Monthly Archives: December 2018

Explore the Different Types of Intellectual Disabilities

Intellectual disabilities are those neurologic disorders whose main characteristic is an IQ (intelligence quotient) below 70 when the standard is around 100. For these type of person, difficulties with daily activities are common, and behavior like self-care, social interactions, and communication can be a challenge. People diagnosed with one of these disabilities often have problems processing information and dealing with abstract concepts like money and time; for them living alone can be challenging if they’ve not been taught the proper strategies to handle these situations.

There are many causes of intellectual disability: many of them have it from a genetic condition, others because of problems during pregnancy or childbirth, health conditions while growing up, and even environmental factors. However, people with intellectual disabilities can live an independent life, because while they still have some challenges, they can learn to overcome them and live their lives to the fullest regardless of their condition.

Types of intellectual disabilities!

Fragile X syndrome (FXS)

One of many genetic disorders, it’s caused by a mutation in the X chromosome that affects the development, learning abilities, communication skills, and physical appearance. The level of severity may vary between individuals with this diagnosis.

It can be confused with autism because there are similar symptoms, such as hand flailing, poor social interactions and communication, and no eye contact. It is more common in boys than girls; the syndrome can appear in 1 in 3,600 boys, while with girls it is a 1 in 4,000-6,000 ratio.

Down syndrome

An extra copy of chromosome 21 in the DNA is the cause of the Down syndrome. This is the most common of the genetic disorders that cause intellectual disability. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, around 6,000 babies are born with this syndrome each year in the U.S.

People with Down syndrome can present a variety of characteristics: the intellectual disabilities can range from mild to moderate, and for these children, development is usually slower than for others. Among the characteristic physical features, we can find a slight upward slant of the eyes, a rounded face, and a short stature because of poor muscle tone. They can also present respiratory and heart conditions. With correct treatment and support, their lifespan can be increased up to 60 years.

Autism spectrum disorder

ASD is a developmental disorder that affects communication, social skills, learning, and interaction abilities. It changes the structure and function of the brain; for that reason, children with ASD can present different characteristics, hence why autism is known as a spectrum disorder. But the most important aspect of autism is the struggle with social interactions.

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS)

A genetic disorder that affects chromosome 15, and generates dangerous levels of obesity, because people with this condition suffer from an insatiable hunger; it also causes poor muscle tone and short stature. Children with Prader-Willi find school challenging, especially language and math. Some of the children can be born with distinct facial characteristics like almond-shaped eyes, a narrowing of the head, a thin upper-lip, light skin and hair, and a turned-down mouth.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)

FASD is a series of conditions that a child presents when the mother has a high-level ingest of alcohol while pregnant because the unborn baby feeds through the mother’s bloodstream. Among the symptoms, we can find distinctive facial features, heart and kidney problems, slow growth, learning disabilities, and memory problems. There is no consensus about what is the safest amount of alcohol a mother-to-be can drink while pregnant, for that reason doctors recommend no-alcohol during pregnancy.

These are some of the most common intellectual disabilities that affect many children around the world. Thanks to the advances in medical and treatments techniques, kids with these disorders can have happy and comfortable lives. Come to Autism Soccer and learn about all the programs that we offer to help in the development of children with intellectual disabilities.

Autism Soccer shows all the intellectual disabilities

Levels of cognitive deficit classify the different types of intellectual disability.

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How to Understand a Friend with Autism?

Making friends and sharing great memories with them are some of the highlights of growing up; but for children within the spectrum, this is a delicate subject because one of their main challenges is their difficulty engaging with traditional social skills. However, if both sides make efforts there can be an everlasting friendship and common understanding.

When a neurotypical child wants to make friends with one with ASD, as parents you should explain to them what are the differences between them, and what is the correct approach. These tips can help you prepare all the family to welcome their new friend!

Let’s make new friends!

Acceptance

The first step is to accept the differences between each child. Children with ASD face their own challenges, but they also have abilities that can surprise you! An excellent way to help them connect is finding a common activity or hobby that both kids can enjoy. Remember that while we have different abilities and personalities, those make us the people we are.

Learning

After the first few encounters, you can start to learn the kid’s routine and what he or she can enjoy at your home. For example, you can ask the child’s parents what kind of food he or she likes, and try alternatives to make their food time an enjoyable activity with your children. Both families can become close while the friendship between the kids is growing. It’s vital to learn the preferences of the members of that family, as it can be useful for the future. Who knows, maybe you can plan a trip together!

Understanding

Now that you know what the new friend likes, you have to understand that sometimes he would prefer to be alone or immersed in a game or activity. TV, an external conversation or game will require focus, and it might be hard to keep their attention if they’re focused on something else. But that doesn’t mean that they’re rude, it’s just how they focus on specific tasks.

Invitations

Try always to invite and include your new friend in the activities and gatherings that you host. Kids within the spectrum want to be part of said activities but don’t know how to ask, or don’t catch the rules of the game. Try to explain to them while playing and most important go to their pace.

Never be afraid

If you are worried about how to act in front of your new friend or don’t know how to approach a situation, just ask them directly. More often than not, they’ll be more than ready to explain the reasons behind their behavior or what is affecting them. Also, you should always speak the truth; when they ask a question about participating in a game, and you think that it couldn’t be good for them, discuss it and get a mutual solution.

Communication

Some children within the spectrum understand things better with a visual explanation, others with a verbal one. While with some kids their attention span is short, and for that reason, easy and quick explanations are the best. Find the perfect way to communicate with your new friend, and don’t be afraid to make strange gestures; they will appreciate the effort.

Patience and kindness

Kindness is the way to approach a kid with ASD, and once the friendship is set, you need to be patient. It’s important because sometimes they’ll need time to catch a question, situation or scenario. Remember with children within the spectrum, patience and time are critical in maintaining a good relationship.

Behavior

Always be alert in the changes that kids within the spectrum can show in determined situations. They tend to feel uncomfortable in large crowds, with some noises, smells and even lights, for that reason staying alert for sudden changes is basic to prevent a negative response that can even be dangerous for them. He or she will only need a break to calm down and feel better, just give them space and time.

Be a counselor

Commonly, when kids with ASD feel comfortable with their friends, they can ask for help in some situations, or if you see something strange discuss it with them privately, help them to navigate the tricky world of social interactions.

Stand up for them

If you are a good person, you won’t let your friend with ASD become a target for bullies. When you see someone making fun of them take a stand for your friend and yourself, you can feel great after defending them. But If you think that the situation is turning worse, talk to an adult and let them find a solution to the situation at hand.

A friendship with a kid or teen with ASD is not that difficult when you put your heart and a great effort in it. Take these tips and start to see the benefits of having a friend within the spectrum. Come to Autism Soccer to learn and observe our programs that facilitate children becoming friends!

Autism and friends with it

We’re all the same.

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Strategies to Develop Social Skills in an ASD Child

As parents, you always want the best for your children, including a good social life with incredible friends. But when your little one is diagnosed with ASD, normal situations like making friends can become a challenge. Some strategies can help kids to develop social skills that will help them.

These strategies focus on the basics of social interactions, especially for small children with ASD that cannot fully comprehend all the process of human interactions. Children will always keep it simple, and kids within the spectrum struggle with social situations, but they still see the world simple.

The strategies!

Be a role model

Children are always following your actions, but those within the spectrum won’t understand all the socials behavior that they are observing, for that reason it would be better to take some time and explain to them what is happening. For example, in a family reunion or when a friend is paying a visit, even when shopping groceries the interactions with the store’s personnel can be confusing for your little one. Remember to keep a good behavior because children are observing all, and the explanations are important for the ones with ASD since their comprehension is better with the verbal description.

Talk about possible scenarios

Don’t keep with the interactions that his or her surroundings can show to them, think in the future and what he or she is going to observe. Make a list and discuss it with them, or watch a movie with them and try to explain every question related to relationships and scenarios that are developing on screen.

Roleplay

Even with the observation and the verbal explanations, there will be some interactions with their peers that can make them feel uncomfortable, so it can be good to act them out. Engage all the family here and go through different situations that kids can face, every member has to explain what is happening and how to behave correctly. Role play allows them to practice conversations, body language and other points of communications between humans, in a controlled environment.

Find support

Other families are suffering the same challenges as you, for that reason find and discuss with them how they are helping their little ones with their social skills. Maybe you can arrange a playdate for them, and they can practice the different situations that you have been explaining to them. Later, you can talk to the other parents and how were the interactions, and compare the developing.

Kids with ASD have a tough time with social interactions but believe that they can make friends, that they will speak with the family, and get involved in some activities. And when they start to get a better communication with their peers, others aspects like self-esteem, regulating emotions and motivation will also improve. Come to Autism Soccer and find out programs that will help with your kid’s socials interactions plus other benefits.

Communication in ASD.

Your kid will need to develop social skills to make friends, communicating with others and understand social situations.

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Children’s Books about the Autism Spectrum Disorder

Children with autism can learn the different aspects of their diagnosis with a single book. They can also feel related to the characters that appear in the story since there is nothing more appealing than an individual facing the same challenge as you. These kinds of books can be a helpful guide for every person that knows someone within the spectrum, and they can give small tips for daily interactions.

Because 1 in 68 children will be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, it’s very common to meet someone within the spectrum (it could even be your new neighbor). So these books can give a better understatement of their struggles, and it doesn’t matter the age: preschoolers or teens can read these.

Let’s get the books!

All My Stripes by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer (Ages: 4-8)

Zane is the main character of the book, a zebra with autism that is worried because his differences can make him stand out. But his mother helps him learn that autism is just one of his many qualities that make him unique. The book also contents a foreword by Alison Singer, President of the Autism Science Foundation.

The Autism Acceptance Book: Being a Friend to Someone with Autism by Ellen Sabin (Ages: 6-13)

This is an activity book ideal for classrooms and other group settings. It is an educational tool and a great way to engage a conversation between students to learn how to embrace people’s differences and to treat them with kindness. The activities help them know how a child with autism can feel and how they can react.

Ethan’s Story; My Life with Autism by Ethan Rice (Ages: 6-9)

This is a special book because it was written by a kid with autism, something very surprising since he was only seven and his single thought was to help his classmates to understand him and what is like living with autism. Here Ethan explains his challenges and struggles using his way, and how he is always grateful.

My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete (Ages: 7-10)

“Charlie has autism. His brain works in a special way. It’s harder for him to make friends. Or show his true feelings. Or stay safe.” This is one of the amazing lines that the book gives us. Holly is an actress and autism spokesperson whose son Charlie was diagnosed with ASD and, for that reason, this book was created along with her daughter. Ryan shows us what is like to be a big sibling for children with autism, and how proud she is that her brother knows all the American presidents and can play the piano.

Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes by Jennifer Elder (Ages: 8-12)

An eight-year-old boy named Quinn is the main character here, and he takes us to meet his autism heroes: inspirational people that excelled in different fields like math, science, physics, literature, and even philosophy. These heroes are well known historical figures, and it has been rumored for years that they could be within the spectrum because of their behavior. Different Like Me is fully illustrated and can be a great educational tool.

These books can show you that your child is not alone: there are many people with the same challenges and struggles as your family, and also important historical figures lived with ASD. Reading to your child can be a great activity and a way to form bonds, so start the reading time at home! Come to Autism Soccer and check our different programs for your children.

Reading and ASD.


Reading is a fantastic gift for kids, but for children with autism, it can mean a new understanding of their condition.
Screen reader support enabled.

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Fun Indoor Activities for Children with Autism

Some days, whether by weather or simply to sleep in, families want to stay home. But when you are raising a son or daughter with ASD, these days can be a little challenging for you and for them as well. If you want to entertain them without using any tech device, these activities can be a good starting point. Because as most children, your neurotypical child will enjoy the kind of activity that can activate their senses. Besides, these are a great outlet for them and can function as therapy as well.

Check the activities!

Craft day

You can dedicate an indoor day to only play with craft, there would be some people that will feel uncomfortable with the texture, but some of them can be very addictive.

  • Cornstarch science: this is the easier to make, just mix a cup of cornstarch and water until you get a dough, that can become in a soft dough that can adapt to every form that your kid want. If you add food coloring that would increase the child attention.
  • Sensory bottles: find a water bottle, it can be any, but a large will work perfectly, fill three parts of it with warm water and then add an entire bottle of clear glue, that way everything that you put inside the bottle will float instead of sink. The glue will also give a viscous texture, that can be more attractive for the child if you add glitter or food coloring, superglue the top and ready for fun games.

Indoor Olympics

This is a great activity if your child loves sports or practices one. Create different stations around the house (you can decide how many); each one will represent an Olympic event. For discus throw, find a discus and a basket (can be the one used for laundry) and make your child throw it. For each section, you can make a DIY set of medals, and even roleplay the medals ceremony. All the family can participate and have a great time together.

Board games

These games can be tricky because kids tend to be competitive when playing and this kind of games can last a good amount of time; they probably will get bored. The best option is to set your own rules! All the family can gather before the start, and discuss the new rules; there won’t be limits with them, even the loser can be the winner. The goal of this activity is to have fun and enjoy the family time.

Charades

When kids are at home, it is normal to turn on the TV, but sometimes you as parents will feel that this passive activity is wrong. So, after the child’s favorite show finishes, make a game about it. Write down different scenes of the episodes and gather them in a bowl, your son or daughter will pick one, and with the family or only you and their stuffed animals, see them act the scene out for you to guess it.

Hide and seek

Hide their favorite things or toys around the house, try not to hide them too easily, then give them clues for him or her to search for the treasures. The rewards can be simple, like cookies or his favorite dessert, but the important part is to improve their observation skills and how to follow commands.

As you can see, there are many activities that you can make when you want to spend time at home, and these can help you to develop several skills and create strong bonds in the family. Here at Autism Soccer, we just want the best for children. Visit us and check all the programs that we offer.

Fun activities for ASD kids.

Thanks to these fun and recreational activities, kids will find happiness at home.

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