Resources for Families of Children with Autism

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I am an ATP working in the special education setting, but I’ve also been an OT for almost 30 years. Since the goal of OT is to improve functional independence and the goal of AT use is to provide tools that help accommodate for disability, the two are a perfect match.  Although my role is to foster academic engagement and success in the classroom, we all recognize the importance of the child’s family as members of the education team.  Carryover in the home is a key piece to supporting that success!

In this post, I’d like to share some of the resources that I routinely offer to parents to introduce them to the use of visual supports, AAC  tools and strategies, and sensory strategies commonly used within the classroom.

Autism logo

Many of our students with Autism are visual learners and many more demonstrate impaired language skills.  The use of visual supports has shown to be an effective tool for establishing routines, supporting communication, easing transitions between activities, and engaging students for socialization, leisure, and learning. Information provided in this handout Visual Supports and Autism will introduce parents to the use of visual supports.

LessonPix  is an easy-to-use online resource that allows users to create various customized learning materials and offers great ideas for integrating use. This is a subscription-based program ($36/year per user) but found in a growing number of classrooms because of its ease of use for creating picture supports for hundreds of communication and learning activities.

One of my favorite resources is AndNextComesL , a blog created by the mother of a child with Autism. The author offers a wealth of ideas and activities for home use, including many free printable materials. I have downloaded the Weekly Autism Planner and all of the Daily Visual Schedule Cards and provide these to parents to support carryover in the home.  There’s even a section of Sensory Resources with great ideas for addressing the special sensory needs of children with Autism.  Since it can be difficult to explain the complex sensory needs of children with Autism, the video, Raising a Sensory Smart Child, can help parents better understand this topic.

Another blog written by a mom of twin sons with Autism offers a personal perspective and information about a range of interventions.  Her post titled Autism and AAC: Five Things I Wish I Had Known, provides insight and ideas related to using Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) strategies.

I always encourage our moms to look at the resources found on Pinterest! I have a great set of files there with resources for ‘all things AT’ and I am always finding new ideas to add to my toolbox.

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Janice Reese

Janice Reese

Director of the AT Center at LTVEC
Assistive Technology Professional
Occupational Therapist

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About Me

My name is Janice Reese and I LOVE assistive technology! I worked as an Occupational Therapist for more than 15 years, earned a Master’s degree in Education Technology, and I’m RESNA certified as an Assistive Technology Profession (ATP).  I have worked in the school system for many years now and I love using technology to enhance the lives of children with disabilities. Since my first love is teaching, I’ve spent just as much time training wonderful teachers everywhere to use these tools in their classrooms.  AT4Kids, llc was founded in 2008 in an effort to provide quality instruction and resources for teachers, therapists, student users and parents who wanted to know more about using AT.

I currently serve as Director of the Center for Assistive Technology, a state-supported program of the Little TN Valley Educational Cooperative.  LTVEC is a non-profit agency whose goal is to provide rehabilitation services and accessibility supports for students with special needs in east Tennessee.  My AT4Kids blog is designed to be as a one-stop resource for ideas and information for those wanting to learn more about the use of AT with children in the special education setting.

I hope to offer helpful hints, program and product reviews, AT recommendations, links to great new finds on the web, and lists of resources for “all things AT”.

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