What We Want to Be for Families…

Our friends at Helping Hands Center for Special Needs in Columbus, Ohio have a PTO that created this video about their experiences at HHC. JAC strives to be all of these things for each and every family we work with. Thank you Helping Hands Center and the PTO for this powerful reminder of why we do the work we do! We look forward to helping see more kids get toilet trained, communicating for the first time, learning to read, making a friend, and so much more!

Power Cards for Powerful Behavior

A friend recently shared with me a new type of social stories in a sense. They are called power cards and are used with individuals with autism. By using a person’s special interests, behavior can be explained and modified. So, for example, a child may need to learn to take turns when playing games and also really likes the movie Frozen, a teacher can make a power card explaining how Olaf takes turns when playing a game. Power cards are meant to be short and small (about the size of a business card) so the child can refer to it when needed. I see power cards for Jake and the Neverland Pirates in my future!

Five Local Resources for Families

Parents, guardians, and families are constantly on the lookout for new resources that can help them achieve goals for their child with a disability. Here are five local resources you may not have known about:

Camp Hope Hollow provides summer camps for individuals with disabilities beginning at age 4-adulthood. Children are grouped by age and participate in a variety of fun activities such as art, music, and much more. Camps are Mon-Thurs. during the summer and there are special activities throughout the school year.

Challenger League is a baseball league for individuals with disabilities. This is the perfect time of year to learn about this resource. Games take place at Wolcott Park in Ridgeland, MS. Children, teenagers, and adults play baseball each spring and have a great time!

Jackson Autism Center provides free support groups for families of children on the autism spectrum. Please feel free to contact us for more information.

Joni and Friends provides programs in the community for families who have a child with a disability. Some of the programs they provide locally include respite nights for parents and guardians as well as a prom night and other special events.

Mississippi Parent Training and Information Center has trainings, conferences, and advocates available to assist families in knowing the law and their rights as it relates to disabilities. MSPTI works with families of children birth to twenty-six to ensure educational success.

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.

Yoga Benefits Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders

A 2012 article talks about the possible benefits of yoga for kids on the spectrum. I found this article as I prepare for our free yoga class Thursday afternoon. Through yoga and yogic breath, the body calms and anxiety is reduced. As a professional working with individuals on the spectrum, I see that when anxiety levels are reduced, it allows for more opportunities for socialization and communication- all things we want to see with children on the spectrum! Anxiety reduction would work for all individuals including those on the spectrum. Another fun article I found talked about ways to use yoga games with children. I am looking forward to having our guest yoga instructor meet some of our children and helping us find new ways to calm and center them! Sign up today to reserve your spot Thursday, April 24 at 3:30 pm. Namaste!

Autism Awareness Bowties to Help Jackson Autism Center

fourthirtyFourthirty Brand is a local bowtie business that hand crafts bowties. This month, there is a special autism awareness bowtie available for purchase. Not only will this bowtie help bring awareness to the community, but ten percent of sales will benefit Jackson Autism Center! The donation Fourthirty makes will go towards sensory equipment for Jackson Autism Center’s gym. You can find the business on facebook under “Fourthirty Brand.” Thank you Fourthirty!




An April Resolution for 2014…

20140404-230832.jpgWhen I took my Christmas tree down a few weeks ago, I found a beautiful ornament that was given to me by a student I taught. I was so touched by the quote that I wanted to share it and pose it as a resolution for myself as well as parents and teachers alike for 2014.

The quote reads: “One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.” Helen Keller

Spend 2014 pushing your child or student to soar to new places and limits. The more we expect, the more we will see achieved. Happy April 2014 and I can’t wait to see what our little kiddos can achieve this year!