Parenting…it can be absolute bliss and also extremely overwhelming all at the same time. As a parent, one wears a lot of hats: caregiver, provider, chef, teacher, counselor, marriage partner, information specialist and more. This role grows tenfold with you’re a parent to a child with autism. Parents of children with autism must navigate a world that bombards them with information about what they should do to help their child succeed. You want to advocate for your child to get the best services and school programs available, but it’s hard to know where to start.
Parents know their children best. They know their passions, their strengths, and their stressors. Parents know that there are triggers to their child’s challenging behaviors that impede on the family’s ability to move smoothly through their daily lives. Although, sometimes it’s a struggle to figure out what exactly to do in order to stop the problem behaviors from happening. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut.
We’re quite certain we can help. We know how to empower you to make the right changes and improve the lives of your child and the family unit as a whole. ATCC Parent Training Series.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), the highly researched ‘gold standard’ for autism treatment is a great place to start!
Becoming educated in ABA, will allow you to acquire knowledge to make desired behavior changes with your child. ABA will help you understand how your child learns, and we can show you how to use positive reinforcement strategies for continued learning and growth.
One creative way to increase your child’s eye contact is by painting each other’s faces. Imagine the smile on your child’s face when it’s colorfully painted into their favorite character or animal. While you are painting your child’s face, you will naturally be giving each other eye contact. You can offer to paint fancy eye lashes coming out from the corner of your child’s eyes or make a circle of little stars around each eye. This allows for even more opportunity for your child to comfortably look at your face and eyes.
If you’re extra brave, give your child a chance to paint your face as well. This will create twice the opportunity for your child to practice eye contact and will also be twice as fun! For younger children, you can sit facing each other and play Pat-a-cake type clapping games or Peek-a-boo while making sure to hold your hands in front of your face to increase your child’s naturally occurring eye contact. Some children may not enjoy the feeling of paint on their face and hands and you may want to opt for playing with toy glasses, noses, masks or just making silly faces at each other. Your child will be experiencing silliness and laughter while practicing this crucial skill.
Why This Activity Works Eye contact is a foundational social skill for all children. It is essential because eye contact is necessary for success with other social skills, learning activities, and for a child to safely interact in the world around them. Looking at a person’s face gives us many important social clues and is important to communication because it allows us to read facial expressions and lip patterns. These facial clues are often extra important for children who have difficulty learning and using language. Fun games like face painting can be used to help children with ASD feel more comfortable using eye contact.
I recommend using washable paint that can be purchased at any local craft store. DIY – You and your child can easily make face paint together at home by mixing corn starch, face lotion, natural food coloring, and a dab of vegetable oil. Creating the paint yourself allows for even more enjoyable social interaction between you and your child.
Katie Cook, MED, BCBA, is the Academic Director at ATCConline.com, an award-winning ABA training center. ATCC offers online RBT Certification, eLearning Caregiver Training, and Remote BCBA Supervision. ATCC just released its first ever Autism Parenting Program & Caregiver Community called Activities-in-Action.com – where fun and easy learning strategies and activities are shared through video demonstrations including access to needed materials and professional support. Activities-in-Action.com is the perfect compliment to the popular book, Thriving with Autism.
In her personal time, there is nothing she loves more than spending quiet time at home with her beautiful German Shepherd, Nina. Her sisters, parents and all of her extended family have always been an important part of her life. Family parties and vacations are where you will find her during most weekends and holidays.
Katie graduated with honors from California State University, Long Beach. Katie continued her education at National University, La Jolla, and earned her Master of Education with a Specialization in Autism. She later studied under Jose Martinez-Diaz, Ph.D., BCBA-D, associate dean, professor, and head of the School of Behavior Analysis at the Florida Institute of Technology.
She has dedicated her professional career to building strategies that bring families into the therapeutic environment for children with autism. Education and Training are her passions and she believes these are the cornerstones of successful ABA programs. She guided by her love for ABA and has spent years building both her ABA agency, ABA Services for Autism, and Autism Therapy Career College into wholehearted organizations, characterized by complete sincerity and commitment to their customers.
This awesome e-Learning program is designed for busy caregivers as it allows you to focus on one lesson per month. Each lesson introduces you to one evidence-based practice, including creative activities, video demonstrations, guided practices and tips to help you put your new skills to use right away!
Video Demonstrations Free Materials/Resources Caregiver Community
AS A PARENT OF CHILD WITH AUTISM, WHAT DO YOU NEED? For your child to reach his full potential — to achieve remarkable independence… to make friends, participate in the community and find joy. The solution is Activities-in-Action.com!
WHAT IS MISSING? NEEDED RESOURCES. Even in the U.S. where access to funding for ABA services is nearly ubiquitous and over 90.84% of the world’s 44,000 BCBAs reside, hundreds of thousands of parents are on waitlists to receive services.
Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to learn evidence-based strategies for this unbeatable low price. Your first monthly lesson is FREE, while additional lessons are only $24 a month (no long-term commitment required).
Katie Cook M.Ed. BCBA and Lori Ayin, M.Ed. RBT have put together a wholehearted program for caregivers of children with autism and related disorders, ages 1-11 years old, the most vital years of development. The Activities-in-Action program is equipped not only with a simple and easy to understand descriptions, but also video demonstrations and guided practices taught by certified professionals.
Included with your FREE first month’s lesson is unlimited access to the Thriving with Parenting exclusive caregiver community where you can connect with other like-minded caregivers invested in their children’s learning and growth, as well as ask questions directly to certified professionals ready to ensure your success in this journey!
Helping children with autism strengthen their connections―simple, supportive strategies
To help you in your efforts to help your child flourish, this book has 90 playful, evidence-based activities. Thriving with Autism provides an easy, effective toolbox to supplement and support the developmental work parents and caregivers are doing with their children. These solutions are designed for kids with autism from ages 1 to 11. The benefits can last a lifetime.
From building better conversation abilities to strengthening social skills, Thriving with Autism delivers practical, everyday ways to connect, encourage, and play. Featuring exercises like Acts of Friendliness, The Human Burrito, and Emotional Charades, this comprehensive guide encourages your child with autism to boost their communication, engagement, and self-regulation skills.
Thriving with Autism features:
Hands-on activities―Make learning fun with lots of lessons that can help kids across the autism spectrum.
Simple strategies―Tackle these easy, research-driven activities one by one at home.
Engaging and practical―Find helpful tips and suggestions, as well as full-color illustrations that are sure to inspire and delight you and your child.
“Thriving with Autism not only combines an evidence-based approach with practical strategies for parents and teachers to engage and connect with their children, but even more importantly, it’s fun! When learning is fun, relationships are strengthened, precious memories are created, and essential skills are learned faster. Whether you are looking to teach communication skills, social skills, or various other important life skills, the activities in this book are for you. This book details simple ways to engage in each activity and why it works. As someone who has been in the field for more than 20 years, this is one book that I feel confident recommending to parents, educators and therapists alike.” ―Denise Eckman, PsyD, BCBA-D, President & Executive Director of Creative Behavior Interventions
“What a great resource for clinicians and families for expanding Natural Environment Teaching opportunities. I love that Thriving with Autism includes the recommended ages and materials to have prepared for each activity. As many therapists work to create novel experiences for their clients, this book is a great tool to provide to families and staff who are engaged in ABA.” ―Renee Suss Keisman, MAT, BCBA, founder of Love 2 Learn Consulting
“Thriving with Autism is the perfect book for parents who are seeking ways to connect with and teach their children. One of Katie’s many talents is her ability to make effective ABA strategies for children with autism easy to understand for both parents and front-line staff. The activities in this book are clearly explained, fun for children, and most importantly, based on proven evidence-based-practices derived from the scientific principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. I have recommended it to both the parents I coach and the staff I train in order to expand their ability to provide a successful educational environment that is joyful and entertaining for the learner.” ―Lily Shih, MA, BCBA Clinical Director & CEO of Shih Applied Behavior Analysis
“When my child was diagnosed with high functioning autism, I was at a loss! Having the opportunity as a parent to collaborate with Katie Cook as a BCBA was insightful, and now that she has written Thriving with Autism it gives me the chance as a special education teacher to share this book with parents who may also feel at a loss with engaging with their children. Thriving with Autism is an amazing resource when parenting a young child with autism!” ―Maria Rodriguez, M.Ed., Special Education, Education Specialist: Mild-Moderate Teaching Credential, creator of Parenting and Autism – The Journey
Bubbles are a beloved toy for all, though they are particularly intriguing to young children with autism. What child wouldn’t relish in watching a liquid turn into seemingly magical, iridescent balls of floating air that disappear into the sky? So, you know you’ve got a captive audience when bubbles are around, this is the first crucial factor.
What’s also great about bubbles is that they are the kind of toy that young children need assistance to play with. Unscrewing the container of bubbles and blowing a sustainable bubble are tasks that undoubtedly are difficult for a young child to do by themselves. This means they will need YOU to help them. Take full advantage of this by eliciting as much verbal and non-verbal language as you possibly can.
Motivate your child to ask for more bubbles. Blow a few rounds of bubbles, then stop, leaving the wand in the container and see if you can your child to request for you to take the wand out. Then put the wand up to your mouth, but don’t blow. See if you can get your child to request you to blow. If your child is an early learner, you may accept him reaching for the container or wand as a way of communicating his wants, or maybe a simple first letter sound, such as ‘ba’ for ‘blow’ is developmentally appropriate for him. For a child with more language ability, you can elicit the sentence “Please blow more bubbles”.
MOTIVATION IS KEY!
Motivate your child to comment about bubble play. Demonstrate commenting during play, then stop and point at a bubble with an excited look on your face and see if your child will make a comment on their own. You can give an early learner a sentence to fill in, such as “That bubble is _____” or for a child with more language ability, help them to communicate longer, more descriptive sentences.
To perform this activity all you will need is a container of bubbles and a bubble wand. Don’t fret if you don’t have bubbles on hand though, you can easily make your own with household items. All you need to do is mix 1-part dish soap to 3-parts water, add in a few teaspoons of sugar and stir it together. The sugar is a must, as it makes the bubbles last longer in the air. Wands can be made using anything with a hole in it such as pipe cleaners, drinking straws, and even a strainer.