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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!

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