Daylight Saving Time – How Changes in Routine Impact Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Daylight Saving Time – How Changes in Routine Impact Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Dr. Jeffrey Selman, PsyD, BCBA-D, VP, Clinical Services for First Children Services, which serves children with autism spectrum disorder and their families through its STRIVE Autism Care Continuum in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Dr. Selman discusses below:

  • Tips for helping a child with autism cope with routine changes or new activities
  • The importance of strict schedules and routines for some kids with autism
  • Why changes in routine can cause difficult behaviors for kids with ASD
  • How First Children Services’ Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and trained behavior specialists help kids with autism manage behaviors and establish routines through its STRIVE Autism Care Continuum

How Changes in Routine Impact Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder by
Dr. Jeffrey Selman, PsyD, BCBA-D, VP, Clinical Services for First Children Services, which serves children with autism spectrum disorder and their families through its STRIVE Autism Care Continuum.

  1. Tips for helping a child with autism cope with routine changes or new activities:
    Many children have difficulty responding to changes in routine. Humans in general are creatures of habit and change requires effort and energy. For children with autism, it is particularly challenging because the need for sameness helps create predictability and comfort in a world that may otherwise feel overwhelming. Rigidity and inflexible
    adherence to routines is hallmark diagnostic criteria for children on the autism spectrum. When there are changes, even subtle changes, it can be distressing and trigger disruptive behavior, tantrums and anxiety.
  2. The importance of strict schedules and routines for some kids with autism:
    It is important to maintain consistent routines and predictable transitions for children with autism. Often times, routines are utilized for parts of the day (e.g., morning routines, evening schedules, etc.), but some individuals benefit from added structure and for tasks to be broken down into shorter increments or steps. Children with autism may have difficulty with receptive and expressive language; therefore, visual schedules with pictures or written directions are encouraged.
  3. Why can changes in routine cause difficult behaviors for kids with ASD?
    Transitions can often trigger challenging behavior. Most children present with at least some resistance, often because we are asking kids to end a preferred activity (perhaps video games) to initiate a less preferred activity (dinner time). Challenging behavior may be a result of internal dysregulation (anger, frustration, anxiety, cognitive inflexibility)
    and reinforced behavior. We want to be sure we are giving ample preview and countdown before a transition occurs. Transitions should be highlighted within a more robust schedule for the day, and these moments can be role-played and rehearsed.
    Providing plenty of rewards can help reinforce the desired behavior. Parents, caregivers, and staff working with the child should remember to give specific, in the moment labeled praise. Some children will also benefit from tangible rewards, which can motivate a more positive response.
  4. How does First Children Services’ Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and trained behavior specialists help kids with autism manage behaviors and establish routines through its STRIVE Autism Care Continuum?
    Through our STRIVE Autism Care Continuum, First Children Services’ Board Certified Behavior Analysts and clinical staff develop programs for clients that address challenges with transitions and breaks in routine. Programs are delivered in clinical settings and in families’ homes where parents can receive plenty of one-on-one guidance, support and training. It is imperative that kids are exposed to similar structures and programming in multiple environments, and that parents understand how to implement the strategies in a natural, positive and consistent manner.

About First Children Services’ STRIVE Autism Care Continuum:
Part of First Children Services’ integrated care network, the STRIVE Autism Care Continuum is dedicated to improving the lives of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania with treatment plans focusing on increasing communication, social skills and life skills to help children ages 18 months and older maximize their full potential. Operated by premier providers of innovative and evidence-based services, the STRIVE Autism Care Continuum utilizes Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapies to provide every child with customized intervention plans tailored to their skills, needs, interests, preferences, and family situation.

via Pexels.com


As a community-based provider, First Children Services is committed to expanding access to high quality care and vital support services through its STRIVE Autism Care Continuum as well as a wide range of home, school, and center based therapeutic and educational services to achieve life-changing outcomes for exceptional kids in the communities they serve. To learn more, visit firstchildrenservices.com.

Back-To-School: Educational Products For Kids During A Pandemic

Back-To-School: Educational Products For Kids During A Pandemic

These are unprecedented times, and everything is unpredictable including when school will get back to normal.

My kids are 100% virtual learning for the foreseeable future and although they adjusting wonderfully and I couldn’t be more proud of how they’re handling this huge change, we can’t help but feel there’s something missing.

I mean, my kids get socialization as much as possible like playdates at the local parks or at friends and family’s homes, and they talk on their phones along with their computer games but there is still something missing.

It’s the hands on experience of using your brain and hands together. I was happy to try out these 2 STEM items that help with this missing aspect. I personally loved Science as a child and thought these quick experiments were just perfect for the amount of time that would hold my 8 year olds attention and keep him interest.

The first up is the Ooze Labs: Colorful Crystal Lab. The absolute best part is that it isn’t a 1 time and done kit. There is a book if experiments to choose from using some provided materials along with household staples where they can be recreated as you wish.

We started started with the first project of the booklet and continued from there. I’ll admit, we went a good 3-4 days doing these experiments and I think he got alittle bored, but the kit is still on our kitchen table ready for the next experiment to be done when he’s ready which I’m sure will be soon.

They seem safe enough for a mature child to be able to do on their own, but it’s suggested that parents are there to assist (and it’s fun for us too!).

Image: Thames and Kosmos

Manufacturer points:
Explore the natural beauty and wonder of crystals by growing them yourself in many different shapes and colors! Set up your lab station — complete with beakers, test tubes, centrifuge, display dome, and more — and use safe, non-toxic crystal salts to conduct more than ten experiments in crystal formation. You can even make red, pink, blue, purple, and clear crystals using the spinning centrifuge! After you’ve completed the experiments in the kit, continue your crystal growing adventures using the cool lab setup and common materials from around your home. MSRP: $29.95; Ages 6+.

We also received some really simple but cool magnetic tiles, the Tileblox Rainbow 20Pc Set. These are great for all ages and can be used for hands on math or engineering. These can also be used for color and shape work for younger children and comes in handy to “quiz” them on how to make a rectangle, etc.. while they’re building.

Using their hands and minds is the skill we want to work on with these. It comes with a book of projects to follow along with, which my son enjoyed copying these, but then he went rogue and started creating his own creations using the blocks.

Image: Amazon

Manufacturer points:
Discover the endless possibilities of Tileblox 20Pc set. With the step-by-step idea sheet, create one-of-a-kind masterpieces! A great set for beginner builders looking to explore and learn through play. Arrives with 8 Triangles and 12 Square in Rainbow colors. Each geometric shape contains magnets that let you build with endless possibilities! TileBlox is perfect for STEM education and when playtime is over, use the magnetic power to simply stack and store. MSRP: $24.99; Ages 3+

These are both Holiday gift worthy items!

DISCLAIMER: I received these items to review and share my opinion with my readers. The opinions are my own and not that of the manufacturer.