Activities for a Fun Summer

Summertime is my favorite time of the year with warm weather, no school, and baseball! Below are my top three favorite summer time activities and suggestions for making them a hit with your child.

Sidewalk Chalk:

Sidewalk chalk is the perfect activity for kids with creative minds and perhaps not enough paper to write or draw on. It is also an enjoyable way to work on  shapes, letters, and color recognition.   Ed Emberly has a variety of step by step drawing books that use simple shapes to create an assortment of objects, animals, or faces.

Skills to add on:

  • Basic Concepts
  • Endless Expressive-Receptive Language
  • Fine Motor Skills: Writing Letters, Name, Numbers; Drawing
  • Gross Motor: Draw a maze to navigate through or ride bike/scooter

Scavenger Hunts:

Scavenger hunts can happen anywhere: your backyard, in a park, on a walk, or even inside your home on rainy days! Invite some friends/peers to join you and your child, which gives an opportunity to facilitate social interactions. Chelsey at Buggy and Buddy put together an amazing list of free printable scavenger hunts that are sure to keep you and your child learning while targeting some of the skills listed below.

Skills to add on:

  • Gross Motor Skills: Walking; Climbing (if needed); Jumping
  • Social Interactions
  • Shape/Object Recognition
  • Identifying items by feature, function, class

Water Play:

What better way to cool off on a warm summer day than to play in the water?! Here are a few water activities that are sure to keep you cool: colored water (food dye) mixing and pouring, water table, water balloons, and playing in the sprinklers.

Skills to add on:

  • Color Identification
  • Fine Motor-use an eyedropper, funnel, measuring cups to transfer water
  • Shape/Object Recognition
  • Imitation
  • Gross Motor
  • Play and Leisure Skills

I hope that you will enjoy these activities with your child this summer. Remember to incorporate meaningful activities into your daily routines and always take DATA!!

April is Autism Awareness Month

Autism affects countless families across the World every day. In 2007, The United Nations declared April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day. This year will mark the 10th anniversary of World Autism Awareness Day. On this day, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique awareness raising-events.

During April, which is recognized as Autism Awareness month, organizations, businesses, communities, and professional sports teams across the United States sponsor events to help raise awareness for Autism. There are countless ways to get involved, whether it’s as simple as wearing blue, volunteering to help with these events, or establishing new activities in your community.

Are you or someone you know looking for a way to get involved?

Here are a few different ways to participate in Autism Awareness Month in our community:

Kansas City Zoo Autism Awareness Day – Sunday, April 2nd 2017
Do you, your friends, or your family love animals? If you answered yes, then maybe you should check out the Kansas City Zoo Autism Awareness Day on Sunday, April 2nd. Free admission will be provided to people with Autism and the Zoo will offer reduced admission of $6 per person for those accompanying them to the Zoo. If this sounds like the purrfect event for you, check out the KC Zoo’s website for additional information and explore all nature has to offer!

Kendra Scott Gives Back Party – Friday April 7th 2017
Kendra Scott has two locations in the Kansas City metro area which will host the party featuring special pricing, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Autism research. From 5:00pm to 7:00pm the Kendra Scott stores located at Town Center in Leawood, KS and 412 Nichols Road in Kansas City, MO will host the party. If you or someone you know has their heart set on some new jewelry, stop by one of these locations to shop till you drop! Contact the Kendra Scott locations for more details on the sale.

Papa Johns – 40% Off All Orders – Now through April 7th 2017
Too tired to cook, but still need to eat? Take advantage of Papa Johns discounted pizza from now until April 7th 2017. Orders must be placed online with promo code AUTISM40. Contact Papa Johns for more details.

Walk to show support and raise awareness for Autism – Saturday April 8th
Be a Hero and join the Eudora ACES for their 7th Annual Walk for Autism on Saturday April 8th from 12:00pm to 2:00pm. The walk will take place at CPA Park in Downtown Eudora, KS. For more details visit the Eudora ACES Facebook page.

Sporting KC Autism Awareness Game at Children’s Mercy Park Sunday, April 9th 2017
Love Soccer? Hit the pitch with Sporting KC and Light Up Blue at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday, April 9th as Sporting KC takes on the Colorado Rapids at 6:00pm. To score tickets, head to Sporting KC’s website:  or SeatGeek and use Access Code: 17AutismCC.

Kansas City Royals Autism Awareness Night Friday, April 14th, 2017
Few things are better than spending a night watching the “Boys in Blue” play ball at The K. If watching baseball is a hit with you, you can check out the Kansas City Royals as they take on the LA Angels on Friday, April 14th, 2017. Hit a homerun and get your tickets at KC Royals Ticketing.

The Importance of Routines

Day to day routines can be stressful, a routine is, by definition a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program. Routines are performed as part of a regular procedure rather than for a special reason.

Everyone has them; they are a part of everyday life. Morning routines, school/work routines, and bedtime routines. Many children with autism thrive on predictability and structure. Routines give children a sense of security. When establishing a routine, consistency within the routine is key to its success.

Establishing a new routine isn’t always easy; it’s often difficult, the work you put in while establishing the routine will pay off in the end.

Here is an example of what morning routine looks like for my children.

  • Get Dressed
  • Put pajamas away
  • Eat breakfast
  • Brush Teeth
  • Pack Backpack
  • Get in Car

It is important to be consistent in the teaching and maintenance of your routine.   It’s predictable, reliable, and repeatable. No matter what sequence of steps have been decided on, it is crucial that all steps of the routine are followed. Provide positive reinforcement along the way. When a step is completed, praise your child. Celebrate all successes, no matter how large or small!