#Autism #School Calendar & #ReportCards

My Kids Alternate Special Needs Report Cards

A bit late because I was sick for a week with step throat (stay tuned for the blog post about that!), but here’s my son’s Autism class’ calendar for February:

Son’s School Calendar Feb 2015

His class is an Autism-specific class offered through our school board. They follow a Monday through Friday schedule rather than a Day 1 through Day 5 schedule like the rest of the school does.

Report cards were also sent home last Thursday so I decided to film how my kids’ report cards are different from other report cards that go home. My daughter’s report card is the same structure as mainstream school because she’s in mainstream schooling, but has a couple of accommodations for her IEP (Individualized Education Plan). My son’s report card however is very different from mainstream school, seeing as he’s in an Autism-specific class.

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Activities-Based #AdventCalendar (#Autism)

Last year, I switched to an activities-based Advent Calendar. In 2012, I realized how silly the chocolate-filled, store-bought Advent calendar was for three reasons:

  1. the chocolate is cheap and tastes awful
  2. my kids are at their dad’s every other weekend so that means I just throw out the chocolate from those days (why can’t Lindor make an advent calendar?!!)
  3. (and more importantly) my son doesn’t eat chocolate so he didn’t participate

This meant that every morning, my daughter would eat a yucky piece of chocolate while my son ignored the whole lead up to Christmas.

When the opportunity to make an Advent Calendar came up last year through a local mom’s group, I jumped at the chance. We all know that I’m not a crafty person so, when the mom leading the workshop put the canvas and all the materials down in front of me and told me to “just start”, I looked at her with a blank expression and asked her “how?”. Thankfully, because I’ve known her for years, I wasn’t offended when she looked at me as if I had three heads. 😉

After getting over my initial fear, and her showing me how to do some things, I jumped in. Three hours later, our new Advent Calendar was created and ready for use!

Advent Calendar

My daughter was hesitant last year, because she thought she would miss the chocolate but, a few days into the Advent Calendar, she was hooked. This year, she kept telling me how excited she was about the Advent Calendar this year. She even squealed with glee on the weekend about it starting today…and then she didn’t even notice it when she got up this morning. She asked me about it so I looked above her head, then she jumped up and squealed again. Tonight’s activity is to make a snowflake craft. I’ll post pictures on social media throughout the month of the activities we’ll be doing.

Also, people have asked for it so, here’s an “Autism-approved” list of activities that my family can manage for the Advent Calendar:

2014 Activities-Based Advent Calendar

Like me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to follow our Advent Calendar activities this month!

ADDITION MADE ON DECEMBER 2, 2014:

And then I vlogged about our Advent Calendar…

Meal Planning & #SpecialNeeds…?! (#Autism)

I had an “aha!” moment yesterday at mom’s group. The speaker was talking about meal planning and, honestly, whenever this is the topic, I never want to attend. When I was married, I was very regimented abut meal planning. Every Saturday morning, I sat down with the flyers and my recipe books, see what was on sale for the week, make a meal plan for the week then take the kids to the market and library. I would buy staples during the week (pasta, rice, meat, etc), and buy fruits and veggies (and a couple of cookies as a treat for the kids while we were out) for the meal plan.

The rest of the weekend, my slow cooker and oven were going, cooking all the meals for the week so I didn’t have to do anything other than remember to thaw that night’s meal, warm it up and serve throughout the week.

After my marriage ended and my kids’ sensory issues became more prominent, I stopped menu planning. They are very restrictive with their foods, based on blandness (is that a word?!) or spice or shapes. I basically have been eating whatever I felt like of the two dinners I make them each night, or just do up a Mr Noodles for myself. I didn’t see the “point” of meal planning anymore.

My “aha!” moment today was that yes, I can still menu plan…I just need to tweak it a bit, same as what I do for pretty much everything else in our lives. So, I created a Menu Planning Template that I wanted to share…which includes space to write what the kids are eating and what the adults are eating. Nothing fancy:

Meal planning template

Please feel free to print off as many as you wish…and offer feedback below in the Comments section.

I’m also hoping (fingers crossed!) to vlog about my journey with getting back into menu planning so be sure to Subscribe to my Youtbe Channel to check in (or remind me to do it!).

Seriously though, I hope this template is helpful for you…and me! 😉

#BlissDomCA Nuggets of Life Wisdom

Blissdom

Yes, it was a bloggers’ conference. Yes, it was a social media conference. Yes, it was an “online influencers” conference…and it was also so much more! I went to Blissdom Canada ’14 this year…my first time! I’m still working my way through the TONS of information I received during 3-day conference but I felt so many of the quotes I tweeted throughout the conference were also great messages for us as parents of kiddos with special needs, that I thought I would share:

“Value your own voice first” ~ @unmarketing

“Speak of anything in the affirmative…and it will be. Don’t let fear stop you.” @KarenCumming

“Your voice is your biggest product.”  @UnAlison

“Don’t ever fear making mistakes. Guard against not learning from them.” @PercyVites

“Keep going until someone says no, and there’s nowhere else to go, but there’s always another way.” @PercyVites

“No need to freak out. Assess problem at hand. Figure out the solution. Move ahead.” @PercyVites

“How do I stay sane? I laugh at the insanity.” @CaroleStaveley

 

Please share your favourite inspirational quotes/thoughts below in the Comments section.

I’ll share photos and other experiences from Blissdom in a future post.

#Printable: #Autism-Approved #School #Lunch List

printer

With Back to School comes packing up school lunches. Spending some time on Pinterest resulted in me being VERY frustrated. All photos are beautiful and filled with extremely creative visuals of fantastic lunch (and bento) boxes…that my kids won’t eat, and neither will most other kids on the Autism Spectrum. So, I put the question out there on my Facebook Page and asked for suggestions of what my Likers’ kiddos will actually eat…and here is the resulting list of Autism-approved school lunches. It’s practical and sensory-approved…nothing fancy (other than the suggestion to use cookie cutters for sandwiches…but only if your child will still eat it!).

Autism Approved School Lunches

I welcome all suggestions as I would love for this to be a comprehensive list that our kiddos on the Spectrum will eat, that you can use with your weekly meal planning…and hopefully can remain one page so we can post them on the inside of a cupboard (so it’s out of sight) or on a cork board in the kitchen.

 

Be sure to check out other lists on my Printables page too: https://imamomtoo.wordpress.com/printables/. If you would like me to create a list, just let me know…and join my Facebook Page so you can find out when it’s available. 🙂