AARC Tip of the Month - May 2018
Transitioning to Summer Routine
Summertime is upon us! With that comes sunny days, vacations, and for many Alaskans, subsistence season. For a child with autism, this can also bring anxiety due to a change in daily life. Here are some great ways to provide summertime structure at home to help your child have a fun and rewarding summer:

  • Prepare your child for the transition before summer begins. Social stories discussing the upcoming changes and expectations for summer days can be a great way to set the stage for success.
  • Teach your child about having a "Plan B" if the scheduled plan does not work out (for example, if your child is planning to play with their friend on Monday, but the friend gets sick). Help your child build flexibility by having other choices as their "Plan B." If _____, Then ______ cards can be extremely helpful in setting up alternative options.
  • If you are planning a vacation or travel, resources such as the AARC video "Going Through an Airport" can help with preparing your child for such a stimulating environment. You can request resources here. The last day to request this video before AARC closes for the summer is May 16th!
  • Identify strategies that your child uses at school and implement some of them at home. This can include sensory options, emotional regulation routines, etc. Maintaining consistency can solidify those routines so that they become habits.
  • On the calendar, mark "typical days" and days where there may be changes to the normal routine (e.g. holidays, vacations, school starting, etc.). Let your child mark days off on the calendar as they pass and track the time remaining before a major change or the return to school.
  • Set up a daily routine and schedule. Visual schedules can be very helpful in providing additional support for your child. To ease the transition back into school in August, keep your child close to the same schedule, particularly regarding sleep and meal habits.

  • Have a time of day set aside for reading or other learning opportunities. Make these fun times! Help your child find high-interest books, computer learning programs, or experiments and exploration activities. Having this time will ease the transition back to school expectations and homework, and teach your child to love learning!
  • Use summer family times to teach daily living skills. Whether you are cooking dinner, doing chores, or going on a family outing, these are all opportunities to teach your child skills that build independence. These opportunities may require a social story, taught routine, visual, or checklist to help your child complete them.
  • Keep your child active in the summer. Many children would rather spend their summer on the couch playing video games. Research shows that engaging in active play can benefit children in the areas of language, social understanding, motor skills and emotional regulation. Children with autism may be less likely to choose these opportunities due to social stress, sensory needs, visual tracking (e.g. tracking the ball in group games) and motor coordination. Structured activities and social opportunities can provide an opportunity for your child to have an environment they trust to further develop these skills.

Every child is different and will respond differently to the transition into summer. Encourage your child to make choices and communicate their preferences for summer to tailor these ideas for your family.

AARC will be closed for the summer
May 17th - 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.
ISBN:  9780071623360

Description: This book includes dozens of therapeutic games for kids with autism and sensory spectrum disorders.
Contents: The how of engagement -- Sensory development -- Gross motor skills -- Fine motor skills -- Communication -- Social sense -- School ready -- Home activities -- Outdoor activities -- Adopting brand-name games -- Glossary of common terms.
Activity Schedules for Children with Autism:
Teaching independent behavior
By:  Lynn E. McClannahan & Patricia J. Krantz.
Woodbine House, c1999.
ISBN: 093314993X

Description: This book has detailed instructions and many examples to help parents and educators create activity schedules, to go from photographic guides to written schedules, and to monitor progress.

A Land We Can Share: Teaching literacy to students with autism
By: Paula Kluth and Kelly Chandler-Olcott
P.H. Brookes Pub., c2008.
ISBN:  9781557668554

Description: "...moves beyond "sight words" and other functional literacy skills and provides the know-how for bringing quality, meaningful literacy instruction to students with autism. ... focuses specifically on ways in which educators can improve literacy outcomes for students with autism spectrum disorders in Grades K-12 classrooms. Teachers will learn: research-based practices in reading and writing instruction, including those consistent with the recommendations of Reading First; ideas for planning lessons, differentiating instruction, and designing a classroom environment that promotes literacy learning while addressing the individual needs of learners with autism; techniques for assessing students who do not or cannot show their literacy learning in traditional ways due to communication or learning differences; strategies for including students with autism in a wide range of classroom literacy activities; teaching tips from the words and experiences of people with autism spectrum labels and from the authors' own extensive classroom experience... brings cutting-edge literacy concepts to special educators who are already familiar with autism but may not have specific training in teaching reading skills and is an essential "literacy meets autism" primer for general educators and reading specialists. For all readers, the book underscores the ways in which literacy can help every learner achieve a more fulfilling, rich, and inclusive academic life."
Autism 24/7: A family guide to learning at home and in the community
By: Andy Bondy and Lori Frost
Woodbine House, 2008.
ISBN:  9781890627539

Description: "If your son or daughter is over-stimulated by noisy places or has trouble communicating or interacting with people, then everyday activities like going to the playground or helping out with household chores may seem outside your child's repertoire. Authors Bondy and Frost, the founders of the award-winning Pyramid Approach to educating children with autism, show how it is possible to keep family life running smoothly and teach a child with autism to participate in important and routine family activities at home and in the neighborhood. And their teaching strategies can be used during the course of everyday life without making too many adjustments or converting your home into a school." - Publisher's Website.
Everyday Activities to Help Your Young Child with Autism Live Life to the Full: Simple exercises to boost functional skills, sensory processing, coordination, and self-care
By:  Debra S. Jacobs and Dion E. Betts
Foreword by: Carol A. Just.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012.
ISBN:  9781849052382

Description: Addresses the challenges that young children with autism face and provides simple ideas, activities, and exercises that will help improve a child's sense of body awareness, coordination, motor skills, and various social challenges.

Contents: Body awareness -- Increasing coordination -- Fine motor skills -- Understanding the world through the senses -- Daily living skills -- Activities in the home, school, and community -- Calming techniques -- Building capacity : optimizing care and treatment.
The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Asperger's Syndrome: Help, hope, and guidance
By: William Stillman.
Adams Media, c2005.
ISBN:  1593371535

Description: While children with Asperger's are generally of average or above average intelligence, they experience challenges with social skills, communication, and coordination, among other issues. The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Asperger's Syndrome is an informative resource that helps parents to recognize areas in which their child needs support. Filled with helpful hints and practical guidance, this authoritative work is designed to provide parents with the latest information on the best treatments and therapies available, education options, and ways to make life easier for parent and child on a day to day basis. Parents learn how to begin the process of seeking diagnosis, introduce their child to social settings, build positive relationships inside and outside the family unit, prepare their child for adolescence and adulthood.
Tasks Galore: For the real world
By: Laurie Eckenrode, Pat Fennell, and Kathy Hearsey
Tasks Galore, c2004
ISBN:  9781934226018

Description: A tool for preparing older elementary students, adolescents, and adults for independence in the home, school, community, workplace. Categories include domestic skills, vocational skills, independent living skills, job sites and school transition ideas.

"Valuable for preparing your exceptional student for the "real world"; full-color pictorial series of visually structured tasks for teaching domestic, vocational and other independent living skills to individuals with autism; applicable to home, school, and community, training sites."
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