This will bring you to Tears of Laughter ~ Tears of Pain. Enjoy!
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22 seconds to watch that will last for a day. From me to you, all of my friends in all of my categories!
My father was a huge influence in my life and ultimately, in my career. He was not a professional man. He was patriotic. He worked hard. He was kind and generous. He owned a café, The Red Rooster in Iowa Falls, IA. I worked there, first as a dishwasher, then as a waitress, and what I loved most, as a fry cook. I learned a lot about all three of those jobs but what I remember most was the big, wooden, carved sign that my dad had specially made. It hung over the door just as one exited the kitchen and went out into the main dinning room. Nobody could miss it and who would want to. In its simplicity, it read, “You’re not dressed unless you’re wearing your smile.”
A smile is a social thing, you know. People on the spectrum have difficulty with social things to say the least. I’m going to dig in here and give you some ideas of how you can help. In fact, I’m going to say, you MUST help because it IS that important.
All of the following ideas/strategies are based on speech/language therapy. I’m going to share many things about what our family personally did and continues to do.
• Imitation of making funny faces in a mirror (always in a turn taking manner with the adult sitting behind or beside the child)
• Tickling (always to a similar theme – when our son was young we’d roll on the floor together and I’d say, “Doug, tell me your secret to thinness.” I’d tickle and we’d laugh)
• Water play in a bucket – bath time for parents – pour, paint, play, sing, read
• Slapstick humor – watching the old Laurel/Hardy, Three Stooges, Andy Hardy movies TOGETHER.
• Favorite cartoon books – what is the child’s favorite that is non-violent? Doug liked Garfield and we still have the entire set. We drew them. Talked about them. Wrote new ones. Do you see the WE here?
• What’s silly about that? This is one of the most effective means of teaching a person how to look at a scenario and find a silly response. (my blog of July 21, 11 describes this in depth – take a look)
• Taking pictures and looking at pictures of people smiling (discriminate between them)
• Use Photo Booth on an iPad and make goofy pictures of yourself and client
• Teach how and why smiles are part of communication
• Role play using typical peers discriminating between giving and not giving smiles to see how to elicit a smile back
• Put yourself in silly, verbal situations such as, “Today I rode my horse to school and could not find a place to park him.”
• Put yourself in silly, physical situations such as, “I dropped my pencil and it’s very heavy to pick up. It must weight 1000 pounds.” (animation ~ animation)
• Let parents/caregivers know how important smiles are to overall communication
• Put a big SMILE sign in your therapy setting or carry one with you attached to a tongue depressor. Hold the sign up by YOUR face and smile back.
Redundancy ~ Daily practice
All team members ~ Include parents ~ Make it fun
Make it functional
It is social survival
A smile is contagious, infectious, catching, communicable, and transmittable.
I want all SLPs and parents to go to one public place this week.
SMILE at two people at this place.
Do not smile at two people at this place.
Comment on this blog what communicative, kind, social, reciprocal results you find
“When You’re Smilin’”
What was your favorite thing that happened today? Who is your favorite singer? What is your favorite book? Do you have a favorite sport? I have a favorite time of the year, do you? My babysitter used to show me her favorite thimble.
FAVORITE is one of my favorite words and it is powerful. I use it all the time and you should too. It’s one of Kathie’s Dozen Power Words that you will want to us as parents or share with parents as an SLP. Read on and I will reveal a great strategy that most parents need to know because they struggle as they ask the question of their child, “What did you do in school today?”
Children who are not on the autism spectrum can most often answer the question, “What did you do in school today?” But, to verbal children with ASD, this question is way too broad and overwhelming. It is what I’d call loaded. Consequently, those with ASD do no respond in any manner. They ignore the question. They might look away or they might change the topic.
The parent is asking the wrong question.
The parent needs to ask, “what was your Favorite thing in school today?’
Then, the parent needs to anticipate one word or a simple phrase as a response. After that response from the child, the parent must add, “my favorite thing was . . .”
The SLP will be popular with parents when this Power Word strategy is shared.
One might say you will be their FAVORITE SLP!
VIEW STAFF – Las Vegas Review Journal
Posted: Jan. 22, 2013 | 12:18 a.m.
Las Vegas resident Kathie Harrington is the author of two books on autism, “Tears of Laughter – Tears of Pain” and “I Never Told My Son He Couldn’t Dance,” and the children’s book, “Bayo, The Boo Cow.” A speech language pathologist, Harrington graduated with her master’s degree from Truman State in Kirksville, Mo.
In her first novel, “To Dance with Fireflies,” Harrington’s heroine, Audrey Benway, leaves Las Vegas to travel to her hometown, Iowa Falls, Iowa. While there, she revisits a past filled with romance and loss. Despite her commitment to her husband and children at home, Audrey can’t help but wonder what became of Stephen Grant. The man who never knew he was the father of her first child still haunts Audrey’s thoughts after 25 years. When her friends tell her he recently returned to town, Audrey can’t resist calling on him.
For more information on Harrington’s novel, visit willowmoonpublishing.com.
EXCERPT FROM ‘TO DANCE WITH FIREFLIES’
All of a sudden, there they were dancing before her. Audrey had almost forgotten about the magic of fireflies. How could she? How could anyone forget the waltzes, the two-steps, the Charleston’s, the line dances, the beauty and mystery that surrounded every Midwestern summer’s evening? The fields were ablaze with delight, and her eyes were glowing as bright as the lanterns that shined from the millions of fireflies dancing in the Iowa fields. They never seemed to end. Miles and miles, dances and dances, their show went on with a streak here and a bolt there. Into the bushes and out again – no rest at night – fireflies had business to watch over. The sunshine of the day would be their repose. Audrey caught them as a child. She followed them into the bushes as an adolescent. She ignored them as a young adult and even moved away from both of their homes.
How would she relate to the fireflies of Iowa today? The winds that blew through her life between yesterday and her life today were strands of memory cohesively held by her perceptions of a world that was, and the island she had fashioned. She imagined the winds calm, the past as settled, and the fields standing silent in their vigil.
However, for Audrey Benway, the winds were kicking up, and fireflies were dancing all around her.
**** Get your copies of any of the books from Kathie and they will be AUTOGRAPHED. Contact Kathie at her E mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am speaking at this conference on Sunday, March 10, 2013 in Huntington Beach, CA. My topic is “Statements vs Questions in Children on the Autism Spectrum.” Parents and Professionals, I hope to see you there.
There are no words for what happened. As my family and friends know, I am passionate about autism/ASD for those affected by it and their families. I have lived in that world and I not only know it well but I respect it. IF the man who committed this unspeakable crime of slaughter in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012 was on the autism spectrum, it is not the autism that is to blame. This was the act of one man deeply troubled with nobody to listen – not even himself – or he wouldn’t have done it. No gun control laws could have stopped him (I refuse to mention his name).
I have read and listened, cried and mourned, just like you in the last three days. From what I have discerned, I do believe that this murderer was diagnosed and found to be on the autism spectrum. Although there is no evidence to link autism and violent behavior it can be manifested through the environment or lack of proper intervention as well as the fact that autism can co-exist with any other disorder.
As the mother of a grown son on the autism spectrum and as a speech-language pathologist who has dedicated her entire professional career to ASD, my passion is to help, share, and make life easier for these people and their families. I know what it takes.
In my Sunday newspaper, December 16, 2012, in a profile and interviews about this young killer I read the following statements:
Former honor student
Smart but odd and remote
Toted a briefcase
Always wore shirt buttoned all the way up
Very shy and didn’t make an effort to interact with anybody in his 10th grade
A very scared young boy who was very nervous around people
He was a loner
If that boy would’ve burned himself, he would not have known it or felt it physically
He was believed to have suffered from a personality disorder
He had been diagnosed with Asperger’s
A skinny, withdrawn, socially awkward 20 year-old who excelled in academics but apparently not in forming deep friendships
Interested in gaming and computers though seemingly without a digital footprint on social networks
It is not know whether he had a job
He’d say hello and goodbye, and that was about it
As a mother and as a professional ~ here is what I glean
(I can now call him by name because he was a person) Adam Lanza was a “Cipher in the Snow.” He was a nobody. His brother hadn’t spoken to him in over two years as reported. He mother and father divorced. He related only to the inanimate, violent, criminal images he found on his compute. His mother stoked the violent rage in him with her arsenal of legalized weapons telling him they were “okay.” His mental and developmental disorder or disorders were not addressed adequately by his educational system that let him down because he did not qualify since he met the educational standards of the system. The high anxiety of being on the autism spectrum and Adam’s high intellectual ability let him know on a daily basis that he was powerless in a society that values power. And he could not discern fantasy from reality.
I wonder . . .
if Adam had ever been in speech/language therapy for social and pragmatic language
if teachers ever made him answer questions
if his parents supervised what he watched on television as a young child
if his parents knew strategies that could assist him in making wise choices at a young age
if he knew how to relate to a friend
if was allowed to have friends come to his home (it was reported that no friends or work personnel were allowed in the family home by the mother)
if anyone ever did any role playing with him to dramatize social situations
if anyone talked to him about his feelings
if anyone knew his favorite color or what he liked to eat or why he buttoned his shirt all the way up
Oh my goodness, as I cry tears of anguish at the haunting answers to these questions, what a difference all of these things and more could have made on this tragic, horrific day in Newtown, Connecticut. This, I wonder too, will Christmas ever come again to twenty-six families whose tears shall never dry?
We need to laugh at funny things with our kids with autism this autumn:
• Like crackling crispy leaves under your feet or in a bowl if necessary
• Like digging into a raw pumpkin and pulling out the pumpkin goop and seeds
• Like sitting on the floor and reading a Halloween book together
• Like painting funny faces on your hands and pretending to have them talk to each other
• Like lining up pumpkins or gourds from littlest to biggest and back again
• Like pouring water over rocks and listening to it ripple
• Like using a flashlight in a dark room to find the Halloween ghosts the SLP has taped to the walls earlier
• Like singing Five Little Pumpkins together and counting ones your make or draw
• Like adding to the Five Little Pumpkins and making more of them
• Like digging in a bowl of kernels of unpopped popcorn to find the candy corn and counting how many are there
• Like putting on funny Halloween and other autumn colored neckties and jewelry and laughing in front of the therapy mirror
• Like. Like. Like. I could go on and on because the list is endless, as endless as your creativity. This is how children learn. This is how they remember. This is how we teach.
should be done with turn taking, choice, sequencing, association, vocabulary, basic concepts, initiating, asking, answering, yes/no, colors, counting, following directions, and fun. This all leads to forming relationships, better known as social language skills!
A Feast for the SLP
ASD is awesome
It’s on the table every day.
We can feast on its behaviors
Or we can provide a better way.
ASD is for a lifetime
We all have one life to share.
We can stumble through that life in blindness
Or we can show the world we care.
ASD is part of this Thanksgiving
A day we pause to bless.
May we all be thankful for the skills we share
And the many gifts of our success