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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. 

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!

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!

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

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!

 

Father’s Day is right around the corner, and we are so excited to celebrate our amazing dads, grandpas, uncles, and other father figures in our lives. Dads can be some of the hardest people to shop for, that’s why this week we’re bringing you four super cute gift ideas you can make at home with the kiddos! 

Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging all the hard-working single moms who play the role of both mom AND dad! If there’s a single mama in your life, treat her to some fresh flowers or a cute, homemade card this week! Additionally, all of these crafts could be adapted to suit a single mom or any other parent figure that you or your kids may have!

 

Now, onto the crafting!

  1. Finger-Painting Tie:  This craft is super sweet, and mimics Dad’s work outfit! All you’ll need is: 
  • White construction paper 
  • Washable paint 
  • Scissors 
  • A plastic tray 

Place a small amount of paint on the tray and help your child start finger painting. Encourage them to spread out the paint to cover the full area of the tray you are using. While they are painting, cut the shape of a tie from the sheet of paper. It can be as big or small as you’d like! 

Fold a second piece of white paper in half longways. When your child is done painting, press the tie sheet of paper into the paint tray. Hold firmly to ensure the entire area is covered in paint.  If you want the color to be more vivid, feel free to repeat that step! 

Once you’re happy with the way your tie looks, allow it to dry. After it has dried, use a glue stick to attach it to your folded piece of paper. There you have it – the perfect Father’s Day card! If you feel it needs a little more “pizzazz”, feel free to have your child draw on the card, apply some stickers, or write out a personalized Father’s Day message! 

 

 

  2. My Daddy Rocks Craft: This craft is both super unique and a great, creative activity for kids! All you’ll need is: 

  • Eight to ten round, smooth rocks. These can be found outside or in any craft store! 
  • A rectangular sheet of white cardstock
  • Scissors 
  • Markers
  • Glue 
  • Craft Paint and Paintbrush (optional) 

Start by arranging your rocks in the shape of a person. Use the longer, more rectangular rocks to form the torso, shorter rocks for the head and feet, etc. Get creative with it! Using the markers or paint, allow your child to paint the rocks like a person. Add a face, clothes, hair, etc. 

Once the rocks are decorated the way you want them, arrange them on your sheet of cardstock. Glue them down firmly and allow them to dry. Once they’ve dried, allow your kids to decorate the cardstock area as they like. Add a cute Father’s Day memo and you’re done! 

 

 

  3. Father’s Footsteps Poem Keepsake: This sweet and meaningful poem is perfect for both small kiddos and older kids! 

All you need is:

  • Paper (preferably cardstock)
  • An 8×10 picture frame (optional)
  • Washable paint
  • Glue
  • Construction paper
  • “Walk A Little Slower Daddy” Footprint Poem:

Walk a Little Slower Daddy

“Walk a Little slower, Daddy.” said a little child so small.

I’m following in your footsteps and I don’t want to fall.

Sometimes your steps are very fast, sometimes they’re hard to see;

So walk a little slower Daddy, for you are leading me.

Someday when I’m all grown up, You’re what I want to be.

Then I will have a little child who’ll want to follow me.

And I would want to lead just right, and know that I was true;

So, walk a little slower, Daddy, for I must follow you!!

– Bobbie Norman

Print or write the poem on the cardstock paper. Attach a piece of colored construction paper behind it. Soak the bottom of your kiddo’s feet in washable paint. Press their feet on the sides of the poem to make perfect footprints. Wash feet and let paint dry! Write your kiddo’s name, their age, and the date on the paper. Optional step – Frame the picture and give to daddy!

 

4. Upcycled Nuts and Bolts Heart: Speak the language of all dads by making a cute keepsake out of some nuts and bolts!

All you need is:

  • A Canvas
  • Some nuts and bolts (you can also include washers, nails, screws, etc.)
  • Wooden (or cardboard) letters to spell out “ Daddy” or whatever you choose to spell. 
  • A lot of non-toxic glue! 

Outline the shape of the heart/shape you plan on using on the canvas in pencil. Fill the outline with glue, then place your tools on the canvas, in the glue. For best results, you might need multiple applications of glue. Apply the letters you want to use for the name portion. Let dry & voila! Super cute craft for dad!

 

Thanks for reading, Cayer Crew! Feel free to post pictures of your creations with the hashtag #CayerCrafting. We hope you have an incredible Father’s Day with your families!

Hello, Cayer Crew! There’s no doubt these past few months have been tough. Between trying to work from home, rearrange schedules, homeschool, and keep the kids occupied, every parent is feeling the COVID stress!! The stress alone doesn’t even touch on feelings of sadness from missing out on graduations, end-of-year parties, and easy, breezy get-togethers.. Even though it feels like we’re missing out on so much, there are still fun activities that you can do with the kids to feel a little more normal during these crazy times! Take a gander at these germ-free-gems! 

 

  • Go for a nature hike: There are several beautiful trails close to the Tallahassee area, like Phipps Park, Lafayette Heritage Trail, and the Miccosukee Greenway. You can even pack a picnic and enjoy a meal overlooking the beautiful North Florida views. For the best experience, make sure you wear durable shoes and clothing, pack lots of sunscreen and bug spray, and bring along LOTS of water to stay comfortable in the Florida heat! For a full list of trails near the Tallahassee area, check out this list: https://www.alltrails.com/us/florida/tallahassee

 

  • Set up your own Drive-In Movie: Drive-in movies were a staple in the 1950’s, and even though they’re not as popular in 2020, it’s super easy to set up your own 50’s style movie night. All you’ll need is a few simple materials:
  • A projector 
  • A blank wall or a white sheet 
  • A laptop, DVD player, or phone 
  • Some comfy bean bags, chairs, sleeping bags, etc. 

Set up your projector facing the blank area you’d like to project on. Many projectors have Wi-Fi capabilities, or, you can use an HDMI cord to plug the projector into your laptop, DVD, or phone. Super simple! After that’s set up, grab your popcorn, comfy chairs, and enjoy the movie! For a fun twist, grab some cardboard boxes and let your kids decorate them as “cars” to sit in during the film! 

 

  • Take a Day at the Beach: Beaches in Florida are slowly starting to reopen, with some social distancing requirements for visitors. There are several beautiful but quiet beaches close to Tallahassee, including Alligator Point, St. George, and Seaside! Super easy and convenient for a day trip. Grab your floaties and hit the road! Before you visit a beach, make sure you review the guidelines for each one. Always stay six feet apart from the other beach-goers, and wash your hands frequently, especially when you’re handling food!
  • Take a driving tour of Tallahassee: Tallahassee is home to many historical landmarks, like Mission San Luis, the old Capitol Building, and FSU’s campus. Load up the kids and take a drive of beautiful downtown Tally – how many landmarks can you find? For a fun twist, make your own scavenger hunt and see how many historical elements you can spot from your car window! Make the scavenger hunt as simple as you want, depending on your kids’ ages. For older kids, another fun idea is to have them research the landmarks before you visit, to gain some more insight into their significance and impact!

 

  • Schedule a Zoom playdate: It can be hard to go for so long without talking to friends or family members. Thankfully, there are so many ways to stay connected digitally during these crazy times! Zoom is a great platform for doing so. With a stable WiFi connection, users can host a virtual meeting with multiple participants, share their screen, and even access the Internet and other apps while they’re connected. Kids can chat, play games, or even watch movies with friends over Zoom! Use these easy steps to host a super-fun Zoom movie night:
  • Schedule a time with your participants and send out the meeting ID and password. 
  • When the meeting starts, pull up your favorite streaming service in a separate browser. 
  • Share your screen with the meeting, so that all the participants can also see the movie. Make sure the “computer audio sharing” option is also enabled, so your guests can hear the movie as well. 
  • Grab your popcorn and enjoy! 

Just because we have to stay six feet apart doesn’t mean your summer is ruined – it just means we have to be more inventive when coming up with fun activities for the kids! We hope that these ideas are useful and inspire you to take full advantage of this free time – even though it looks a little bit different than summers past. If you use any of these ideas, feel free to post on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #CayerSummer, so we can see all your summer fun!

 

Hey y’all!

Join us as we take a good look inside Week 1 of Cayer Clinic’s “Yes I Can!” Clinic and meet Clinic Coordinator, Jyl Sisson!

For more information, call us at 850-320-6555 or email us at support@cayerbehavioral.com