Holiday Gift Guide LEGO sets for Teenagers
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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!!
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Video Game Gifts for Teenagers with Autism
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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.
ASUS Gamer Computer Laptop
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
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.
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!
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!
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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 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.
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!
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!!
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!
*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 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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!