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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!

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!

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

Rearranging the Sleeping Game for the Upcoming School Year

Sound the alarms! With our kiddos heading back to school in a few weeks, comes the dreaded early mornings.

This summer you might have been enjoying an alarm free summer, but all of that is going to change very shortly. Transitioning to a school year sleep schedule is your best bet to make the first few days of school as enjoyable as possible. To help make your mornings as pain free as possible we have come up with a few helpful hints. 

  • Make slight changes to their sleep schedule. Do not try to make a drastic change in one night. Slowly rearrange their sleeping schedule by thirty minutes a night, until you are at their ideal sleep schedule by the time the first day of school arrives.  
  • Limit late night electronic use- We know how much we all love using our electronic devices. But using these devices before bed actually disrupts our body’s natural transition to sleep. By limiting the use of these devices an hour or two before bedtime, this will allow your kiddos to get to bed earlier. 
  • Be wary of sleeping in- Although we are all enjoying the last few days of summer…be cautious! You’ll want to keep their time schedule as consistent as possible. 
  • Make sure all your kiddos are getting the recommended amount of sleep- The amount of sleep needed for each child varies by age. Children ages 3-5 should be sleeping 10 to 13 hours, children ages 6-12 should be sleeping 9 to 12 hours, and teens 13-18 should be sleeping between 8 to 10 hours. By getting the right amount of sleep your kiddos will be rested and ready to learn! 
  • Breakfast! Breakfast! Breakfast! There is a reason this is called the most important meal of the day. You want to make sure that this meal is a priority each school morning. Insuring a substantial meal each morning will supply your children with enough energy to start out the school year strong.  

We’re sure you and your fam have been enjoying many leisurely mornings. Alas, it’s time to change!  Making even slight changes in the upcoming weeks will make the world of a difference come the first day of school. 

 

As always, if you have any questions contact Cayer Behavioral Group at 850-320-6555 or email support@cayerbehavioral.com for more information.   

Having a child sit down and focus on homework after a long day at school can be an uphill battle. Kids with autism often have more problems at homework time than their peers. Please, have no fear. Cayer Behavioral Group is here to help you and your child get through homework scotch-free!

Before starting, make sure the homework assignment is understood by your child. Having clear instructions outlined (in tiny steps) may make a world of difference when they are trying to understand the purpose of their homework. Also, make sure the homework is in step with your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Don’t be afraid to refer to your child’s IEP for help when communicating with the teacher and the overall immediate goal.

Next, place your child in an environment where they can succeed. Establish a designated homework-spot and time for you and your child, or even the whole family! This way, everyone in the household is aware: it is time to focus and distractions and interruptions are very limited. This way, you and your child can focus on what’s important–their success!

Last but not least, motivate and reinforce your child’s accomplishments, no matter how big or small! And, don’t be afraid of taking breaks. If a five minute task is taking ten to fifteen minutes, thank them for focusing and give them a little, well deserved, breather. Thanking them for focusing or completing a series of problems and allowing them to walk away from the task at hand will make a massive difference in your child’s motivation and mentality about homework. If your child sees their efforts are noticed and appreciated, homework time is bound to be more enjoyable!

Homework time may not always be smooth sailing, but Cayer Behavioral Group hopes these tips lighten the load! Remember, you are never alone and everyone involved wants to see your child succeed! #autismawarenesseveryday

 

Bedtime.

For some parents, it’s a seemingly harmless word that nevertheless can strike fear into hearts.

Some children seem to gain a special kind of hyper and defiant energy when told to prepare for bed. As the first day of school approaches, getting children to bed for a solid night’s sleep is critical, but the amount of sleep needed varies by age. The National Sleep Foundation recommends for preschool children (11-13 hrs), school age children (10 -11 hrs) and for adolescents (9 ¼ hrs). Daytime sleepiness can result in hyperactivity, inattentiveness and aggression. Having energy during the school day can make a monumental difference.

First things first: take a deep breath. You can do this!

For children with Autism, sleep problems are very common. The two most prevalent challenges are difficulty falling asleep and repeated awakenings throughout the night. Some medications may have a detrimental impact on a child being able to fall asleep or stay asleep. Before putting your child on any new medications, ask your doctor about possible nighttime side effects. If you are currently dealing with these issues, ask your doctor if it may be because of medication.

Start your school year off by establishing a bedtime routine both you and your child can depend on.

  1. Exercise during the day can make it easier for a child to fall asleep. Try to avoid any intensive physical activities close to bedtime, which can have the opposite effect.
  2. Avoid caffeine close to bedtime. Be aware of any beverages your child is consuming which could be harboring caffeine, including tea, soda, and chocolate.
  3. Your child’s sleep environment is critical. It should be calm, dark, and cool. Be aware of any possible toys or distractions in the environment.
  4. Create a predictable routine. Perhaps a bath, listening to music, or reading a book. The use of electronic devices immediately before bedtime can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  5. Teach your child to fall asleep alone. For many parents, this can be the most difficult challenge, as you want to comfort a distressed child. Stay with your child before bedtime but leave before they fall asleep. If needed, only return to their room for reassurances, and leave shortly thereafter.

This bedtime routine can be a special time for you and your child to unwind, relax, and bond. It won’t always go perfectly, of course, but don’t let temporary discouragement keep you from getting back on track. Now, let’s get to sleeping!

 

References

Autism Speaks

          A strong parent-teacher relationship is always important. When you have a child with Autism, it is essential. Consistent parent-teacher communication can make a tremendous difference in your child’s learning and progress. As always, Cayer Behavioral Group is here to take a little bit of that weight of your shoulders and answer all your questions!

          To work toward a positive relationship with your child’s teacher, schedule a one-on-one appointment with them. That way you will be able to specifically talk about your child’s needs and what is expected of them.

          Before going to the meeting, have a list of questions prepared. There’s no such thing as too many questions! Some questions you can ask include:

  1. What is my child expected to learn this year?
  2. How will this be evaluated?
  3. How will my child’s progress be monitored?
  4. What is the best way for us to stay in contact?
  5. What types of tests and evaluations will my child have to take this year?
  6. Is my child participating in class activities?
  7. How are my child’s social skills?
  8. Does my child seem happy at school?
  9. Have you noticed any unusual behaviors?
  10. Do you think my child is reaching his/her potential?
  11. What can I do at home to help support his/her academic progress?

          Remember, don’t be afraid to continue to ask questions if you don’t understand something. Teachers understand that some things are hard to comprehend, and and it is their job to help.

          Throughout the meeting, be yourself! You and the teacher both want the very best for your child. After the meeting, talk with your child and give them an appropriate overview of what was discussed. Ideally, everyone involved should have a clear understanding.

          Don’t forget that you are not the first person to want specific information regarding their child’s education. Everyone involved wants to see your child succeed, and with a strong relationship with your child and their teacher, anything is possible!

 

          This weekend, August 4th-6th, 2017, is Florida’s Annual Tax Free Weekend! Knowing what to buy for your child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may sometimes be a tall order! Cayer Behavioral Group is here to keep it simple!

Here are a few products that you may get some great use of:

Those marked with an asterisk (*) qualify for tax-free benefits!

  1. Markers, printer paper, notebook paper, pencils, pens*
    • Great to have for crafts and having extras for kids is never too much!
  2. 7-pocket file organizers*
    • Can be used to organize all of your students’ or child’s Individualized Education Programs (IEP).
  3. Construction paper*
    • Perfect for labeling and crafts!
  4. Notebooks, drawing pads, and journals
    • Great way for kids to keep up with their own notes and drawings while teaching personal responsibility!
  5. Personal white boards and Expo markers*
    • Great for individual instruction and practicing, reusable, and easy clean-up!
  6. Contact Paper-Clear Adhesive Roll*
    • Can be used to wrap around books to help prevent tears, and water damage.
  7. iPads or personal tablets*
    • Wonderful for increased communication and can offer many apps and programs to stimulate creativity!
  8. Large dry-erase wall calendar*
    • Perfect for keeping up with your and your kid’s busy schedule and is reusable for many months and years to come!
  9. Bean bag chairs
    • Great for a spacious room to add dynamic seating and personal space for kids or yourself!
  10. Brain-Break Cards
    • Offer fantastic and varying ways to either calm, focus, or energize kids! Noise-Reducing headphones*
  11.  Noise-Reducing headphones*
    • Helps students focus on the task at hand, and reduces external distractions
  12. Soothing Sands Sand Box
    • Sand often gives kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder awesome sensory input.  And hey, who doesn’t love sand?
  13. Pencil Grips*
    • Helps kids gently place fingers in the proper position for gripping, so they can master fine motor and handwriting skills!
  14. DNA Ball
    • A great tactile, fidget, and visual toy!
  15. Chewable Pencil Toppers
    • Helps kids with oral motor sensory needs and helps them maintain focus while writing!

          Shopping for school does not have to be a hassle! Here at Cayer Behavioral Group, we want to make getting ready for the new school year as easy and fun-filled as possible for the families and communities we serve! For more information on Tax Free Weekend, visit the Florida Department of Revenue’s website. Cheers to an awesome school year. Happy shopping!

#autismawarenesseveryday #cbg