AARC Tip of the Month - July 2018
Physical Activity
Physical activity is essential to a child's growth and development. For children on the autism spectrum, it can be a beneficial tool to promote emotional regulation and sensory stimulation, as well as developing motor and social skills. Exercise is a research-based intervention for children on the autism spectrum.

Obesity is more prevalent in individuals on the autism spectrum. Daily doses of physical activity can curb this statistic and promote a healthy lifestyle. It will also help your child discover preferred leisure activities, and develop healthy habits as they move into adolescence and adulthood. Some tips for encouraging physical activity for your child during the summer:

Choose the activity wisely.  Consider the needs of your child. If they find large groups challenging, start out with small groups or 1:1 play activities.
Choose high-preference or high-interest activities . Swimming, track and field, bike-riding, gymnastics, and horseback riding are popular activities. Things like rock climbing can provide a "heavy work" sensation, and walking or hiking can support the need for pacing. The goal is for your child to find something that they love and will eventually choose on their own.

Think of  subsistence or culture-based  activities that your child might enjoy. These types of activities encourage a pride in providing for the family or connecting to the history of your people. It also allows for a more informal or natural way to build relationships and social skills within your child, and allow family or community members to learn positive ways to interact with your child.
Choose activities that your child can find  mastery or success  in, but that will also  promote growth .

Consider what  accommodations or adaptations  may need to be made for your child to participate and find success at their level.
Use a schedule  or "first _____, then _____" strip if your child is hesitant to try something new. We all need some sort of reward when doing something new or something we are uncomfortable with. This is an easy way to build reinforcement into the routine without getting "locked" into the same reinforcement or option each time.
Plan potential activities with your child  and allow them to have input. Whenever possible, give them choices about what they want to do.
Let your child see you being physically active . Play with them or schedule a workout with them. Speak positively and authentically about physical activity so they learn how important it is and build a positive mindset about being active!
Autism Focused Intervention Resources and Modules (AFIRM) has a great module for both parents and educators on teaching exercise routines. This free resource comes with a certificate option. Visit  http://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/exercise  for more information!

AARC is closed for the summer until
August 3rd, 2018

Have a safe and wonderful summer!
Books of the Month:
The books of the month are available in the Special Education Service Agency (SESA) Library. Search for books on the  SESA website, or contact the librarian, Anne Freitag, at  afreitag@sesa.org  or  907-334-1301 

Electronic books may be accessed from anywhere in the state. If you've used our ebooks before,  go to the login page here.  If you haven't, please contact Anne so she can set up a username and password for you.  Learn more about ebooks here.
By: Teresa Benzwie
Illustrated by: Robert Bender 
Zephyr Press, 1988, c1987
ISBN:  0-913705-25-X

Description: More than 100 exercises help children discover qualities of space, time, numbers, their bodies, and rhythm. Children learn to feel good about themselves, establish values, and respect and support one another as they explore creative movement.

Contents: Range -- Space -- Rhythm -- Name games -- Language -- Communication -- Movement games and warm ups -- Sculpting -- Art and movement -- Music and movement -- Fantasy -- Props.
Aut-erobics [videorecording (DVD)]: Autism movement therapy
Produced and Directed By: Chris Sanborn
Autism Movement Therapy, 2008
ISBN: 9786312104780

Description: Collection of routines that help autistic children improve motor skills and cognition.

Contents: Level one : emerging -- Level two : developing -- Level three : proficient -- Level four : hip hop.
ISBN:  9781475817652

Description: "This book will outline what we now know about how physical activity impacts children with Autism and how classroom teachers can use physical activity programs in their classrooms." - Publisher's website.
Learn to Move, Move to Learn: Sensorimotor early childhood activity themes
By: Jenny Clark Brack
Foreword by: Linda Baker-Nobles
Autism Asperger Pub., 2004
ISBN:  9781931282635

Description: Each of the creative theme-based group lessons in this practical resource follows a sensory-integrated developmental sequence consisting of seven activities, all related to the theme. For maximum flexibility, suggestions for adaptation and modification for individual students are included, along with instructions for how to develop additional lessons. Finally, a chapter on school readiness skills shows how the lessons prepare children for later success in school. - paraphrased from publisher's website.

Contents: Foreword -- Introduction -- 1. Overview of sensory systems -- 2. School readiness skills -- 3. Program structure -- 4. Adaptation -- 5. Dynamic problem solving -- 6. Planning -- Lesson themes -- Bibliography and suggested readings -- Resources -- Appendix.
Learn to Move, Move to Learn [videorecording (DVD)]: Dinosaurs
Autism Asperger Publishing Company, c2005
ISBN:  9781931282796
1 DVD + 1 guide

Description: "In this lively DVD focusing on young children, viewers get a first-hand view of a dinosaur-theme-based sensorimotor lesson. After a brief introduction to sensory integration, view step-by-step how a series of seven sensorimotor activities, including warm-up, vestibular, proprioception, balance, eye-hand coordination, cool-down and fine motor, are combined in fun games and activities to result in better readiness to learn for students. The activities use a transdisciplinary approach in an inclusive classroom with typical peer models." - Publisher's website.
ISBN:  9780325000343

Description: "Kids love to move. They use their bodies to play, communicate, and express emotions ... Susan Griss shows teachers how they can channel this kinesthetic language into constructive learning experiences, demonstrating what a natural route physicality can be to content area instruction... introduces elementary teachers to the process of identifying, creating, and implementing lessons that encourage students to learn by using their bodies as well as their minds. It covers a range of subjects that includes science, math, language arts, history, conflict resolution, and more. Through the use of specific examples, Griss illustrates the benefits of physicalizing academic concepts, including how movement:
  • makes learning tangible, accessible, and memorable
  • cultivates critical thinking and the use of higher-level thinking skills
  • demands both individual decision making and group interaction
  • encourages students to make use of their own experiences and observations as a foundation for knowledge
  • stimulates creative and dynamic energy in the classroom.
An ideal resource for both preservice and inservice teachers, Minds in Motion offers practical advice and support for teachers who have no experience with movement and inspiration for those who already use movement in the classroom, but are looking for new and imaginative ways to transform lessons into creative kinesthetic experiences."  - Publisher's website .
ISBN:  1557668345

Description: "Children's nonverbal cues can uncover critical information about their emotional, social, physical, communicative, and cognitive development. The first approach to focus exclusively on the importance of observing nonverbal expression, The Dancing Dialogue shows early childhood professionals how to assess the behavior and movement of children with a wide range of issues - and use what they learn to develop appropriate interventions. Designed for use with children from birth to 7 years of age, and equally effective for those with and without special needs, this book reveals how to:

  • skillfully observe children's nonverbal cues and develop a keen awareness of the feelings and messages behind them
  • expand children's abilities in key developmental areas by engaging them with movement, dance, music, and play
  • use these nonverbal interactions to strengthen social and emotional bonds with children
  • help caregivers and educators use the same types of interactions to connect with children and stimulate their development, both at home and in the classroom.
This eagerly anticipated volume brings to book format the popular program Dr. Tortora has presented to thousands of professionals. The Dancing Dialogue is a one- of-a-kind resource that combines insights from diverse disciplines, including psychology, neurobiology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, dance movement therapy, and early childhood development. No dance background is needed - the ideas and techniques are accessible for professionals from any field. Strategies are brought to life by the author's vibrant, encouraging voice and the fascinating stories of children and adults engaging in the communicative dance. Whether used in an early intervention program, in a classroom, or with individual caregivers and their children, this is an innovative, effective way to assess and enhance the development of young children."  - Publisher's website .
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