Autism level 2 and 3-Information-Caretaker Tips

Understanding Level 2 & 3 Autism

Tips for Working with Children on the Autism Spectrum

Autism and Special Needs


Working with Children on the Autism Spectrum has been one of our greatest joys. Watching the children thrive and make progress is so rewarding! Many of the things that we do while playing, working or interacting with kids are not activities but are simply ways to encourage and facilitate their success and progress. We would like to share some of the techniques and tools that we use when working with children on the autism spectrum and if you have some that we have forgotten or have not thought of yet please share them with us.

Tips for Working with Children on the Autism Spectrum  encourage and facilitate success and progress with these techniques and tools. #mosswoodconnections #autism #ASD


  • Your face is one of your best tools. Exaggerate your facial expressions; look happy and excited.

  • Adjust your body position so that your face is on the same level as the child’s face.

  • Hold objects in front of your face to encourage eye contact.

  • Your voice is another tool. Vary tone and volume to get their attention. Sometimes a whisper is more powerful than a shout.

  • Be careful to avoid touching the child unexpectedly. For many children, particularly those with sensory processing sensitivities, unexpected touch can be jarring and upsetting. Give them a warning before you touch them.

  • Repeat your request. Sometimes children aren’t listening and sometimes they may be having difficulty processing auditory information. If they don’t respond the first time you make a request, ask again.

  • Give the child time to respond. Some children take longer to process information so just wait a moment to see if they will respond.

  • PRAISE! PRAISE! PRAISE! When a child does something new or something that is difficult for them, consider that they just gave you the best gift that you have ever received and show them the appreciation that they deserve.

  • Be specific with your praise. If a child who has difficulty with eye contact looks at you instead of saying, “Great job!” say something like, “Wow! You looked at me! I love seeing your eyes!”


  • Be sensitive to the child’s sensory needs. Some children have tactile defensiveness, others may be extremely sound sensitive. Keep their sensory sensitivities in mind when creating activities. A child who is tactile defensive will probably not enjoy a chase and tickle game.

  • Identify the child’s state of arousal. Some children may seem lethargic. Those children would benefit from a more active program. For the child who has a hard time calming down, try soothing sensory activities like sensory bins or putty.

  • Incorporate sensory activities while teaching new skills.


  • Encourage speech by keeping the language simple.

  • Ask the child to say the target word before doing the action. For example, if you want the child to say “ball” you would ask the child to say the word each time you throw the ball to them.

  • Focus on one concept or word. For example, if you are working on colors, present a variety of activities involving colors and repeatedly request color words.

  • Remember to offer praise whenever a child gives you the gift of responding to your request.

  • Combine sensory with sounds. You can draw the letter “A” in shaving cream while you model making the “a” sound.


  • To develop hand strength use Therapy Putty with various resistance levels. Give your child the putty to play with while they are waiting for something like a meal.

  • Buy Clothespins, scatter them around in places where your child will need to clip or unclip them. This is also a sensory activity.

  • Stickers are a great way to encourage kids to use their fingertips.

  • For children who are beginning to draw put a large piece of paper on the wall. Give them broken crayons and chalk to use. This forces their fingers into a tripod grip.

  • If your child curls their wrist while writing or drawing have them write and draw on a Slant Board. You can use a large binder as a slant board.

  • To help your child control their coloring and stay in the lines you can outline the picture with glue or Wikki Stix.

  • When doing handwriting practice kids seem to enjoy Color Changing Markers. The adult writes the words or sentences and then the child traces over with the color changing marker.

These are some of our Tips for Working with Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Are there any tips that you think we should add?

Tips for Working with Children on the Autism Spectrum  encourage and facilitate success and progress with these techniques and tools. #mosswoodconnections #autism #ASD


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Tips for Working with Children on the Autism Spectrum  encourage and facilitate success and progress with these techniques and tools. #mosswoodconnections #autism #ASD

ABA – 20 Activities to Do in Therapy


What is ABA?

ABA therapy is Applied Behavioral Analysis.

It is usually a type of therapy that helps Autistic children and adults in some cases learn appropriate behaviors and life skills.

The autism speaks website gives this definition:

Behavior analysis is a scientifically validated approach to understanding behavior and how it is affected by the environment.

Behavior analysis focuses on the principles that explain how learning takes place. Positive reinforcement is one such principle. When a behavior is followed by some sort of reward, the behavior is more likely to be repeated. Through decades of research, the field of behavior analysis has developed many techniques for increasing useful behaviors and reducing those that may cause harm or interfere with learning.

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the use of these techniques and principles to bring about meaningful and positive change in behavior.

Is it worth it?

For us, it has been an amazing blessing. C was diagnosed at 6 years old and he is 9 now. You can read our full story here.

He has been doing ABA therapy for these 3 years. He has learned so much and I am so happy about the life skills that he has learned.

From personal experience, ABA is not something you can force on a child. That would be wrong. You need to find a vendor and a therapist or tutor that works well with your child and lets your child lead. And by lead I mean find what your child’s passions are and reward them with what drives them. Learn what they are struggling with and work on that. They will want to work hard knowing they will be rewarded with something they love.

How to start ABA

You can learn more about ABA from your child’s pediatrician or a local vendor. You can search my resource page for resource centers in your state and they can help you find a vendor.

Activities to work on in ABA

If you already have ABA sometimes it can be hard to come up with what your child should be learning, practicing. Maybe you don’t even know you can ask for specific things?

I came up with 20 activities that you can ask your therapist to work on with your child.

Social Skills

1. Social Groups – ask your ABA vendor if they have social groups. Social groups are when kids of the same social skill levels come together and have therapy where they learn appropriate social skills with peers.

2. Play dates – this can be an extension of a social group. You can have a “play date” with your child’s therapist and another child and their therapist. They can practice social skills and play skills. This can take place in a home. playground or another setting.


 3. Community Helpers – your child learns the different community helpers (police, doctors, mechanics, etc). Which are ok to talk to when in trouble. Answer who, what, where questions about each.

4. Turn Taking – this skill can be learned in different ways. Playing games, playing with other kids/siblings.

5. Waiting/ patience – this one can be practiced while playing a game or using a stopwatch.

6. Conversation/ question skills – practicing appropriate question and answer during conversations.

7. Facial expressions – looking at peoples faces and recognizing their emotions.

Self Care Skills

8. Eating – if your child has issues with food ABA can work on it.

9. Appropriate clothing/ attire – what type of clothing is appropriate to wear during different weather conditions.

10. Hygiene – learning to take care of yourself.

11. Cooking – how to cook or prep simple things in the kitchen, age appropriate.


autism products

12. Cleaning – how to clean up properly and in appropriate settings.

13. Chores – this can be a system that is set up in ABA session and practiced at home the rest of the time.

14. Address and phone – your child needs to learn where they live and the phone number to use in case of emergency.


School Skills

15. Homework – you can ask your therapist to work on homework. This can be a practice for patience, voice level, etc.

16. Reading –  if your child struggles in reading you can ask for your child to practice reading during ABA.

17. Reading comprehension – reading a book/story and practicing summarizing and asking and answering questions about what was just read. Great practice for conversation and memory.


Behavioral Skills

18. Appropriate behavior –  during different situations in different places in the community.

19. Appropriate responses to different settings – what to do when… (x,y,z, happens).

20. Appropriate volume – appropriate voice levels to use in different settings.


activities for ABA therapy

ABA, Applied Behavioral Analysis can be an amazing tool for your child to expand and learn what they are capable of. There are so many things, activities, lessons, and skills that can be practiced and worked on.

I hope my list of 20 gives you a little bit of an idea of what kind of skills ABA can help with.

You got this mama!

teaching children to control their own behavior


April 24, 20181 Comment

Teaching children to control their own behavior starts from the beginning. Hopefully this means at a young age, but it could also mean at the start of your relationship with them.

I was recently reminded of a professional we once had in our house that liked to play a game with my son in an area next a desk. I am pretty laid back, so the situation itself did not bother me. It was rather an outcome of the situation that kept tripping me up. My son, barely older than a toddler at the time, would run into the desk and get very upset. For some reason, the other adult thought it was OK to teach my son to blame the desk for what happened. I do not suggest this as something to start teaching kids at a young age. As I told my son, if you run into something that is on you. Plan better next time. Owning their own bodies and behaviors is very important. It is easier to teach this at a young age but can be taught at any age.

This is were ‘teaching-time outs,’ clear boundaries, and consistency really pull through. Partnering with children so that they learn the skills of critical thinking toward safety and life-skills help them when they are out in the real world.

Here are some ideas to get started on teaching children to control their own behavior:

  • Rules – Are there clear rules in place? Try to have the child or children help you come up with some to help their brains become critical thinkers of what good behavior should look like.

  • Simplify – If their is something in the environment that will not allow the child to be successful, and it can be gotten rid of, do it. Make this as easy (not as painless) as possible on both of you.

  • Address Needs – This kind of goes with simplify but happens too often. A kid is slow because his fine motor is delayed. A kid isn’t reciting the song with everyone else because he can’t memorize the words. Remember no one wants to be humiliated. Kindness toward all counts.

  • Keep It Positive – No I’m not saying brush over the knitty-gritty. Keeping things facts oriented though and not opinion oriented, helps the child see the cut and dry of it. So acknowledge when they get things right, and help steer them back on the path when they are starting to veer in their behavior.

  • Follow-through – Accountability is key in so many aspects of life and behavior is no exception. Find a way that works for you to stay consistent about staying consistent.

There is of course more to it, but if you start with this you’ll be well on your way.


Behavior and Cognitive Interventions: Finding the Best Solution

Adaptive Behavior and Behavior Scales: Truly Defining a Child

Disciplining a Child: Teaching Positive Behaviors



February 26, 20181 Comment

You might be stuck wondering how do I start motivating my kid, so far they seem content just barely getting by which leaves the parent picking up all the pieces. Obviously this does not work in the long haul, as the goal is to get them to self-sufficient adulthood.


  • Start with one thing and make them accountable. Probably something that you think they could be efficient at like feeding the dog, sorting laundry, or simple self-care items.You have to start somewhere and then when that just becomes daily living add another item.

  • Remember we all have to start somewhere. Patience is key. No they aren’t the best at ‘x,y,z’ but at one point probably neither were you. Let them practice and master the skill.

  • Let your kid have some of the control in decisions. Yes you can pick the decision, but making decisions is part of adulthood. Sometimes it feels like the main part. Learning how to make good decisions early is an invaluable skill.

  • Explain the natural consequences of not fulfilling their childhood duties but don’t stand in the way of letting the consequence happen. We all want to bubble wrap kids, but the younger they are the littler the stakes are, so let them find the natural boundaries of things.

  • Make sure there isn’t something standing in the way of the goal. If your child is an unmotivated writer for example, maybe there is an underlying cause and a tutor or doctor might need to evaluate the child. If they’re unmotivated to school, is it too hard or too easy (this applies both academically and socially).

By helping your child feel in control and able to successfully complete tasks, you are empowering them to practice lifelong skills. We know

“when we experience a healthy sense of control, our prefrontal cortex (the executive functioning part of our brain) regulates the amygdala (a part of the brain’s threat detection system that initiates the fight or flight response). When the prefrontal cortex is in charge, we are in our right minds. We feel in control and not anxious.”-Scientific American

Hopefully these ideas with motivation and great follow through help your child to succeed. Sometimes it can just be hard to break bad habits for both the kid and the parent. Please let me know if you have any great ideas.


Successful Collaboration

Helping those with Learning Disabilities Find Success

Qualifying for Special Education: What to Know


April 18, 2017Leave a comment

Executive functioning literally rules our days. It is the part of our brain that allows us to remember directions, know what needs to be done before we can leave, and helps us stay safe by evaluating potential dangers. Many children can have a delay in developing this region of their brains. Even many adult can be effected by not being as skilled in executive functioning. As with most delays and shortcomings, it is best to become aware of the issue. Evaluate where or what parts of Executive Functioning are particularly difficult, and then come up with the game plan on how to be successful. Here is online test for adults I found, but you can imagine from it some of the same child sized questions.


  • Time Management: Constantly running late and losing track of time both fall under this category

  • Regulation of Attention: Easily distracted or getting too involved in one thing and not being able to move on

  • Impulse Control: Evaluating whether the environment or certain actions in the environment are safe

  • Organization: keeping things where they belong, throwing out other things, and being ale to re-find certain items all take energy from the brain

  • Working Memory: Also known as short-term memory that allows us to recall important information

  • Emotional Control: Even being able to keep feelings in check falls into executive functioning

  • Flexible thinking: Being able to roll with the changes that life throws at them

  • Task initiation: Being able to redirect the brain into a new task

  • Self-monitoring: knowing how to regulate behavior in order to accommodate their current social situation


  1. Sticky notes, a calendar, or whatever is going to help them remember each of their tasks…but don’t overfill it with information, keep it simple and to the point

  2. Create environments where they can be successful. Do they need a quiet chair? A wiggly seat? It is best also to keep it consistent. Patterns will help give their brains clues about what needs to be occurring.

  3. If the child is impulsively speaking out of turn, have them write notes instead to share later. Redirect their needs to be satisfied more appropriately.

  4. Create an organization system. Yes this probably mean the parent is doing a lot of the work at first, but skill building can start small and then get bigger. Remember big tasks take a lot of practice.

  5. Patience is probably key when it comes to their memories. You will undoubtedly feel like you’ve said the same thing many times. Taking notes and putting visual enforcers for them can help.

  6. A dramatic kid can also take patience, but teaching them how to check-in with their own emotions can help them in the long term. Things like ‘mindful’ practices may also really help to strengthen their emotional balance.

  7. Flexible thinking can be hard for all of us, but life gives us lots of opportunity to practice this skill. Let them learn it, but try to set them up for success. A good nights sleep and a full belly can go a long way.

  8. Give them a specific starting point for their new task. Help ease them into it. They may need stepping stones because they can’t break down the task into it’s smaller steps on their own. For example, homework requires you grab a pencil, get the homework, find a seat, read directions, and then begin. Breaking the 1 step direction of ‘get homework’ into those 5 steps may really help the child out.

  9. Help your child become self-aware by talking to them about their actions in a neutral way. This can be done while they are in the process of doing it, at the end of the day, or probably best yet before different activities require something special of them.

By OpenStax College – Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site., Jun 19, 2013., CC BY 3.0,


Stress and Children: The Lifelong Relationship

Happy World Autism Awareness Day

disciplining a child


November 10, 20161 Comment

Disciplining a child can seem like a tricky battle, especially sense no two kids are the same, but let’s look at some things that do not change with children.

Discipline comes from Latin meaning teach. With this in mind, approach discipline as a tool toward teaching a new preferred behavior.

Behavior, even in the current state that is perhaps not preferred, is normally there to fill some basic need. Take a step back and think about what need the child is filling. Are they board? Is this helping them get attention? Is this giving them some sort of power or control? Really think about how it is meeting their basic need because if it is something like getting attention, it will be hard, but if the behavior no longer met that need, perhaps they would no longer do it (consistency is key with this). If it is another need that is being filling, what are some alternative preferred behaviors the child could use instead.

When disciplining a child, threats, anger and other emotional evoking strategies aren’t ideal because they appeal to the limbic system in the brain. It is better to keep it rational and clean cut with the child. If the child is using their cerebral cortex, they are connecting thought with action, a life-long skill. Some great strategies within this are:

  1. Start with clear, simple choices all of which are acceptable to you

  2. Have child verbally reiterate their choice back to you as a verbal contract

  3. Honest communication

  4. Cooperation through compliance

  5.  ‘Teachable Moments’ with reflection of poor choices

  6. Seeing everyone as equally valuable

  7. Clear expectations with consistent follow through

  8. Don’t: compare kids or give conditional appraisal

  9. Set a good example

  10. If the child has multiple behavior problems, start small…changing 1-2 behaviors at a time


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Aspects of Behavioral Disorders


April 6, 2016Leave a comment

Baby massage can be an easy way to help your child. Here are some ways it helps, and some ideas for getting started. It can be help:

  • If the child has hyper-tonic, high tone, muscles, massage can help in relaxing them.

  • Baby massage can also help hypo-tonic, or low tone, muscles to stimulate the muscles and help them develop

  • It helps both children with hyper and hypo sensitivity to regulate their bodies to touch. Helping a child learn to familiarize touch can help with life long necessary skills. Getting a child’s body in-line can also help to regulate other senses.

  • Massage can also help fussy babies relieve tension and stress. Children who are extra susceptible to this need are drug withdrawal babies, sensitive babies, and babies that have unusual pain.

  • Massage can help all babies sleep longer and deeper if done as part of a nightly routine.

  • Baby massage can help increase social skills and increase bonding

  • Help with digestion- keeping babies more regular and ease gas issues

  • Help babies increase alert state for more personal interactions

  • Help with feeding issues by assisting oral-motor development

  • It may even help some children with weight gain- Perhaps through alertness, feeding issues, and digestive help

  • Baby massage can help improve body awareness, which will help gross motor, fine motor, and self-help skills

Easy ways to start:

  • Keep it simple

  • Make it a routine

  • Place baby or toddler on towel

  • Use lotion

  • Talk with baby

Here’s a simple video to help get you started. There are other ideas that started at legs is easier as they are less sensitive. If you need more guidance many massage therapist and even some chiropractors are happy to help get you started.



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Will my autistic child ever talk?

How to help a speech delayed child

How to help a speech delayed child | Whether you’re the parent of a child with nonverbal autism, a teacher looking for speech therapy ideas to help with letter sounds & articulation, in need of PECS communication resources, or need help developing your little one’s WH questions, we’ve rounded up 32 tips & activities to get you started. From speech therapy activities to free PECS communication boards for kids with autism to other fun activities for nonverbal children, this is a great resource!

Will my autistic child ever talk?

If you’ve ever thought, asked, or Googled that question, you are not alone.

Figuring out how to help a speech delayed child can evoke a multitude of emotions in parents, and while it has been said that no two people with autism are the same, many share certain characteristics, including problems communicating, interacting, and relating to others.

Of course, the extent of the relationship between autism and speech delay varies greatly from person to person, with some demonstrating vast vocabularies and others never uttering a word. It can be incredibly confusing and frustrating, but with so many advancements in therapy, treatment, and technology, it is possible to learn how to help a speech delayed child.

You just need to figure out what works for you and your little one.

Whether you’re the parent of a child with nonverbal autism, a teacher who is looking for speech therapy ideas to help a kid who is struggling with letter sounds and articulation, or you need additional resources to get started with PECS communication or to help develop your little one’s WH questions, we’ve rounded up 32 tips and activities to get you started.

Please note that these ideas cannot, and should not, replace the advice of a licensed professional. If your little one is showing verbal delays or challenges, I urge you to speak to your doctor so he/she can refer you to a specialist who can help your child thrive.

Tips for verbal children

If your child is verbal but struggles to carry on one-on-one conversations, try these ideas:

  • Appeal to her interests. If your child is passionate about a certain object, toy, or TV show, use that to your advantage! The intention is to get your child to learn how to communicate, and as she becomes more comfortable with back-and-forth dialogue, you can slowly start incorporating different subjects and ideas.

  • Be direct. Children with autism do not understand nuances in language. They are very literal, so keeping your communication as simple and direct as possible will help avoid confusion. Avoid sarcasm and be as specific as possible.

  • Ensure she’s paying attention. If your child is engrossed in a TV show or lining up her dolls, consider waiting until she’s finished to try and engage her in conversation so she’ll be more interested and compliant.

  • Remove sensory distractions. If sensory processing is an issue for your little one, try to remove distracting sights and sounds when you’re trying to communicate with her. This will ensure she isn’t overwhelmed and can better concentrate on what you’re trying to say.

  • Ask fewer, simpler questions. Open-ended questions can be particularly difficult for kids with communication challenges, so try breaking them down. Instead of asking, ‘what did you do at school today?’, consider something a little less daunting like, ‘can you tell me one thing you enjoyed doing at school today?’

  • Find nonverbal alternatives. If your child struggles with something specific when it comes to communication – for example, expressing emotions – try to find nonverbal alternatives. This could be through body movements (example: pulling on your ear to say ‘I love you’) or by using visual cards.

Tips for nonverbal children

If your child is completely nonverbal, there are several options you can research and implement at home to help develop her verbal skills, but these should be implemented under the supervision of someone who is specifically trained in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), which refers to the communication methods used to replace speech for those within spoken or written communication challenges.

  • The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) allows people who cannot communicate verbally to communicate via pictures instead.

  • Dynamic Display Devices are portable tablets that allow individuals to select prerecorded messages to be spoken aloud.

  • While not used as widely today as it once was, Signed Speech – the process of simultaneously teaching sign language and speech – can help accelerate a child’s ability to learn how to speak.

  • Gestures and body language can help a nonverbal child communicate basic needs.

  • Computers and iPads allow children to communicate via typed messages, and there are lots of fabulous assistive communication apps available for purchase in the Apple app store.

Free Communication Boards for Autism (PECS)

One of the hardest parts about autism is that it effects everyone differently, and there is no hard and fast treatment plan. What works for one child may not work for another, and as a parent, it can be extremely frustrating and overwhelming trying to navigate the different options available. The only silver lining is that so many other parents have fought the fight before you, and there are HEAPS of new and innovative ideas floating around the internet.

The collection of communication boards for autism below is an excellent example. With so many free downloads and printables to choose from, getting started with PECS is easier than it’s ever been, and if you’re new to this system, this post by Kori at Home will help get your feet wet!

How to Use Visuals Purposefully and Effectively | The Autism Helper 
Visuals offer a great way to help children with non-verbal autism communicate, and The Autism Helper offers some great clip art you can print out for free. All you need is a printer and laminator, and you can create all kinds of visual labels, charts, and schedules for your child!

15 Free Activity and Choice Boards | Talk To Me Technologies
Choice boards are another great tool to help children communicate, and this collection is sure to get your creative juices flowing so you can create some of your own!

End of Cabinet Communication & Message Board | By Stephanie Lynn
Stephanie offers a great way to set-up an easy-to-access communication board in your house using PECS cards and velcro. I love this idea as it’s setup at eye level for a child and provides an easy way to facilitate communication throughout the day.

Communication and Behavioral Cue Cards | Victories ‘n Autism
If you’re looking for communication cards you can print for free, you’re in luck! Victories ‘n Autism is giving you access to lots of great cue cards, which you can print, laminate, and attach to a large book ring for easy communication when you and your little one are on-the-go.

Interactive Visuals for Commenting, Asking, and Answering Questions | Speechy Musings
This packet of interactive AAC visuals is a great way to help your little one ask and answer questions!

Autism Visual Aid Sentence Starters | Adapting for Autism
Another great freebie to help a speech delayed child!

Fun Activities for Nonverbal Children

A great way to develop communication skills in nonverbal children is to engage them in fun activities that feel more like play than practice. This will help teach them fundamental skills, like identifying and expressing emotions appropriately, asking for things he or she needs, taking turns, and learning how to communicate with others.

If you’re looking for fun and interactive ways to figure out how to help a speech delayed child, these activities for nonverbal children offer a good starting point.

Fishing for Feelings | Little Page Turners
Grab some paper clipsmagnetskids fishing pole, and some thread, and let your kids go fishing in your living room while simultaneously teaching them about feelings and emotions.

Learning Activities Binder (Free Printables) | Typically Simple
If you don’t own a laminator, this post by Typically Simple will convince you to order one online TODAY. With so many great free printables, she will give you the inspiration you need to create all kinds of activities to teach your child important skills and encourage language development.

Emotion Box: Expressing Emotions Through Actions | Way 2 Good Life
Who knew the movie Inside Out would offer such a fun and brilliant way for parents, teachers, and therapists to teach kids of all abilities about emotions? Grab a set of Inside Out figurines and let Way 2 Good Life inspire you to create different games and activities at home to teach your kids about anger, sadness, fear, joy, and disgust!

Building Social Skills for Students Who Are Nonverbal | The Autism Helper
Great tips to help build social skills in children with nonverbal autism both at home and in the classroom.

I Feel and I Need Visual Aid | Teachers Pay Teachers
Teachers Pay Teachers offers so many fabulous resources at a small fee, and this I Feel and I Need visual is no exception. You will need some velcro and a communication folder, which are 2 things you’ll want on hand ALL THE TIME after reading through all of the ideas in this post!

Activities for Communication | The Autism Helper
The Autism Helper always has great ideas to help children on the spectrum grow and learn, and this collection of activities is no exception.

Sentence Strips | Classroom News & Resources
This is a great resource for parents and teachers who want to learn how to use sentence strips to help their child develop their commenting skills.

Commenting Visuals for Kids Who Are Nonverbal | The Autism Helper
As a follow-up to the idea above, The Autism Helper has more ideas to help your child expand his or her commenting skills.

Let’s Build a Pizza: Sequencing Vocational Tasks | Teachers Pay Teachers
Few things get kids excited like pizza (!!!!) and this is a great activity for so many reasons. It can be a group or independent activity, and helps teach important skills like following directions, completing a task in sequence, identifying ½ of the pizza with or without a visual cue, identifying small, medium and large sizes, and naming pizza ingredients. All of these offer an opportunity to engage and practice communication skills in a fun way.

Sound Therapy Activities for Verbal Kids

If your child is verbal but struggles with letter sounds and articulation, or needs additional help with WH questions, there are HEAPS of sound therapy activities for kids you do at home together. I’ve rounded up 8 ideas below, and while some of these are more structured, I feel they offer fabulous inspiration to help you turn everyday events into learning activities for your child.

Learn with Mr. Potato HeadThere are so many toys and games that can be adapted for speech therapy, and this post on The Dabbling Speechie will inspire you to get your hands on a Mr. Potato Head set if you don’t already own one!

ReadRepetitive books are a great way to practice articulation, and there are heaps of great children’s books that focus on particular sounds to help with speech therapy, including:

Fun with StrawsDrinking different textures through a drinking straw, or blowing air through a straw to move objects like pom poms are both great ways to develop a child’s oral muscles.

Duplo Letter Sound MatchingThis beginners phonics activity by This Reading Mama offers a great way to practice different sounds with your child. All you need is a pack of LEGO Duplo Basic Bricks, and you can adjust this activity to target all kinds of tricky sounds and words!

Sing SongsAll of those silly songs your kids sing in preschool like ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’, ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Start’, and ‘The Itsy Bitsy Spider’ aren’t just for fun. They also help develop language skills! Don’t be afraid to make up your own words and melodies to help practice the sounds your child struggles with most, and remember to keep it fun and engaging so it doesn’t feel like practice.

Articulation BowlingGrab a plastic bowling set and make this Articulation Bowling Activity I found on Consonantly Speaking. It’s one of those easy-to-make activities that keeps kids interested and motivated, which is a win-win in my book!

WH-Questions Pizza Party!

Another freebie, this speech therapy game on Teachers Pay Teachers targets basic WH- and How-Questions to help with language development, reading comprehension, etc.

Mega Fluency PackIf your child struggles with fluency, this Mega Fluency Packet for Speech and Language Therapy on Teachers Pay Teachers helps kids who struggle with things like repetition, interjection, prolongation, and circumlocution.

As difficult as it is to learn how to help a speech delayed child, remember to be patient, to practice often, and to never give up hope. Our children have a way of surprising us in the most amazing ways, and the more we adapt and help them learn in a way that makes sense to their individuality, the more successful they will be.

With that, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Paul Collins:

‘Autistics are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It’s that you’ve destroyed the peg.’

Makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?

How to finally help your non-verbal child start speaking

Will my Non-verbal autistic Child ever speak?

I can't tell you how many times I asked myself exactly that.

When my youngest son was 2 years old we realized that his language development was very delayed.  His doctor wasn't worried, but we were.

For some time we knew that he was behind, but being that he was a twin, life had taken on a sort of whirlwind effect and it was hard to keep up  (especially since his pediatrician wasn't offering up any resources.)

Nevertheless, I knew that by 2 he should be saying "mama" at very least. So we started on a year long journey which ultimately led us to an autism diagnosis. 

During that time, we had specialists in and out of our home. We had hearing tests done and multiple evaluations at behavioral health facilities.  

It seemed like everyone was asking a whole lot from us but was offering very little in return.

At the time, I had a degree in education and have since pursued a Master's in Special Education.  But still, I felt at loss.  What could I ACTUALLY do on a daily basis to help my son grow?

Every where I turned, I was basically given the impression that my son's "mild" autism would mean that we just had to go at his pace.

But can I tell you a secret?  I wasn't okay with that.   I wanted my son to develop language. And I didn't want to just sit around and wait.

nonverbal crying child pointing with his finger

nonverbal crying child pointing with his finger

Having a child who can't tell you what he wants and needs is REALLY HARD and someone who hasn't lived with that will never be as motivated as you are.

SOOOO... we found our own resources and made a plan. 

And I'm proud to tell you that my (now) 6 year old son is EXTREMELY verbal.  In fact, sometimes I miss those quiet moments before he could express himself properly.

A Quick Lesson on Language

For centuries, scientists and researchers have debated whether the ability to use language is born in us.  

Here is the basic idea:  Once children begin learning words, they are able to string those words together into sentences in ways that they've never heard from their parents. (A child can say "I want my ball" even if he's never heard anyone else say "I want my ball.")

Because of that ability, it is believed that language is not something that children mimic but rather, it is something that we have an innate ability to understand and create.  THIS ARTICLE by the New York times gives an interesting example.

My theory (which has definitely not been studied by Harvard) is that a child with autism, MY child with autism does not have the innate ability to produce language the way other children do. 

Think about it for a moment. I'm sure you've heard of echolalia? Basically, this is when autistic children mimic things they've heard.

Children with more severe cases will mimic phrases that are completely out of context in a conversation. 

But if you pay close attention, you'll notice that even when autistic children seem to be having a conversation, they are still repeating phrases they've heard rather than WORDS they've heard. 

Often, an entire conversation will be mimicked. Psychologist call this "scripting." Basically, the child wants the conversation to follow the exact same script every time. 

For us, when our son was four, he would call my name and if I used any word other than "what?" in response, he would continue to call for me until I responded "appropriately." 

So if he said "Mommy?" and I said "hmm?" He would refuse to answer me but would continue calling my name.

That is in sharp contrast to the child in the article I mentioned above who had the ability to string together grammatically correct sentences despite the fact that he had NEVER seen it modeled.

Even now, at 6 years old and after hours of speech therapy, my son will still occasionally resort to repeating phrases he's heard rather than forming his own sentences

I'm convinced that this is because his memory works much more efficiently that his problem solving.. but I digress.

So how can you help your non-verbal child develop language?

There ARE some things you can do to help your child develop language.  

Some of them will require you to be really present at home and others will help give you a break.All of them will help.

Start by getting help.

Woman therapist talking to the boy sitting on a chair with his arms folded

If you haven't yet sought out help, you should check to see what's available to you.  The more eyes you have, the better. 

We started at 2 working with speech therapists to help improve our son's  language skills.   


Early intervention services are free to children diagnosed with a delay or disability under the age of 3. If your child hasn't been diagnosed, they can also help with that. (They will not diagnose autism but can definitely diagnose a speech delay.) The program will evaluate your child and then put you in contact with therapists who can work with you and your child in order to reach goals.

You can find information about early intervention services at THIS LINK.  *If your child is over age 3, your local early intervention office should be able to provide information on next steps.


We wanted to make sure that our son was receiving as much help as we could get.  We heard about a free speech therapy program that was offered by graduate students at a local university. 

This program was a God-send.  Unlike the speech therapy offered by the state services, this program allowed us to focus on our child's speech PATTERNS as well as the actual word development.   I really think that this played a MAJOR role in his language development.

That's why I sincerely suggest looking into speech therapy outside of what is offered by the state.  If you can't find a program with a local university, check out this page for outpatient providers near you.

Try reverse Mimicking

I'll never forget the day I heard my son say "mama" for the first time.  We were in our living room with a therapist and he was entertaining himself on the floor by stacking some blocks.

While he stacked, he babbled. "Ga, Ga, Ga..."  

The therapist repeated him "Ga, Ga, Ga...."

He paused for a moment. Then returned to stacking and babbling, "Boo, boo, boo..."

The therapist repeated him again.  "Boo, boo, boo."

He side-eyed her with a little smirk on his face. "bum, bum, bum."

She repeated.. "bum, bum, bum."  

They were communicating and he liked it, "do, do, do."

She repeated, "do, do, do."  then she paused for just a moment and continued with "ma ma"


And........ I lost it. Literally, I cried like a baby.

He didn't know he was calling my name.   He didn't understand that "mama" had a meaning yet. But at nearly 3 years old, he finally said mama and my heart jumped in my chest.

We used this reverse mimicking technique a lot in the beginning.  It brought the two of us into the same world. We were communicating even though the "words" were nonsense.  

Reverse mimicking provides a gateway for your child.  It makes him aware that communication CAN be verbal.

Narrate your whole life

We all have something called "relational memory" this means that when we can relate a word to other knowledge that we have, the word becomes an "enriched" word in our vocabulary. 

For example, if I mention Paris you may have a picture in your head that you've seen on a movie, or you may have visited Paris an have a more intimate knowledge. Either way, the word has some level of meaning to you.

But if I say the word "Pedagogy" you may have no way of relating that word to real world knowledge.

Children (even neurotypical ones) are all building their relational memory.  But a child with autism may need you to be more direct in the way you help with this.

All day long, you should be literally narrating your actions like the deaf accessibility feature on your TV. While you wash the dishes, say "I am washing the dishes. My hands are all wet. Your hands are dry."

Remember to bring your child into your narrations as much as possible.

For example, when your child is playing blocks, sit down beside him and say. "I would like to play blocks too. I think I'll play next to you. I'm going to stack my blocks to make a tower."

If your toddler has a language delay, check out these tips for language development. Whether your child is a toddler who is slightly behind or your child is completely non-verbal, these tips will help you do speech therapy at home.

Model sentences instead of questions

Remember how I said that my child would memorize who conversations?  

Whenever we are working with children with autism, you've got to keep that in mind!

When your child starts crying and pointing at the cereal box, instead of asking him "do you want cereal?"  say "Mom, I want cereal please." and then proceed to give your child the cereal.

Because your child is memorizing your sentences, you need to give him the exact words that you want him to say.

This is a progressive approach that will change with time. After you start seeing some progress, you may want to start asking him to repeat your words. 

After he masters that without prompting, you can move on to using a question and answer technique.

But remember, language learning is a process and requires complex skills that we tend to take for granted. Don't expect too much right out of the gate.

READ to your child as much as possible

mother reads to a child to help build his language development

If your child will sit with you and allow you to read a book, this is a great way to develop relational memory as well as conversational skills. 

Remember to start with simple books that have only one to two lines of text on each page. Stop occasionally to point out things in the pictures.

Ponder your thoughts about the book aloud by saying things like, "Oh, I bet he is angry" or "I wonder if he will have to clean up his mess."

You may even try journaling with your child and narrating your thoughts and feelings as you go.

Steer clear of TV shows that don't teach language.

Child watching shows that promote language development

Although stories and TV can actually build relational memory, a lot of TV shows made for young children feature only characters and sounds with no dialogue.  In fact, this was been true since I was a child.. (think Tom and Jerry).

But shows like that are doing NOTHING for your child's language development. 

However, let's be honest, parenting is hard and sometimes, TV gives us the break we need to keep going for the rest of the day.

That being said, I've included a few shows that do a great job of helping to build your child's language!


1. Calliou
This is  my top choice for language development.    The story line is set up with a narrator in the background making it very similar to a book.   If you don't have cable TV, you can stream caillou for free with the PBS kids App on a smart TV or ROKU device.

2. Blue’s Clues
In blues clues, the main character in the story talks to the child directly as though they were having a conversation.    It great for modeling conversational language.  You can find blues clues on amazon prime using a smart TV or a ROKU device.


3. Word Party

Word party is a cute little show available on Netflix, it features animal babies who are trying to learn new words!  This show will help your child fill up their vocabulary with new words.

4. Daniel Tiger

I will never forget the day my daughter looked up at me and said "Mommy, I'm frustrated!" Daniel Tiger, an animated spin-off of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, not only converses with your child to help them learn typical language skills but also challenges your child’s language development with some advanced vocabulary all while giving lessons in morality! Daniel tiger is also available on the free PBS kids app with your Smart TV or Roku device.

5. Mr Tumble

I just couldn’t leave this out.  Perhaps one of the best shows for language development is Mr. Tumble!  Available for FREE on YouTube, Mr. Tumble uses direct conversations, indirect conversations (between characters), and sign language to teach your child language development!

This is by no means an exhaustive list, I'm sure there are HUNDREDS of shows out there for your child's language development. So go ahead, mom. Give yourself a few minutes of quiet time.  But make sure you choose shows that are working for you instead of against you!

Above all else, know your child

You know your child best of all.  Be present in their daily life and recognize when they've mastered a specific language skill. Adjust your goals and keep pressing on.  That is the key to helping your child's language develop!


100+ Things to Know About Autism

Since we learned that Little-Man is autistic two years ago, a LOT has changed.

We learned that I’m also autistic.

We learned that autism (in our family) may be caused by a genetic abnormality called Fragile X.

We learned that autism isn’t a negative thing at all, and we started to truly embrace our autism. 

100+ Things to Know About Autism

100+ Things to Know About Autism

It’s been an outrageous few years, so I wanted to share what I’ve learned with you, in case you’re not quite as far along on your journey as we are.

So I decided to put together these 100 Things to Know About Autism.

There’s actually a bit more than 100…. Because, why not, right?

And I’ll continue to update this post with new things I learn, so be sure to pin it on Pinterest so you can check it again and again!

Things to Know About Parenting an Autistic Child

5 Crazy Secrets That They Don’t Tell You About Autism

Yes, I’m “Sensitive” for My Autistic Son

When the Doctor Said My Son’s Autism was Just My Parenting

4 Simple Words All Autism Moms Need to Know

Super Simple Ways to Deal with Judgements About Autism

3 Stupid Simple Ways Millennials Can Avoid Raising Brats

Encouraging Bible Verses for Special Needs Moms

I Am THAT Mom With the Screaming Kids in the Grocery Store

Dear Mom of an Autistic Child: You Can Do This

5 Things to Remember When Autism Zaps Your Energy

Keeping Friendships After an Autism Diagnosis

Dear Mom At the Park, Here’s What I Wish You Knew…

Resting and Self-Care for Autism Mamas

When Autism is Ugly

Scripture for Special Needs | Encouragement for the Days You’ve Had Enough

Get Your Copy of Scripture for Special Needs Moms Here!

Forgiving Myself for Denying the Signs of Autism

What Happens if I Spoil My Child with Autism

Hyper-vigilance and Mothering a Child with Autism

How Raising a Child with Autism Teaches Me Global Citizenship

Autism and Wandering: What One Mom Wants You to Know

Autism Planner Workbook

Things to Know About the Initial Autism Diagnosis

To the Mom Who Just Received Her Child’s Autism Diagnosis

Then She Asked, “Are you autistic?” (The story of my own autism journey)

What Autistics Wish You Knew About Your Autistic Child

How (And Why) You Should Find Your Autism Tribe Online

Explaining Autism

5 Simple Reasons it Seems Like Everyone is Autistic These Days

The Wide Spectrum: Why I Hate Functioning Labels

Thankful for Diagnoses

Thoughts on Official Autism Diagnosis

Join the Facebook Group for Autistic Self-Advocates and Parents of Autistic Kids!

What to Do After an Autism Diagnosis

Tips and Tales from a Reformed Anti-Labeler

Early Signs of Autism to Look For

Therapies to Explore After an Autism Diagnosis

Things to Know About Autism Coping Strategies

3 Simple Ways to Help Your Autistic Child Make Friends

Everything You Need to Know About PECS

4 Simple Reasons to Get Your Child a Weighted Blanket

Failing My Son and the Routines He Can’t Explain

100 Calm Down Tools Printable

Autism Therapy Options That May Surprise You

Learning to Be Gentle with Fish Toys

The Music Pillow that Changed My Son’s Sleep

Is Your Church Autism-Friendly?

The Parent's Guide to Understanding Autism Meltdowns

Personal Hygiene and Bathroom Resources for Autistic Kids and Teens

Why Aquatic Therapy is a Great Choice for Your Autistic Child

How Visual Schedules Help With Time Management

How to Get Started With PECS for Your Autistic Child

4 Steps to Managing Aggressive Behaviors

13 Powerful Phrases to Calm an Angry Child

Free Printables for Autistic Children

Sleep Strategies for Kids with Autism

Everyday Sensory Play Book

3 Super Simple Steps to Help Angry Children Recognize Triggers

Mealtime Strategies for Kids with Hyperlexia or Autism

The Benefits of Using Visual Schedules

When Food is Your Child’s Enemy

How to Help a Child with Autism With Change

Why I Play For a Living (An intro to play therapy!)

(Don’t forget to pin this post so you can come back and read more later!)

100+ Things to Know About Autism #autism #autistic #actuallyautistic #disability #parenting

Things to Know About Understanding Your Autistic Child

The Behavior Workshop Free 4-Part Series to Understand Your Child’s Difficult Behavior

5 Things to Understand About Autism and Communication

The Parent’s Guide to Understanding Autism Meltdowns

Sensory Struggles and Autism

Literature: The Best Books About Autism

The Real Problem with Autism Functioning Labels

4 Simple Ways to Tell a Tantrum from a Sensory Meltdown

Autism in Girls And How It’s Different Than Boys

Uniquely Human

Eating Struggles for Autistic Children

Autism in Boys

Get the Autism Book: What I Wish I Knew When I Got His Diagnosis

Download Your Free eBook!

Enter your info and get your free eBook, What I Wish I Knew When I Got His Autism Diagnosis!

Things to Know About Autism Advocacy

Self-Advocacy Explained: The Practical Guide to Autism for Parents

Person-First or Identity Language?

When You Don’t Fit in Autism Support Groups

4 Simple Reasons I Don’t Support Autism Speaks

Yes, I Say He’s Autistic: And Other Reasons I’m an Unpopular Autism Mama

What All Parents Should Know About Disabled Self-Advocates

What in the World is the Neurodiversity Movement?

5 Shocking Reasons Not to “Light It Up Blue” This April

The Ridiculously Simple Way to Know if Something is Ableist


Autism Organizations

Vaccines and Autism (Why This Belief is Problematic)

The Story of Understanding and Overcoming an Autism Diagnosis (By an Autistic Author!)

The Superkids Guide to Conquering Every Day

Temple Grandin Unit Study

100+ Things to Know About Autism

Things to Know About Homeschooling Autistic Kids

Is Homeschooling My Autistic Son Hurting Other Kids?

Autism-Friendly Kindergarten Curriculum

Independent Fine Motor Activity for Autistic Preschoolers

Ridiculously Simple ABC Sensory Bin for Autistic Preschoolers

Inclusion and Autistic Kids

Super Simple and Fun Farm Sensory Bottle for Autistic Preschoolers

What You Need to Know, Mrs. Betsy Devos

Free Social Scripts

Autism and Montessori Practical Life

Simple Transition Strategies for Autistic Kids

Homeschooling My Autistic Child

How to Homeschool Your Child with Special Needs

I-Spy Printable Bundles

Things to Know About Autism and Anxiety

10 Day Calming Series

Sensory Friendly Anxiety Kits

How to Create a Calm Down Kit for Autistic and Anxious Kids

Autism and Anxiety: Making the Decision to Medicate

The Difference Between ODD and Rigidity in Autistic Kids

100+ Things to Know About Autism

Download our FREE guide on the best Autism Resources for Parents

Give me my FREE PDF

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How to Handle Autistic Meltdowns in Children

by Spectrum Sense | Aug 6, 2018 | Daily Life |

How to Handle Autistic Meltdowns in Children

How to Handle Autistic Meltdowns in Children

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received those glares in the grocery store, when my children have had autistic meltdowns. There have even been occasions where another shopper was annoyed enough to make a snide remark to me about the behavior. Clearly, they had no idea that my otherwise well-behaved child was having an autistic meltdown.

To them, it simply looked like a tantrum, and I looked like a bad parent.It’s been long enough now, that I am familiar with my boys’ triggers. Many of their meltdowns are preventable, and I have learned to take precautions when possible. But all the preventative measures in the world can’t eliminate all autistic meltdowns, so it’s good to have a list of calming strategies handy when one occurs.

These calming strategies are seriously the best! I never knew these common causes of autistic meltdowns...knowing what was causing has really helped me know how to help my child calm down when a tantrum occurs. #autisticmeltdown #autisticmeltdowns #autistictantrum #autismsectrumdisorder #autism #actuallyautistic #autismawareness #aspergersawareness #asergers #aspergerssyndrome #calmdown

What causes autistic meltdowns?

Pretty much anything can trigger an autistic meltdown. You handed your child the yellow cup instead of the green one. The block tower fell over again. His friend took the toy he wanted to play with. A sound was too loud. A tag got too scratchy. A rock got in her shoe. His hands got sweaty.

The littlest thing can send an autistic child into meltdown mode without warning. Or did we just miss the warning signs?

Many times, a meltdown is only caused after many different triggers have caused a buildup of tension. If your child is struggling with sensory overload, and their younger sibling bumps into them, it can bring their world crashing down. If a few other seemingly petty things already irritated your child, and they handled those well, the next one may be more than they can take.

Subscription box for kids with autism

Autistic meltdowns are usually caused by one of the following:

A build up of stress can cause autistic meltdowns. 

Because emotional regulation is so difficult for kids with autism, stress takes longer to dissipate. When subsequent stresses occur, it adds to the pot. Every little thing can raise their temperature, and eventually the child boils over.

Sensory overload can cause autistic meltdowns

Sensory overload can be easily overlooked. Children with autism can be much more sensitive to sensory input. The lights may be too bright, the sounds may be too loud, the temperature may be off, or there may be an offensive smell (even a good one). The opposite can be true too: your child may not be getting enough sensory input.

Anxiety can cause autistic meltdowns

Children with autism often battle anxiety as well. It may be caused by social struggles, unusual fears, changes in routine (or lack of routine altogether), or anything that makes your child feel like they have no control. The anxiety of feeling helpless can lead to autistic meltdowns. Try to prevent autistic meltdownsYou may be wondering how you could possibly prevent meltdowns, when there are so many different triggers. Wouldn’t that be like looking for a needle in a haystack? Well, it may not be the easiest thing to conquer, but you can definitely prevent a lot of meltdowns if you know what is causing them.

Here are some tips to find out what is triggering your child’s meltdowns.

Track your child’s tantrums

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but start tracking your child’s meltdowns in a journal, or on a calendar. Jot down details like what happened before and after the meltdown, the time, the weather, people involved, location, foods eaten that day, obvious sensory factors, and what calmed them down.You may find out that your child’s meltdowns occur at a specific time of day, or when you go to a certain place, or after eating different foods. 

Barometric pressure can also have a big impact on children with sensory sensitivities, so don’t rule out changes in weather. Certain smells may bother your child at a friend’s house. Whatever it is, tracking these details will help figure out the root cause of your child’s meltdowns.

Keep track of your child's autistic meltdowns in a journal, or on the calendar. Jot down details like time of day, what foods your child has eaten, location, any obvious sensory issues, what happened before and after the meltdown, and what calmed your child.

Have a routine

I can’t stress this one enough. Routines give children a sense of safety. They help them to know what is coming next. This also gives them the feeling of having some control, because they can plan things based on their routine.If Jimmy loves to play with LEGO blocks before bed, but he doesn’t have a set bedtime, it’s going to be more difficult for him to separate with his beloved blocks when you announce that it’s time to put them away.

If you have an established routine, and he knows that bedtime is at 8:00, so he has 15 more minutes to build his LEGO world, it will make the transition less difficult.Letting your child know what to expect on a regular basis can prevent a lot of unnecessary meltdowns.

Use visual aids

Using visual schedules, visual choice boards, flash cards, and social stories are truly invaluable. Most people with autism benefit greatly from visual aids.If your child struggles with the grocery store, make a simple social story. Read it, and go over each of the pictures before you go to the grocery store.Keep a visual schedule in a central location, so your child can look at it throughout the day, and know what is coming next.Use visual choice boards so your child can easily let you know what they need. Communication issues can be the cause of autistic meltdowns, even in verbal children. Many times, finding the words that is the difficult part., especially if they feel stressed.

If you are unfamiliar with visual aids, check out my autism eBook for more information! It includes several sample visual schedules and images for you to make your own visual aids, along with 75 calming strategies and more!Keeping your child safe during an autistic meltdown

Keep your child safe during an autistic meltdown by moving them t a crash pad or sensory room.

In the heat of the moment, safety if the most important thing to consider. Make sure your child is in a safe place. If you are at home, move them to a crash pad or a similar area, where they are able to move around without causing injury.

If they are hitting, kicking, or banging their head, make sure they are away from hard objects, and give them a pillow or stuffed toy. If they are biting, offer a chew toy or food grade tubing.Make sure you are not adding to the problem. I know some days are harder than others, but take a few deep breaths. Use a calm and gentle voice with your child. Don’t use negative talk, and don’t tell them to “stop” or “calm down.” If they could, they would. We need to provide peace during their times of turmoil.Side note: if you’ve failed in this area, don’t beat yourself up – just figure out what caused you to lose it, and make sure it doesn’t happen next time. You’ve got this! I highly recommend Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids if you struggle in this area. It is a game changer! 

If you are in public, try to find a quiet place nearby, and let your child calm down. Try to keep their head away from floors and walls, and keep your other children out of the line of fire. Only restrain your child if absolutely necessary, as this could cause further anxiety.

Having a portable calm down kit can really make a difference. If your child often gets distressed over outings, and you can’t find the root cause, or it is unpreventable, consider making a simple calm down kit to bring along.

A weighted lap pad, calming essential oils, a few small sensory toys, and headphones would be a great start.

You can also get a monthly subscription box that provides your child with new sensory toys and autism tools each month! How to help a child with autism calm downThe best way to calm your child down during autistic meltdowns will depend on the cause. If you are unsure, try headphones, distraction, or simple calming techniques. Usually, a quiet and calming environment or a quick distraction can drop the tantrum a few notches, or at least keep it from further escalating.

Here are some other calming tactics.

Block out unwanted sensory input

Use noise-canceling headphones to block out soundsPut on sunglasses or a ball cap to reduce the harshness of lightsDistractMake silly facesSing a songWatch a videoAsk your child to find objects of a certain color

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RelaxDeep breathsStarfish stretchesShoulder squeezesCalming music or nature soundsMake sure you download your free copy of 50 Calming Tips & Tools! Click Here!Provide needed sensory inputChew toySwing (Get this awesome indoor swing for under $30!)Bounce (Use an exercise ball or indoor trampoline.)SpinWeighted blanket (This lady makes adorable handmade, washable ones for great prices!)Water timer (You can see several awesome styles here.)ComfortReassure your child that they are safe. Even if they don’t appear to be listening, or if they are screaming too loudly to hear you. They will catch bits and pieces when they come up for air. Speaking in a soft, gentle voice can help them begin to feel safe again, and can shorten a tantrum.Reduce autistic meltdowns

Because of the nature of autism, you probably won’t be able to completely eliminate meltdowns from your vocabulary. Although you can significantly reduce their frequency and intensity, they will still occur at times. Having a plan in place, along with the proper tools, can make autistic meltdowns much more bearable. What helps your child to rebound? Let me know in the comments if you have a special trick we could use! SaveSave

Preparing for the Holidays with Autistic Children In "Daily Life"
How to Handle After School Meltdowns In "Daily Life"

The Benefits of Sensory Play for Kids with Autism In "Daily Life"


There’s no place like home.

To your child, nowhere feels as safe and secure as home. We bring skill-building, smile-brightening services into the comfort and convenience of your own four walls.



Habit’s natural habitat

The best place to work on a skill is the place where it’ll be used. We’ll help your child establish healthy routines for eating, sleeping, personal hygiene and more—all in their natural environment.

Home is where your family isOur whole-family approach to therapy puts you at the center of your child’s care. Your ABA team will involve parents and caregivers in sessions, helping you understand and support your child’s progress.

All the conveniences of homeThere’s no need to leave home to get the best therapy for your child. Forget the car trip and cancel the babysitter—our therapists come to you, making therapy happen on your schedule.

What does home based therapy look like?

Mostly, it looks like fun! After an in-home assessment, your child will work one-on-one with a trained ABA paraprofaessional, under the supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Together, they’ll engage in play-based activities, using positive reinforcement to master essential social and life skills.


Is my child’s therapy “stuck” at home?

For many children on the spectrum, home-based therapy is the best choice. But what about the benefits of services in a more structured out-of-home environment, with peers?

You’re welcome to take advantage of social skills groups at the Comprehensive center, even if your child gets the rest of their therapy at home. Your BCBA will help you decide on the whens and wheres of your child’s ideal therapy plan.


Will my child learn how to behave in the “real world”?

Your child will explore your community with their ABA provider at their side, learning life skills through guided, age-appropriate outings.

There’s so much to discover: how to shop from a list and collect change. How to travel by bus. How to act in a library, a playground and a public restroom. Your therapist can also accompany your child to birthday parties, family trips and other outings, turning errands and events into educational “field trips.”


A child’s home is their castle.
Let’s bring the magic to them.