Wednesday, January 29, 2014

When Is Saturday?

When my son references a book he read months or years ago, 
I figure other kids (with or without autism) will find it engaging too.
Here's his review of When Is Saturday, (which he spontaneously
quoted from two weeks ago). This is an old Sesame Street title
a book you can use to help teach children the days of the week.
Here's his review, I only changed the formatting. 

When is Saturday?

On Sunday, Grover’s mother said that his uncle georgie is coming on Saturday. 
Grover wanted to know when Saturday was. 
Grover’s mother said that it was Sunday, then would come Monday, then Tuesday, 
then Wednesday, then Thursday, then Friday, then Saturday. 
Grover said that it was too many days so his mother made a calender. 
On Monday, Grover cleaned the house. That afternoon, Grover made shapes out of clay with his friends. 
On Tuesday, Grover went shopping for vegetables with his mom. That evening, Grover ate vegetable soup. 
On Wednesday, Grover went to Ernie and Bert’s house. Ernie and Bert took Grover to the library. Big Bird was there. They heard a story called “Rumplestiltskin”. 
On Thursday, Grover jumped on the rope fifty-three times without missing. Cookie Monster came to Grover’s house. That night, Cookie slept with Grover. 
On Friday, Grover went to the park. 
On Saturday, when uncle Georgie came, Grover recited a poem about the days of the week. Georgie really liked it.

My son has calendar ability and finds calendars fascinating. So far I have not
been able to expand that interest, but his remembering this title may indicate I
should be looking for date and day based narratives again. So far journals and diaries
have not interested him.  He's thirteen now (!) but as you can tell,
he still prefers picture books even as we drag him through young adult novels.
Any suggestions?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse Play

Nashville Children's Theatre repertoire this year is almost
entirely book-based - typical for this fine company that
consistently brings the best children's shows to Nashville.
Recently they've begun adding a sensory friendly performance
for each show. The main difference is that you don't have
to worry if your child talks or gets upset - if you want to
go to the comfort room or the lobby you may, but you don't
have to do so. You and your kids can do what suits you best
without worrying about the neurotypicals around you.
This is a wonderful gift. 
They also signal before surprising parts of the show with an 
orange light.
The usher assigned to do so didn't at yesterday's performance,
but there were only two surprising moments (a confrontation
with bullies, and an imagined arrest by the FBI) and no kids
seemed overly affected by them.
My kids had a great time and I think the non-sensory friendly
performances will be sensory friendly enough for many. If your child gets loud or needs to move around, you can use the comfort room which has a good view and adjustable sound-of course it may also have crying babies. Be aware that people in the middle near the front may get soap bubbles on them. Lilly (Amanda Card, who effortlessly radiates the happy Queen of the World Lilly vibe) puts on a cat mask to scare some bullies and uses her squirt gun to chase them away and protect her friends.
If you're interested, here's more information about this show.
Upcoming sensory friendly performances in the rest of the season: 
Number the Stars  March 1, 2014
(based on Lois Lowry's middle school novel about
Lyle the Crocodile April 19, 2014
(based on Bernard Waber's picture book bathtub loving reptile)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Making Music

Many children with autism have an affinity for music.
Not only does music abound in rhythm, rules and rhyme,
kids with autism often retain perfect pitch (there's some
evidence to support that we're all born with perfect pitch).
Kindermusik and other music programs may be good activities
for young kids with autism, letting them interact with other 
kids in a way that minimizes differences and builds on strengths.
My boy did  a couple of Kindermusik classes and while he
did not always stick with the program, he enjoyed it.
Of course Kindermusik is pricey, but you can create music
with your child at home or, if you're lucky, at your library.
You might even start your own music class if you're
ambitious enough. Many songs are in the public domain,
and combining finger games, circling activities, and simple instruments 
is easy to do. Think London Bridge is Falling Down and 
Ring Around the Rosie.
For instruments, shakers are easy - small milk or pop bottles
filled with rice or beans. And don't forget pots and pans! 
For more ideas, check out 
Making Music: 6 Instruments You Can Create by Eddie Oates
and Nifty Thrifty Music Crafts by Felicia Niven.
And here's a book/song that grabbed my boy's imagination:
Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo
by the absurdly multi-talented John Lithgow.
Music may be a wonderful resource for your child whatever
their age. Have fun exploring!
-Spectrum Mom