Happy Thursday, Cayer Crew! If you have teens or pre-teens at home, there’s no doubt you’re familiar with Tik Tok. The viral app was launched in 2016, but gained popularity in 2019 and quickly became a household name. Now, it boasts over 60 million monthly active users in the United States alone. While most of its content consists of dancing, pranks, and joking, many people have utilized its popularity for good. Meet three families have dedicated their accounts to telling their autism stories and raising awareness for the condition: 

The McGuire Family 

@haley_mcquire_photo

5-year old Micah Mcquire has nonverbal autism, and had never spoken before, until his mom caught a heartwarming moment of him saying his name for the first time on video. Since then, Micah has been rapidly improving. He has begun to speak without being prompted to, follow directions, and even form whole sentences on his own. His mom, Haley, has devoted their account to chronicling Micah’s journey. Check out their account here: https://www.tiktok.com/@haley_mcguire_photo/video/6874993603832319238?_d=secCgsIARCbDRgBIAIoARI%2BCjyG0c0sxKQwUM0cFgzF42ySNMBjfUIf4TchOcsIRjDMeNg5VT3NtQSIfOJo5hkyg5yB6ET1pwQbBerVExQaAA%3D%3D&language=en&preview_pb=0&sec_user_id=MS4wLjABAAAABPidugtmy1toramUgIRY8Ur7dczN07-TpOKuW09ZCoMXZKDaqPq1Ta_KL6yxCrdt&share_item_id=6874993603832319238&share_link_id=D0E1AFB7-A410-4DC2-B62D-2952B067F64A&timestamp=1602687813&tt_from=copy&u_code=d60jllk6jmgm28&user_id=6684787093329216517&utm_campaign=client_share&utm_medium=ios&utm_source=copy&source=h5_m 

     The Miceli Family

@giacimiceli 

Sisters Carolina and Maria started this account for their brother, Giaci, who is on the autism spectrum. Giaci is twenty-four, and lives semi-independently with his family in Canada. The sisters made the account to show his life, and raise awareness for autism. Through their Tik Tok account, they have raised thousands of dollars for autism-based charity groups in the Ontario area! “Quite a lot of people have been grateful, not only to us, but especially to Giaci for being the hardworking individual like he is and showing them that their child, if they have a toddler or a nephew, brother, sister, cousin with autism, that the sky’s the limit, they can beat the stigma and still be an independent person on the spectrum.” – Caroline Miceli 

Check out their account here: https://www.tiktok.com/@giacimiceli?_d=secCgsIARCbDRgBIAIoARI%2BCjwq7VJ4oNmsEHWlnxua6u4RgT%2BsPKGOWZSnIrAoYexwUspha6yww6HRpAlciDZ1fblRlP8HIgszl0RYL5kaAA%3D%3D&language=en&sec_uid=MS4wLjABAAAAWeFNhEMA4UAIrqoO-0wuzspCB6DX_LcnRdZJH_D4GtIjbTL6aLFCUzFp-1-DqLyU&sec_user_id=MS4wLjABAAAABPidugtmy1toramUgIRY8Ur7dczN07-TpOKuW09ZCoMXZKDaqPq1Ta_KL6yxCrdt&share_author_id=6532041542280970241&share_link_id=A340A327-C64B-49B4-94DD-B8F9A2BBDB55&tt_from=copy&u_code=d60jllk6jmgm28&user_id=6684787093329216517&utm_campaign=client_share&utm_medium=ios&utm_source=copy&source=h5_m

     Paige Layle 

@paigelayle

Paige is a twenty-year old young woman from Ontario who is living with ASD. Because she is very high-functioning, she often faces doubters and skepticism when she talks about her condition. Because of this, she decided to start a Tik Tok account to talk about her struggles and be an advocate for other women and girls on the spectrum. Paige owns her own successful lash business, and speaks out about finding work on the spectrum! Check out her account here: https://www.tiktok.com/@paigelayle

We love to see people using their platform to spread awareness! Autism affects millions of children, and awareness is so important. CBG is always here to help you and your children! If you need assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We can be reached at 850-320-6555, or support@cayerbehavioral.com

Happy Thursday, Cayer Crew! With all the bad news these days, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative. Don’t walk around with a cloud over your head! This week, we’re bringing you three positive news highlights to brighten your mood. 

  1. “Greek Athlete Carries Disabled Woman Up Mount Olympus – Fulfilling her Life-Long Dream” 

22-year old Eleftheria Tosiou always dreamed of climbing Mount Olypmus, but feared her disability would limit her from ever achieving this goal. In college, she met athlete Marios Giannakou, who would become a good friend. Marios carried her on his back up the top of the mountain, helping her see her life-long dream come true! Read more on the Good News Network: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/greek-athlete-carries-disabled-woman-up-mount-olympus/

2. “102-Year-Old Wears PPE to Cast her Ballot”

When 102-year-old Bea Lumpkin was born, women did not have the right to vote. Lumpkin has never missed a presidential election, and did not let the coronavirus stop her! Dressed in full PPE, she successfully cast her mail-in ballot. Read more on the Today Show: https://www.today.com/parents/102-year-old-wears-ppe-cast-mail-ballot-viral-photo-t193369

3. “Dad Builds Desks for Those Who Need Them” 

With the numbers of students working from home continues to increase, not everyone has a safe, quiet place to do school work. Mitchell Couch of Lemoore, California, has made it his mission during quarantine to make sure every child has a clean work space. His wife even got in on the project, and started crafting desks while Couch was at work. Read more on MSN: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/good-news/ive-gotten-thousands-of-messages-dad-builds-desks-for-students-who-need-them/ar-BB19zUm8

We hope these stories have lifted your spirits! These days, it’s easy to feel discouraged. Focus on the good, and try to stay positive, CBG Crew!

CBG is here for all your behavioral needs. We have been in the Tallahassee area for over 15 years, and are committed to improving the lives of children in the area. For more information, call 850-320-6555, or email us at support@cayerbehavioral.com.

Happy Fall, Cayer Crew! The temperature has finally started to dip below 80, which means it’s almost Halloween time! All kids love to dress up like their favorite superhero, princess, or animal, but this can come with extra challenges for kids with autism. Many store-bought costumes come with velcro, zippers, glitter, and other materials that might be over-stimulating for a child with autism spectrum disorder. This week in the blog, we’re covering some costume ideas that are simple and comfortable for your child with autism!

It sounds simple, but you can use normal clothes in your kiddo’s closet to create some spooky looks! One super easy idea is a black cat: dress them in all black, and use makeup to create some fun little whiskers! Another super simple idea is a Minion. All you need is a yellow shirt, overalls, and some goggles! You can also use soft, patterned pajamas for a simple look!

Another super simple idea is a restaurant employee – if your kiddo’s favorite place is Chick Fil A, make them a costume with a red shirt, khakis, and a name tag! Super easy and comfortable!

If you’re looking to purchase a costume, there are several great companies out there that manufacture costumes with sensory issues in mind. One good one is Autism-Products.com; they offer career costumes like firefighters, veterinarians, and postal workers. Additionally, Target now offers adaptive costumes for individuals of all abilities. Included in this line are onesies designed to accommodate sensory issues!

Another tip that might help if your child is apprehensive about wearing a costume is to get the whole family involved. By utilizing them for a group costume, you can choose how simple or complicated you want your costumes to be! One last tip to always have a back up costume, just in case the one you planned on doesn’t work out.

At CBG, we know that behavioral issues don’t take a break for things like Halloween. If you find your child struggling with behavioral issues regularly, please reach out! Your Cayer RBT’s and BCBA’s are here to assist you and your family. We can be reached at 850-320-6555 or support@cayerbehavioral.com. 

Cool weather lovers rejoice! The temperature has finally dipped below 80, and it’s time for some fall fun! The cooler weather, combined with the increase in screen time this school year, makes this the perfect time to get outside with the kids. This week in the blog, we’re bringing you 25 activity ideas that are perfect for autumn!

  1. Take a nature walk – look for birds, lizards, and squirrels!

  2. Rake up leaves and make a pile to jump in.

  3. Collect leaves from your yard and use them to make leaf rubbings using crayons

  4. Collect pinecones and decorate using glitter, felt, or pom-poms.

  5. Visit a pumpkin patch and pick out your own little pumpkin to take home!

  6. Decorate your pumpkin friend using paint, googly eyes, or carve them.

  7. Take a hayride!

  8. Visit a corn maze.

  9. Make your own “haunted house” with costumes, decorations, and spooky music.

  10. Have a halloween dance party with songs like “Monster Mash”, “Thriller”, and “I Want Candy”!

  11. Use the pumpkin seeds from your pumpkin friend to make a yummy snack!

  12. Take a bike ride in the park.

  13. Have a spooky movie marathon!

  14. Host a bonfire outside and roast s’mores.

  15. Make kid-friendly Pumpkin Lattes.

  16. Host a halloween candy trade-off with friends.

  17. Play Ghost in the Graveyard.

  18. Make a handprint Turkey!

  19. List all the things you are grateful for as a family.

  20. Take a drive and see how many different leaf colors you can find.

  21. Bake a yummy berry crisp.

  22. Make a Halloween card for a relative.

  23. Create a Fall centerpiece or wreath using decorations, leaves, and flowers.

  24. Make DIY Halloween costumes using items in your home.

  25. Download some Halloween or Fall coloring pages.

We hope that these Fall activities are fun for you and the kiddos! CBG is here to serve you and your family – if you find your child is struggling with behavioral issues, please reach out! We are here to help. We can be reached at 850-320-6555, or support@cayerbehavioral.com!

Back to school is here, and with it comes a host of nasty germs from your kiddo’s classroom! Staying healthy is more important now than ever, but it can be difficult for kids to understand. In today’s blog, we’re bringing you some helpful tips to make sure your kiddos are staying safe and avoiding nasty bugs at school! 

Emphasize the importance of masks. 

For younger kids especially, it can be hard to understand why keeping a mask on is so important. It might help to let them pick out fun patterns and colors for their masks. You can also do “practice runs” – have your child wear his or her mask around the house to get used to the feeling of wearing it for long periods of time. Make sure to keep masks clean and dry – the CDC recommends washing masks as regularly as other clothing items! 

Practice proper hand-washing. 

Hand-washing is so vital to staying healthy! Make sure your kiddos know to wash hands before eating, after touching toys or supplies, and after using the bathroom. Remember to scrub for at least 20 seconds – to help kids remember this, practice washing and singing the Happy Birthday song twice to get the timing down! 

Teach kids about social distancing. 

Social distancing and masks are the most effective way to stop the spread of coronavirus. And while social distancing in an elementary school classroom isn’t always realistic, it’s important that kids understand to keep their space from one another. An easy way to teach this is the “bubble” example. Don’t let anyone into your personal “bubble”, and if they intrude, politely ask them to take a step back! 

Teach your kids to be aware of their bodies. 

Kids are constantly growing and learning, and might not always realize when they’re feeling off. Emphasize the importance of being aware of your body, and make sure kids know to tell an adult if they are feeling bad! It might be helpful to teach them the symptoms of different illnesses, like a  cold vs. a tummy bug, etc. 

Emphasize mental health, as well as physical health. 

There’s no doubt that this year has been hard on everyone mentally. Kids are feeling the strain of that just as much as adults – missing their friends and the traditional back-to-school routine can be hard on their little minds. Emphasize the importance of mental health, and how to recognize when they are feeling sad, stressed, anxious, etc. It’s ok to take a mental health day every now and then! 

If you find that your child is having behavioral issues resulting from going back to school, please reach out! Cayer Behavioral Group has been providing care for over 15 years, and we are here to help. Our team of RBT’s and BCBA’s are here for your family, regardless of what your child’s needs are. We can be contacted at 850-320-6555, or support@cayerbehavioral.com!

Staying Calm during the Back to School Madness! 

Recognizing your child’s stress + Tips on How to Manage It 

Happy Thursday, CBG’ers! There’s no doubt the past few months have been tough on everyone. For some children with autism, understanding what’s happening in the world may be particularly difficult. Often, routines are extremely important for children diagnosed with ASD, and when one is broken it can result in a major meltdown. Going back to school can only add to the stress! For those of you in your second or third week, you might have already run into hiccups that can cause some behavioral backlash from your kiddos. On the blog today, we’re tackling the issue of stress – how to recognize it, and how to help your kids combat it. Whether you’re at home or in school, we hope these techniques are helpful in kicking stress to the curb! 

Recognizing the Signs

Often, children with ASD handle stress differently than their typical counterparts. Here are some tell-tale signs your kiddo is feeling the strain: 

Trouble sleeping 

Meltdowns or temper tantrums 

Avoid or withdraw from social situations

Rely on obsessions or rituals 

Rocking, spinning, or flapping their hands 

In some cases, harm themselves by biting, scratching, or head-banging. 

Of course, every child processes things differently. These are just a few of the signs to watch out for! 

Tackling the Stress

Once you’ve decided your kiddo is feeling the COVID, back-to-school panic, here are a few ways you can help them through it! 

  • Help them realize what they’re feeling – Stress is a part of life, and kids with autism spectrum disorder are not immune to it! Helping them realize what they’re feeling and validating them is an important part of managing it! 
  • Determine which situations make the stress worse – Are they scared of going out in public? Of staying indoors all day? Make a list of these situations and come up with an action plan. 
  • Encourage calming techniques – Every child is different, so it might take some workshopping with your village to come up with a game plan. Some ideas to try include physical exercise, breathing exercises, utilizing role play, going to a quiet area, or playing with a favorite toy. 
  • Use visuals to your advantage – Kids with ASD are often visual learners. You can use little cue cards or flashcards to help them get familiar with new or tough situations. For example, if they’re scared of going to school, you can walk them through the day using a school bus card, a desk card, etc. 

There are many techniques available to help your kids manage their stress at home. If it gets too much, feel free to reach out to your CBG RBT or BCBA for extra help or other techniques. Quality CAYER doesn’t wait, and we’re here to help no matter what! 

We hope this was helpful and you and your family are safe and well during this time. For more behavioral health tips, suggestions, and resources in your feed weekly, follow us on Instagram and Facebook at @cayerbehavioralgroup!

Happy Thursday, CBG’ers! Back to school is in full swing! We hope you and your kiddos have had a smooth transition back into learning, whether it was online or in-person. For the blog this week, we’ve created some fun, printable coloring sheets for your kiddos to work on during their down-time! Click the link below to download:

https://cayerbehavioral-my.sharepoint.com/:b:/p/emmabonney/EewWAC9Do-BAjzeNGN_nXKQBK7FNpsAVb-pF7R6RYT-m7A?e=bEJCra 

We hope you and your kiddos enjoy this fun, free craft! During this transition, if you find your kiddos needing more behavioral support, please reach out! CBG is here to help. Contact your BCBA, RBT, or call us at 850-320-6555 to see how we can help! We hope you have a great week, and an even better weekend!

Happy Thursday, Cayer Crew! We are getting closer and closer to that time of year when the trees start to change color and the temperature sloooooowly lowers – it’s almost fall, y’all! Even though it’s still 95 degrees in Florida, here are some fun, fall recipes for the kiddos that can help you get into the autumn spirit! 

3-Ingredient Pumpkin Cookies 

All you need is pumpkin puree, vanilla cake mix, and chocolate chip cookies! In a large bowl, combine cake mix, puree, and chocolate chips. Have the kids help you mix and scoop the cookies in small portions onto the baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15-20 mins until golden! So simple and so yummy! 

Homemade Fall Snack Mix

This one is super easy, requires no prep, and can be tailored to your child’s tastes! Have them pick out a few dry, small snacks like candy corn, popcorn, pretzels, peanuts, chocolate chips, and candy pumpkins. Mix well and enjoy! A super easy fall snack or dessert. For some extra sparkle, throw in some fall-colored sprinkles! 

Butternut Squash Pasta 

Butternut squash noodles are a great, healthy alternative to typical pasta noodles. Kids will love the slightly-sweet taste and fun orange color of the noodles! They can be found at any health food store or organic grocery store. Boil pasta until soft, then mix in olive oil, butter, parmesan, salt and pepper, and a little bit of garlic powder. For some added protein, throw in some meatballs! 

Homemade Apple Chips 

This recipe is super sweet and yummy, but completely natural and healthy! The only things you need are apples and cinnamon. Thinly slice your apples into even parts. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 200 degrees for two hours, or until chips are crisp! Let the kids help by picking out their favorite kind of apples and sprinkling the cinnamon! 

Jack-O-Lantern Orange Slices

This snack is perfect for after school! You’ll need small oranges or clementines. Peel the oranges well, but don’t slice. Keeping the orange upright, place a small slice of celery at the top to make the “stem” of the Jack-O-Lantern! You can jazz it up with other fruits as decorations! 

These fall recipes are perfect to get ready for raking leaves, Trick or Treating, and pumpkin-spice everything! We hope you have a smooth return to school, no matter what that looks like for your family. If you find your child struggling with behavioral needs during this difficult transition, please reach out to us! We are here to help, and we offer services to help your child thrive in the community, home, and school. Call 850-320-6555 for more information!

Zoomin’ Into Back to School!

Tips for Maximizing your Child’s Success in Online Learning

Hello, Cayer Fams! Happy Thursday! With school quickly approaching, it’s hard to visualize what the first day will look like due to all the COVID-uncertainties. Many parents are opting to keep their kids home instead of returning to brick-and-mortar schooling. Whatever you decide for your family, we are here to help! If virtual learning is for you, here are a few tips for maximizing your child’s online learning experience.

  1. Set aside a work space.

Having a space set aside can help your kiddo get into the right mindset when it’s time to start school! Set aside a kitchen table, desk, or area that is devoted entirely to schoolwork. Keep some healthy snacks and lots of water on hand. Also, make sure there’s ample lighting, outlets for any charging, and some cute decor to make the space really fun and personal to your kid!

  1. Stick to a routine.

Keeping a routine can also help your kiddo’s mindset and get them in the habit of doing school work at the same time every day. They should wake up at the same time every day, go through their morning routine, and start work at the same time every morning. Depending on their class schedule and if they have Zoom sessions, you might need to make modifications around their needs. Make sure to pencil in time for “brain breaks” and play – kids need movement after staring at a screen all day!

  1. Make time for outdoor play!

Make sure to allow time for your kiddo to get out and explore. Kids need play and movement, and can feel cooped up after sitting indoors all day. After all their schoolwork is done for the day, take some time for a walk, a bike ride, or a visit to a park or playground.

  1. Incentivize.

It can be hard for small kids (or anyone) to stay focused in a home setting vs. in the classroom. Make sure to reward them plenty for good concentration and focus. Use whatever works in your house – small treats, play breaks, stickers, or movie time! Every child responds differently to different incentives.

  1. Use the internet to your advantage!

The internet can be a great supplement to your child’s curriculum! There are tons of free worksheets, videos, and fun games that you can use to reinforce the skills your kiddos are learning. These fun resources can also help them if they are struggling in any areas. Some great sites include Cool Math Games, PBS, and BrainPop.

Back to school season can be stressful enough, even under normal circumstances. If your child has special needs or autism spectrum disorder and you need extra assistance, please reach out! Your Cayer therapists are here to help. Don’t forget to sign up for our Cayer Clinic! We offer services for kiddos enrolled in in-person and online school. We are also introducing our First Mateys program, for both our Cayer kids and their siblings. Call 850-320-6555 for more info! Stay healthy and we’ll see you next week, Cayer Fam!

Peer Pals:

A Clinic “bonus” having ready made friends and beautiful opportunities for peer directed play while participating in our top notch data driven program.