FEATure Back-to-School
Tips to Make the Back-to-School Transition Easier
Back-To-School Tips for You and Your Child
Excerpt from an article by Kelly Hurley, Autism Resource Specialist, UMass Medical Center 


The end of summer often brings mixed emotions for many parents and children who turn their thoughts from the less-structured days of summer to planning for back to school. The following tips will help you increase the likelihood of a successful back-to-school transition for your child and you. 


Plan Ahead

* Have your child visit his classroom and meet his new teacher.
* Read a book or two about starting school.
* Address your child's feelings in an understanding way. Share feelings that you might have had when you went to school and what made them easier for you. 
* Communicate with your child using social stories and photographs of the new classroom/school.
* Include your child's input when preparing routines such as morning schedules, afternoon activities, and bedtime routines.
* Make a calendar with your child using photographs or hand-drawn reminders to help your child look forward to activities, while also allowing him time to transition smoothly to upcoming events.   
Morning Routines
* Get everyone in the family back on track with adequate sleep by gradually going to bed a few minutes earlier every night until your child can wake up at the same time she would wake up to get ready for school.
* Make a morning picture chart with your child.  Your child will be more likely to follow a routine that he has helped create. 

Before School Starts

* Although emergency contact information request forms usually come home in your child's backpack the first day of school, be sure to discuss with the school any health and safety concerns related to your child before the first day of school.
* Include any helpful tips that will allow the teacher to better understand your child.  Educators welcome input, so be sure to mention strategies that are useful at home. 
* A brief note to your child's teacher, therapists, and/or team leader will be appreciated and will get the new school year started in the right direction.

Daily Preparation
* Have your child participate in picking out his clothes and laying them out before bedtime.
* Have your child help prepare backpacks and school supplies as part of the nighttime routine.
* Discuss snack and lunch decisions the night before school starts and have your child help get her food ready the night before whenever possible.

Get Organized

Wrightslaw also has an incredibly helpful guide for parents titled, "Organizing Your Child's Special Education File: Do It Right!" available for free download which will assist in you in managing all of your child's paperwork for the upcoming year.


Although easing back-to-school for many families can require a lot of planning, the payoff is well worth it.  The preparation and support you provide to your child today will allow her to make more choices and become increasingly independent sooner.



5 Ways to Help Your Child Make Friends
Excerpt from article by Cleveland Clinic

Trying to make friends when you have a tough time reading social cues: figures of speech, body language, hand gestures and facial expressions. This is the challenge for children with autism. It's also a source of anxiety for parents.


Here are tips that may help your child to make friends


1. Help them understand what a friend is

Starting with the basics is critical for developing social skills. 

Use simple language. For example, ask, "Do you like to spend time with somebody who calls you names?" And "Do you like to spend time with someone who is nice to you?"

Be literal, because your child will be, too. Avoid saying abstract things like, "Friends are people who care for the real you." Instead, say, "Friends treat you nicely, ask you what you like or want to do, and say things to make you feel better."


2. Use scripts and visuals

Start with simple things like asking a person's name and grade. The next level goes a little deeper: favorite hobbies or school subjects, and so on. Writing out a script can be very helpful. A script - complete with "thank-you" and age-appropriate phrases such as "cool"- goes a long way toward practice.


3. Offer real-world practice

Involve your child in planning. i For example,i f you're planning a trip to the zoo with the family, have your child help pick snacks to take and develop a schedule, for example. The same idea applies to planning a hang-out session with a friend. Have your child think about activities he or she wants to do and this new friend may want to do. Then plan a schedule together that incorporates both. Doing this teaches the social compromise involved in all friendships.


4. Build off your child's interests

Have you ever made a friend based on a common interest: music, sports or a hobby? That works for children with autism, as well. If your child really loves chess, find a chess club. If your child loves art, sign up for an art class. These offer built-in interests and conversation points - and a fun setting for social interaction.


5. Think about long-term success

None of this happens overnight, so be patient.


An interactive app that may help your child learn social cues  The Social Express
Packing a School Lunch for a Picky Eater
Excerpt from Back-to-School Tips for You and Your Child


Any parent with a child who only eats a limited number of foods, or who will only eat foods prepared in a certain way, knows how difficult it can be to pack snacks and lunches for your child as he heads off to school.

One thing you can do is to have your child participate in packing his lunch and snacks.


For more general information about how to increase your child's food choices see the Nutrition Focus Newsletter by the Center on Human Development and Disability.


You can also visit the following Quick Links for more helpful strategies to help grow your child's food choices:

A Guide to Help Navigate the IEP Process


 Autism Speaks provides to parent Individualized Education Program (IEP): Summary, Process and Practical Tips, a free, new online guide that contains important and reliable information and advice about navigating the IEP process, created by a team of pro bono lawyers at Goodwin Procter. 

 "The IEP process can be daunting, overwhelming and highly frustrating for parents who are trying to ensure their child is getting the appropriate educational opportunities," said Lisa Goring, Autism Speaks vice president of Family Services. "We hope this guide will give families an effective roadmap that prepares them to make informed decisions and advocate for their child as effectively as possible." 

The 26-page guide includes an overview and timeline of key events in the typical IEP process, and clearly explains the steps parents need to take throughout - including how to contest an unfavorable decision.The guide also includes tips, resources, a checklist and answers to frequently asked questions, as well as a list of helpful web sites and other resources.


FEATure Autism Programs in Louisville
 New Leadership at Bluegrass Center for Autism & Carriage House 

Carriage House - Preparing the Children of Tomorrow, Today

Lori Wilson joined Carriage House Educational Services on June 1, 2015.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Louisville and spent 15 years at her alma mater as the Director of Program Development at the Weisskopf Child Evaluation Center and the UofL Autism Center at Kosair Charities.  Within this role, she assumed many responsibilities from fundraising to community awareness as well as coordination of a clinical services program.  

Lori understands the importance of early intervention and the vital role it plays in maximizing each child's full potential.  She is excited to be a part of the amazing team at Carriage House.  Under her leadership, she hopes to continue to expand educational programs where children of all abilities can learn and make progress in an environment that is stimulating and nurturing and where individual differences are respected and celebrated.

The Endeavor Program at Carriage House is a collaboration between Carriage House Educational Services and FEAT of Louisville, Inc. The Endeavor Program is a year round, therapeutic preschool program for children ages 2 - 6, who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities.  A unique combination of Early Childhood Education best practice and evidenced based and emerging early intervention strategies (ABA, VB, DIR, TEACCH) are imbedded in a natural learning environment that utilizes incidental teaching and direct instruction. Staff include certified and specially trained teachers, behaviorists, and assistants who have experience working with children with autism and developmental delay. 

BCA - Looking Forward to the Future

Born & raised in Bloomington, Indiana, Paul Kichler received a degree in Elementary Education from Ball State University, and began his teaching career as a seventh and eighth grade Self Contained teacher in Cicero (suburb of Chicago, IL). While teaching, he obtained a masters degree from Lewis University and became an Assistant Principal. 

Five years ago, after Paul and his wife had twins in Chicago, they decided to move closer to family and moved to Louisville. At that time, an opportunity presented itself at Goodwill of Southern Indiana (previously known as Goodwill Bridgepointe Services) to be the Director of The Children's Learning Center; a struggling preschool that has a focus on assisting children with disabilities. Within the first year, his team turned The Children's Learning Center around and Paul was moved into a Vice President role within Goodwill of Southern Indiana.  After four years as serving as a Vice President of Goodwill of Southern Indiana, he was presented with the Executive Director opening at The Bluegrass Center for Autism. With his background in education, educational leadership, working with children and young adults with disabilities and non-profit management, the Bluegrass Center for Autism was a perfect fit for Paul. 

The Bluegrass Center for Autism offers a unique one-to-one instructor-to-child ratio while implementing ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) which is showing tremendous results in managing behaviors associated with children and young adults on the autism spectrum. 

As the Executive Director of the Bluegrass Center for Autism, it became clear to Paul that there was a need to expand services to reach more children, young adults and families in our community who are affected by autism. The Bluegrass Center for Autism and other key stakeholders for the organization, will soon conduct a strategic planning session that will map out what their growth will look like in the next three to five years.  This is an exciting time for the Bluegrass Center for Autism as they are on the cusp of monumental growth and development in the autism community. 

FEATure Fundraising
YOU make a difference in Louisville's autism community.
BACK TO THE FEATure - Totally 80's
Create A Stir About Autism Gala 

It is back to the 80's for the 2015 Create A Stir About Autism Gala and after party. This year we hope to bring FEAT and our past accomplishments and struggles full circle to the direction we are headed in the future.

We have some great sponsorship opportunities that include leveled marketing packages and tickets to the event & after party. To sponsor FEAT's Create A Stir Gala, please contact Deborah for a sponsorship packet listing all benefits. deborah@featoflouisville.org

If you or someone you know creates art, designs jewelry, makes crafts, styles hair, owns a time share, owns a business, etc., you could support FEAT by donating a service, gift certificate or item to the LIVE & silent auction. All donations are tax deductible. Click here for a donation form.

The  BACK to the FEATure Totally 80's - Create A Stir About Autism is on Friday, September 25th at The Gillespie. It will be a totally radical evening with open bar, appetizers, dinner by Vincenzo's, silent and live auctions, raffles, and dancing to the '80s hits of local party band 100% Poly. 

Kroger Is Asking Everyone to Re-Enroll Their Kroger Plus Card In August

If you are registered in the Kroger Community Rewards program with your Kroger Plus Card, Kroger is asking everyone to re-enroll. The re-enrollment period is August 1st - 31st.

Go to  Kroger.com to renew your commitment to or become a new supporter of FEAT on your Kroger Plus Card. 

Kroger is committed to helping our communities grow and prosper. Year after year, local schools, churches and other nonprofit organizations will earn millions of dollars through Kroger Community Rewards®. Kroger Community Rewards® makes it easy. All you have to do is shop at Kroger, swipe your Plus Card and FEAT will receive a percentage of your purchase

Lucky's Market 
Bags for Change
June 28-Sept. 26

Each quarter, three nonprofits are selected to receive bag credit donations from their local Lucky's Market store. This quarter FEAT has been "lucky" enough to be chosen to participate.

How the Bags for Change Program Works:
When shoppers bring in their reusable bags, they can choose to receive $.10 back per bag credit or donate that amount to a local nonprofit. 

Even better: when a shopper donates, Lucky's Market will match the donation and double the giving to FEAT!

for information about any of the listed dates contact Deborah at deborah@featoflouisville.org


BAGS FOR CHANGE at Lucky's Market
June 28- September 26
F EAT has been selected as one of the non-profits to participate in Lucky's Market Bags for Change. Just shop with reusable bags and let your cashier know that you would like your "wooden dime" to go to FEAT of Louisville.

August 1- 31
Remember to re-enroll FEAT as your Kroger Plus Card Charity at Kroger.com

Back to the FEATure - Totally 80's Gala
Friday, September 25
If interested in becoming a sponsor or donating an item to the auction, please email Deborah@featoflouisville.org




PARENT MEETING - The Gut/Brain Connection
Wednesday, August 12 at 7:00PM
at Home of the Innocents Open Arms Building on the lower level
Please use meeting date + childcare as your subject title.

PARENT MEETING  - Managing Behavior at Home & in the Community
Wednesday, September 9 at 7:00PM
at Home of the Innocents Open Arms Building on the lower level
Please use meeting date + childcare as your subject title.

- Let's PLAY! Increasing Social Skills at Various Phases of Development
Wednesday, October 14 at 7:00PM
at Home of the Innocents Open Arms Building on the lower level
Please use meeting date + childcare as your subject title.

- Creating Systems and Routines to Simplify Your Home 
Wednesday, November 11 at 7:00PM
at Home of the Innocents Open Arms Building on the lower level
Please use meeting date + childcare as your subject title.

Sunday, December 20
Sensory Friendly Christmas Party with Santa for All FEAT Families at KAZOING. More details will be in future newsletters.



Gluten-Free Pinealpple & Ham Pizza


Gluten-Free Pizza Dough, recipe follows
Cooking spray
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lime
1/3 cup pizza sauce
2/3 cup shredded smoked Gouda
3 ounces Canadian bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup pineapple chunks, thinly sliced
Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Gluten-Free Pizza Dough:
2 large all-purpose potatoes (about 14 ounces)
1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 teaspoons agave syrup or honey
One 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast
1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
Kosher salt
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Support FEAT of Louisville
We remain dedicated to serving the needs of Kentuckiana's autism community. Our services and outreach activities are possible with the support of generous people such as you.

Make a donation! Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution online today.
Your generosity will help provide education, advocacy, programs and support to families affected by autism.
Stay Connected
1100 East Market Street
Louisville, KY 40206

Deborah Morton, Executive Director

Shop Lucky's with your resuable bags and donate to FEAT - June 28-September 26