Autism

Websites:

http://www.speakingofspeech.com – This website has many many free visuals! Click on Materials Exchange to access them. There are social stories, cooking recipes, life skills, data sheets, etc. etc.

http://www.autismprthelp.com/books-and-manuals.php – This link will bring you to the Koegel Institute Manuals. They are fantastic!! Pivotal Response Training is probably my favourite way to teach GG. It is all done in her natural environment. Check out the website to learn more. This is what we used to teach her language and I was amazed at how quickly it worked (especially after trying so many other techniques).

http://asperkids.com/– an Ah-mazing woman named Jennifer O’Toole (who was diagnosed with Aspergers, along with her hubby when all 3 of her children got their diagnosis) has put together a webpage, books, and fantastic information all on Asperger Awesomeness!! If you have a daughter with Autism/Aspergers you will love this site too!  It has great information on our girls’ unique characteristics!

http://www.autismontario.com/– This website is for residents of Ontario and from here, you can go directly to your county’s chapter. Here they have information on funding, camps, activities in your area, a list of professionals and ABA providers, etc. We have signed up for their newsletter and have become a member of AO. We receive emails with activities in our area that are either free or at a great price for GG and the family. She attends a Girls On The Spectrum Group (G.O.T.S group) once a month where she hangs out with other girls on the spectrum doing anything from crafts, movies, sewing, bead making, pizza/pj party, wildlife fitness, etc.  We have also attended a weekend camp with other families and it is definitely something to experience. Every single person there is understanding and supportive!

http://www.kerrysplace.org/Public/Supports-and-Services Kerry’s Place was our Saving Grace when GG first got diagnosed. We were new to autism and the symptoms she was showing through us for a loop. A consultant from Kerry’s Place would come to our hometown once a month. We would me with her, discuss our challenges and she would give immediate feedback and suggestions. I don’t know what we would have done without that support!

http://www.abaresources.com – Another free resource site! They have visuals already made for a token board, schedule and choice board, edible reinforcers, chore chart, first/then, visuals for restaurants, places to visit in Toronto, children’s books and much more!

https://www.stanleygreenspan.com/ – Check out the free video for parents. There is a lot of great info. in the free manual and parent course. Dr. Stanley Greenspan created the FLOORTIME METHOD in the 1980’s. I used this with GG and students I work with and it’s worked every time. You basically follow your child’s lead. If your child is spinning or flapping their hands, join in! If she is rocking while watching tv, sit close to her, rock and watch her show. With love and interest. This is how she will let you in.

http://www.zonesofregulation.com/index.html – This is an excellent resource for managing feelings! They have a book that comes with a disc to print out booklets that you and your child can fill out together. We use this at home and the schools use it often as well. Having home and school using the same language makes it much easier for our kids.

http://www.templegrandin.com/templehome.html – If you ever get a chance to hear Temple speak, I suggest you do! She is an inspiration. She has written many books and invented the squeeze machine. There is also a movie about her staring Claire Danes.

http://carlysvoice.com/home/faq/ – Carly Fleischmann is another inspiration! She is non-verbal and uses her computer to communicate. I find the best people to learn from are those who actually live with it!

Books:

Building Bridges Through Sensory Integration by Ellen Yack, Shirley Sutton and Paula Aquilla – This book is full of strategies for sensory issues! It has creative suggestions for muscle tone, hyper/hyposensitivity, eating issues, managing behaviours and so much more.

Relationship Development Intervention  by Steven Gutstein and Rachelle K Sheely – Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) is a technique used to teach relationships. Most interventions including this one suggest using their strategy only but we felt we would read books and go to workshops and take what we learned and what felt right and go with it. So we used Pivotal Response Training (PRT) for speech and toileting and more, RDI for building relationships and the Floortime method for teaching her play skills. The RDI is an intervention where you hire trained therapists and parents get trained as well. We bought the book and took ideas from it. Did it help her the way a full intervention would have? Probably not. But it did help. 

http://www.tasksgalore.com/  –  These books have GREAT ideas for all sorts of skills. Check out their website and go to ‘Products’ then hover over one of the titles and click on ‘Preview’.  You can purchase these books from Parent Books as well.
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Day of Diagnosis

We chose a special needs adoption and although we weren’t sure of the road ahead, we didn’t have to grieve for our loss that so many families do. Grief is real. I’ve worked with so many children whose parents are still grieving years after their child’s birth. This is normal. You have to go through all of the stages. And although I’ve felt a smidgen of this, I haven’t dealt with this side of things. So if you are comfortable commenting below with your story if you feel it could help just one family, please do. Also, check out this letter written by Emily Perle Kingsley titled “Welcome to Holland” that may give you some comfort!

Our Story…

When we first left the doctor’s office after receiving G.G’s autism diagnosis, I remember feeling relieved to finally have a path to follow! It explained so much and now we had direction.

Driving away from the doctor’s office we thought “OK! Now what?!” The doctor provided us with some information on government resources and pamphlets and that was about it. Don’t get me wrong! She is a phenomenal pediatrician!!! She did a wonderful job with G.G. during her assessment and took the time to answer any questions we had. The problem was, I didn’t know what questions to ask! I had worked a little bit with a child or two who had autism, but if you’ve heard the term, “When you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met ONE person with autism.” It is so true!! As much as many people diagnosed with autism share certain characteristics, they are all extremely unique! We didn’t know what to expect, what the future would hold, or what all of our needs would be! And I mean ALL – G.G., hubby, her brother and sister and myself. So please keep reading my posts! I will share our adventure, provide you with some strategies & resources that you can start with right away and links to help your whole family live a Well Balanced Life!

Let our journey together continue! You are NOT alone!

xo

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Diagnosed! Now what?!?!

Gracie’s first diagnosis was autism so that is where we are going to start. For those of you who have a child with a different diagnosis, check out the resources page for something that may help you there. Also, keep reading this post, because you never know! Something might be of use to you here. If you still aren’t sure where to turn, send me an email at wellbalancedlife@rogers.com and I’ll see what I can do!

First thing’s first, take a deep breath! Know that there is a TON of support out there for you and your family! I will do my best to let you know about all of the freebies out there.  You should qualify for a disability tax credit which can help out with some therapy and resources also.

Here are some links to the Ontario Government website that can answer many of the questions you may have. The menu on the left has a list of options for those with another diagnosis.

Next, get your child on the wait list for IBI (Intensive Behavioural Intervention). You can actually get your child on the wait list if there is suspicion of autism. IBI is not for everyone and not everyone qualifies. But it is a long process to get to the top of the wait list so you might as well get started now. If your child doesn’t need IBI therapy by the time they call, great! You just let them know that your child doesn’t need their services. If your child does need it, well you will be happy you put them on the long wait list! No harm done planning ahead! Here are some FAQ from the Ontario government website on IBI. To get your child registered click here for more information. Your child needs to be referred by a physician or psychologist so definitely ask your doctor/pediatrician about this! Once you are on the list for IBI services, you may be provided with support while you wait.

There are several support systems in your own community. If you are not sure, ask your doctor. They should have a list of contacts for you to see.

Remember, as hard as this can be, you now have a path. Some sense of direction. Learn all you can. It is a community like no other so try and find other families who have been down the same road.

That’s what this blog is all about. To let you know you are not alone! Together we will see the exceptionalities and wonder of our children. And together we’ll get through the tough times.

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