Reach For The Stars with this pediatric therapy and autism services blog.

Fall Activities for Kids

Autumn-lovers, your favorite season is finally here. As the weather gets cooler and the leaves begin to change color, it's time to start thinking about how you can help your kids get outdoors and take advantage of all that this amazing season has to offer. From fun arts-and-crafts projects to festive outings, this list of 20 fall activities for kids has something for everyone! Visit an apple orchard.Make a classic apple crisp.Build a scarecrow stuffed with newspaper.Have an apple cider "tea" party.Bake apple chips.Make an apple stamp.Make handprint leaves.Jump into a leaf pile.Play "I Spy" during a nature walk.Collect and identify leaves.Press leaves into a photo album.Visit a zoo.Check out a haunted house.Make a necklace with Halloween-colored beads.Take a hayride at your local pumpkin patch.Toast the pumpkin seeds from your carved pumpkin.Decorate pumpkins with paint, markers or stickers.Enter your decorated pumpkin into a local contest, or have your own contest!Roll down...
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How to Best Prepare Your Child for Their First Dental Appointment

There are a lot of sensory elements at the dentist’s office like loud noises, bright lights, as well as new tastes and smells. While this can be difficult for a child at first, they usually become more comfortable at each appointment. However, these sensory issues can be much harder for children with autism. Despite these difficulties, there are many ways to help your child with autism prepare for the dentist. I have been practicing family dentistry for 17 years and have worked with many families to help prepare their children for dental visits. I’ve compiled a list of the best tips that you can try with your child before their first dental appointment. Ask plenty of questions One of the best ways to prepare for your child’s first dental appointment, is to ask your dentist a lot of questions. This is a great way for getting detailed information about what dental...
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Family Reunion Tips

As summer is in full gear, many family reunions take place that can be challenging for children with ASD. It is not uncommon to encounter some difficulties related to changes in our environment and how we deal with them. This article is intended to provide some helpful tips based on the principles of ABA to help you make a positive and successful experience during family reunions! Regardless if you have ASD, there will always be a mix of personalities when relatives gather together. Therefore, we need to be realistic with our expectations on what we expect from our children during the gatherings such as family reunions. Tip 1: Pair your relatives: If you are concerned that your child will refrain from engaging with relatives whom they don’t get to see as often, re-arrange the environment in such a way so that your child will want to interact with their relatives. Bring...
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Transition into Summer

The summer break provides great opportunities for families and children to experience new activities, explore new locations, relax and stay in, forget about homework, say no to early mornings, and take a break from the overall rigid structure an academic environment provides. However, completely removing those structures and routines may not be the best approach for all children with ASD. All individuals, regardless of disability status or age, must move (i.e., transition) between multiple tasks and activities throughout the day (Sterling-Turner & Jordan, 2007). In addition to difficulties in social relationships and communication, some individuals with autism may exhibit behavioral difficulties associated with changes in routines (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). For most families, summer schedules include changes in routines such as shorter days in summer school, new teachers, babysitters/therapy providers and overall longer unstructured times. Be prepared to tackle on this summer by utilizing some of these tips for having a...
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Tips for Traveling

Practice makes progress!Practice visiting similar places in advance.Show your child pictures and videos of where you will go.Talk about the trip in the weeks prior to departure.Use a timer to practice for waiting.Contact guest services in advance!Many theme parks, airlines, and hotels will provide special accommodations for your child.Prepare for sensory issues, special diets, limit waiting time, etc.Provide choices!Let your child help to choose toys and snacks to bring with them.Let them choose which seat they will sit in or whose hand they will hold.Allow your child to take a break from the activity if they need to.Prepare for sensory concerns!Pack noise cancelling headphones/earplugs.On the plane choose seats towards the front for less noise.Bring a variety of fidget toys for your child to hold.Prepare to board first to avoid the crowds.Safety first!Consider having your child wear an ID tag/tattoo/shirt, etc. in case they get lost.Wearable GPS trackers can be helpful if...
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Children & Technology

Our children are born in a world where television shows can be watched any time they want on multiple devices around the house. Tablets, computers, & smartphones are accessible to even the most economically challenged families. The overwhelming options can be difficult for parents to navigate as they raise their family. Risks of too much media & technology use include negative health effects on weight & sleep, exposure to content that is inappropriate & issues of confidentiality. According to the American Association for Pediatrics, families should avoid digital media use (except video-chatting) in children younger than 18 to 24 months. For children ages 18 to 24 months of age, if you want to introduce digital media, choose high-quality programming & use media together with your child. Avoid solo media use in this age group. For children 2 to 5 years of age, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of...
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Therapist Vlog - NET teaching


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Identifying language delays in young children

Children develop language skills at different times. Language development can also depend on a variety of factors including: their natural ability to learn language, other skills that they are learning at the same time, how much talking they hear during the day and what kind of response is given to when they do speak or attempt to speak ("Late Blooming or Language Problem?")

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), there are several risk factors to consider when analyzing a potential learning delay

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Promoting Independence

Independent Child

Independence is a valuable part of our daily routines and significantly enhances the quality of life. Even at young ages, a child should be encouraged to develop independent living skills . As a children’s motor and cognitive skills increase, their ability to complete these tasks also increases. By fostering independence in a child’s early years, parents can help make daily living skills become part of a routine rather than a difficult chore. To accomplish this goal, parents can encourage their children by creating opportunities, providing choices, and reinforcing behavior.

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Clothespin Painting

Here is a great craft activity to do with your children where sensory issues will not be a problem. Painting with clothespins! This allows your children to be creative and play with different textures while staying clean at the same time. Who doesn't love an arts and crafts activity that keeps the clean up to a minimum? Watch this video by Whats Up Moms to get the full instructions.
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Family Fun

AMC Movie Sensory Friendly Movie Theaters: Locations: New York AMC 84th Street 6AMC Bay Plaza Cinema 13AMC Bay Terrace 6AMC Crystal Run 16AMC Levittown 10AMC Loews Port Chester 14AMC Loews Shore 8AMC Loews Stony Brook 17AMC Magic Johnson Harlem 9AMC Maple Ridge 8AMC Palisades 21AMC Vestal Town Square 9AMC Webster 12BrooklynSensory Room at the Brooklyn Children's Museum (open year-round, Tuesday and Thursday 3-4:45pm and Saturday-Sunday 2-4:45pm) allows kids with special needs (especially ASD) to engage and explore their senses using interactive equipment. The museum is located at: 145 Brooklyn Ave. Crown Heights. For more info, call 718-735-4400 or visit IslandOcean Olympics August 05, 2016 - August 26, 2016 Fridays, 2:30-4:30pm The Whaling Museum and Education Center of Cold Spring Harbor Cold Spring Harbor All Ages $8; $6 children ages 3-12; free for children younger than 3Long Island Family Fun Fest: The Ninth Annual Long Island Family Festival is...
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Clinical Corner

By: Michelle Segretto, LMSW, BCBA, LBA Clinical Supervisor Welcome parents to our Achieve Beyond Quarterly newsletter! I'm sure everyone is welcoming summer and adjusting to the new summer schedules. New schedules and changes very often lead to challenging behaviors in children (neurotypical and children with diagnoses alike!). This article is intended to provide useful information for your child to get optimal results from the insurance based ABA services. In the most recent publication of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA), new evidenced based information was provided regarding how caregiver's preferences to different types of interventions influence the likelihood that the child's treatment will be effective. The more the parent/teacher agrees with the type of intervention that is being recommended, better results from the behavior intervention plan will occur. Any type of change in a person's life may elicit new behaviors. This is especially apparent with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum...
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Hello and welcome to our first newsletter for all of our wonderful families! We at Achieve Beyond are so grateful to be providing ABA for your child and we want to ensure that we are providing you with the best resources we have available! In keeping with that idea, we are going to be sending out quarterly newsletters that will inform you of any new policies and procedures, new research in the field, stories to make you smile, and activities and resources that your family may be interested in! Please feel free to give us suggestions and feedback in order to help us help you! Just as we get to know you and your family, I think it is important for all of you to know a little about our history! Achieve Beyond was founded in 1995 by Trudy Font-Padron to meet the needs of developmentally delayed and disabled children and...
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Fundraiser for & the NSASA on August 6th!

We would love to see you at our fundraiser for & NSASA on August 6th at Croxley's Ale House in Farmingdale. There will be raffle prizes, a 50/50 raffle, children's entertainment and $5 draft beer specials from the Croxley's favorite list. 
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Tactile Sensory Processing


What is Tactile Sensory Processing?

The tactile system receives information from the environment around us through receptors on our skin that receive touch. Our body then is able to interpret this information and decide how to respond to it. Tactile sensory processing is necessary to develop skills needed for daily activities and social relationships. When the brain has difficulties understanding and responding to tactile information it may be expressed as hyperrosponsiveness or hyporesponsiveness.

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Valentine's Day Sensory Bin

Valentine Sensory Bin

Sensory bins are such a inexpensive and fun activity you can do with your children during holidays. Toddler and preschool age children benefit from the different activities that can be incorporated with them. They are also very popular for children with special needs or developmental delays. Who doesn't love an activity that is fun and encourages your child to learn at the same time? The best part is that you can buy everything that you need at a dollar store!

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Vestibular Sensory Processing

What is it?

The vestibular system is responsible for receiving information as the body moves through its environment. Located within the inner ear, the vestibular system receives sensory information from head movement and gravity to maintain balance, equilibrium and movement through space. Movement and balance is necessary for children to explore their environment. It is also important in the development of emotional security and confidence. For children, vestibular movement can include running, jumping, swinging, or spinning. If a child is hyperresponsive to vestibular input, they will often avoid too much movement because it makes their body feel unbalanced and insecure. If a child is hyporesponsive to vestibular input they may seek excessive amounts of movement that could be considered unsafe at times.

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Toys as Learning Tools


With the holiday season around the corner, many families will be thinking about new toys for their toddlers and preschoolers. Toys have the opportunity to be learning tools and can help grow speech and language skills. However, for these toys to support language, caregivers must facilitate the language. Below are some of my favorites, along with skills your child can learn from playing with these toys.

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Robot Therapy

Some children with autism have difficulty with social and emotional cues from others. Milo is a robot that was created by RoboKind that is a new tool in helping children with autism learn about these cues. One of the main reasons that Milo works so well is because of the engagement that the child has with him in the activities. The robot takes away the anxiety and pressure that the child feels when interacting with a human.
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Halloween Crafts!

Here are some more great crafts from Whats Up Moms. These are activities are all Halloween themed. The ghost mud is great for sensory play. It will open your child up to a new and gooey texture while staying clean at the same time. Who doesn't love a craft that is fun and clean! Just make sure to do the activity outside or have a drop sheet on the ground for easy clean up! The spider web craft is great for enhancing fine motor skills while being festive for the holiday at the same time. Your child will be so excited to make decorations to hang up for everyone to see that they won't even realize they are doing an activity that is a source of therapy. I hope you enjoyed these activities. Happy Halloween!
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