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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

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!