Blog

 

A warm welcome to you all from Perfect Day.

Is there anything more exciting than beginnings?  A new home, a first date, the first day of school, your first car, your first born.

And so it is with us.  Perfect Day is a new beginning for us and for you.  We're excited at the prospect of being a place where you can shop with trust, where you can find something special that will be it's own new beginning for your son or daughter.

Please take your time and browse and try to imagine our products being used by your child.  How does it look and feel to you.  If you get a positive image, that's good.

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OMESCHOOLING

Considering homeschooling?

 

How would you feel about an individualized learning program for your child, one that can change at a moment’s notice?  Do you think your child might experience less stress and anxiety?  Are you engaged in regular battles with the school or the school division?  Worried about bullying?  Do you notice that your child works better in the morning than the afternoon, or vice versa?

If these questions resonate with you, then perhaps you are ready to explore whether homeschooling is an option.

The first thing to realize is that home schooling isn’t just an educational choice, it’s a lifestyle choice.  Your home is the classroom. So is your backyard, your kitchen, and the park down the street. In fact, the whole city becomes your classroom. 

Sound exciting?

So where do you start?  Research and Network…….

  • Do you have a friend who homeschools their special needs child?  A friend who know a friend?  The more opinions you have, the better equipped you will be.
  • Find the FB groups for homeschooling parents with special needs children. You gain an immediate community of like-minded parents.
  • The web is a great place for information for homeschoolers.

Vicky Parnell (http://vlparnell.com) is a mother and RDI consultant who opted for a form of education called Distributed Learning. Her children have passed through the system now, but she remains very involved with DL:

The most important thing for families of autistic children to know is that if you choose a DL, it can mean access to thousands of dollars of additional funding for autism intervention.  This is because in a bricks-and-mortar public school, special needs funding is absorbed into the school’s budget to provide resource teachers, SEAs, and other specialized staff, and to buy materials for special needs students. Many DLs, however, pass along the responsibility of providing additional support to the student with autism to the individual families; 

Holly Bortfeld is a mother two children, one with Aspergers and the other with moderate autism, and has been home schooling them for years. 

This is what Holly finds positive about homeschooling:

  • It’s special time you get to spend with your child watching and helping them grow and learn.
  • You will KNOW s/he is getting what they need, when they need it.
  • You know they are safe.
  • You know they are consuming the right foods and quantities.
  • It will teach you more than you will ever teach your child.

But Holly offers these cautions. Being fed up isn’t enough.  It will be YOUR responsibility to create a positive learning and socialization environment. For example, can you answer these questions:

  • What does my child need to learn now?
  • What does my child need to learn next?
  • How do I present/teach it?
  • How do I evaluate the effectiveness of the program?

If you can’t answer them, you still have work to do before making the decision.

Good Luck!

 

Helpful links:

 

Distributed Learning:

Autism Funding Unit: help with tutors

 

Homeschooling General:

https://sites.google.com/site/vichomelearn/home

Homeschool FB groups:

 

No doubt there are more links to home school groups. 

If you know of one, please let us know, and we'll add them:  hello@perfectdaystore.com

 

 

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RETURNING TO SCHOOL FOR THE AUTISTIC FAMILY

 

If you have been through this before, you’ll know that your child’s reaction to going back to school will fall between these two poles:

  • Your little one will be happy, excited and so ready to get back to school. They may miss their friends, or the structure that school brings to their lives…..

AND

  • None of the above.  Summer has been a time of freedom, few demands, and for this group, a return to school may create anxiety and even anger.

 

 Start the planning the weekend before:

  • Use a calendar or planner to visually show your child the first day, and then mark off each day.  No surprises will reduce the stress and anxiety. 
  • Ask if there’s anything that he/she wants to do/accomplish before school starts.
  • Start the bed time routine for school days.  It might be even be a good idea to implement this the week before.  Adequate sleep is a crucial factor in reducing anxiety.  

The day before:

  • Try to make this day as relaxed as possible….no last-minute rushing around, if possible.
  • Does your child have any anxieties about returning to school?  Remind them that they’ve done this before, and they can do it again.  First day jitters are normal. 
  • No surprises.  See if you can get a timetable for day 1 and go over it with your child. 
  • Make a list of all the things that may be worrying your child or questions they will have about the upcoming year.  Discuss them with you child and bring a copy to give to the teacher or TA.  This will show your child that have allies in the classroom.
  • Plan a little special together activity for after school….a café, ice cream, a trip to the park.  This will show that you know this might be a difficult day, and you want to acknowledge that.

The morning of:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to get ready. Don’t be surprised if meltdowns occur as anxiety will be at its highest point. Remain calm and logical. But don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t go as planned.
  • Try a preferred breakfast.
  • If your child needs time to relax between wake up and getting going, try a bit a bit of TV or YouTube, or a game as long as it is close-ended.
  • Ask the school about transition item, a favorite toy or gift received during the holidays. The excitement of showing the item to friends and teaches may help to relieve the first day anxiety.

 

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HOW TO PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR GOING TO SCHOOL (OR PRE-SCHOOL) FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME. 

 

 

Entering school is a major event, no doubt about it.  An adjustment, a cause for excitement, and also the potential for anxiety for the student, the entire family.

But there are things than can smooth the transition. Here’s a few:

  • TALK, READ, CHAT:  Honest and open conversation about the first day is really helpful.  Lay out the entire day….when to wake up, the route you will take, what will happen during the day, end of day pick up.  Find books about the first day of school and read them together.  This is a time to be very supportive and positive.
  • SHOP TOGETHER: It can be a lot of fun to get that new lunchbox, backpack, or a new outfit or two.  Put your purchases aside and use only when school starts. That will make them super special.
  • PLAN AND TRY HEALTHY SNACKS AND LUNCHES: Very important for everyone, and particularly if your child is a picky eater. Is your child used to a hot lunch?  If you want to take warm items during the colder months, will your child have help with things like soups.  Planning ahead can avoid snack and lunch time disappointments….and melt downs.
  • THE SCHOOL SLEEP SCHEDULE: Ideally your child should get 9 to 10 hours of sleep every night. Figure out what time you want to get up for school and work backwards.  Start an hour before that to turn off screens and get into calming routines. But do it gradually if you can.  The sleep routine may be the single most important task we have for getting ready for school! 
  • PLAN, PLAN, AND THEN PLAN SOME MORE. Organization is the key to a successful transition.  Lay out clothes the night before.  Maybe make some casseroles for quick and easy dinners that first week. Think about pick up plans if your child is having a really bad day.

Before school commences and early on, the more time you can spend in your child’s new school, with their teacher and special needs aides, the easier will be the transition. School can be very rewarding, offering great educational and socializing opportunities. 

 

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ADAPTIVE PHYSICAL THERAPY

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a diagnosis that describes kids with significant social, communicative, and behavioral challenges. While the diagnosis is mostly associated with difficulty with communication, there are also common physical issues experienced by children with ASD.

They may have low muscle tone, or have a tough time with gross motor coordination (running, kicking, throwing, etc.). These issues can interfere with basic day-to-day functioning -- and they're almost certain to interfere with social and physical development.

Children with autism often develop typically for a short period of time, and then present symptoms as toddlers. Physical symptoms range from difficulty with coordination to lack of muscular strength.

Balance may be an issue: children on the spectrum may find it very hard to ride a bike or use skates.

Perhaps most significantly, autistic children are likely to have difficulty with "motor planning." In other words, they may have the skills to climb onto a swing and be able to hang on -- but they may have a very difficult time coordinating their bodies to "pump" and get the swing moving.

New research on those with autism found that children with better motor skills are more proficient at socialization and communication than those who have physical deficits.

There are specialists, physical therapists, who are becoming much more involved in the lives of children with ASD, in order to help these kids improve their day to day functioning from early childhood well into adulthood.

TO VIEW THIS SECTION, PLEASE SELECT THIS LINK

 

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A HALLOWEEN STORY

There’s a story on the internet about a boy’s first Halloween after being diagnosed with autism.

When this little guy was younger, his mom dressed him in really fun costumes, but after the diagnosis at age 4, he refused to wear any costume at all.

And this was a family that went all-out for the 31st.  The entire house and yard was decorated, and Mom went to great lengths to plan costumes for the entire family, with themes like Ghostbusters and comic book superheroes.

On the day of the school’s Halloween party, this Mom packed her son’s costume, with the hope that with the prompting of a teacher or a class mate, he might change his mind.

And Mom was in the audience when all the kids from Pre-K to the 5th grade entered the gym in parade formation, all in costume, with the sole exception of her son.  He was in his gym clothes, shorts and a tank top.

Her mind went to all sorts of places, but nowhere good:  “OMG, what are the other moms thinking. That I don’t care? Too poor?  Forgetful? 

When they got home, things went even more downhill.  Because of all the pressure he was feeling about The Costume, he refused to go trick or treating. 

The next morning, after thinking about all the events of the previous day, she concluded: “This was not my finest moment as a parent. I had focused so much time and energy on creating a Halloween experience that would meet every Pinterest expectation that I forgot to focus on what was really going on in the mind and world of my child”

This AHA moment was reinforced by the encouraging notes and emails from teachers and other parents. Her son’s teacher called to say how proud she was of him “….for staying with his class, holding hands of two of his closest classmates, and smiling through the entire event”.

In her concern for the way she wanted it to be, she had forgotten how to appreciate the way it was.

Let’s try to keep this lesson close to our hearts this Hallowe’en.   Keep your cool about what and when your child chooses to wear while trick or treating.  Sure you might get some questions from quizzical people wondering about your child’s costumes, but we’re used to people who sometimes cross the line of tactful curiosity.

All your child really needs for Halloween is you. 

And something reflective or bright.

 

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Blog Post: Giving Thanks

 

 

When you Google  ‘Autism and Thanksgiving’, you’ll find a lot articles with very good practical suggestions on how to navigate this holiday without creating needless stress for your autistic child. 

But the concept of ‘giving thanks’ at Thanksgiving is harder to find, and often harder to express.  

Adrienne, who writes the blog ‘Whole New Mom’, said it very well in her post “Why I am Thankful for---Autism”.  What follows are excerpts from this post, but you can read the whole thing here:  

https://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/giving-thanks-thanksgiving-aspergers/ 

“….along the path of healing that we have been on, some days I think, “How would I really feel if I were to wake up and find that my son was completely healed?

And I realize that, I am thankful for autism.  Or rather, I am thankful for the parts of my son that have been made special by his affliction. 

Here is some of what I mean: 

Honesty 

When my son says something, he means it.  There really is no wondering with him.  Try to get that with any other kid (or person, for that matter.). 

Loyalty 

My son sticks close with a fierce loyalty to trustworthy people.  No matter how many times I (and my husband) blow it with him (lose patience, yell when we should hug, etc.), he still loves us.  He sees past our failings and sees our hearts and continues loving and forgiving us.  No matter what. 

Inquisitiveness  

Like me, he wants to know about everything.  He asks questions ad nauseum and they can go on and on.  I get frustrated regularly about the onslaught of questions, but truth be told, if he stopped asking, I would miss hearing what his inquisitive soul was pondering. 

Healing Help 

This “crisis” of autism has helped me to see other health issues in our family and learn how to better deal with them.  Figuring out how to better help my son has helped me to better help my entire family.  And, as a result, it has led me to learn about better health overall.  I've read books and scoured the internet endlessly for health information that has helped me to help him.  And us.  And hopefully now others.  Like you. 

Community  

Because of autism, I have made many friends whom I never would have known otherwise, both locally and on the web.  Autism groups, bloggers, etc.  I am so thankful for the inspiration and friendship of others who are on the same path as us.  A big hug to all of you from me.”

 

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Blog Post: The Benefits of Routine

Routines play an important role in the lives of people with autism. The everyday world as experience by neurotypicals, with its flashing lights, loud sounds and frenzied movement of crowds can be overwhelming to people with autism.

Routines help to create stability and order.

It just so happens that people with autism are naturally drawn to routines, and are motivated to repeat them. The steps in a particular routine, whether the task is brushing teeth or getting dressed, should be presented with a clear beginning and end, and the total routine is often learned quickly.

Since people with autism are naturally motivated to repeat routines, the completion of the routine is in itself reinforcing.

Many tools to aid in structuring routines are available.  These include step by step flash cards, and reward charts.  See our excellent selection here:  

http://www.perfectdaystore.com/category_13/Organization-Home-and-School.htm

 

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Blog Post: Why is Play Important?

...for ALL children
and IMPERATIVE for children with special needs?

cloud-play-FB

  “…play deprivation is a kind of emotional and multisensory starvation…Play is part of our original equipment, but it has to be nurtured to develop.  Normally we play.  When we don’t, something has gone very, very wrong, and nonplayers will suffer a number of effects.”  ~ Dr. Stuart L. Brown, Founder, The National Institute for Play

WHY-4

Top 20 Reasons to Encourage Play for ALL children

    1. Play advances many cognitive skills like learning to focus and paying attention to details.
    2. Play produces an active, alert, but non-stressed frame of mind that benefits a child greatly.
    3. Play opportunities help a child develop problem-solving, organizational and planning skills.
    4. Play promotes both long-term and short-term memory.
    5. Play stimulates language, negotiation and communication skills.
    6. Play teaches a child how the world works from gravity to how things move, float or fly.
    7. Play experiences allow a child to explore symbolic play, imitation and his own creativity.
    8. Play allows a child to build confidence, one trip down a slide or throw of a ball at a time.
    9. Play provides the feedback a child needs to develop self-knowledge and self-esteem.
    10. Play is an excellent way for a child to connect to nature and to explore its many facets.
    11. Active play can enhance a child’s mood, coping abilities and defuse emotionally charged events.
    12. Play teaches the cornerstones of relationship building, cooperation and compromise.
    13. Leadership along with group skills are learned through team or collective play.
    14. Active play promotes a healthy body for children and lowers their risk of obesity.
    15. Play promotes brain development through the use of both the body and mind.
    16. Play can teach a child the lessons of strengthening and balancing his body and coordinating his  hands and eyes.
    17. Play stimulates resiliency by prompting the child to try again and learn patience towards self and others.
    18. Play fosters courage to swing higher and jump farther.
    19. Play teaches empathy by allowing a child to explore the role of both winner and loser.
    20. Play leads to engagement and enjoyment that provides a child with both physical and emotional release.

 

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