Board games I like for kids on the Spectrum.

Last week I blogged about how I use board games to help teach turn taking skills to kids with ASD. I’ve been asked what games I recommend and while I have some general guidelines and games that I always try out, not every game will be a hit with every kid.  I mentioned last time that Chutes and Ladders can be tricky as there is an element of chance in it, but it doesn’t have any text to read (a great thing in a kid’s game) and some kids really love the game. Some games come in character variant like Dora the Explorer or Transformers so that they engage kids’ interest. If you can find a game the child is interested in, that’s half the battle right there – they’ve bought in.  So, what games do I have in my stash for kids with ASD? It’s probably not what you’d expect.

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Why can’t we all just get along?

April 2nd is WAAD – which stands for either World Autism Awareness day or World Autism Acceptance Day depending on who you ask.  My Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds were full of posts saying either “Light it up Blue” or “Don’t Light it up Blue, Walk in Red instead” or “wear rainbows for acceptance”. It seems there is a schism in the Autism community, and I’m here to plant myself firmly on the fence. Continue reading

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“It’s MY TURN” – The challenges of turn taking with kids who have ASD

One of the most common non school related questions I hear from parents with children on the spectrum is how to teach turn taking / game playing.  Being able to play games and take turns is an important social skill and, like most other social skills, it is one that needs to be taught. Most neurotypical children need to be taught how to take turns as well, but it’s harder for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Continue reading

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Board Games I Love

I admit it, I’m a board game fanatic.  Luckily I have a great group of friends who also love playing board games and we get together 1-2 nights a month to play.  I own a lot of games myself, and though there is some duplication in collections (Many of us own Settlers of Catan for ourselves, along with Dominion and Carcassonne) I’d say that between all of us we have at least 500 unique games / add ons to games / variants of games. That’s a LOT of choices – though some get played very rarely (I’m looking at you Risk and Axis and Allies). Board games are my favourite choice for a night out with friends since it’s social without being in a loud restaurant or at a movie and I don’t have to have pre-read a book like at book club. Continue reading

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Book Review – Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson

I’m a historian, and as such, I’m generally leery of reading historical fiction set in the time period I studied – World War One.  Small inaccuracies can drive me crazy.  Especially ones that I consider to be lazy – when the author didn’t do his or her research and messed up dates or places. Or when they have a character write a letter from France and their loved one in England gets it within days.  That rarely happens now, it sure as heck didn’t happen with a war going on and mail being censored.  Continue reading

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Sensory 102

Earlier this week, I wrote about the two most common sensory issues that affect children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – sensitivity to clothing and to food textures.There are other sensitivities that affect children on the spectrum. Sensory issues can and do affect every sense. Continue reading

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Sensory 101

One of the hardest things for many parents to understand about their child with Autism is their sensory issues. I’m writing from my experience, which is with kids who have ASD.  Sensory issues can come on their own, as part of Sensory Processing Disorder, or with another condition such as ADHD.

If you don’t have a sensory issue, it can be very hard to understand why you child is refusing to put on the shirt grandma gave him for Christmas because it “doesn’t feel right”.  Often, parents chalk these tantrums up to behaviour or defiance, but as I explained in an earlier post, behaviour is how some children with ASD communicate that there is a problem. Continue reading

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Book review – Juliet’s Nurse by Lois Leveen

The Roman Philosopher Marcus Aurelius said that: “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth”. This is true even of the greatest works of fiction. The stories we know and love come to us from one perspective – that which the author has chosen to give us. Major characters are (usually) well developed and minor characters are often not given a second thought by the reader. Continue reading

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The Walls Have Ears…

One of the things that brings me joy is my work with children and teens who have Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). When I tell people that I tutor and coach people with ASD I often get quizzical looks or outright questions of why I would want to do something like that.

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Android Applications on my Z30

I admit to being a purist. I prefer native apps to Android ports. Built for BlackBerry apps give me the best user experience on my Z30, but apps that have been ported into BlackBerry world are a close second.  Android apps? I was reluctant to use them at first, worried about battery drain or security loopholes, but I’ve mellowed out a bit with time. As a rule, I don’t download an Android app if there is a BlackBerry version available. I have the Amazon app store installed on my phone, and it’s pretty nice, if rarely used.  There are, however, three Android apps that I am unwilling to live without:  Waze, the Starbucks app, and Netflix. Continue reading

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