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Toy Story with autism: where to find sensory-friendly movies

Today we achieved a major milestone: Tosh watched a new movie all the way through, and only used his iPad once.

This has been a long time coming. We first took Tosh to the movies three years ago. At that time, he was five and if you have a moderate to severely autistic 5-year-old, you already know how that turned out. It didn't go well.

He kept running up and down our row and wanted to sit in the row in front of us. At one point, he crawled under the seats so he could get there.

Yeah. Gross.

This all happened during the previews. Mid-way through the animated short, we left. He just couldn't handle it.

But we didn't give up. I'm very passionate about the belief that everyone deserves to go out and experience the world. Whether it's going to the movies, out to eat at a restaurant or on vacation, kids and adults with autism are capable of far more than we realize.

They just need lots and lots and lots of practice.

It's a real conundrum: the only way to learn social skills is...

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Autism: How we homeschool

education May 28, 2019

When I first considered homeschooling Tosh, I was overwhelmed. I had visions in my head of Pinterest-worthy homeschool rooms, and there was no way I could live up to that.

Thankfully, I don't have to. Tosh is making great academic progress working mostly on our kitchen table, sometimes on the playroom floor and occasionally in bed. The book and supplies we're currently using are stacked (somewhat) neatly on a bookshelf and the rest is stored in a filing cabinet in my office.

This post is Part 2 of a series on how we homeschool with autism. You can reach Part 1 here.

These questions came from comments and messages on Instagram. If you have additional questions I didn't include, please post them below in the comments!

Q: Homeschool looks so overwhelming! I wouldn't even know where I would begin.

A: Neither did I! There is no way I could have come up with the curriculum and teaching methods myself. Some parents do, and my hat is tipped to them.

We homeschool through a charter school, which...

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Autism: Why we homeschool

education May 21, 2019

Recently on Instagram, I invited my followers to ask me anything about autism homeschooling. I received a hearty response with many questions from curious parents. One autism mom asked if I could archive the questions and responses for reference. I thought that was an excellent idea, so I'm putting them into my blog.

This first post will be about the whys, and next week I'll start sharing all of the hows.

Some autism parents are satisfied or even pleased with their local school district's special education programs. That's excellent! An appropriate education from your local public school is such a blessing.

But it's more than just a blessing for those lucky enough to get it.

It's a legal requirement.

In 1990, Congress passed The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. This law mandates that special needs students receive an appropriate free public education in the least restrictive environment necessary to meet their needs.

The law was written to provide...

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3 ways your ABA provider should support academics

education therapies Mar 20, 2019

Tosh is making tremendous academic progress this year, and a lot of the credit goes to cooperation among his therapy and education providers.
 
Autism support services aren’t as effective when they’re served ala carte. Each service should dove tail the others and work together to achieve shared goals.
 
In particular, if your child receives outside ABA or other behavioral therapy, like RDI or sensory integration, these providers should work with your child’s teacher to address behavioral problems at school. At a minimum, someone from your ABA provider should attend IEP meetings to provide input regarding goals and how to address behavioral issues.

We are fortunate that the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), our ABA provider, is all in when it comes to supporting Tosh’s educational and speech goals. Since he spends 20 hours a week there, that’s a must. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be enough time in the day for ABA, school,...

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