Helping Children with Autism Succeed in the Classroom

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Back in October, I had the opportunity to speak at the Utah Head Start Association Conference for the Second year in a row. I always have the BEST time speaking at these events and was so excited and honored to be asked back again this year. I PROMISED I would post my presentation and am just barely getting around to it!! This year I presented on the ever important topic of Helping Children with Autism Succeed in the Classroom. This can be useful for educators, parents, peers and really, anyone who will come in contact with any child with Autism. (Which is pretty much…anyone!)

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Bake with your Toddler…and ENJOY it!

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Baking with a toddler…..does that sentence make you cringe? Don’t worry…you are not alone! It can be messy and quite frankly..you may not come out with anything edible. BUT… baking or cooking with your toddler is a great way to build many skills! It is a fantastic learning opportunity and it is a blast!! Not to mention, it is a great excuse to make some yummy treats!!! I LOVE this Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe from Tastes Better From Scratch! There is not better time than the Holidays to start teaching them some important and memorable skills in the kitchen! With these quick tips you will be well on your way to baking or cooking with your toddler and enjoying it!!!

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How to Encourage Pretend Play

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pretend play coverIn the early Toddler months, your child should start to engage in “pretend play”. Pretend play is that awesome time when your child brings you imaginary cookies, plays with dolls (bathes, feeds, comforts) talks to toys, interacts and plays with toys approriatly etc…. Pretend play is a very important time in your child’s life and opens the door to many more imaginary opportunities later in life!

Pretend play should also be important to you!!! It helps with your child’s development, practices and teaches problem solving, teaches story telling, increases language (Especially adult world language- think, “Bye Daddy, I’m going to work”) and most of all….keeps them from getting bored!!!

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Super Simple DIY Children’s Apron

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Anyone who knows me, knows that I am the world’s worst seamstress! I have a sewing machine,stashes of fabric and everything else necessary to be awesome at sewing! Between you and me- my mom even paid for sewing lessons at a “finishing school” when I was little. I was great at sewing when I was little! I made some super impressive stuff! But, somehow I am continually losing skills in the sewing area as I age. Why do I tell you this? Because I just created an AWESOME apron, just the perfect size for a tiny little human of preschool age. The greatest news? It is nothing but straight lines of sewing! And it is completely customizable to any size of child!

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What is the M-CHAT Autism Screener?

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You may not even know that at your child’s 18 month Well Child Check your doctor will have you complete an Autism Checklist/Screener called the M-Chat. ( The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers-Revised (M-CHAT-R™) ) Yep! Its true. Most of the time, your pediatrican will quickly review the scores and only talk to you about it if there is a concern. (Note: Most pediatricians use the M-CHAT but not all).

So, what is the M-Chat? And what does it involve? 

The M-CHAT is a “Scientifically validated tool for screening children between 16 and 30 months of age that assesses the risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)” The great thing about the M-CHAT is that it was created to be administered to parents/guardians and then read and interpreted by a pediatrician.

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