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.

 

Dear Mama, 

Typically, August is a fun month full of exciting “firsts” for your child  – their first backpack, first teacher, and first day of school pictures. This year, the world was turned upside down, and your traditional back to school plans were scattered. We know how frustrating, confusing, and upsetting this is. We are moms, dads, grandparents, and caregivers. We know there is an overabundance of information flooding your feed, and the question remains – to return to the classroom or not? Every mom wants to make the best decision for her kids, and you are no different. This season of life can be especially confusing for those kiddos who have autism spectrum disorder or developmental delays. These special kids who cling to a routine now have to deal with the many uncertainties in the midst of COVID. 

At Cayer Behavioral Group, we trust you to make the best decision for your family, regardless of what special needs your child may have. We are here for you through it all! CBG offers comprehensive, effective behavioral therapy. This fall, we are rolling out the First Mateys program for the first time ever! This program is designed for kids with autism and their typically-functioning siblings. Your child will still receive the best “cayer” and behavior intervention, while their siblings learn and play at our child-friendly facility! It’s designed with both your needs and your kids’ needs in mind. You can work, run errands, or do chores knowing that your kids are safe and taken care of. We are still offering our traditional therapy, if that is something you’re interested in! We offer services in the office, in your home, and in the community, depending on your child’s needs and abilities. 

We will meet your kiddo where they are, and work with them to help them become the best version of themselves. We trust you to make the best decision for your child – after all, you know what’s best for them! Trust yourself, mama! You’re doing great! If you need additional resources or support, feel free to reach out to your office at 850-320-6555. 

Much Love, 

Your Cayer Crew 

Cayer Behavioral Group

Ahoy, CBG’ers! Introducing our new fall program, the “First Matey’s”. We are expanding our unique approach to behavioral health by opening up our facility to our Cayer sibling or “first mates”, kindergarten – 5th grade. 

This program is intended to make parents’ lives easier, while still providing top-notch “Cayer” for children with autism and developmental disabilities. Imagine how nice it would be to have one drop off and pick up for all the kids in the afternoons! 

The First Matey’s program will promote sibling relationships, tricky waters often associated with having a sibling on the spectrum, opportunities to learn how to play and support these unique relationships while staying on chart with everyone’s behavioral health.

Of course, the health and safety of your kids is paramount to us. Once a month, our facility is professionally deep cleaned in order to eliminate any harmful germs that might be lingering as well as daily dousing of a microbiologic solution engineered to kill all viruses associated with COVID-19.   All of our employees wear a face covering, and we do our best to encourage social distancing across everyone at CBG. 

If you think First Mateys is something your family could benefit from, give us a shout! The office can be reached at 850-320-6555 if you have any questions about the program. Ready to take the plunge and sign up? Email the completed form below to maggiewilliams@cayerbehavioral.com. Have a safe week, CBG Fam!

 

*Cayer Clinic and/or the First Mateys program is not intended to be a school/educational facility nor do we intend to be a replacement for your child’s school now or anytime in the future. We will continue to function as a true clinic, supporting all your families’ behavioral needs through top notch scientific protocols. 

Top Free Online Arts Resources 

 

Happy Thursday, Cayer Crew! While many states are in the process of reopening and returning to normal, Florida is experiencing a record surge of new coronavirus cases. This means many of our favorite activities are still under lockdown! Fortunately, there are some great online resources to get us through this time. This week, we are bringing you our top picks for online plays, musicals, ballets, and museum exhibits you can view as a family for free! 

 

Alvin Ailey On Stage

Link: https://www.alvinailey.org/performances-tickets/ailey-all-access

Alvin Ailey, a professional dance company in NYC, has compiled a great list of online resources – perfect for little ballerinas at home! In addition to full-length videos and how-to’s, they also offer a playlist of full performances on their YouTube page linked above! 

 

Van Gogh for Children

Link: https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en/art-and-stories/children

The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam has created an incredible site designed specifically for kiddos! The page offers a kid-friendly, online tour of the museum, as well as coloring pages and activities to teach your kids about the prolific artist! 

 

Disney On Stage 

Link: https://disneyonstage.co.uk/education/

For Disney fans, this site offers incredible resources for a range of ages. Coloring pages, crafts, play-writing exercises, and even info on careers in theatre. Perfect for budding actors! 

 

EduHam at Home

Link: https://www.gilderlehrman.org/programs-and-events/eduham-home

Perfect for little history buffs and musical fans, this course explores the context behind the award-winning musical Hamilton. Enjoy cast clips, video highlights, student performances, and more! 

 

Celebrity Bedtime Stories 

Instagram: @SaveWithStories

This adorable account features celebrities like Margot Robbie, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kate Winslet, and more reading stories for kids. These sweet and short videos are something the whole family can watch together at bedtime! 

 

The Roald Dahl Museum 

Link: https://www.roalddahl.com/museum/visit/virtual-museum-tour

Perfect for little readers, the Roald Dahl museum offers a kid-friendly and lifelike virtual tour. It features exhibits from some of his best works, like James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and the BFG

 

This is just a few resources that are available – there are thousands of great ways to access the arts from your home. For more sites, check out Playbill.com, PBS, or your local museums. We hope you all are staying safe and healthy inside. Of course, if you have any behavioral concerns or need help with virtual engagement opportunities, please reach out to your Cayer Behavioral Group RBT or BCBA.  Have fun exploring the arts from the comfort of your couch! 

You Matter, We Cayer.

Happy Thursday, Cayer Crew!

With all this COVID craziness, so many things have moved online, but health waits for no one! When it comes to caring for our kids, we simply cannot press pause and stop even if the world does. It’s always good to have some help and resources to use from home – that’s why we’re bringing you the top 10 FREE apps for kids with ASD!

 

1. Autism Therapy with MITA

 

 MITA (Mental Image Therapy for Autism) uses puzzles to improve childhood development, attention, language, and visual skills. The design of the app is simple, but games and puzzles make it interesting and engaging for your kiddo! 

 

2. Sesame Street and Autism

 

This app is perfect for preschool age kiddos. “Sesame Street and Autism” hosts games, puzzles, storybooks, and more! It features the most popular Sesame Street characters, including Julia, a little girl diagnosed with ASD! This helpful app also offers great resources for parents and families, like how-tos and useful tips to engage with your kiddo.

 

 

3. Sensory Baby Toddler Learning

 

This sweet and simple app is great for kids both on the spectrum and off. Children can pick from several fun background colors, effects, and different fish! They can control where the fish swim, and create fun effects like bubbles with their fingers! 

 

4. Autism Read & Write

 

Reading and writing is something children with ASD often struggle with. This Android app is designed for school-age kids, and parents can customize the difficulty level to fit their child’s unique needs! 

5. ABC Kids – Tracing & Phonics

 

 

 

This game is perfect for toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarten age kids of all abilities! It features many games and activities to help kids learn to recognize letter shapes and associate them with sounds. Perfect for the kiddo who’s just learning to read! 

 

6. LetMeTalk

 

 

 

This communication app is perfect for kids or adults who are nonverbal or struggle with communication. The database holds thousands of pictures that can be used to communicate with, and users can even upload their own pictures or add family members’ names. Even better – it does not require internet connection or data, so it can be used anywhere, anytime! 

 

7. Kinder Tangram: Build a House

 

 

 

Tangrams have been a valuable teaching tool in classrooms for decades. This app brings that same idea to your phone! Kids can create fun builds while learning about shapes and colors. This app can also help build valuable skills like spatial awareness, geometry, and critical thinking! 

 

8. Birdhouse – for Autism

 

 

This app has received great reviews from Parents.com, Huffington Post, and Autism Speaks, among others! It is a journal-type database where you can share unlimited notes with doctors, aides, therapists, etc. Parents can even set a schedule for their child with reminders throughout the day! 

 

9. Endless Reader

 

 

This app helps kids identify “sight words” that are useful for daily life! The app uses fun, cartoon monsters and animations to keep kids engaged. It also features fun sounds and vibrations to keep it interesting! 

 

10. Starfall ABCs

 

The last app on our list is Starfall ABC’s. This is another great tool for helping kids learn the alphabet, letters, and sounds. Similar to Endless Reader, it uses fun colors and sounds to keep kids engaged! 

 

These apps are great online tools to help keep your kids engaged, while keeping them inside and far away from harmful germs! We cannot stress enough how important it is to keep an eye on your kids when they’re using the internet – no matter how old they are! Clickbait, spam, and nasty ads can easily find their way to your phone when you’re not looking. We hope this has been a useful resource to you and your family. Stay safe and healthy, Cayer Families

Happy Thursday, Cayer Crew!

School is officially out for summer, and that means many parents are racking their brains to figure out fun and engaging activities for the kiddos while also limiting screen time. It’s the ultimate challenge! 

In recent years, sensory play has become a popular activity for young kids. Sensory play is any activity that stimulates a child’s sense of smell, touch, taste, sight, or hearing. It has proven beneficial for both typically developing children, and children with learning or developmental delays. It can help build nerve connections, develop motor skills, and it encourages scientific thinking and problem solving! 

For this week’s blog, we’re bringing you three inexpensive and easy ways to incorporate sensory play into your child’s day. These activities require minimal supplies and can lead to hours of fun, screenless play for your kiddos! 

Let’s dive right in! 

 

  1. Beach Day Sensory Bin 

While many beaches in the North Florida area are slowly reopening due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there’s a way you can simulate your own beach day in your own backyard! Beware though – this activity can get messy! This one is best for a grassy backyard or patio. All you’ll need is: 

  • A large, plastic storage container 
  • Clean sand 
  • Mini umbrellas, glass marbles, little beach balls, toy fish, etc. 

The only two requirements for the Beach Bin are the bin itself and the sand. After that, you can fill it with whatever you or the kiddos want! You can add dolls to create “mermaids,” some water to simulate the ocean, marbles for “rocks,” toy fish….Let your imagination run wild! When you’re done with your Beach Bin, you can dump it in the backyard or a trash can, or, cover it with a plastic lid to save the Beach for another day! 

2. I-Spy Sand Bin 

Another way to incorporate sand into your child’s play is an I-Spy bin. This activity is super simple, and requires the same materials as the beach bin – perfect for recycling! You’ll need: 

  • A plastic bin 
  • Clean sand 
  • Small toys like action figures, shapes, animals, food, etc. 

Simply arrange the toys how you’d like in the sand, then challenge your child to find all the toys in a certain time frame. You can even draw them a fun list and have them decorate it beforehand. For older kids, you can increase the difficulty level by using smaller toys and varying the hiding spots. For young kids, you can even break out some whisks, spoons, and measuring cups from the kitchen and allow them to “dig” for treasure. The possibilities for this activity really are endless! 

3. Jello Dig 

This activity is great for babies and smaller kids. Your older kiddos can assist in preparation and clean-up, as this craft can get messy as well! All you need is: 

  • Plastic bin, cooking pan, or bowl 
  • Sugar-free Jello 
  • Some small toys 

Prepare your jello normally, then add some of your child’s small toys. Allow to cool. Then, let baby dig away to their heart’s content! Beware, though – darkly colored Jello like red or blue will dye baby’s hands! We recommend yellow for the best, mess-free results. 

All of these activities are super-versatile, and you can easily add your own twists to them as well. Get creative with it! If you do decide to use any of these, post to social media and tag it #CayerCrafts so we can see!

Happy playing, everyone!