“It’s Potty Time!”

Toilet training for a child with autism can be challenging! Here are a few tips to help this be a smooth transition.

#5 Allow your child to stay naked while focusing on toilet training at home. This makes it easier to get to the toilet and eliminate in it. As your child becomes more proficient, begin adding clothes back. Staying near the toilet is also a good idea in case an accident starts to happen, you can quickly move to the toilet.

#4 Have the child help change clothes. Part of learning to use the toilet is undressing and dressing oneself. When a child has an accident, it is a natural consequence to have to take off wet clothes, use a washcloth or baby wipe to clean up, and put fresh, dry clothes on. While some children may be in different places of learning how to dress or undress themselves, you as the parent or teacher can always choose one clothes item at a time to focus on the child putting on and taking off. Once they are more comfortable with that item, add another item.

#3 Have the child help clean up accidents. This is important because it helps the child become more independent and also take responsibility for making a mess. This doesn’t mean that you have to fuss at the child about the accident- it just means letting the child know they are wet/dirty and need to help clean up.

#2 Ditch the pull-up! Pull-ups do not teach anything about the sensation of being wet or wetting yourself. I think it sends a very confusing message to kids- why would you want to stop what you are doing to go to the bathroom if you don’t have to. Having an accident and feeling all wet and yucky may help a child make that connection and not want to feel that way again.

#1 You don’t have to wait until your child can acknowledge the need to use the bathroom…in that case, some of us may be waiting a very long time. Acknowledging the need to use the bathroom is important, but it shouldn’t stop a parent and/or teacher from beginning the toilet training process. For some, it may take a very long time to request going to the bathroom and for others, they might not ever request. Is it always necessary to request to use the bathroom? I don’t think so- when we are at work, we don’t have to ask permission to use the bathroom. At home, we don’t ask permission to go; we just go to the bathroom. For some individuals, they may just GO to the bathroom when they need to go. If a child learns to go into a bathroom to use it, we can always work on requesting permission as they become more fluent in going when they need to or we can accommodate the child in the fact that they may not ask when they go to the bathroom.

My favorite toilet training app is Potty Time. This app uses American Sign Language and a catchy little tune to teach about using the bathroom. And your child might just get addicted to “calling Rachel” when he or she has a success!

If you are getting frustrated or not having much luck on your own, it may be time to get some help. Jackson Autism Center works with children on toilet training privately. We have found the greatest successes with individuals we work with on a regular basis because there is an established relationship with the child, but we work with anyone needing help. Complete a contact form to find out about the next toilet training opportunities.

Sensory Friendly Movies in Jackson, MS

I was approached in October 2015 about hosting sensory friendly movies. I was excited, but apprehensive all in one…could such a small center take on such a big responsibility? How would people find out about the movies? Would they be a success?

Why was this important to me you may ask? I’ll never forget being a part of the first movie experience for one of my sweet students, who loved movies, but could not go to the theater because it was too loud. When I went with her on her first movie field trip and the theater accommodated her and turned the sound down, her mom cried to find out her daughter saw her first movie!

So what is a sensory friendly movie? Kids are allowed to move around as they need to, but are kept safe, lights are not as low as normal, and the sound is not as loud. These things make a huge impact for individuals with sensory needs because it allows them to better enjoy the movie!

We began with the Peanuts movie on November 5, 2015 and it was a success! Around 150 people came out to say “yes, we want sensory friendly movies in the area.” We have continued to have movies every month or every other month. We are excited to see what the future brings!

My favorite moment from our last movie was a dad coming up to me and telling me his son had told him I love you for the first time- at our sensory friendly movie! What an honor to be a part of that special moment!

Our next sensory friendly movie is Saturday, April 23 at 9:30 am. Tickets are $5.50 per person. This is not about making money; it is about providing opportunities for children and individuals to enjoy a movie stress-free or judgement-free environment. JAC has been so blessed by the employees and managers at Grandview Malco and look forward to many more movies!

Five Toilet Training Tips for Parents of Children With Autism

Toilet training for a child with autism can be challenging! Here are a few tips to help this be a smooth transition.

#5 Allow your child to stay naked while focusing on toilet training at home. This makes it easier to get to the toilet and eliminate in it. As your child becomes more proficient, begin adding clothes back. Staying near the toilet is also a good idea in case an accident starts to happen, you can quickly move to the toilet.

#4 Have the child help change clothes. Part of learning to use the toilet is undressing and dressing oneself. When a child has an accident, it is a natural consequence to have to take off wet clothes, use a washcloth or baby wipe to clean up, and put fresh, dry clothes on. While some children may be in different places of learning how to dress or undress themselves, you as the parent or teacher can always choose one clothes item at a time to focus on the child putting on and taking off. Once they are more comfortable with that item, add another item.

#3 Have the child help clean up accidents. This is important because it helps the child become more independent and also take responsibility for making a mess. This doesn’t mean that you have to fuss at the child about the accident- it just means letting the child know they are wet/dirty and need to help clean up.

#2 Ditch the pull-up! Pull-ups do not teach anything about the sensation of being wet or wetting yourself. I think it sends a very confusing message to kids- why would you want to stop what you are doing to go to the bathroom if you don’t have to. Having an accident and feeling all wet and yucky may help a child make that connection and not want to feel that way again.

#1 You don’t have to wait until your child can acknowledge the need to use the bathroom…in that case, some of us may be waiting a very long time. Acknowledging the need to use the bathroom is important, but it shouldn’t stop a parent and/or teacher from beginning the toilet training process. For some, it may take a very long time to request going to the bathroom and for others, they might not ever request. Is it always necessary to request to use the bathroom? I don’t think so- when we are at work, we don’t have to ask permission to use the bathroom. At home, we don’t ask permission to go; we just go to the bathroom. For some individuals, they may just GO to the bathroom when they need to go. If a child learns to go into a bathroom to use it, we can always work on requesting permission as they become more fluent in going when they need to or we can accommodate the child in the fact that they may not ask when they go to the bathroom.

If you are getting frustrated or not having much luck on your own, it may be time to receive some help. Jackson Autism Center works with children on toilet training in small groups and privately. Complete a contact form to find out about the next toilet training classes.

Fall 2013 Social Skills Classes

Starting back up the week of September 16th…

Jackson Autism Center is very excited to offer social skills classes for children and adults with disabilities. Classes will be offered in a wide variety of age groups: ages 4-7, ages 8-13, ages 14-18, and ages 19+. All classes will run for a 13 week session from the week of September 16th through December 2013. Groups will be limited to five members with two adult facilitators. Fill out a registration form for complete details. Limited room available so sign up soon!

In the 8-13, 14-18, and 19+ age groups, the 13 week sessions will focus on communication skills, making friends and interacting with peers. Topics covered will include nonverbal communication, starting and ending a conversation, making and keeping friends and participating in activities with friends.

For 4 to 7 year olds, classes will center on social skills with friends and social skills at school. Topics covered will include what to do when someone greets you, sharing, cleaning up, waiting and appropriate behavior at school.

Class times are: Monday 4:15-5:15 Ages 8-13

Wednesday 5:00-6:00 Ages 14-18

Day and time will be announced for: Ages 4-7 and Adults (19+)

Spaces fill up quickly! Can’t wait to see you there!

 

Local Dance Classes for Kids with Disabilities

dance

Dance anyone? There is a new local dance opportunity available for kids with disabilities ages 3-14! Lindsey Claire Muse is offering dance classes for kids with disabilities in the fall. Classes are open for boys and girls and will focus on simple patterns and repetition as well as the basics of rhythm and fundamentals of ballet. Students will have the chance to improve flexibility, coordination, muscular strength, and social skills. Parents have the option of attending the classes with their child. Students will also be a part of the spring dance recital. The owner, Ms. Muse, expressed her excitement in being able to offer the class. She also said she would love to have classes for preschool and adults if there is an interest. This is a wonderful opportunity to get your child moving!

 

Dr. Rebecca Mullican shares about Autism Awareness Month on WJTV

Jackson Autism Center   Dr Rebecca Mullican   WJTV   Segment 3   YouTubeDr. Rebecca Mullican was honored to talk about Autism Awareness month during the early morning news on WJTV Channel 12 Monday, April 22. Beth Alexander interviewed Dr. Mullican on first signs of autism, how to help during autism awareness month, and what services Jackson Autism Center is providing to the greater Jackson, MS area.

Autism is diagnosed behaviorally. Some of the first signs to look for are atypical eye contact. This does not mean the child does not make eye contact; it just means the eye contact may be unique from typical eye contact. The child may have fleeting eye contact, look through the sides of eyes at people, or avoid gazing into another person’s eyes. Another sign is speech and language development. Children typically are babbling by 12 months, speaking their first words by 16 months (“mama, dada, dog”), and putting 2 unique words together by 2 years of age (“me eat, no touch, mama go”). Another thing that is looked for when diagnosing children with an autism spectrum disorder is the way they interact with others and their surroundings. They may line toys up, carry items of no significance around with them, or seem to not respond to their name being called. Children  with autism do not typically point to communicate with their parents or caregivers to share something they see or want.

There are many ways you can help out during autism awareness month and throughout the year. The Autism Society of America not only accepts monetary gifts; you can also donate your car. It is a great way to donate if you have an old car that runs or doesn’t run. Several national chains are raising money for autism awareness, including Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Dollar General, and TJ Maxx.

There are several local opportunities to volunteer and donate during autism awareness month. Maurices in Northpark Mall is collecting books for Jackson Autism Center. We are so excited about this book drive and how much it can help our clients learn to read, learn language, and enjoy literacy. Besides donating books, you can also donate your time! There are some great programs in the area that serve children with autism such as Hope Hollow Camp and Ridgeland Parks and Recreation programs like Challenger League and TOPSoccer.

Jackson Autism Center continues to grow and provide more services to the Jackson area. Currently, one on one intervention is available for kids with disabilities, focusing on academics, communication, and/or social/behavioral goals. Another service available is small group sessions that prepare preschool aged or homeschool children for structured school programs. Social skills groups began this spring for adults and children grades 2-6 along with toilet training classes. JAC also provides individualized program planning, academic evaluations, and consultation to families who homeschool a child with disabilities. School districts and organizations can also hire Jackson Autism Center to assist with teacher training, program planning, and specific needs of children with disabilities.

It was a great experience to share about autism awareness month on WJTV. Please wear blue and give back to the community to honor individuals with autism and their families during April. Jackson Autism Center looks forward to collecting the books from the book drive Maurices had in honor of individuals in the Jackson area with autism.

In case you missed WJTV’s Autism Awareness segments, you can watch them here:

Segment 1

Segment 2

Segment 3

Segment 4

New Services Available this Spring

This spring, there are several new and exciting opportunities coming up before summertime! I am so excited to share with you what is developing at Jackson Autism Center right now! We are finishing our first 4 weeks of adult social skills classes and it went so well! I want to thank everyone who has been a part of spreading the word. Working with these young adults has been amazing and (SPOILER ALERT) I am looking forward to the next set of social skills classes that will be coming in fall 2013.

Stay and Play for young children continues to be a success. It is such a wonderful opportunity for preschool and young elementary aged children who are being homeschooled to receive structure and support in a classroom-type environment. There are still spaces available through May, so please do not hesitate to inquire or share this with others who may be interested.

JAC will be offering a four week social skills class for children grades 2-6 that will focus on   Understanding Emotions. This class will start at the end of April and finish before school gets out. Class space is limited, so don’t wait to sign up!

The last, but certainly not least, new service for Spring 2013 is “Booty training: Boot the Pull-Up.” This toilet training camp so-to-speak will be an intensive two or three day camp that focuses on toilet training, booting the pull-up during waking hours, and understanding when you need to go to the bathroom or toilet regulation for children who are not ready to self-monitor their bathroom needs yet. Parents are expected to participate on the last day and complete a minimum of 2 additional days at home, with JAC only a phone call away. Two camp sessions will be available: one in late April for families and one in May. Limited space is available. Don’t miss your opportunity to Boot the Pull-Up.” Sign up now!

Complete a contact form to receive more information.

New Intervention Service Being Offered through Jackson Autism Center

I am very excited to share a new opportunity that is in the works for 2013! It is geared towards children who are 3-6 years old and are being homeschooled, are not yet in a preschool program, or thrive with small group intervention for learning. Other children may be considered if deemed appropriate. This program, “Stay and Play,” is two days a week for two hours and consists of typical school activities such as circle time, one-on-one work, small group work, social play skills, and snack. It is developed for a small group learning environment, with a maximum of 2-3 children per group. Children participating will be learning new academic, social/personal, and fine motor skills through thematic units. “Stay and Play” meets the sensory needs of children with special needs as well as academic and social/personal needs. This program is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis so please inquire if you are interested. Children participating will be required to complete an academic evaluation through Jackson Autism Center.

More information is available here: Jackson Autism Center Stay and Play March to May 2013.