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  The Resource Connection 
Weekly Update February 6, 2019
 

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   Tonight we will be reminded that it is still Winter after a couple of amazing days of spring like weather. With rain, sleet and dropping  temperatures creating hazardous driving conditions we are cancelling tonight's Shared Living/ AFC presentation and the parents of adults group at the center. We will reschedule the presentation and let you know when we have a new date.  

   I imagine that there will be many districts with no school or at least 2 hour delays tomorrow. It's funny how bad weather can paralyze us for a time, leave evidence in it's wake of snow bankings, broken branches and power outages and then just like that, it's over and we resume our lives and go on with business as usual.  It makes me think of meltdowns.  How when they happen, they come on with some warning signs, and you can make some changes that may mitigate the intensity of the oncoming  but you are helpless in the moment to completely stop  the oncoming event, so you just have to ride it out, knowing that it will pass, you hope for no lasting damage  and that you will be able to resume your "normal" life. 

   Winter storms like this use to fill me with dread. A power outage was a major catastrophe for my son on the spectrum, always resulting in a meltdown of epic proportions.  So in addition to filling bath tubs with water ( we had a well so no power, no pump, no water) and my big pots and pans with cooking water, I'd get propane for the grill so we could cook & for the lantern, extra batteries for his flashlights,  and charge up his DVD players. This helped decrease the level of discomfort he felt when power went out.  I swear I have PTSD from the ice storm of December 2008 when we were without power for 2 weeks. 

     If you have a similar child I suggest you prepare today for the possibilities for tomorrow. Do what you need to be ready for power outages. Charge up their electronics and portable chargers so they will have them if you lose power. A social story to read and review if school is cancelled may help with the change in structure. Here's one that may work with some pages that refer to playing in snow deleted. Plan the day with a schedule of activities for the no school day, If you don't have a schedule on a white board  already, this is helpful everyday for our kids. it can include whatever you need or they need to get through the day. Meal times, getting dressed, card game time, puzzle time, time for reading stories, help with meal prep, baking ( if possible), arts & crafts, if you have power, popcorn & movie - Each kid is different in their likes but having a structured day gives comfort to all and eliminates anxiety.

    If we manage to get through tonight and tomorrow's storm without lasting after effects, by noon tomorrow we will return to our normal lives.

    Have a great week. 


Sue
One Day Conference Fully Subscribed - Wait Listing for Future Date 
 
As part of our mission we try to keep you informed of relevant meetings, hearings, recreational opportunities in our community.

Check out the Bulletin Board this week for information about upcoming activities in the community.

The Bulletin Board is a place to have events that would be of interest to the families of HMEA's Autism Resource Central posted. Sped PAC meetings with speakers, recreational opportunities, classes and more. 

To have an event considered for posting please send information to  Sloring@hmea.org .
  
One Parent's Experience
FLOORTIME FOR MOM  by Mia McDonald

When my son with ASD was seven years old he had been fully potty trained about one year and was now speaking in sentences again. We were still waist deep in daily therapies: ABA, PT, OT, speech, social skills, counseling, genetic testing, neurologist, etc., etc., etc. Squished between all those appointments were his two younger siblings: my darling 4 year old daughter and 2 year old son. They were sweet kids, but were, and still are, classified as "high spirited." Waiting rooms afforded us a lot of time to spend together playing, reading and just generally keeping them off the heating ducts while playing hide and seek.
With a sibling with autism, my younger son was at a much higher risk to also develop an ASD. At the time, the geneticist gave us a 1 in 5 chance that he would. He crawled, walked and spoke on time, made great eye contact and was extremely social. But he just couldn't calm down. The smallest things would send him into a frenzy. I would sit and hold him while he screamed and flailed that he couldn't play with a knife he saw me using to prepare dinner. Like all families with autism, we had at least 25 Thomas the Trains, all absolutely identical. But if his brother dared to play with the one HE wanted, the super tantrum would begin. Sometimes I couldn't even hold him and I would be forced to put my toddler in his car seat, where he would bruise his shoulders against the restraints. I once sent him to his room when he seemed relatively calm.  First the pillows came down the stairs, then the stuffed animals, followed by the sheets. Then I heard a scraping noise across the floor. I ran upstairs to find that my almost three year old was purple with rage as he was dragging his twin sized mattress across the floor to throw down the stairs. Hercules and I needed help.
I was able to get my toddler son to my older son's development pediatrician fairly quickly. Due to his age, we couldn't rule out an autism spectrum diagnosis, so we labelled him to get interventions as quickly as possible. The biggest difference came from the Floortime for Parents workshop and Stanley Greenspan's book Engaging Autism. This method gave me the tools I needed to help teach my son how to calm down.
"What tools?" You may ask. Get ready to act like a toddler. My son and I used the time we sat together every day waiting for the two bigger siblings to get out of school. I would arrive thirty minutes early and pull out a bag of toys to play with him. When he took the Thomas Train, I would pitch a fit. Yes, heads turned as I cried, "But it's MIIIIINE!" My toddler would watch me, and eventually HE would coach ME how to calm down. "Mommy, it's ok. Don't cry. There are two Thomases. We can each have one!" At home and in my mini-van, I could get down to his level, often on the floor, to play the games that made his eyes glimmer. And ruin them the way he was ruining them for everyone else. Sometimes it was fun. Sometimes a grown woman struggles to find the energy to act like a toddler. The workshop included a session where I brought my kids in to play with a trained therapist, who could give us feedback.
During all this, I had child #4. And the oldest's therapies kept right on chugging like a freight train. We ate a lot of jelly sandwiches in the van and in waiting rooms. But the time I spent learning Greenspan's method was priceless. It is very effective. I once implemented it on a visiting friend's twin sons. These two four year-olds were gouging each others' eyes out over a bottle of bubbles. I threw myself down beside them and screamed that I really wanted the bubbles and it just wasn't fair. How were we EVER going to ALL get turns?!?! The boys rose above the problem at hand and problem solved us out of it.
The workshop is coming up in March. Does your child have trouble self-regulating? Do you need more tools to communicate with your child? This workshop will give you those tools. While I'm crushing on Greenspan, I want to also plug his book The Challenging Child. I checked it out of the library to help me figure out child #5, a defiant child that I was trying to avoid raising into the next Genghis Khan . To my surprise, almost half the book was devoted to the inattentive child, which was my fourth child to a 'T'. It spurred me to get him the interventions he needed in school and now, two years later, is doing great.  (It also turns out I'm not raising Genghis Kahn. #5 is going to be fine.)


* To register for the Floortime for Parents course click here 

 
FEBRUARY  CALENDAR
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 Register for Events @ www.autismresourcecentral.org 
or call 508-298-1610
 Fees for Events are as stated on site

FEBRUARY CALENDAR 
  
FAMILY FUN

February 8, 2019
Dad's Night Out
Worcester Railers Vs Greenville
DCU Center 
Foster Street 
Worcester MA 
7:05 PM
Fee: $9.00/ticket

February 19, 2018
Bowling & Pizza
Mohegan Bowladrome
51 Thompson Rd. Webster MA 
10 AM Bowling 11 AM - Pizza
$3.00 /pp

February 20, 2019
WAchusett Meadow 
Snowshoeing
113 Goodnow Rd 
Princeton MA 
Session 1 -10 AM 
Session 2- 12 PM 
$3.00/pp

February 21, 2019 
Candy Camp at Heberts Candy Mansion
$5.00/ child includes two candy crafts  and ice cream sundae bar
Session 1 10:30 AM
Session 2 12 PM

February 21, 2019 *
Parents of Teens Support Group  
& Expanded Teen Social Group
Pizza Ice Cream & Game Night  
6-9 PM 
* note this is Thursday not Wednesday


February 22, 2019
Friends & Family Movie 
West Boylston Cinema
Rt 12 , West Boylston
10 AM 
$3.00/pp


SUPPORT

February 9, 2019
Sibshop
Chinese New Year 
Choey Lee's 
45 Sterling St 
West Boylston
11:30 AM  - 1:30 PM 
Fee: $10:00 per child $15 family cap

February 11, 2019 
Parents & Tots 
4:30 - 5:30 PM 

February 13, 2019 
Parents of Children & Tweens 
Support Group
7-9 PM 

February 21, 2019 *
Parents of Teens Support Group  
& Expanded Teen Social Group
Pizza Ice Cream & Game Night  
6-9 PM 
* note this is Thursday not Wednesday

February 27, 2019
Parents of Girls and 
Girls socialization Group  
6:30 PM  - 8:30 PM


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Sincerely, 
                                                                                                                   
 

Sue Loring -Director 
HMEA's Autism Resource Central 
508-298-1605                                                                                     
 
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