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Posts Tagged ‘summer’

Traveling With Autism

July 11, 2011 32 comments

It is the time of year when we all begin to think about planning some down time – maybe even a vacation! Most families report that PREPARATION is key to a smooth successful vacation. Do you have a “success tip” to share with other families as they prepare to enjoy some summer fun?

Curious to know more about Travel Tips? Check out this Community Connections!

Everyone Deserves Summertime Fun!

June 27, 2011 22 comments

They say, when the sun’s out, the fun is out! But for those living with autism summer can be a challenging time. It often means breaking from routine – no school, new programs, vacations, camp, etc.

Tell us about your child’s successes in a summer community activity, such as summer camp? How did you learn about the activity? How did you plan for success? Suggestions for other parents?

Your responses will be included in July’s Community Connection’s Topic: Community Inclusion Sign up for Community Connections today

Relevant Community Connections

Traveling Tips for Individuals with Autism and Their Families

How to Choose A Summer Camp

Have Some Fun at Summer Camp

Exclusive NYC ‘Autism Friendly’ Screening of Disney Pixar’s summer blockbuster, Cars 2!

June 3, 2011 10 comments

John Ratzenberger, a long-time friend of Autism Speaks, who famously played Cliff Clavin on the NBC hit sitcom Cheers, is supporting the autism community in a big way! John has been featured in all 12 Pixar movies and lends his voice to the character of Mack in Disney•Pixar’s upcoming summer feature, CARS 2.

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Hi everyone – John Ratzenberger here. My friends Bob & Suzanne Wright, co-founders of Autism Speaks, asked me to do a quick blog post to let everyone know about a special event I’m hosting with them for the autism community in a couple of weeks time.

I’m excited to announce that we’re going to host an Autism Speaks screening of Pixar’s highly anticipated summer blockbuster, “Cars 2″ in 3D, here in New York City on June 11. That’s a full two weeks before the movie is out in theaters!

The screening will be ‘autism friendly’; meaning that the sound will be a little lower and the lights will be up a little higher. There’ll also be a ‘quiet room’ for you to go to during the film if needed. Most importantly, the theater will be full of people who understand autism: it’ll be a judgment-free zone. The idea is to bring people together to see the movie in a way that celebrates individuals with autism and their families. It’s an Autism Speaks exclusive event, meaning the general public won’t be allowed in: it’s just us.

Tickets are only $20, but that admits one adult and two children, and also gets you a soda and popcorn! We need to charge this fee to pay for the theater, but we hope you agree that it’s a great deal!

To recap:

What:  Special advance screening of Disney•Pixar’s “Cars 2″ in 3D!

Where: New York City’s famous Ziegfeld Theater, 141 West 54th Street

(Btwn 6th & 7th Ave)

When: June11, 2011, 8.30 a.m. Doors, 9:30 a.m. Doors Close,

Program and Screening: 9:45 a.m.

How much: $20 for one adult and two children (small popcorn and drink included!)

Note: Due to the advanced nature of the screening, recording devices will not be permitted into the theater. Unfortunately, this includes iPads. We are very sorry for the inconvenience. 

Click here to purchase tickets.

It promises to be a fantastic morning! Hope to see you there!

John Ratzenberger

Camp Summit

April 25, 2011 3 comments

This is a blog post by Liz Applegate, the Program Marketing and Social Media Manager at Camp Summit.

Ah, summer camp.

If you were a summer camper you can probably remember it like it was yesterday: Fun activities like horseback riding or arts and craft; roasting marshmallows around a campfire; and even staying up late, giggle under the covers with your cabin-mates.

Or maybe, like me, hearing camp stories from childhood friends would have you green with envy and dreaming of the day when you could share the experience with your own children.

But what about a child with Autism? What about your child with Autism? Could these dreams hold true for them as well?

These are questions the staff at Camp Summit is asked by many possible first-time camp families and the response is always a resounding “Yes!”

Camp Summit is unique in its ability to care for campers with no upper age limit. Because of this, success can be built and measured continuously from age six through adulthood. Not only is success seen through continued yearly attendance but also watching campers grow and mature through the years.

From mild to severe, campers with Autism are nurtured to take part in activities with their group and many participate in the much coveted dance at week’s end.  This takes place in an individual’s timeframe-maybe over a few days or maybe over a several years.

Besides a much needed respite for family and caregivers, the benefits of attending camp reaching into the daily lives of our campers and families is often seen. A family recently expressed great joy in sharing news of a successful family vacation with their child with Autism. Through the experience at Camp Summit, the camper was able to fully participate in the activities of the vacation creating memories for all.

But as a caregiver how can you help ensure a successful camp experience for your camper?

Just as your summer camp experience (or that of your friends’) was unique for your needs and interests, so must a camp for a camper with Autism be unique. Camps, even those for campers with disabilities, are not “one size fits all” and it’s important to find the right one for your camper.

Some important questions to consider:

  1. What is the camper to counselor ratio?
  2. How does the camp staff handle transitional times (moving from activity to activity)?
  3. How are food allergies and sensitivities handled?
  4. What if your camper doesn’t want to participate in a given activity?

The benefits of camp are often immeasurable. From needed rest for the family or experiences outside the normal realm of activity, often small accomplishments can be measured in treasured memories by the camper and their families. And through the ongoing efforts of a trained camp staff and continued participation, your camper can enjoy fun experiences from your own summer camp memories…and maybe even leave you green with envy for a roasted marshmallow or two.

For more information on camping programs, including our new fall camping schedule, at Camp Summit, visit our website at www.campsummittx.org.

In Their Own Words – Be Still

April 14, 2011 30 comments

This blog post is by Cheairs Graves, the mother of Dawson and Mae. Her son Dawson has autism and she shares her story on her blog ‘Redefining Typical.’


“Be still and know that I am with you.”  These are words that I have heard in church and at Vespers during my days at summer camp, but it is my son with autism who is teaching me the meaning of these nine words.

“With you” is not exactly how I would describe my ongoing relationship with my son. There are days when he is present, laughing and smiling, and there are days when rolling on the floor and dropping marbles in front of his eyes are his activities of choice.  Words cannot describe the sadness I have felt when my son turns his back to me when I try to play with him or when he does not respond to his name. It is an empty feeling―a feeling of failure―and feelings of why.

But along this journey my son is teaching me. If I listen hard enough, he is screaming, “Enter my world!” when he turns his back to me.

If I sit next to him while he drops the marbles in front of his eyes, he might just look at me and smile.

“Be still and know that I am with you.”

If I lie on the carpet when he is rolling on the floor, he moves next to me.

“Be still and know that I am with you.”

If I sit next to him in the front yard, listening and repeating words back to him―words that he is saying, then I can see his beautiful, blue eyes light up and his crooked smile appear.

“Be still and know that I am with you.”

If I am very still as he comes down the stairs in the morning, I can begin to smile at his ritual of closing off the bedroom and bathroom doors that lead into our room.

“Be still and know that I am with you.”

If I am present when he crawls into the bed and folds himself into the warm comforter, I can celebrate the little life that is lying next to me.

“Be still and know that I am with you.”

If I wrap my arms around him as he puts his head on my chest, I can hear him breathe. My sweet little boy.  My precious little boy. Mommy,

“Be still and know that I am with you.”

 

“In Their Own Words” is a series within the Autism Speaks blog which shares the voices of people who have autism, as well as their loved ones. If you have a story you wish to share about your personal experience with autism, please send it to editors@autismspeaks.org. Autism Speaks reserves the right to edit contributions for space, style and content. Because of the volume of submissions, not all can be published on the site.


 

Summer Camp

April 11, 2011 44 comments

Welcome to this installment of ‘Topic of the Week.’ These topics stem from submissions from our community. If there is anything in particular that you would like to see featured, please contact us!

Choosing the right summer camp for an individual with autism can be a challenging task. How do you choose a camp? What is important to you when choosing a summer camp?

For more information about the Autism Speaks Baker Summer Camp program, please visit here.


What are your IEP Goals?

February 28, 2011 76 comments

Welcome to this installment of ‘Topic of the Week.’ These topics stem from submissions from our community. If there is anything in particular that you would like to see featured, please contact us!

Are you worried about your child not making progress this summer? How will you keep your child academically engaged during summer? What are extended school year options?

What are your IEP(Individualized Education Program) goals? Do you have a particular set of social and academic goals? Have you or your child reached the goals established? What has your experience been?

*Individual Education Program is a document that spells out you or your child’s needs and how these needs will be met. The IEP describes your child’s strengths and weaknesses, sets goals and objectives, and details how these can be met. It is almost entirely related to how the needs of your child will be met within the context of the school district and within school walls.

For more information click here, to know your child’s rights.

In Their Own Words – Doing the Odd Job

July 8, 2010 12 comments

This “In Their Own Words” essay was written by Rose Wade. Rose has two children, including a teenage son with autism. She is a military wife and the founder of The Robin Hood Lego Campaign Advocating Autism Awareness and Lego Therapy.

Summer is here. Officially, as the last day of school for my kids was on Thursday. I know a few moms whose kids have been out for two weeks already. And to think that our school district didn’t even have snow days to make up. Otherwise, I’d be poised at the door until July 1st, waiting for the first opportunity to toss the kids into the pool.

Ah, the pool. We have a new one. One of those ready-to-pop plastic deals with three colorful rings that have to be blown up. By mom. That pretty green of the plastic doesn’t make the job any more fun. But, we have to go with the temporary pool for now. We’re moving soon and I like to pack light. Given my husband’s propensity for shopping, I’m always recalculating the household capacity for storage. “No, hubby. Don’t buy something new until you get rid of something old first. And quit looking at me that way or I’ll start charging you for storage.”

Thankfully, my dear son, Matthew, managed to traverse our very full garage to find the pump we use on our camping gear. Matthew has yet again saved me a bit of work. “Mom, why is your face so red.” “All of my breath is inside the pool, dear. No, don’t…*sighs…step on it.”

A few minutes of the pump to the rescue and Matthew gets the biggest smile of satisfaction when he’s able to be helpful to someone. He’s also sure to make sure you know it. Matthew won’t hesitate to ask if I want to thank him for helping me. “Yes, darling. I always do. Thank you.”

The day is saved! Almost. The lawn needs to be cut before the pool can be filled with water, children, toys, and begin its rapid approach to untimely holes and quick patch jobs. “Pass the duct tape, please.”

Matthew has decided that he wants to learn to do ‘odd jobs’ so he can earn extra money during the summer. The older he gets, of course, the more he wants to be like his dad. Well, his dad is often away from us for deployments. Yes, it’s just me and the kids. And my son who has autism wants to be man of the house.

So, still flying high from ‘saving the day’, Matthew is confident and ready to tackle learning to use the lawn mower.

Well, my backyard is currently more of a jungle, thanks to frequent rainstorms and an uncooperative mower that allowed the grass free reign to grow to two feet high. And Matthew wants to mow it. It’s like me at 14 nagging my dad to teach me to drive. I didn’t care that there was a foot of Chicago snow on the ground. Not the best conditions, but try rationalizing that to a determined child.

But, I’m not one to squash my son’s enthusiasm. Especially when so few activities light up his eyes and hold his interest. Anything that involves actually venturing outside of the house is usually rock-bottom on his list.

With Matthew looking on eagerly, I went through the finer points of how the lawn mower works. Step-by-step. Fill the gas, check the oil, prime it, etc. It’s somewhat difficult to do since Matthew will ask a question while I’m in the middle of an explanation. I’ll have to redirect him and start over.

I found it takes a lot of thought to explain how and why the lawn mower works, what not to do, how to be cautious. All the while making certain he understands and without overloading him with information.

Nearing 13 years old, Matthew is almost a teenager. But autism renders his behavior and actions immature. I know how old Matthew is in years, but I see him approach a gas-guzzling, loud, bladed machine, and I see the innocence of a five-year-old child.

It’s funny to me that Matthew seems confident with the lawn mower itself. He’s a big kid. He gave the pull a half-hearted yank. “Matthew, you have to do it in one pull or it won’t start.” “But mom, I don’t want to break it.”

So, he’s not afraid of the mower. But he hates touching the grass. He thinks it’s gross. Instead of touching the grass, grabbing it and helping empty the bag into the bin, he tried to use the end of the rake. “No, Matthew. That won’t really work. It’s just grass. You can touch it.” I had to repeat and demonstrate five times before he would attempt it himself.

Matthew is in an odd stage, for me, I realize as I watch him tentatively push the mower over the grass. I have to applaud, encourage, and teach him, feed his enthusiasm. And I have to balance my caution of teaching a child to use a lawn mower with teaching a child with autism to use a lawn mower. All of this has to be done to nurture his firsts and his accomplishments, without reverting to the over-protective hovering mommy that I often have the urge to be.

Matthew has managed to mow a small section of the lawn. He’s excited to tell his dad about it during the next phone call. While writing this post, Matthew knows it’s about him. He reads over my shoulder. I asked him to hold off questions until after I’ve finished or else it’ll break my concentration. He began to pace back and forth. Then stopped. “Mom, can I go finish mowing the lawn?”

I know, a lot of parents would jump for joy to have their kids volunteer for the task. I’m sure once the novelty wears off and he’s had to mow the lawn a few times, he’ll start disappearing when it needs to be done. Or bemoan in full teenaged fashion and ask for a raise in his allowance.

We’re not there yet. I have a child with autism who needs a touch more guidance through his accomplishments. I’ll enjoy his enthusiasm while I can. For now, he’s actually outside, raking grass. As long as he doesn’t have to touch it.

The next accomplishments are already on the horizon.

“Mom, when I’m 14 are you going to teach me to drive your car?”

“Um, yes, but maybe not my car.”

“In Their Own Words” is a series within the Autism Speaks blog which shares the voices of people who have autism, as well as their loved ones. If you have a story you wish to share about your personal experience with autism, please send it to editors@autismspeaks.org. Autism Speaks reserves the right to edit contributions for space, style and content. Because of the volume of submissions, not all can be published on the site.

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