by Dorothy Lefford,OTR/L, VP Clinical Services, Easterseals Northeast Central Florida
It’s back to school time again (post Hurricane Dorian), and getting back into routines can be quite a challenge for children...and parents!
Tackling the return to school alone can be a monumental task, so Easterseals Northeast Central Florida is here to offer some help with that other monster: homework!
Try these tips:
• Identify homework/study zones
• Establish regular study time in the daily routine
• Keep distractions to a minimum
• Help children make a plan or organize their assignments while supporting them in accomplishing their own work.
A change in the day-to-day operations is a struggle for all of us, but presents an extra challenge to children with autism or other diagnoses that thrive off routine and knowing expectations.
Here are some additional tips to help everyone be successful:
• Make a "to-do" list. This helps keep homework sessions predictable.
• Consider the child's sensory needs and strengths. How can you set up the environment for success? Accessible movement breaks? Adapted utensils? Open space vs. more defined space?
• Consider reward charts. Always praise and reward your child for taking initiative and completing daily work.
• Break up the assignments into smaller segments. This also gives you more opportunity to praise your child, offer a needed movement break or a chance to gain a reward to reinforce the completion of a task .
Ask your teachers and or therapists about resources they can provide to you or direct you to for use at home particularly those which might carryover successes had at school. Always work closely with the classroom teachers; you have valuable insight into your child’s learning and they can learn from you too!
Lastly, enlist siblings, friends and relatives to serve as mentors and tutors as needed. This helps generalize skills and encourages socialization, as well as gives mom and dad an occasional break.
It takes a village to raise a child. Keep building your village!
Easterseals Northeast Central Florida is offering free autism spectrum disorder (ASD) screenings for children ages 18 months to 17 years at its Daytona Beach location, 1219 Dunn Ave.
Walk-ins are welcome weekdays from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Parents and guardians should allow 20-30 minutes for the screening once the appointment begins.
More than 2 million Americans live with ASD, a neurological developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact. With love and community support, they can live independent and productive lives.
Each year, Easterseals Northeast Central Florida serves more than 500 children who have been diagnosed with ASD. The nonprofit agency also operates the Autism Center of Excellence – a one-stop center for diagnosis, interventions and case management for children who were referred by their physician for evaluation of ASD.
To learn more about Easterseals’ autism services, visit http://www.easterseals.com/necfl/our-programs/. For questions about the free autism screenings, please call 386-944-7815 or email Davine Vincent at email@example.com.
It’s hard to believe, but summer vacation is more than halfway over. And while many students need a few weeks to get accustomed to a summer schedule, the same is true for the start of school after a summer full of different routines, environments and structure.
Children on the autism spectrum may need extra help and support transitioning back to school too. Easterseals Northeast Central Florida is here to help. Below we’ve collected suggestions on how to best assist young people with autism in successfully starting the new school year; suggestions that also will help parents and caregivers chart the course with greater ease:
And finally, ask for help when you need it, and leave the past in the past. Every school year is different, and challenges change along with them. This year won’t be like the ones before, so be ready with resources and an open mind. Reach out to your friends, family, and your Easterseals support team. We are here to help you and your child succeed in the new school year…and all year round.
Sources: AutismSpeaks.org, IanCommunity.org, Chla.org
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are the fastest growing developmental disabilities in the world today, affecting 1 in 59 children. Receiving the right support at the earliest stage of life can help an individual gain the skills they need to live, work and play.
Easterseals’ Autism Center of Excellence in Daytona Beach is a highly recognized leader offering early diagnosis, functional assessment and intervention treatments for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the Northeast and East Central Florida regions. Each year, Easterseals serves more than 500 children who have been diagnosed with ASD. And, it operates the Autism Center of Excellence – a one-stop center for diagnosis, interventions and case management for children who were referred by their physician for evaluation of ASD.
Easterseals has published several articles on its blog that help families and caregivers understand more about autism and how the community can help children with autism reach their fullest potential. (Click below on a title to read more!)
To learn more about Easterseals’ autism services and its Autism Center of Excellence, visit its webpage or call (386) 944-7833.
Easterseals’ Blog Articles: Autism Spectrum Disorders
Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida recently announced that through early intervention and targeted education in collaboration with several community partners it has seen a significant reduction in the age of autism diagnosis in the children in our communities over the past 18 months.
In July 2017, the average age of children diagnosed with Autism by Easterseals in Volusia and Flagler Counties was 7.9 years old. (The average age of diagnosis across the country is 4.8 years old). From July 1, 2017 through Aug. 31, 2018, due to a targeted effort toward parent and caregiver education, Easterseals Northeast Central Florida saw a decrease in the age of diagnosis to 5.87 years old. Children presenting for diagnosis ranged in age from 18 months - 18 years.
Easterseals is the Help Me Grow Volusia-Flagler affiliate at United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties, the agency to whom the data was reported.
“Early identification and intervention of autism is crucial in order to maximize a child’s development and progress,” said Dorothy Lefford, OTR/L, VP Clinical Services at Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida. “Research shows early intervention makes a big difference to a child’s development leading to improved outcomes for children with autism, including higher intelligence, adaptive skills, and increased social and daily living skills.”
“We are thrilled that our Help Me Grow Volusia-Flagler affiliate at United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties was a part of the effort that helped reduce the age of detection for autism in Volusia county from 7.9 to 5.8 this year,” Help Me Grow Florida posted recently on its Facebook page, adding that “early detection and intervention are key in autism treatment.”
The local leader in autism resources, Easterseals is teaching parents how to incorporate these research-based techniques into homelife and prioritizes educating parents and caregivers. Strategies that the highly recognized Easterseals’ Autism Center of Excellence employs include Autism Early Diagnostic and Functional Assessment Clinic, The PLAY Project (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters), ASK: Autism Strategies Know-How behavior-modification educational clinics, TR-eat® Model (Transdisciplinary Effective Assessment and Treatment) behavior strategies for food aversion, free “ACT Now!” Autism Community Training events that offer CEU opportunities for staff and direct consultation with Easterseals’ autism experts, and more.
Autism Center of Excellence in Daytona Beach and serves more than 500 children annually who have been diagnosed with autism. It’s premier local resource for diagnosis, interventions, resource and referral and case management for children who were referred by their physician for evaluation of autism spectrum disorder.
To learn more about Easterseals’ autism services and its Autism Center of Excellence, visit its webpage or call (386) 944-7833.
Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida serves more than 17,500 individuals and families with a range of disabilities to achieve their full potential. Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida serves the region with facilities in Daytona Beach, DeLand, Bunnell, and Leesburg. To learn more about Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida, please visit www.eastersealsnecfl.org or connect to our online community on Facebook.
Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida’s Autism Center of Excellence has partnered with The PLAY Project™ to offer home-based consultations for families of children with autism. The PLAY Project, which represents “Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters,” is an evidence-based, parent-implemented and intensive early intervention program for young people with autism.
The program is cost effective, easy to bring into a home setting and has proven results in improving the social challenges associated with autism spectrum disorder.
The PLAY Project focuses on two key aspects to ensure greatest success: time intensity and the child’s age. Experts recommend 15-25 hours of engagement per week, and home consultants with Easterseals train the parents on what kinds of engagement are most beneficial. Starting early is equally important. Parents are encouraged to start The PLAY Project with their children before age five due to the significant brain growth experienced during that early life stage.
To learn more about The PLAY Project, contact Easterseals’ Autism Center of Excellence at 386-944-7815 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s time to play!
You've put butter on them, loaded them with cheese and buried them in macaroni noodles, but your child still won't eat what's for dinner. Or breakfast. Or lunch.
If this sounds more familiar than foreign, you already know you have a picky eater on your hands. But did you know there’s treatment for it? That there’s a program available in our community that doesn’t incite tantrums by your child…or you?
It’s called the TR-eat® Model (Transdisciplinary Effective Assessment and Treatment) and it’s now available through Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida. The TR-eat Model includes behavior strategies that are combined with skill building, facilitation, sensory desensitization, and oral motor intervention.
Is this program for your child? Self-assess by answering the following:
Does your child eat less than 15 foods consistently, maybe as few as 1-3?
Does your child gag, shudder or vomit at the sight or taste of foods?
Does your child become emotionally upset when they’re encouraged to interact with non-preferred foods?
Are there large categories of foods your child refuses to eat?
Does your child have sensory issues with food, such as not liking the way it smells, looks or feels?
Contact Dorothy Lefford today at 386-944-7856 or email@example.com for more information on this evidence-based model that’s been found to have consistently positive results for picky eaters. Your child may not be ready for a salad bar, but enlisting Easterseals’ help with food aversion could be a sweet TR-eat.
Autism now affects 1 in 59 children and 1 in 37 boys, so it’s no surprise neighborhood childcare centers in northeast central Florida are embracing training opportunities to increase their knowledge about autism spectrum disorders.
When childcare teams empowered to learn and identify early signs and red flags associated with autism when a child is in their earliest developmental stages, staff are more likely to confidently communicate those concerns with parents. As a result, interventions and therapies can help a child on the autism spectrum reach his or her full potential as early as possible. This, in turn, sets the stage to help a child improve their outcomes as they continue learning and growing.
Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida, which operates the award-winning Autism Center of Excellence in Daytona Beach, is now scheduling free Autism Community Training events. These “ACT Now!” programs include CEU opportunities for staff and direct consultation with Easterseals’ autism experts.
What can a childcare center expect from ACT Now training events?
1. Improved identification. Childcare employees who undergo autism training are more prone to accurately and more quickly identify a child’s aggression, tantrums or social-relationship struggles as related to autism spectrum disorder.
2. Individual plans of care. Armed with this knowledge, parents can work with specialists to create individual plans of care for the child.
3. Intervention options. Centers that enroll and care for children on the autism spectrum have the possibility of incorporating center-based interventions for these children, including occupational therapy, speech therapy, sensory integration and much more.
For more information about Easterseals’ Act Now! training events, call 386-944-7856.