As we approach the end of summer, it is time to start thinking about how to transition back to a school routine. Consider the following strategies when getting your kiddos ready for the new school year:
Resume old routines – Your child’s routines, especially their sleeping routine, may have changed quite a bit over the last couple months. Returning to a school sleep schedule can take several weeks or longer, depending on the child, so it is often best to begin transitioning towards the end of summer so your child is well-rested and used to an earlier bedtime during the first week of school.
-Incrementally move back to the desired bedtime – try putting your child to bed and waking them up 10 minutes earlier than the night before for a few days. Repeat until you ultimately reach your goal bedtime.
-Establish a soothing routine – running around outside, playing video games, and watching action movies right before bed can make it difficult to fall asleep. Instead, try reading a book, working on a puzzle, coloring a picture, or doing other relaxing activities. This could also provide a good opportunity to reintroduce a homework routine.
-Minimize meltdowns – meltdowns can happen more frequently when changing routines, especially routines related to sleep. If your child seems more fatigued throughout the day, adding a short nap, or changing from a high-intensity activity to a less demanding one, may help your child get through the day without an extra meltdown.
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You did it, you made it through the conference! We hope you had an amazing time and left with new, practical strategies to support you in your everyday life. Now that you have all this new information and an arsenal of great ideas, you may now be struggling with how to even begin implementing it all. This is normal, don’t worry. The key is to take a short breather (very important, you deserve it), then dive in with the following five objectives:
Identify Key Takeaways
Hopefully you were able to attend all of the sessions you had hoped to. A lot of the information may have been new. While it is still fresh in your mind, write down a list of the top five most important things you learned at the conference. Maybe you learned that you can ask your child’s school to include a new type of goal on their IEP or perhaps you’re professional who learned about a technique you may wish to include in your practice – jot these new lessons down in one place so you can reflect upon them when needed.
Prioritize Your Goals
Out of all of the strategies you learned at the 2018 Milestones National Autism Conference, what should you use first? You may have a lot of different things that you wish to work on. For example, you may be a self-advocate who wants to get a date, a job, and to apply for certain benefits. How would you rank these in order of importance? Maybe you think a job is the most important to you right now so that you can afford to take a date out for coffee. Reflecting on your priorities and identifying one or two things to work on at a time can make things much more manageable.
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Summer is finally here. Bring on the sunshine! While summer has its perks, the season can also bring new challenges for families whose loved ones must adjust to a new schedule.
Without the structure of school and other programs that take place throughout the rest of the year, families can be left scrambling to fill in unstructured time for their child. Fortunately, there are many ways to make the most of this time that can be beneficial for everyone involved. Check out the following suggestions from Milestones Early Intervention/School Age Coordinator Nathan Morgan:
Schedule your day. Using visual schedules can be helpful for anyone whether they are neurotypical or on the autism spectrum. Hang a colorful calendar showing when any special activities are planned. Update any written or picture schedules to include time slots for the unstructured time. Break activities into smaller tasks as appropriate. For tips on how to create schedules and visual supports, checkout the Milestones Visual Supports toolkit.
-Play at the Park
Explore new hobbies/activities. The free time during summer break can provide a great opportunity to explore new interests with your child. Baking muffins or other treats can be a great activity to spend time with your child, develop daily living skills, and also has a yummy final result! Baking has plenty of steps which can be made into a visual schedule and can be broken down into tasks which are developmentally appropriate for your child.
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First time attending the Milestones National Autism Conference? We’re so excited to have you! Get ready for two days full of new knowledge, resources and friends. With 90 workshops and over 1,000 people in attendance, we know it can get pretty crazy but don’t fret! With a simple combo of preparation and participation, we promise you will walk away having gotten the most out of your experience. Check out the following tips on how to nail your first Milestones conference.
1) Review the Parent Track ahead of time to see what workshops are most appealing to you! You can also call our free autism Helpdesk to talk with a staff member who can make suggestions based on your child’s age, stage and ability.
2) Take advantage of our discounted family member rate. Register early to receive our Spring Special rate! Also, remember Milestones has scholarships available for parents. The application process is simple and quick!
3) Visit the Caregiver Relaxation Room. Visit the Caregiver Relaxation Room, presented by Hickman & Lowder Co., LPA. This special room offers a calm and relaxing area just for parents and caregivers of individuals with autism. Well deserved!
4) Attend our amazing lunch sessions and walk away with a friend. Everyone around you at the conference has a connection to autism and is looking for the same supports as you. Use your time as a chance to network with peers and leave with new contacts in your community.
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Many families wonder when and how to approach sharing with their child that they have an autism diagnosis. There are no clear rules on how or when this talk should occur, but there are a few things you should consider:
-Autism is a lifelong condition and may unfortunately impact how others react towards your child. Generally, a person with a diagnosis of autism is already aware of their differences.
-A diagnosis is simply a description of features that are currently present – it may feel more real when a diagnosis is provided, but the symptoms did not appear simply because the “magic words” were spoken.
-A diagnosis can provide you with the language and a framework to consider using to meet any additional areas of need that are present. For example, your child can learn to advocate their needs to their teacher – “I have autism, I feel overwhelmed when there is a lot of noise in the classroom.”
-I, as well as many self-advocates that I have communicated with, have expressed that learning of our autism diagnosis was a relief – it provided us with a clear way of communicating to others what our differences are, which supported us with then advocating for any supports that we may need.
-I am of the opinion that my autism is nothing to be ashamed of. Learning about my autism provided me with insight into who I am so I could best utilize my strengths.
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