someone a little older who wants to try to be more independent with their daily routine! This watch has three features with a clock, alarm, and countdown timer. It can also allow vibrating and audible alerts as well. This could be a great option for our teenagers and adults!

The Miracle Cube Timer

This cube timer looks like so much fun! It can easily be set for 1 minute, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes! All you have to do is place the number on top that you want the timer to count down from. It could be a great tool to help with tooth brushing (to help the child understand how long to brush their teeth for) as well as hand washing! It is small and easy to take with you and can be used anywhere in the home!

Stoplight Golight Timer 

This is another timer with the green, yellow, and red stoplight features that can be easy for younger kids to understand. This timer can be set for 0-15 hours and 0-59 minutes as well as it has an audible timer as well. This could be great for kids who really love cars and would love the look of the stop light!

Talking Timer

This last timer, I wanted to include as an option for more of an auditory timer for kids that may have some visual difficulties. This is a talking timer that can talk up or down. This timer is very portable and can even clip to their shirt or belt or be free standing. This could be a great option for someone with visual difficulties.

We hope that you have found these visual timers to be helpful and we would love to hear back from you as to which timers are your favorite! Do you have one that works well for your child? We would love to hear more in the comments below!

Are you looking for some Amazing FREE Autism Resources? Check out our post or give us your email below to download our 180+ FREE Autism and Special Needs Resources!

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Does your child have difficulty learning personal hygiene skills? Check out our Ebook Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom HERE for tons of resources and tips to help your loved one become more independent!

7 Tips on How to Make the Morning Routine Easier for Families with Teenagers with Autism

7 Tips on How to Make the Morning Routine Easier for Families with Teenagers with Autism

*This post may contain affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but we could earn money that will greatly help our family. Please see our disclosure for further information. 7 Tips on How to Make the Morning Routine Easier for Families with Teenagers with Autism In our family, the only morning person is my dad. The rest of us are NOT morning people. Mornings can be really hard in our family as we would rather stay up late then get up early. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

We get it, life is busy and we all have busy schedules and it can feel like mornings are super rushed to get out the door. The last thing you need in your life is to be late to work or to school.

I wanted to share some time saving tips that myself and our family has been using to help our entire family have an easier morning, but we also wanted to share tips to help your teenager with autism also have an easier morning as well.

Strategies that we have used to help make mornings easier to SAVE time and allow us to sleep in a little longer 🙂

  1. Set out your clothes the night before. We just use a table in my brothers room to lay his clothes on the night before so in the morning he can quickly grab and change his clothes. I have seen other examples of this where they even set out clothes for an entire week where they use a collapsable shelf that hangs in the closet where they have a shelf for each day of the week.
  2. Prepare meals the night before for breakfast and lunch if needed. In our family we bring our lunches to work and this is a HUGE time saver! If it is already packed and ready in the fridge all you have to do is grab and go! You can do the same for breakfast as well if you are needing to eat on the go or even quickly at home. Some on the go breakfast or lunch items that we take are cheese sticks, yogurt, granola bars, and bananas.
  3. Set your alarm 5 minutes sooner than when you need to get up for the day. I know this may not seem like a lot of time, but 5 minutes can be the difference between being late or on time to where you need to go. What if traffic is a little slower or you spill something and you need to quickly change. There can be so many what if’s in the morning that it is always a good idea to give yourself a 5 minute buffer.
  4. Do not check your email or social media accounts when you first wake up. I know it can be soooo tempting to take a peek at your emails or what is going on with Facebook when you first wake up, especially if you use your phone as an alarm, but this can take up valuable morning time that you don’t already have. We can get lost in time trap of just scrolling and lose track of time. Instead I would recommend doing some morning stretches in bed, drinking a glass of water, or using an app where you can read a short prayer or affirmation for the day so you can start your day on a positive note.
  5. If you really want to help yourself get up in the morning you can set up your alarm across the room, so that when it goes off you will have to physically get out of bed to turn off the alarm.
  6. Maybe start your day off with eating breakfast first. I know there are many times when I skip breakfast because I ran out of time and then I am starving by the time lunch or mid morning hits. If you are more motivated by food, maybe try changing up your routine and start with breakfast first during your day.
  7. Try to use a checklist to help you remember each step of your morning routine and so that you don’t forget something that you needed to take to school or to work. This can be especially helpful if you are trying to teach your child/teenager how to be more responsible for themselves in the morning and save mom some time in the morning with allowing the kids to be more independently. Place the checklist in a location the child/teenager will see it either in the bedroom or the bathroom or both locations. We have a created a FREE CHECKLIST for you to use for your morning routine that you can try to customize to fit your lifestyle and routine. Download your FREE Morning Checklist below by providing your name and email!

Our last tip is to find an alarm sound that can wake you up so you don’t sleep through the alarm. You may need to change the alarm sound up every so often so that your body doesn’t get used to the same sound over and over every morning.

Our family really dislikes mornings, but we hope with the help of these strategies together we can start to like mornings a little bit more 🙂 We hope you can find these tips helpful for your morning routine as a family and specifically to help give more responsibility to your teenager or child with Autism. Try out the checklist and we left some space for you to add in your own that are specific to your routine. We would love to hear if you have any additional suggestions or strategies that have helped make your morning routine easier.

Is your family looking for additional autism support? Check out our FREE Autism Resources guide with over 180+ Resources to help you and your family!! Download the Resources below!!

Does your child have difficulty learning personal hygiene self care skills? Check out our Ebook Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom for TONS of tips and resources to help your loved one become more independent with these skills!

This post was part of a monthly series by other Special Needs Bloggers where we all shared tips on Time Management! Check out their amazing resources below for further ways to help make life a little easier!

How to Win at Time Management When You’re a Busy Special Needs Parent | My Home Truths

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Juggling Multiple Appointments | The Chaos and The Clutter

How Visual Schedules Can Assist with Time Management Skills | Kori at Home

Tips on How Having a Sibling with Autism has Changed my Life for the Better

Tips on How Having a Sibling with Autism has Changed my Life for the Better

Tips on How Having a Sibling with Autism has Changed my Life for the Better

*This post may contain affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. Please see our disclosure policy.

How having a sibling with autism has changed my life for the better

We all go through events in our lives that lead us to make decisions and take us down different paths that affect our life. Well, today I want to share how growing up with my brother has changed my life for the better and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Autism can be scary…but it doesn’t have to be

I think many people hear the word Autism and they think socially awkward, aggressive, weird, etc…We don’t have to think that way if we get to know the person for who they are and not what society tells us to believe.

My Story

My brother was born when I was 13 years old and I loved growing up with a baby brother. It was so much fun to see him grow up and have opportunities to play with him. I remember going out into public places with him and getting weird looks from strangers like he was my child, but that didn’t stop me from going places with him. He was my little brother and I loved him so much.

I remember going off to college and that was the year when he was starting kindergarten and the year he was diagnosed with Autism. My mom would tell me how hard that first year of school was for the both of them with her being the special education teacher not being able to help her own son and how much anxiety he was having at school. After that year was when my mom decided she needed to do what she felt was best and homeschool my brother.

Growing up along side my brother has taught me many valuable life lessons and has lead me down different paths in my life that I probably wouldn’t be down today if not for him. He was my inspiration for choosing my career path of occupational therapy and for starting this blog! He has taught me more about compassion and nurture along with my mom more than anyone else ever has. He helps me be a better person by helping me think outside of the box to learn to help other individuals as well. He has helped teach me so many life lessons along the way and I want to share them all with you!

My Number One Tip: Love your Brother or Sister for Who They Are

I feel like society tells us so many times that if we aren’t “normal” we don’t fit it and we need to “change”. I am telling you that is wrong to believe and that we need to learn to love and accept our loved ones for who they are as individuals and not what society tells us to believe. Think about people that have stood out in our society…were they people that fit in? Or were they people that stood out and had unique and amazing talents? The people that stand out to me are the ones who go against the crowd to stand out and be different. Don’t let the world tell you how you or your sibling needs to be, make the world a better place and help them learn to make the world work for them.

Learn to embrace their differences and their strengths. Help them identify their strengths in their lives and see themselves through a positive lens. I feel like so many times Autism is seen as bad…and this can have a huge impact on someone’s self esteem. Make sure you are always talking about Autism in a positive light and talking positive with your sibling and family as well. This can have a HUGE impact.

Don’t Try to Change Them

This statement goes along with the one above, but I wanted to make sure I hit this hard…Every person is unique and has strengths and weaknesses. We all have skills that we are good at and others that we could use more practice with. Your Sibling is going to be the same way, if they have something that is more difficult for them help them with that skill, but don’t change who they are because they can’t do something as well. For example, if going out to public places is hard for your brother or sister, find a way to make that easier for your sibling by going somewhere that you know they really enjoy. My brother does not like going out to eat at restaurants, but he was super motivated to go to Dave and Buster’s. We were able to go to that restaurant because it was something he wanted to do and was motivated to do it.

A strength of my brother is that he is very smart with science and technology. He is very good with computers and that is why I have been learning the blogging world for him to be able to teach this skill to him when he gets older as a way for him to make an income. As his sister I feel that I need to use my strengths of (patience and learning) to help my brother out when he transitions into adulthood to help make life a little easier for him.

Treat them as an Equal

This may seem like common sense to some, but always make sure you treat your sibling like you treat your other siblings as well. It is okay to joke around with them, play with them, or even get upset with them. These are normal emotions to have with all family members.

Involve Them in Activities with You

Don’t leave someone out just because you think they won’t like the activity or it might be too hard for them. Always ask them if they would like to join you in something, you never know what they may say.

I also want to say too, don’t force your brother or sister to do something with you if they really don’t like it or don’t want to do it. Growing up, I knew my brother really did not like movie theaters or going to restaurants. I always asked him if he wanted to go with me, but I would never force him to do something if it upset him.

Teach them Skills

Being the older sister, I kind of also took on that motherly role as well with me brother. I wanted to protect him from harm. If we went to the playground when he was little and had a hard time playing with the other kids I would look out for him. I would be the one playing on the jungle gym with him and going down the slides. I wouldn’t let the other kids bother him or bother me either.

Growing up with my brother when I was younger I loved being able to teach him new play skills or go swimming with him and try to help him learn how to swim. Now that we are both older my mom and I are both trying to learn to teach him life skills to help him be more independent as he transitions into adulthood. I know I look to my brother for teaching me new skills on the computer and through different video games he is playing and he looks up to me to help teach him different skills as well. Be there for each other and be a positive role model for each other. Take the time to help one another and teach them something you are learning.

Most of All Be a Big or Little Sibling to Them

Love each of your family members for the unique person that they are. Learn to love their quirks and be there for them. Protect and guide them in this journey through life. If they ask for your help, be there for them. You don’t have to make the big gestures, just do the little day by day things together that make such a big difference. If you are an older sibling like me, take time to call or visit your younger brother or sister because seeing you can bring your little sibling so much joy.

Growing up alongside my brother has changed me for the better because it has taught me to be the person I am today. I have learned to love each person for their unique abilities and strengths and to not let the world define who you need to be. My life choices have been chosen because of my brother and mother and I have them to thank for the person I have become. I hope that if you have a sibling with Autism, they can have such a positive experience on you as my brother has had on me in my life.

If you have a sibling with Autism, whether they are younger or older, what are some tips they have taught you in your life? I would love to learn from other siblings as well! Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Are you feeling overwhelmed by information about Autism and don’t know where to turn? Check out our 180+ FREE Autism Resource Guide for information about Autism websites, blogs, Facebook support groups, books, self-care, transition to adulthood information and MORE! Get your FREE resource below by giving us your name and email address!

Autism Free Resources Preview

Does your child have difficulty learning personal hygiene self care skills? Check out our Ebook Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom for TONS of tips and resources to help your loved one become more independent with these skills!

Are you looking for other amazing tips and advice from Special Needs Parents? Check out the other posts below for GREAT tips and advice to help you feel less overwhelmed.

The Best Montessori Tips for Families with Special Needs | Every Star is Different

Advice for Monitoring & Managing Anxiety in Autistic Children & Teens | My Home Truths

Advice for Parents of Children with Special Needs | The Chaos and The Clutter

What Autistics Wish You Knew About Your Child | This Outnumbered Mama

Ways to Help a Special Needs Child Learn | Life Over C’s

The One Thing I Wish Someone Had Told Me After My Daughter’s Diagnosis | Kori at Home

2 Things Every Hyperlexia Parent Should Know | And Next Comes L

The Best Self Care for Single Moms of Special Needs Children| Finding the Golden Gleam

 

How to Teach Teenagers with Autism How to Shower and Bathe

How to Teach Teenagers with Autism How to Shower and Bathe

*This post contains affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. Please see our disclosure statement for further details.

How to teach teenagers with autism how to shower and bathe

Not only do we need to understand the steps of taking a shower or taking a bath, but we also need to figure out how we can teach those specific steps to our children. Our family has been working hard to help my teenage brother with autism how to take a shower independently. We wanted to share with you tips and tricks that we have used to help my brother learn to be more independent with this skill!

Tips on How to Regulate the Water Temperature Before Getting into the Shower or Bathtub

This could be a dangerous skill, make sure a parent is always around when you are working on regulating the temperature of the water.  Make sure you are modeling the skill for your child and showing them exactly how to turn on the facet. If you find a consistent temperature that your child likes the water at take a permanent marker or something to mark where to turn the facet to so they have a visual of where to stop.

If your facet doesn’t have labels or color coding to understand which way to turn on the facet, you can try to add these. You could try adding blue and red stickers to the faucet to visually show hot and cold.

Try using hand over hand physical cues to help them understand how to turn on the faucet in your shower or bathtub. Practice this skill over and over with an adult present to make sure they do not burn themselves and keep repeating until they understand what temperature to place the faucet at.

Tips on How to Wash the Body while in the Shower or Bathtub

If you feel comfortable doing this you could model how to take a shower for your child with you in your swimming suit for modesty. If not, be there in the bathroom with your child and show them the steps you want them to take with how to get their bodies wet with water, how much soap to use, and then how to rinse off their bodies in the water. Show them exactly how to turn their bodies in the water so they can rinse off their front side, back side, private areas, under their arms, and their head. You can also use a handheld shower head if that makes it easier for your child to reach the areas of their body to fully rinse off and get wet.

Always make sure they are safe in the shower, especially if their balance is a little shaky. Try adding grab bars to the shower. We recommend getting ones where you can drill them into a stud to make sure they are strong and stable (you may want to hire a contractor for this), but if you need there are suction cup grab bars that you will need to check every time you shower to make sure they are stable and locked. You can also add a non slip mat at the base of the tube to help with traction.

You can try using a wash cloth or loofah while in the shower or bathtub to have put the soap on that to wash off their body if they want something to hold onto while washing their bodies. A bar of soap may be too slippery and just placing body wash in their hand may be difficult for them to lather and be able to spread on their entire body. You can also try a long handled sponge to reach some of those hard areas like our backs or lower legs as well.

When rinsing off their bodies show them how to look around to see if they see soap bubbles on their bodies anywhere and that means that there is still soap on their bodies and we want to wash all of that off before getting out of the shower.

When washing hair, show them which container is shampoo and which one is conditioner. You can write the numbers 1 or 2 on top to tell them which ones to do first or you could add a rubber band around one of the containers for texture if they have some visual difficulties to let them feel which one is the shampoo and which one is the conditioner. If this is difficult for your child you could always purchase 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner to take away one of the steps. Show them how much to put i their hands and giving them a reference like saying it shouldn’t be larger than a size of a quarter. If this is something they need to practice, purchase some cheap shampoo or conditioner to help them work on the amount of force they need to use to get out the appropriate amount of soap.

Also show and tell them how wet their hair and body needs to be before putting soap in their hair or body. Have them practice and tell them when that is enough. Also show them exactly how much to rub onto their bodies or in their hair by doing it for them, and then having them do it with you and slowly you can stop doing it and have them do it more independently.

When they are done washing and rinsing off their bodies, show them exactly how to turn off the water so they can visually see how to do it and then do it hand over hand so they can physically feel how to turn it off. You can again use either a permanent marker or a sticker to show where to stop to turn off the faucet.

Are you looking for a FREE printable that you can laminate and place in the bathroom with the steps needed for your teenager to follow for completing either the bathing or showering routine? Look no further! Check out our FREEBIE below to download your own step by step list to help your teenager with autism learn the steps needed to be independent with personal hygiene skills.

Steps for Bathing and Showering Preview Image Freebie

Tips for Drying the Body Off

Lastly, working on drying off the body thoroughly can be difficult sometimes. Again, we physically show  my brother how to use the towel to dry off and then we either have him start to dry off by himself or we finish for him because we want to make sure he really gets dried off.  We keep practicing this skill and showing him how to reach all areas of his body. We show him in standing and in sitting to make things a little easier. We do less and less for him each time until he can dry off his body completely. Make sure you are using a towel with a texture that your child likes so they don’t have tactile difficulties. You could try a super soft towel or a quick drying towel. Another sensory tip, would be if your child likes warm textures, you could use a towel warmer or put the towel in the drier to be warm when they get out of the shower.

During the shower, some children may want access to a dry towel or wash cloth because they may get soap in their eyes and this can help them feel safer during the shower knowing they can quickly dry their eyes off.

Organizing the Bathroom for Success

How can we set up the bathroom to help our child or teenager to be more independent with bathing?

Assign a specific place for your child to store their showering or bathing supplies. If several of the bottles look a like or are the same shape or size you can add visual differences by writing numbers on them or adding a rubber band or hair tie around the container to differentiate the bottles.

Store the bath towels in an easy to reach location and during the shower make sure to keep it in a dry location where it is still within reach to the child or teenager.

If they have vision difficulties make sure to use high contract colors for items, for example, a white bar of soap is very hard to see agains a white tile soap dish. Using high contrast colors will be easier to see.

Create a visual schedule with the steps to complete the task, where you can download our FREEBIE above!

Does your child have difficulty learning personal hygiene self care skills? Check out our Ebook Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom for TONS of tips and resources to help your loved one become more independent with these skills!

everyday_life_skills__3D_cover

Modesty and Privacy

Teaching your teenager modesty and privacy can be huge in keeping them safe. Talk to them about situations where you use public behaviors and private behaviors. Explain why when taking a bath, undressing, touching private parts, or using the toilet are to be done in private. Tell them exactly what types of behaviors are acceptable to do in front of others. You can use our FREE checklist of what needs to be done to make sure they are using privacy while completing self care skills for bathing/showering, dressing, and toileting at home and in public. Modesty and privacy checklist for self-care skills

Modesty and Privacy Checklist for Self Care SkillsModesty and privacy checklist for self-care skillsModesty and privacy checklist for self-care skillsModesty and privacy checklist for self-care skillsModesty and privacy checklist for self-care skills

 

Modesty and privacy checklist for self-care skills

 

We hope these tips can provide you with ideas to best help you teach your teenager/child with autism how to be more independent with bathing and showering. We know that these skills can take time and patience to learn and a lot of practice and repetition. When practicing these skills be practice safety first and always making sure your child is safe when around hot water. Please consult your doctor for medical advice or an occupational therapist in your local area for further questions or concerns. We are not responsible for injuries while practicing these skills.

Please let us know in the comments below if these tips are helpful and if there are others that have helped your family! We love hearing from you!