Autism

Occupational Therapy Can Help Your Child Adjust to Pre-School and Kindergarten

As with all beginnings, starting school can be a very exciting, yet challenging time in a child's life—suddenly there is a different environment to adapt to, unfamiliar people to get to know and a new set of rules to follow. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if occupational therapy can help you and your child have a successful transition to pre-school and kindergarten.

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A Week in the Life of a Camp Firefly Camper

by Audra Kaplan, Psy.D.

First day of camp, Mike is quietly keeping to himself. He’s not sure of his new surroundings. Some strange lady is trying to help him put his clothes into the drawers that will hold his possessions and a few favorite objects from home for the next several days. Mike is excited about camp, but if he knew how to express it, he would say he is nervous. This is not only his first time at an overnight camp, this is his first time sleeping away from family. He did have that one sleep over at Aunt Sue’s, but she is still family.

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Come Fly With Me: Travel Tips for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

by Eliana Wool, M.A., Psychological Services Pre-Doctoral Intern

Air travel can be an exciting, yet anxiety provoking experience. This may be particularly true for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) because of factors connected to flying, including a change in routine, navigating unfamiliar environments and considerable sensory stimulation.

The following recommendations have been found beneficial to families planning air travel. It is important to remember that children diagnosed with ASD vary in terms of abilities and preferences, and not all recommendations may suit every child with ASD.

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A Reflection On Camp Firefly

by Julie Feldman, LCSW, Firefly Day Camp Director and Liz Robbin, Speech-Language Pathologist, Firefly Overnight Camp Director

We remember our first day of camp as if it was yesterday. Bashful glances and giggles from the children; watchful eyes and tearful goodbyes from parents. The sounds of luggage moving into cabins and young campers climbing into bunk beds; counselors chatting and smiling ear to ear.

Our first day at Camp Firefly changed our lives forever. As Camp Chi campers and staff alumni, we were thrilled to be back at camp in a different capacity. We returned to camp with skills from our professional backgrounds as well as everything we learned from our years of experience on staff at Chi. And while our studies and work experiences provided a solid foundation for what to expect, we were amazed from the start at the careful planning and preparation the staff undertook – no detail left unnoticed, no hour left unplanned. We saw firsthand how Camp Firefly provides a safe and nurturing camp experience for kids and teenagers with social disorders who often find the camp environment to be overwhelming. As anyone who has been to camp knows, it is a magical place where friendships are formed, new skills are developed and confidence is built.

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Give Your Child a Boost in Their Language and Thinking Skills This Summer

Summer doesn’t have to be a time for children to fall behind in their speech and language skills. Although school therapy sessions have ended, continued intervention with a speech therapist can maximize a child’s communication growth.

An intense 1-2 hours per week in a pediatric clinic during summer break can enhance their understanding of language, including following directions and improving their ability to express their thoughts.  These skills can help children relate better to friends and share information with their parents, in addition to providing a jump-start for the next school year.  

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5 Things to Help Toddlers and Preschoolers Develop Language

A study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) in Seattle said that babies as young as seven months old are mentally working out the mechanics of how to form words with their mouths; the New York Times ran an article emphasizing the importance of the quality of words spoken to children , beyond just the quantity of words.  And, NPR’s Science Friday  interviewed Fred Genesee of McGill University in Montreal, about his study that suggested that “early impressions of language are much more durable than scientists predicted.”

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Ask A Clinician: Tips for Traveling with a Child

Q: We are planning an upcoming trip to see Grandma and Grandpa, but are nervous about traveling with our child who has autism. Do you have any suggestions to help?

A: A vacation or a trip can be an exciting adventure, but sometimes, getting there is the hardest part. When traveling with a child with autism, one of the best things you can do is have a plan.

Traveling can be a stressful experience on anyone.

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