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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. 

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!

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, 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!

Happy Fall Y'all

The weather is finally cooling down and although the leaves may not be changing color, the smell of pumpkin spiced lattes is in the air… Fall has found the south!

Fall in Florida is the best time of year to enjoy the outdoors. Cayer Behavioral Group wants you to take advantage of all this season has to offer. In honor of this spooky season’s arrival, we’ve gathered some fun activities for you and your family to enjoy.

  • Head to your local pumpkin patch and spend the day outdoors enjoying hay rides, corn mazes, farmer’s markets and petting zoos! Then pick your own pumpkins to take home for more fall fun. Check out fun4tallykids to find a pumpkin patch near you.
  • Bake delicious pumpkin treats. Get creative: pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin crumb bars… the list goes on and on! In fact, here’s a list of 65 ridiculously good pumpkin desserts to make this fall. Let your little ones participate by stirring the batter, adding ingredients, and icing/decorating the finished product. But make sure you save extra pumpkins for…
  • Pumpkin painting! While pumpkin carving may seem like a daunting task for a parent of a child with autism, pumpkin decorating is a fun and safe alternative. Grab some paint, glue, glitter and stickers, and get to work! Use the leftover paint from your pumpkin masterpiece for…
  • Handprint turkeys! Nothing says fall like a classic handprint turkey. Prepare to get messy finger painting some cute Thanksgiving themed keepsakes. If you’re feeling extra crafty, add some feathers for the ultimate finishing touch!
  • Go for a nature walk/hike. Go outside and get moving to make the most of the beautiful fall weather before it’s gone! Enjoy some quality family time in nature (away from technology) and revel in some much-needed exercise after all those delicious pumpkin treats.
  • Settle in for a movie. After a long day of family fun, cuddle up and watch some kid friendly, Halloween classics. Head to Halloweentown, hang with Casper the friendly ghost or enjoy The Nightmare Before Christmas to get in the holiday spirit!

We hope you fall into fall and find time to enjoy your family and friends! As always, feel free to reach out to us at 850.320.6555 or email support@cayerbehavioral.com.

Cheers to chunky sweaters and fall weather!

#AutumnwithAutism #CayerBehavioralGroup #AutismAwarenessEveryDay #WeCayer