Fold 2 pieces of construction paper in half, draw half a large heart and cut it out. One heart will become the puppy’s face. The other large heart will be cut in half and used for the puppy’s ears. Use a different color to cut out a small heart for the nose. Put all pieces together like the image below. Enjoy this super simple art project!
Kids don’t typically prefer to stay in the ‘boring’ house, especially when there is a world of fun outside! There are endless things to do outside in the winter weather… snowmen, snowball fight, igloos, snow painting, and countless other activities. The entire adventure is going to have its challenges.
Plan ahead! Have consistent expectations and review before, and throughout, your time!
Have fun and stay warm!
We are not expert event planners or columnist. Some of these places we may or may not have personally experienced. These are merely suggestions by parents of children with autism.
Experiences vary and should be noted when reviewing.
INDOOR WATER PARKS & HOTELS STAYS!
The Water Works Indoor Water Park- DAY PLAY
505 N. Springinsguth Rd. Schaumburg, IL
*Good for day play.
*zero depth area---great pool for tots.
*small lazy river.
* 2 small indoor slides.
**$7.00 child non resident/ $9.00 adult non resident
Pelican Harbor Aquatic Park- DAY PLAY
200 Lindsey Lane
*zero depth area.
*two water slides (one maybe closed right now).
*call for times of parent/tot swim (this is for children under 7yrs.old), and
For times of public swim.
Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark- OVERNIGHT GET-A-WAY
7020 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, WI
*zero depth area
*huge water slides
*has a lazy river
*indoor arcade area
*rooms has refrigerators, stoves (no oven) & microwave.
*can bring in food
*restaurants on site.
Here are a list of hotels that have indoor pools but not necessarily a “water park”
Holiday Inn-Rolling Meadows (not Holiday Inn Express)
3405 Algonquin Rd.-Rolling Meadows, IL
*No lazy river or water slides, but it is visually attractive and tropical looking.
*rather big size pool, never seems to be crowed.
Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire
10 Marriott Drive-Lincolnshire, IL
~~small pool but hotel always very accommodating.
Pheasant Run Resort
401 E. Main St.-Saint Charles, IL
PLACES TO GO!
Illinois Resident Day - Shedd Aquarium Jan 15 -Free all day FREE IS GOOD :)
On select days throughout the year, Illinois residents with a valid ID receive free admission to Shedd Aquarium. Admission includes all permanent exhibits and animal presentations. 4-D Experience admission is a $4.95 upgrade for all guests.
Online Illinois Resident Free Day tickets must be reserved at least one day in advance. Illinois Resident Free Day tickets are expected to sell out—we recommend reserving online in advance!
Illinois Resident Free Days are sponsored by Ford Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company
Enchanted Railroad @ the Morton Arboretum
Ages: Anyone who likes trains!
Watch an intricate railroad travel through a wonderland at a child-friendly level. January 13 - February 19, 2018
SkyHigh Sports - Special needs Days - Tuesdays * CHECK WEBSITE FOR SPECIFIC TIMES
Address: 2244 Corporate Ln, Naperville, IL 60563
Open today · 11AM–9PM
Phone: (630) 717-5867
Wonderland Express - Chicago Botanical Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road , Glencoe, Illinois 60022
November 24 – December 22, 2017, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
December 23 – January 7, 2018, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
'Tis the season for family fun! Join us at the Garden for Wonderland Express, an annual holiday extravaganza featuring magnificent model trains, magical and glittering indoor snow, and meticulously crafted Chicago landmarks in miniature. Plus, see intricate ice carvings and hear beautiful music from carolers.
Tuesdays are half-price | Parking fees apply for nonmembers.
Early Closing Days:
December 1, 18, 24: closes at 3 p.m. (last ticket sold at 2 p.m.)*
December 25: closed all day
Adults: $11 members/$13 nonmembers
Children ages 3 to 12 and seniors over age 62: $8 members/$10 nonmembers
Children 2 and under are free.
January 2, 2018 @ 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Juicebox Concerts at the Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington St., Chicago
With engaging music and dance in a kid-friendly setting, the free admission Juicebox programs are geared toward the stroller set and enjoyable for the whole family. Concerts take place on the first and third Fridays and Saturdays of the month, at the Chicago Cultural Center and at Garfield Park Conservatory. Mandala South Asian Performing Arts performs at 11-11:45am on Friday, December 1 at the Chicago Cultural Center and Saturday December 2 at 11am at Garfield Park Conservatory. And Mariachi Tradición JuvenilMariachi Tradición Juvenil performs at 11-11:45am on Friday, December 15 at the Chicago Cultural Center and Saturday December 16 at 11am at Garfield Park Conservatory. 2018 Concerts will be posted on the web site.
Bubbles Academy at Whole Foods Lincoln Park
1550 N. Kingsbury Street, Chicago
Come on out to Whole Foods Lincoln Park and enjoy a free show every Wednesday and Thursday morning at 10am. The creative teachers from nearby Bubbles Academy will on be on stage, entertaining kids in a half hour of exciting songs and stories. This event is a favorite for lots of moms and kids and always draws a crowd. Kids can dance and sing along with their favorite songs, and then shop at this enormous Whole Foods to help mom pick out some great snacks to take home.
Brookfield Zoo Free Admission Days
First Avenue and 31st Street, Brookfield
Admission to Brookfield Zoo is FREE on Tuesdays and Thursdays through December 29. (Parking is $10/car, $15/bus.) Stroll the zoo and see how the animals spend their winter days. Visit Tropic World, Habitat Africa, the Fragile Desert, the Australia House and more. Free Tuesdays and Thursdays start up again in January and February, plus Saturdays and Sundays will be free as well.
Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago
Garfield Park Conservatory offers a number of free family programs throughout the Winter months. Monday mornings from 10am - noon, drop in for Morning Glories, fun interactive activities that encourage children's curiosity about the natural world. Wednesdays from 4-7pm, stop in for Wild Wednesdays where kids will be exploring nature, getting hands dirty and discovering new things about plants, animals and nature. And weekends from 10-4pm, drop in for Fiddleheads to explore the natural world through the lenses of biology, anthropology, art, and history.
Cross Country Skiing at Heller Nature Center
2821 Ridge Road, Highland Park
Heller Nature Center offers some free family programs and outdoor activities. Heller has 3 miles of trails for cross-country skiing, free for use with your own skiis, or you may rent skis based on a daily rental fee.
Wildwood Nature Center
529 Forestview Avenue, Park Ridge
In winter, visit the Animal Exhibit Room and see over 35 animals including mice, ball pythons, corn snake, rabbit, guinea pig, alligators, snapping turtles, iguana and more. On Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:30am and 3:30pm kids can learn about their favorite animals during feeding time. And every Saturday at 10:15am is Critter Connection, where kids can get close to a Wildwood animal during a short presentation.
Crabtree Nature Center Wee Wanderer Wednesdays
3 Stover Road, Barrington
Crabtree Nature Center offers an exhibit building that opens to to several miles of self-guiding trails where guests can explore nature habitats year-round. On select Wednesday mornings, bring your little naturalists for a parent/caregiver and tot program for children ages 2 – 6. Weather permitting, time will be spent outdoors, so dress for the weather. Space is limited and tickets are available on a first come, first served basis starting at 9:30am. See web site for schedule.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Free Thursdays
2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago
Thursdays, admission is free for Illinois residents with a suggested donation. Get up close and personal with butterflies, search for stick bugs camouflaged on a twig, see small animals and walk along the outdoor nature path.
North Park Village Nature Center
5801 North Pulaski Road, Chicago
This 46-acre nature preserve and educational facility offers trails that wind through woodland, wetland, prairie and savanna. Kids can get hands-on with nature in the discovery room, handling natural objects and learning with interactive displays.
ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo
2200 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago
Stroll through Lincoln Park Zoo and take in the brilliance of this annual fun, free, family-oriented holiday celebration, featuring luminous displays and holiday-season activities throughout zoo grounds. November 24–26, December 1–3, 8–23, 26–31 and January 1–7 with hours from 4:30 - 9pm.
Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza
November 17 - December 24 50 W. Washington Plaza, Chicago
Christkindlmarket Chicago is a holiday market that brings a cherished German and European tradition with international flair and local charm to Chicago. The unique shopping experience, typical German food and drinks, as well as diverse holiday entertainment make the Christkindlmarket Chicago a preferred and popular destination. Children can enjoy live entertainment and activities. Markets also take place in Naperville and at Park Wrigley this year.
Caroling at Cloud Gate
Millennium Park at The Bean, N. Michigan Ave. & E. Randolph St., Chicago
Fridays from November 24 - December 15. Bundle up and get ready to belt out some holiday classics at these festive events that are part concert, part sing-along as local Chicago choral groups lead hundreds of celebrants in song. Choral groups include Leo High School Choir on November 24; Merit Conservatory Choir on December 1; The Voices of Acme Choir (VOA) on December 8; and Broadway in Chicago on December 15.
Lincoln Park Conservatory, 2391 N. Stockton Dr., Chicago
The title of the play refers to the "twelfth night of Christmas," and some historians believe the play was originally written and performed for the holiday. Twelfth Night takes the audience to Illyria, where a shipwrecked Viola disguises herself as a boy to work for the Duke Orsino. She promptly falls in love with him, who in turn loves the fair lady Olivia. Misunderstandings and misplaced love abound in this delightful comedy. This is a free production, with donations gratefully accepted. Reservations are recommended due to limited seating. Playing Thursdays – Sundays at 7:30 PM.
Home for the Holidays
Downtown Oak Park at Lake and Marion Streets
December 16, 11am - 3pm. Catch the old-fashioned holiday spirit in Downtown Oak Park! Celebrate the season with free horse-drawn sleigh rides, a visit from Santa Claus, and a special showing at Lake Theatre.Visit web site for schedule of the day's free activities.
Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park
337 E. Randolph St., Chicago
With the City's skyline as a backdrop, this ribbon of ice that winds through a rolling landscape provides an ice skating experience unlike any other. The skating ribbon creates a multisensory activity that is integrated into the landscape where skaters can experience "alpine in the city" as they follow a path twice the length of a lap around a traditional skating rink. Complementing the ribbon are places to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and rent skates. Admission free, rentals $12 Monday - Thurs, $14 Fri-Sun and holidays. Open late November through March, see web site for exact dates.
Polar Adventure Days at Northerly Island
1400 S. Lynn White Dr., Chicago
Explore the outdoors at Northerly Island during winter and come face-to-face with birds of prey, huskies, and wolves; learn the science behind snow formations; discover native Illinois animals; create winter themed art and enjoy music from a local band. Snow permitting, try snowshoeing, and enjoy hot chocolate. Events take place December 16, January 20 and February 24 from noon-4pm.
Sledding Cricket Hill at Montrose Harbor
601 W. Montrose Drive, Chicago
This is the hill with a view, right on the lakefront and offering vistas looking onto Lake Michigan and Montrose Harbor. It's a 360 degree hill, so kids can slide down whatever side they choose, which means more sledding and less waiting. Dress warm and use the restroom before you come, as there are no restrooms or warming spots nearby.
Sledding at Montgomery Ward Park
630 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago
This relatively new, cozy park is in the River North neighborhood right along the river at Erie Street and little ones can sled the easy hill here. You'll be close to plenty of restaurants in this neighborhood so you can warm up and fill up when you're done.
Sledding at Rotary Hill
441 Aurora Ave., Naperville
The Riverwalk Sled Hill at Rotary Hill provides fun for the entire family. Sledders should bring their own inner tubes or plastic sleds - wooden sleds and metal-runner sleds are not permitted. The sled hill is open until 9pm Sundays - Thursdays, and 10pm on Fridays and Saturday.
The Field Museum Free Days
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
There's a lot going on at The Field Museum, and you can enjoy it for no charge on special free days, where general admission for Illinois residents is free. Kids will enjoy the Museum's permanent and temporary exhibits and the Crown Family PlayLab, a place where kids can dig in, dress up, and explore and grow. Winter free days include January 3, 4, 15, 27, 28; and February 1-28.
Smart Museum of Art Free Family Programs
5550 S. Greenwood Ave., Chicago
The Smart offers a variety of drop-in family programs featuring hands-on art activities, gallery games, and other fun projects. Each drop-in program features hands-on art activities and tours that encourage children and parents to engage in some creative looking. Winter events include Blankets, Banners and Flags on December 2; Dinner (and Tea) Party! on January 6; True Blue on February 3; and Color Fields on March 3.
Target Free Family Night at Chicago Children's Museum
Navy Pier - 700 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago
Thursday evenings from 5-8pm, families can enjoy free admission; and Sundays kids under 15 are free. The Chicago Children's Museum is a special place of education, exploration, stimulation and delight for children and adults. Some current exhibits include Snow Much Fun, Tinkering Lab, Skyline, Dinosaur Expedition, WaterWays, Kovler Family Climbing Schooner and more.
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington Street, Chicago
This building is breathtaking in beauty, and families can visit simply to take in the stunning mosaics, marbles and architectural wonders. Even more fun is a visit when there's great family entertainment taking place. The center hosts hundreds of artists, musicians and performers year-round, with activities not only for adults but for families as well. Visit the web site for a schedule of family friendly performances and activities.
The Oriental Institute Free Family Programs
1155 E. 58th St., Chicago
The University of Chicago's Oriental Institute offers a variety of low cost and free programs throughout the winter months. Free Family Programs this winter include What's Up King Tut? for ages 5-12 on January 20; and Persian Nowruz Celebration on March 10. Registration recommended for these programs.
Downers Grove Museum
831 Maple Avenue, Downers Grove
Step across the threshold of the Blodgett House for a glimpse of the past. Enter a bygone era when families rested on fainting couches instead of recliners, stored food in iceboxes instead of refrigerators, and entertained themselves with parlor games instead of cyber games. Kids will find a treasure trove of fascinating facts and fun, and can view the museum collections that include everything from buttonhooks to butter paddles, washboards to wedding dresses, and baby frocks to clocks.
Museum of Contemporary Art Family Days
220 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago
The MCA documents contemporary visual culture through painting, sculpture, photography, video and film, and performance. The MCA has brought back its monthly free family programs, with upcoming events on December 9 and January 13. Enjoy free admission while taking part in workshops, open studio sessions, gallery tours, and performances, all designed and led by Chicago artists. January 13 Family Day will feature workshops led by artists Billy McGuinness and William Estrada. Free for all youth 18 and under, and adults with children 12 and younger.
Des Plaines History Center
781 Pearson Street, Des Plaines
The Des Plaines History Center offers tours of the restored 1906-07 Kinder House. Kids can learn what a stereo viewer is, how to work a boot jack, and why 1907 light fixtures used both gas and electricity. The experience during this interactive tour features hands-on objects that kids can try out for themselves. Tours are available upon request during History Center open hours, Tuesdays-Fridays, 10am-5pm, and Sundays, 1-4pm.
Chicago Women's Park & Gardens Indoor Play Space
1802 S. Indiana Ave., Chicago
This free, indoor playground offers multi-level play apparatus, a toddler climbing wall, play house and other features to keep your little ones busy during the cold winter months. Open play hours available Monday - Saturday, visit web site for current hours.
Tree House Court at Northbrook Court
2171 Northbrook Ct, Northbrook
This play area is a great spot for kids to take a break after they've accompanied you on your errands. The big treehouse in the middle is a huge attraction, and kids can climb up the tree and then slide down the big slide. The play area is gated in so you can have a seat on one of the many benches and relax while your little ones run off some energy.
Gurnee Mills Children's Play Area
6170 W Grand Ave, Gurnee
This play space at the huge Gurnee Mills mall lets little ones run and play in a Chicago themed play area, with mini versions of some of the city's most famous landmarks and building. Kids can walk across the Michigan Avenue Bridge, check out the Willis Tower and even take a ride in a Chicago-style hotdog.
Crafty Sundays, Family Game Night and Pokemon
1112 W. Madison St., Chicago
Cat & Mouse offers a free drop-in craft event on Sundays from 10am - 12pm, taking place weekely starting December 31. Kids ages 3-8 and their parents can stop in to make something fun together. Tuesdays at 5:30pm is game night, where all are invited to play games from our library or bring their own games. Saturday mornings are beginner Pokemon lessons from 10-10:30am, followed by Pokemon League from 10:30am-noon.
Home Depot Free Kids Workshops
Home Depot stores
On the first Saturday of each month from 9pm - noon, Home Depot stores offer free workshops for kids ages 5-12. Kids will take part in fun projects like building toolboxes, fire trucks and mail organizers, learning do-it-yourself skills and tool safety. Participants receive a kid-sized orange apron and an achievement pin. Registration is suggested.
Mariano's Free Family Events
All Mariano's Locations
All Mariano's locations offer free weekend crafts and activities for kids, with events like cereal necklace making, Tales for Tots, and activities related to current holidays. Visit the web site and select your local store to see what free events are taking place near you.
Dave's Rock Shop
704 Main St., Evanston
Dave's Rock Shop has something for everyone, with more than just rocks. The shop is filled with all kids of stones and gems, fossils, crystals, shells, jewelry and Native American finds. Kids can visit the fossil museum in the basement, and entertain themselves at the rock table while you shop for unique jewelry (that part is NOT free!)
1200 N. Milwaukee, Glenview
You probably think of TVs and washing machines when you think of Abt, but they've collected an assortment of attractions to keep kids enthralled while parents shop. Check out the Bubble Machine, where one pull of the cord activates a huge ring that encases kids (or adults) in a huge bubble. The interactive butterfly attraction projects your shadow onto a screen where hundreds of "butterflies" surround you and land all over you. Kids will be entranced by the giant Mousetrap sculpture, watching a ball journey through an intricate maze with engaging sights and sounds. Plus there's a water fountain that dances to music, a 7,500 gallon fish tank with fish and eel, a large bronze sculpture of Humpty Dumpty and more.
Old Town Aquarium and Wells Street
1538 North Wells Street, Chicago
Little ones are easily entertained in this kid-friendly aquarium store, with dozens of tanks and displays. Your little ones can get up close to hundreds of beautiful fish and sea life, and see stunning corals, starfish, snails, sea cucumbers and many more exotic water residents.
Children's Storytime at Open Books Store
651 W. Lake St., Chicago
Stop by for a children's storytime for kids of all ages at 10 am every Thursday and Saturday for a storytime in the children's section of this West Loop store.
Sing Along with Mr. Singer
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago
Sing Along with Mr. Singer delights young audiences with silly songs and tall tales every Wednesday and Friday at 9:15 and 10 a.m. at the Main Barn in Lincoln Park Zoo's Farm-in-the-Zoo. Join Mr. Singer as he performs original songs while the wee ones dance and sing along. This joyful jamboree features animal songs and dances for children ages 6 and younger accompanied by a caregiver.
Storytime at Webster Place Barnes & Noble
1441 West Webster Avenue, Chicago
The Webster Place Barnes & Noble hold story times on most Wednesdays at 10am and Saturdays at 11am. A Barnes & Noble bookseller reads new and classic stories and leads kids in some fun activities. Check the web site for specific dates.
Maker Lab at Harold Washington Library Center
400 S. State Street, Chicago
The Maker Lab, Chicago’s first free and publicly accessible maker space, is on the 3rd floor of Harold Washington Library Center. The Maker Lab features introductory workshops and open shop for personal projects and collaboration. Visitors are encouraged to explore the full range of making, both high-tech and hands-on.
Living History Demonstrations
Isle a la Cache Museum, 501 E. Romeo Road, Romeoville
Experience history up close and personal! On the first Sunday of each month, you may find cooks, seamstresses, voyageurs, soldiers or craftsmen sharing their talents. The Isle a la Cache Brigade is a volunteer group of re-enactors presenting a sample of the 18th-century fur trading life. In February and March we offer new themed demonstrations - In February, the theme is winter transportation of the 18th century, and March’s theme is 18th-century fashion, with a fashion show at 1 p.m. Depending on the weather, this program is offered indoors or outside. Indoor facilities are accessible; outdoor activities may take place on uneven terrain.
The Goodman Theatre’s Sensory Friendly Performance -
Goodman Theatre is pleased to announce our first sensory-friendly performance in our 40th
Anniversary Celebration of A Christmas Carol
When: Saturday, December 30 at 2 p.m. | Doors open at 1:30 p.m.Sensory-Friendly/Relaxed Performances are designed to create a performing arts experience that is intended for families with members who have autism or other social, cognitive and physical challenges that create sensory sensitivities.
To purchase tickets, enter the promo code SENSORY to unlock this special performance. Tickets start at $15.
Questions? Please contact our Box Office at 312.443.3800 (open daily 12noon to 5pm).
Please Note: Individuals without Sensory sensitivities or not accompanying those who do are encouraged to attend a different performance of A Christmas Carol.
Accommodations for the sensory-friendly performance includes:
Lower sound level, especially for startling or loud sounds
House Lights remain on at a low level during the performance
A reduction of strobe lighting or lighting focused on the audience
Patrons are free to talk and leave their seats during the performance
Designated quiet areas within the theater building
Space throughout the theater for standing and movement
Limited crowds and visitors at Goodman Theatre during the day and timing of the performance
Goodman Theatre staff trained to be inviting and accommodating to families' needs.
Tickets for the sensory-friendly performance start at $15. Families will also have access to resource materials: social stories, a seating map etc. to prepare for their visit.
Please check our site for more upcoming information or sign up for e-mails specific to this performance. For more information please e-mail Access@GoodmanTheatre.org.
Free general admission for Illinois residents on these upcoming 2017 dates:
January 6-13, 16 (Martin Luther King Day), 17-20
February 6-10, 20 (President's Day), 21-24
CHICAGO CHILDRENS MUSEUM AT NAVY PIER
Free admission for visitors age 15 and under on Free First Sundays, offered the first Sunday of each month. Additionally there is free admission for all visitors on Target Free Family Night, offered Thursday evenings 5-8pm.
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Admission is free for Illinois residents on Tuesdays year round.
PEGGY NOTEBAERT NATURE MUSEUM
Thursdays are suggested donation days for Illinois residents year round.
DUSABLE MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY
Admission is free to all on each Tuesday of the year. Children under 5 always receive free admission.
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MUSEUM OF ART
Admission is free for Illinois residents every Tuesday, year round.
MCCORMICK BRIDGEHOUSE & CHICAGO RIVER MUSEUM
Admission is free to all on each Sunday; note that the museum is open seasonally May to October. Children under 5 always receive free admission.
SWEDISH AMERICAN MUSEUM
Admission is free for all visitors on the second Tuesday of the month, year round. Members and children under the age of one are free
Play for all at Chicago Children’s Museum
Chicago Children’s Museum is committed to providing exhibits, programs and public spaces that are inclusive and interactive for all families. On the second Saturday of every month from 9 a.m.-10 a.m., they invite children and families with disabilities to come and experience playful, multi-sensory exhibits for a special private hour inside the museum. The first 250 visitors to register receive FREE admission. CCM opens to the public at 10 a.m. and Play For All families are welcome to stay and continue exploring the museum all day. Note: Pre-registration is required.
Chicago Children’s Museum, 700 E. Grand Ave., Navy Pier; Online:chicagochildrensmuseum.org
Spend Your Third Thursday with DuPage Children’s Museum
On the Third Thursday each month, DuPage Children’s Museum incorporates special resources and programing for visitors with accessibility or medical issues. You’ll find regularly scheduled activities like trained comfort dog visits, DCM Studio sensory art projects and after-school programming with specialists to assist with specific IEP and at-home goals and objectives that involve playing. One-on-one caregivers or therapists receive a complimentary admission ticket when accompanying a child requiring medical assistance.
If you find a member of your crew needs a break from the action, let a DCM worker show you to the Respite Room. You’ll find a soft couch, dimmed blue lights and a calming marble wall full of light and touch sensations. TIP: After school and early evening are often quieter times for family or therapeutic visits.
DuPage Children’s Museum, 301 N. Washington St., Naperville; 630-637-8000; Online: dupagechildrens.org
Hope all these options help you find somewhere friendly and fun to go this winter season!!
The following information is not meant to diagnose or take the place of treatment given by a qualified health professional or a BCBA. For any information on our services please contact us via our website.
Meet Andie – Mother of 16 year old Ben who has been diagnosed with Autism. Andie is the Parent Liaison at Behavioral Perspective.
With my other four neurotypical children I was the mom who read to them every night, required summer reading, and made them do the library reading programs. Yes, I was THAT mom. With Mr. Ben. I just try to get through the day. I have to admit that I have fallen short with promoting the importance of reading to my youngest child. Ben does have plenty of reading material available to him. It is not his favorite activity. We do the best we can.
I do have books that I have found unusually helpful during the teenage years. About a year ago we were having trouble navigating various teenage issues. Going to a public bathroom alone, sexuality and masturbation, and the body changes that come with the teenage years, have all been topics that I have found challenging and difficult to approach with a child with autism. The series of books about Tom (for Boys) and Ellie (for girls) written by Kate E. Reynolds has shed light on these subjects. They are very straightforward and sure to make a neurotypical adult laugh but were very helpful to Ben. Check them out! I dare you to get through them and not share them with your good friends and family.
Hey - maybe I will bring our copies of The Tom books on Wednesday and read you all some excerpts during our FB Live! See you then!
Using ABA to encourage healthy diets in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Let’s get started
Why is food so important?
Coming together over food is part of everyday life. Overcoming these restrictions can improve the quality of life for the affected individual and their family and friends.
Common Eating Issues in ASD
Consequences of Feeding Problems
Does my child have a feeding problem?
How did this happen?
2. Obtain preferred foods
3. Obtain attention
As parents we have most likely rewarded our children’s feeding patterns over time and now are unsure of how to correct them.
What are my options for intervention?
Can I go it alone?
If you can answer yes to the following questions, go for it!
Mealtime Schedule & Set-up
Choosing Target Foods
Dirty Dozen Plus & Clean Fifteen
Choosing Target Foods
Example Meal Rotation
Getting your child to eat these foods
Helpful Behavioral Techniques
1. Pick up the new food
2. Touch new food to their lips
3. Chew & Swallow New Food
Prompting & Prompt Fading
1. Hand over hand help the child scoop and move spoon to mouth.
2. Hold the child’s elbow
3. Touch the child’s arm
4. Point to the bowl
Texture and Size Fading
If necessary modify food texture from pureed to finely chopped to bite-size.
Start by coloring the frosting on the doughnut above different colors (you will need to make multiple copies for the different doughnuts. After they are colored and cut out, laminate them for durability. Now that you have your materials ready you can play the game!
The song goes as follows:
Down around the corner at the bakery shop
there were lots of doughnuts with frosting on top
along came ____(fill in with child's name)____ all alone
***at this point let the child choose the color doughnut and have them repeat the color after you or if your learner is not able to repeat you can say the color for them. ***
He/She choose a ____(color)______ doughnut and ran back home
***keep repeating with each child present or until you run out of doughnuts.***
The following information is not meant to diagnose or take the place of treatment given by a qualified health professional or a BCBA. For any information on our services please contact us via our website.
As parents, or caregivers of children with autism we know that change can be hard for our children. Some children have a resistance to change in many areas including clothing. Although there may be a resistance, some children have their own unique issues with clothing. The change of seasons can bring this out or it can start an intricate dance on how to facilitate clothing with your child.
Here are 3 different instances of what the challenges are and how they are addressed with these three families.
Andie~A mom with 5 children and her youngest one is Ben. Ben is a fun energetic 16 year old with autism. Andie is the Parent Liaison at Behavioral Perspective Inc.
Some of us like the change of seasons. Most of us dread the trying on the clothes to see what fits and what does not fit. Mr. Ben does not care for it either. Since Ben is now 16, I realized (with the gentle push from a friend) that he needs to be an active part of assessing what fits, making a list of what he needs, shopping and picking out the items and staying within a budget. This task was daunting to me the first time we talked about it. In the past I would notice Ben's clothes not fitting and just tell him to take it off and put it in the Goodwill bag. I would then occasionally pick up clothes that I think he would like while I was shopping at any given random store. My friend pointed out that while this was the easiest method for me, it was not doing anything to foster Ben's independence. Not to mention the fact that no 16 yr old wants his Mommy to pick out his clothes. My friend was right. I am not going to be around some day. Everything I do with Ben should be focused on my end goal for him - Independence. So this season that's what I did. He was involved in every step of the process of the transition. Every step was not easy (one cell phone was destroyed during the process) but we did it! Score one for the Mom!
Tune in to our FB Live on Wednesday to hear how this went!
Kymi~Mom of Isaiah who is a warm loving 17yr old young man with autism. Kymi is a Lead Registered Behavior Technician and a helps run our Parent Network Support Group at Behavioral Perspective Inc.
Planning & Negotiating
Weeks before Fall begins, I start making my son wear clothing more appropriate for the brutal winters here in Chicago. Why do I have to think about this long before winter? Because my son, who has autism, has a hard time going from summer clothing to winter clothing.
Here in Illinois, winter months can be brutal. Wearing layers of clothing can be challenging for my son. My son has a hard time putting on socks when the weather changes. Before summer ends, I begin the process of having my son wear socks around the house. I start with a few minutes at a time and build up from there.
My son also has a hard time going from shorts to long pants. This change in clothing can cause a tantrum or hours of negotiating to get him to comply. For my son this issue of clothing is not all sensory based. Some of his issues were around “routine”, what he is use to and what he really prefers.
Once I had a better understanding of the function of the behavior, I was able to decide what is and is not negotiable. As a mom, I pick my battles, and if I can get the socks on the feet when there is snow on the ground I am happy. I will negotiate if the socks have to be long or short.
Isaiah does not like to wear hats, so I often buy coats that have a hood. I can get the hood on him easier than the hat. I pick my battles and remember that we can both feel good about the choices being made.
One of the best pieces of advice I have received is to know what I am being persistent about, and to be flexible. I have also learned to remove the summer items out of sight. For my son, “out of sight out, of mind”.
I am not an expert, but I do have some tools that have worked for us in the past or currently working now:
Denise~Mom of 2 children. Her youngest son, Rocky, is a fun loving, quirky 8 year old who has been diagnosed with autism. Denise is the Director of Operations at Behavioral Perspective Inc.
The unexpected, necessary lesson
I would consider myself lucky in this arena. Tags, scratchy fabric, & season changes don’t seem to bother Rocky. Rocky is 8 and is close to mastering the art of getting himself dressed properly. He LOVES to pick out his own clothes although needs help to match items with the weather. We are still fine tuning the occasional backwards shorts or shirt along with some tricky buttons or zippers.
We have run into issues with rigidity surrounding clothes. Recently we were away for the weekend and forgot to pack a pajama top. Rocky ALWAYS sleeps in pajamas. I told him he could sleep in his regular t-shirt or even no shirt like his brother. He wasn’t having it. He had a meltdown and was just completely thrown off by not having an actual “pajama” shirt to sleep in. In the end he eventually went to sleep, however, when we returned home at 3 in the afternoon, he immediately went to his room and put on a full set of pajamas, reenacted his bedtime routine and “went to bed.” He literally got in bed for a few minutes and then “woke up” again to start his day. I guess this is what he needed to move on with his day.
I find my best reaction in these moments is to tell him once or twice what his choices are and then ignore the tantrum. I don’t cater to the rigidity. I don’t go to target and buy pajamas at 9pm. I prefer not plan ahead for every little thing that is going to throw him off. Life doesn’t always go as planned and I hope he can eventually learn to just “meltdown” quietly in his own head like most of us do. He is already making great progress and finding his own quirky ways to cope with life’s annoyances.
As parents of children with autism, challenges can occur in many areas of daily living.
We are not experts, or noted researchers in this area. We are moms who are all on different paths in our autism journey. We are offering 3 different perspectives of the challenges of clothing and how we approached them in our own lives.
Thanks for checking out our blog this week! Join us this Wednesday on FB Live as we continue this conversation!!
It's not what you do for your children,
but what you have taught them to do for themselves,
that will make them successful human beings.
- Ann Landers
Let’s see how the topic of chores is viewed from three autism moms at different stages of life. None of us are experts on this topic. Just mom’s trying to help out other parents that are on this autism journey.
Meet Denise - Denise has 2 children. Her youngest son, Rocky, is a fun loving, quirky 8 year old who has been diagnosed with autism. Denise is the Director of Operations at Behavioral Perspective Inc.
To a non parent chores might seem like a dream. Extra hands to help with cleaning, laundry and yard work! Yes!
Unfortunately the reality is that teaching chores to children is no easy feat. Add special needs on top of that and yikes, the teaching of chores is another chore for parents! Wait, what?!
Sadly yes, teaching does create some extra work up front. However, with the right strategies it can be very successful, and in the long run, really helpful to parents.
With the help of our BCBA & ABA technician, my son Rocky, 8, can now pick up his bedroom, make his bed and clean the playroom on his own. I am so blown away by his independence that I can’t wait to teach him more chores.
We created this simple chore chart. He earns 25 cents per chore, per day and we keep track of his earnings on a spreadsheet. Once he saves $10 he will be able to buy a new hotwheels box set!
Meet Andie- Andie has 5 children and her youngest one is Ben. Ben is a fun energetic 16 year old with autism . Andie is the Parent Liaison at Behavioral Perspective Inc.
Chores. Most of us were given and taught how to do chores when we were kids. As parents, we have passed this important learning tradition on to our own children. When we were doing them none of us were probably ever convinced that they were an important part of the process of growing up and learning to be an independent adult, but lo and behold that’s exactly what they did!!
My four neuro typical children (who are now all grown up) used to gripe, and try to get away with doing chores in the shortest way possible but in the end they learned how to do chores. For a child with autism it is often far more difficult to not only learn how to do a chore properly but also to do it without tantruming or causing a major scene.
Our job as a parent is more important for the child with autism because the skills he/she is learning plus the social cues he/she has to learn in order to do these tasks will be extremely important for the child when they enter the workforce as an adult.
Learning to complete a chore is complex. The child not only has to learn to do the task, he/she also has to learn how to interact with the people who assign him/her a task. In addition the child has to learn how to react when given a task that is not necessarily a favorite thing to do. The child has to learn that tasks are important for not only a work environment but also essential for living independently as an adult.
You have to realize that if your child does not practice doing chores on a daily basis, he may never survive in the real world independently. The inappropriate behaviors that he exhibits during chore time will just turn into the norm. He will not ever be able to look around and figure out social cues to figure out how to complete a chore/task appropriately without this daily practice.
This is why I have set up a program for my child with autism to practice daily chores in our home. We try to find chores/tasks that he would need to do if he lived independently as an adult. It takes effort on our part as parents every day but it is essential that he master these life skills in order for him to grow up to be an independent adult.
I am not going to lie, it is NOT an easy task on a day to day basis to continue to organize, manage and supervise these daily tasks. However each chore he learns to do independently at this stage of his life will provide one more level of independence as an adult. We parents aren't going to be around forever, so not making him do chores is not an option as far as I am concerned. It is my job to teach him chores are a life skill and essential for an independent life.
Meet Kymi - Kymi is the mom of Isaiah. He is a loving warm 18 yr old young adult on the autistic spectrum. Kymi is a Lead Registered Behavior Technician and a helps run our Parent Support Group at Behavioral Perspective Inc.
“You cannot go outside until your chores are done” may be a phrase many adults heard from their parents when they were younger. As a parent of a child with autism, having your child do chores or the importance of chores in your child’s life may not be on your radar.
Going outside may not be a reinforcing thing for your child, so the threat would be in vain. As a parent of a child with autism, you may question the importance of chores in your child’s life.
Chores can be a useful tool in the development of children with autism. Just as it does with children who do not have autism, chores can be a great tool in promoting independence.
Chores are a necessary part of life and can provide your child with a sense of purpose and can help them with skill building, confidence, feelings of accomplishment, and being part of a group. The household group, where everyone contributes to the wellness of the house.
You may ask yourself, if it is ever too early to have your child do a chore. You may not want to ask a 4 year old to wash laundry, but that same 4 year old could be responsible for putting a trash bag in the garbage can or putting their eating utensils in the kitchen sink.
In my house the motto is, “there is not a chore that is too small.” Chores can be what you make them. From putting all napkins from dinner time into the trash, to stacking a cup on top of a plate, there are probably several ways to implement chores into your child’s daily life.
Knowing some of your child’s capabilities help in deciding what chores they can do and be successful at. Modifications or breaking down the steps of a chore could also have benefits in teaching how to complete a chore.
Chores can teach your child some skills that they will need as they age into adulthood. Chores can be useful in helping to develop and build on skills such as: sorting, scanning, fine & gross motor, organizing & money skills.
Parenting is hard enough with neurotypical children. It becomes even harder when you throw in a dash of autism. I want to reiterate that we are not experts, just mom’s trying to survive everyday. If you wish to attempt to teach chores, skills or activities of daily living, we suggest you contact a professional to meet the needs of your child. Hey… we know of some awesome BCBA’s if you are interested. :) Please tune on Wednesday when we talk about our home chore programs on our FACEBOOK LIVE!
Prompting is a way of assisting the client to accurately complete a task. One of the best prompting hierarchy's to use with clients is most to least prompting. You want to use the most effective prompt for the learner to complete the task and prevent any errors from developing within the response chain. As the client is learning the responses, you will fade your prompts until your client can complete the response independently. Most to least prompting hierarchy may look like the following: Full physical prompting, partial physical prompting, gestural prompt, independent. This depends on the skill that the client is learning.
There are many different prompts that are utilized depending upon the learner. A few common types of prompt levels are:
Full physical prompts: this is when the instructor fully prompts the complete action for the client
Partial physical prompt: this is when the instructor only needs to prompt part of the action for the client
Gestural prompts: this is when the instructor can gesture or point towards what the client needs to do
Model prompts: this is when the instructor demonstrates the skill/action for the client
Full verbal prompts: this is when the instructor states the full word/sentence that the client needs to emit or gives an instruction
Partial verbal prompts: this is when the instructor is able to fade to part of the word that the client needs to emit (e.g. "Ch" instead of "Chips")