My husband Lee and I were invited to do a webinar for parents in our school district. We’re sharing the outline here so parents have access to the information and links we shared.

-Lee is pastor at Heights Baptist Church in Alvin
-Sandra is the author of Unexpected Blessings: The Joys and Possibilities of Life in a Special-Needs Family and the host of the podcast, Self-Care and Soul Care for the Caregiver
-They have two boys who attend Harby Jr. High, David and James (who has level 3 autism)
-Sandra also has a sister with Down syndrome

Today we’re going talk about how to:
-Create routines that work
-Strengthen communication with spouses
-Develop better self-care practices
-Meet the sensory needs of our kids

Our children have less anxiety when they know what to expect. Tools to help:
– first/then
– visual schedule
– check lists
– reward charts
– a visual timer (or app)
– if you’re having trouble, email your child’s teacher and ask what works at school

Marital arguments often come down to unmet expectations. Try:
– having a weekly meeting
– sharing a calendar
– discussing how you feel, avoiding words like “never” and “always”

Self-care suggestions

For sensory seekers:

  • –We get outside. We spend time in the backyard, on walking trails, and will head back to parks when they open again (taking proper precautions).
  • –We meet the needs before they become an issue. For example, James has PICA (puts non-food items in his mouth). We offer him lots of crunchy foods like apples and carrots so he works those mouth muscles and gets sensory input. We also have chew tubes for times he needs them.
  • –We work out those big and little muscle groups. We have a little trampoline in the house for jumping. We wrap James up tight like a burrito in his blanket (head out of course). He gets lots and lots of tickles. We also play with Play-Doh and zoom cars around the floor so he works out all his muscles.
For sensory avoiders:
  • –We calm down our home environment. We eliminate clutter, especially in the spaces where he spends the most time.
  • –We use noise reducing headphones. Even at home there may be times he needs them.
  • –We created a quiet area. Well, actually, James created it for himself. At school, they converted an area into a safe and soft place for the kids to go when they feel overwhelmed. We noticed James kept dragging blankets and stuffed animals into our closet when he wanted some quiet time. We have made it comfortable for him and we let him hang out in there when he needs to.

More than anything, our children need to feel safe and secure during this challenging time.

Thank you, Alvin ISD, for the opportunity to connect with parents and offer support!

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