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How to Write a Short Story Chart FREE Printable

 The kids are big into writing stories right now.  In their spare time I find them sitting in their rooms, on their beds, writing for fun.

At times they even attempt to join story worlds and work together to create the ultimate story.  I can't say that always works out too well, but at least they try.

Needless to say, through the process of observation, I realized it was time to introduce how to write a short story with a handy dandy free printable for the kids to use as their guide. 

And so I did!

FREE How to Write a Short Story Chart

How We Teach our Kids to Write

Many of you know that we developed our own way of practicing writing each day in the classroom to meet the diverse needs of our kiddos and co-op friends.  

There is a very specific time set aside for writing, which is short and sweet, and then we move on to other work that does not require the skill.  

We've found the less required writing each day, the happier the kids are and the more they learn.

You can read more details about how we started this journey in our post called Rainbow Writing Prompts.

The Joys of Observation and Following the Child

I wasn't sure how long we'd follow our original writing path but it ended up lasting seven years!  

Then came this year.  

Our daily writing assignments, which usually take Bulldozer 15 to 20 minutes, started taking hours.  At first I was concerned wondering what in the world was going on, but then I observed his process. 

Bulldozer was happy and content while writing.
He took the time to research each topic and even asked questions.
Instead of writing the minimum six sentences, he wrote an entire page. His writing was beautiful and so full of detail.

Bulldozer was loving the process of writing. It had become an art to him.

And all this from the kid who was extremely delayed in fine motor skills!

Bulldozer developed a hand preference at 8 years of age and slowly started his writing journey from there.

He's the reason that the majority of our work doesn't include writing.

But now... It seemed that the sky was the limit.  

This has been the start of an incredibly writing journey!  
When Kids Write for Fun!

How We've Used this Resource

I introduced the process of how to write a story by asking the kids to think of their favorite movie.  We then went step by step through the prompts in the printable and analyzed the movies.  

The kids had a blast once they understood what they were looking for.

Now they've gone through the steps of outlining their own short story and have started writing a little each day, until they're ready to move on to their next task.

There are bumps along the way for sure, but this chart, as Bulldozer calls it, makes all the difference with it's colors and question prompts.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

This is a subscriber's only freebie. Be sure to follow the directions below to grab your copy!

Directions on How to Obtain Subscriber Only Freebies

1. Click on the Subscriber's link at the bottom of this post.

2. Subscribe to our free newsletter.

3. Open the thank you message you receive after subscribing. (Be sure to check your spam folder, as sometimes it ends up there.)

4. Click the confirmation link in the thank you message.

5. Once the confirmation is complete, you will receive another message with the Subscriber Only Freebies Link and Password.

6. Click on link and type in password. (The password is cap sensitive.)

7. Find the printable pack you are looking for listed in alphabetical order, click on it, and viola!

We hope you enjoy your free printable.

Note: If you are already a newsletter subscriber, open your most recent newsletter. At the bottom you will find a link to the Subscriber Only Freebies page, along with the password in case you forgot it.

 If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.

How to Write a Newspaper Article Learning the Montessori Way: Writing Montessori-inspired Beginning Language Bundle (Pink Series/CVC Words) Cursive Montessori-inspired Beginning Language Bundle (Pink Series/CVC Words) Montessori-inspired Intermediate Language Bundle (Blue Series/Consonant Blends) Cursive Montessori-inspired Intermediate Language Bundle (Blue Series/Consonant Blends) Montessori-inspired Advanced Language Bundle (Green Series/Long Vowel Sounds/Phonograms) Cursive Montessori-inspired Advanced Language Bundle (Green Series/Long Vowel Sounds/Phonograms) Beginner Montessori-inspired Sentence Challenges Beginner Montessori-inspired Sentence Challenges in Cursive Intermediate Montessori-inspired Sentence Challenges Intermediate Montessori-inspired Sentence Challenges in Cursive Advanced Montessori-inspired Sentence Challenges Advanced Montessori-inspired Sentence Challenges in Cursive

FREE How to Write a Short Story Chart

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Hotel Living: How to Make the Most Out of Small Spaces

It took the kids and I less than a week after fleeing for safety to realize that our time away from home was not going to be short.  

A fun, vacation-like hotel stay was turning into a cruel reality of our new hotel living circumstances.

Emotions were high.

Having absolutely no control over what was going on with Sunshine's placement to a new residential treatment center (RTC), I turned my attention to trying to make this situation as tolerable as possible for my other kids.  

Minimalism has always been a passion of mine. Hotel living with three kids for who knows how long was going to be the ultimate challenge. It was definitely time to figure out how to make the most out of small spaces.

Hotel Life: Making the Most out of Small Spaces

Hotel Living: How to Make the Most Out of Small Spaces

Due to our financial circumstances, and the reality that we had no idea how long we'd be living in a hotel, staying in a suite with a full kitchen just wasn't feasible.  

We had stayed in such places several times before. They were far more expensive, yet appliances never seemed to work well enough to justify the cost. 

Our best experiences in the past came when we used the tiny hotel microwave and mini fridge.  So that's what we did.

Hotel Living: Food Storage & Food Prep

I ordered a tiny set of shelves from Amazon to store our groceries that didn't need to be refrigerated.  

Loving friends, and sometimes strangers who were aware of our situation, sent us a second set of shelves, and all we needed to prepare and eat food.

Hotel Living: Food Storage and Food Prep

I ordered pot holders and a magnet from the Walmart closest to our hotel. We learned very quickly they were necessary as we were microwaving almost all of our meals.

Dinomite, Bulldozer and Princess were pleased with the set up and happy to know that just like at home, there was always food on hand if they were hungry.

The four of us would meal plan together and place an order from one of the local grocery stores to be delivered to our hotel room about once a week. 

We'd order take out twice a week to make up for items we couldn't store in our refrigerator and for a little variety.

Once we had our food and food preparation needs taken care of, next on our list of things to figure out was how to wash and keep belongings clean.

Hotel Living: Kitchen/Bathroom/Laundry Room

I think the biggest advantage to our hotel room was how big the bathroom counter was and the storage space it provided.

Originally it was filled with the coffee maker, towels, washclothes etc. 

We moved towels to hooks behind the door and on the wall.  

The coffee maker was put away (hidden behind the TV) as I don't drink coffee. 

Washclothes were put in the drawer by my bed for safe keeping so I always had one when I needed one.

Then I worked my magic!

Hotel Living: Kitchen/Bathroom/Laundry Room

The countertop from left to right, stored the kids' toiletry bags, mouthwash, handsoap, Germ-X, bleach solution, dishsoap, drying rack, and toaster.  

Dinomite and Bulldozer don't eat bread unless it's toasted. A toaster did not come with our room, so I did purchase one.  It was a minor splurge I could justify as our toaster at home needed to be replaced as well.

The shelf under the left side of the sink was home to my toiletry items and extra toilet paper.

The shelf under the right side of the sink was where we kept prescriptions and first aid supplies. I put all of the bottles on the tray that is usually home to the ice bucket and extra cups. It worked perfectly when I needed to pull out everyone's meds each day.

Under the sink I kept two laundry baskets that I had picked up at a local Target. One was for lights and one was for darks.  In between the baskets, where the sink pipe was, I stored our laundry detergent.

This set up served us well our entire stay of five weeks.  The small laundry basket worked perfectly for transporting laundry to the laundry facitility on the first floor of the hotel multiple times a week.

Hotel Living: Dining Room

It only took a few days to realize that we NEEDED a table in our hotel room.  I spoke with the hotel manager. She was more than willing to have staff bring us up a table from downstairs with two chairs, but the space wouldn't fit more than that.  

With four of us in the room, we needed four chairs.

Hotel Living: Dining Room

This resulted in us obtaining a folding card table and chairs set.  The kindness of strangers and friends surrounded us.  I literally cried the day we received this table in the mail.

To protect the table from the heat of our microwave meals, I purchased four placemats from the local Walmart.  The table was perfect for tucking away when not in use, and could easily be pulled out when all four of us needed it for meals and games.

Hotel Life: Storage and Organization Ideas

It's fairly easy to arrange a hotel room to accommodate one or two people, but when you're sharing one room and there are four people, storage and organization are a lot harder to come by.  

Surprisingly, we made things work.

Each kid received one drawer under the TV to fit all of their clothing in.  I took the shelf on the top of the closet.  Coats were hung on hangers as well as all of our facemasks. Suitcases were stored in the bottom of the closet.

Hotel Life Storage and Organization Ideas

Once we realized we were going to be living in a hotel for a while, we obtained library cards for the local library where the kids could check out as many books as they wanted.

Because we had no shelf space, we stored these books under the desk on the floor.  The sides of the desk were perfect for keeping the books upright and in place.

School books and materials were stored on the bottom shelf of the nightstand in between both beds.

Wet swim clothes were hung on a drying rack next to the boys' bed.

Hotel Life: Book Storage

The second table that came with the hotel room, under the desk was moved to another location in the room.  Under it we stored a bin of toys and other personal belongings for each kid. On top of it we placed a Christmas tree, as it was November when our tree at home usually goes up.

If we had still been living in a hotel come December, we would have hung stockings off of the front of the table. Gifts would have gone on the table next to the tree.

Hotel Life: Finding Personal Space

When four people live in one room for an extended period of time, it can be very hard to find personal space.  Surprisingly the kids did really well with this.

Princess' bubble was the couch. When she wasn't sleeping next to me, she chose to sleep on the couch. During the day, this was her space to play, write, read, do homework or whatever. 

We added throw pillows gifted to us by others and a blanket to provide a more comfortable and safe space for her.

The boys shared a bed. When one needed space from the other, he would move to the desk, table or bed, depending on where I was.

If we found ourselves struggling to be in the same space, we'd run errands, or go participate in an outdoor activity.  This worked wonders. 

We started a collection of annual passes, so we didn't have to hesitate about finances, when we needed to leave our hotel room.

I can't say that I'd want to live in a hotel for another five weeks any time soon, but I can say that the four of us, my three children and I, grew so close during this time together.  For that reason, despite the circumstancs I cherish this experience.

Making the most out of small spaces while living in a hotel went a LONG way to help them feel okay during one of the most traumatic experiences of their lives. 

Now that we've been successful at hotel living, I now know that any time we go on a vacation, we can really make the most of any room, to make it feel more like home.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.
A Minimalist Montessori Home Tour: The Kitchen A Minimalist Montessori Home Tour: The Dining Room A Minimalist Montessori Home Tour: The Living Room
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Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Activities for Preschoolers with FREE Printable

When Dinomite was young he would go digging for crayfish under the rocks on an island near our home where we would vacation.  He was fascinated by them.

All of the kids have always been fascinated by lobsters, shrimp and crabs.  

There's just something about crustaceans that attracts the attention of young children.

We've created this set of Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Activities for Preschoolers with a free printables for any and all who share the same fascinations!
Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Activities for Preschoolers with FREE Printable

Crustaceans are part of the arthropod family. The arthropod family also includes arachnids and sea spiders, insects and springtails, and myriapods. This makes crustaceans the perfect topic to study during the spring or summer.

Sunshine really enjoyed these activities a couple years ago.  They were perfect for her, as developmentally she was a preschooler at the time.

Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Activities for Preschoolers

Crayfish Do-a-Dot Page using Tweezers and Shells

Crayfish Do-a-Dot Page Using Tweezers and Shells

This was such an enjoyable activity for Sunshine as she LOVES seashells.  The tweezers provided a challenge for her, but because she loved the shells so much, she was willing to do the work.

She would carefully pick up each seashell using the tweezers and place it on one of the circles in the "C."

Source: This printable is from our Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Printable Pack.  

Crustaceans Do-a-Dot Pages

Also included in the printable pack are three other versions of this same activity for kids to enjoy!

Crustaceans Counting Clip Cards

Crustaceans Counting Clip Cards

At the time, Sunshine was working on identifying numbers 11-20. We created these clip cards to help her out.  She loved having answer choices, and crustaceans lined up in rows so they were easy to count.

With each card, she would count crustraceans and then place a glass bead on the correct answer.

Source: This printable is from our Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Printable Pack

Crustaceans Number Writing Cards

Crustaceans Number Writing Cards

Sunshine wasn't the biggest fan of numbers when these activities were presented, but she couldn'g get enough of writing. To draw her to number activities, I created these cards so she could practice writing.  Sure enough she used them!

Sunshine would count crustaceans and then write the number on the laminated cards using a dry erase marker.  At the end of the activity, after she checked her answers, she knew to wipe the cards and make sure they were ready for our co-op friends.

Source: This printable is from our Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Printable Pack

Crab Addition Clip Cards

Crab Addition Clip Cards

Math was not Sunshine's favorite topic as it was extremely difficult for her. But, if I included clip cards with fun counters, she couldn't resist!  The counters helped her so much. Still to this day they are the best way to help her with basic operations as she's not able to memorize facts yet.

These crab counters were so adorable. Sunshine loved them, talking to them as she did her work. She enjoyed the fact that they weren't all the same so she could choose her favorites for each addition card.

When she finished solving a problem, Sunshine would place a glass bead on the answer and move on to the next problem.

Source: This printable is from our Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Printable Pack

Crustaceans Skip Counting by 10s

Crustaceans Skip Counting By 10s Activity

Sunshine always jumped at the chance to use the Montessori math beads, so when she had mastered counting to twenty, we started working on skip counting by tens in preparation for counting to one hundred.

In this activity she would select a card and then lay out how many tens beads were required to make the number.  Sunshine seemed to really enjoy this. It wasn't as overwhelming as the tens board was because she only had to focus on one number, not several.

Source: This printable is from our Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Printable Pack

Life Cycle of a European Green Crab

Life Cycle of a European Green Crab

Sunshine has a thing where she's absolutely grossed out by something, but is completely fascinated and obsessed by it at the same time.  This activity definitely elicited that response from her.  As a result she completed the activity several times.  Lol. 

Using the control, provided underneath the blank life cycle shown, Sunshine placed the pictures in the correct order.  She asked for a magnifying glass so she could study the images even more.  The magnifying glass then became part of the activity.

 Source: This printable is from our Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Printable Pack

Sequencing the Life Cycle of a European Green Crab

Once Sunshine was familiar with the order of the life cycle, I introduced these cards paired with numbers. She could  then show and explain the order, telling a story as she went.  

What I love most about this activity is that the images are true to life images and they really are fascinating!

Crustaceans Sort

Crustaceans Sort

Sunshine loves animals and understanding their differences and similarities. She is drawn to the small details.  While completing this activity she grabbed her magnifying glass again and studied each crustacean, commenting on how she perceived how it looked.

After examining each true to life image thoroughly, she would sort them by type of crustacean.  Sunshine really enjoyed putting the cards in rows and seeing how they looked when the activity is complete.

Source: This printable is from our Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Printable Pack

Crab Pin Poking Activity

Crab Pin Poking Activity

Sunshine really enjoyed pin poking activities. I love that she loved them because they helped her develop muscle strength in her hand and fingers. We added an extra layer of fun by having Sunshine grab her colored pencils and color the crab before she started poking.

Source: This printable is from our Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Printable Pack

There are so many wonderful crustacean themed printables for preschoolers included in the Montessori-inpsired Crustaceans Printable Pack! Be sure to grab your copy today!

And while you're add it, don't forget to grab this new freebie as well!

FREE Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Printables for Preschoolers

FREE Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Printables for Preschoolers

One can never have enough crustacean activities for little ones who enjoy them.  I created this set of FREE crustaceans themed language activities to go long with the Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Printable Pack for all to enjoy as a bonus freebie.

The Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Printables for Preschoolers includes the following:
  • Crustaceans Nomenclature Cards
  • Crustaceans Syllable Counting Clip Cards
  • Crustaceans First Letter Sound Clip Cards
  • Crustaceans Last Letter Sound Clip Cards
  • Crustaceans Writing Strips

This is a subscriber's only freebie. See directions below on how to access your free copy.

Directions on How to Obtain Subscriber Only Freebies

1. Click on the Subscriber's link at the bottom of this post.

2. Subscribe to our free newsletter.

3. Open the thank you message you receive after subscribing. (Be sure to check your spam folder, as sometimes it ends up there.)

4. Click the confirmation link in the thank you message.

5. Once the confirmation is complete, you will receive another message with the Subscriber Only Freebies Link and Password.

6. Click on link and type in password. (The password is cap sensitive.)

7. Find the printable pack you are looking for listed in alphabetical order, click on it, and viola!

We hope you enjoy your free printable.

Note: If you are already a newsletter subscriber, open your most recent newsletter. At the bottom you will find a link to the Subscriber Only Freebies page, along with the password in case you forgot it.

We hope you enjoy all of these crustaceans activiites for preschoolers as much as we do!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.

Montessori Arachnid Activities for PreschoolersMontessori Fish Activities Montessori-inspired Fish and Water Unit
Montessori-inspired Crustaceans Activities for Preschoolers with FREE Printable

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What I Wish I'd Known When My Child was Diagnosed with Autism

Today I received a message from a dear friend. Her little girl has just been diagnosed with autism and she’s wondering what to do next.

I receive calls and messages like this a lot and enjoy getting together with these parents.

We’ve gone through the autism diagnoses process FOUR times in our family. First with Dinomite, then Bulldozer, Sunshine and finally my husband.

There are many things I wished I’d known as each of my children were diagnosed as toddlers and preschoolers, that would have made life so much easier, so much happier, and so much simpler.

So today, I share with you what I wish I’d known when my child was diagnosed with autism.

What I Wish I'd Known When My Child was Diagnosed with Autism

10 Things I Wish I'd Known When My Child Was Diagnosed with Autism

Embrace Autism

Autism is not a bad thing.

So many of the amazing traits my husband has, that I’m attracted to, are autistic traits.

He is brilliant. His memory is out of this world. Life is never boring because he’s so passionate about so many different things, always wanting to learn more and more. He is loyal and feels so deeply.

Sure he has weaknesses too, but don’t we all? And as I always tell him when he gets down on himself, his strengths always outweigh his weaknesses.

Autism is not a bad thing.

My autistic children know their superpowers. They know that everyone has something. Sure they struggle with some things like fine and gross motor skills, eye contact, sensory sensitivities, etc., but some people who aren’t autistic struggle with these things too.

There are so many more positives than negatives when it comes to an autism diagnosis, the number one positive being that you have an extraordinary kid and now you can start the journey to understanding your child better.

Embrace the Journey

Autism doesn’t take away a lifetime of experiences. It just extends the journey and allows you to enjoy each phase for a longer period of time.

Yes, milestones and epic adventures may come later than you would expect, but because of that, you’ll be able to enjoy them that much more.

Society is so big on rating one’s personal progression of milestones based on a specific standard of what’s supposedly right and wrong for a certain age.

Truth be told, every child develops differently, whether they’re autistic or not. 

There’s no need to push or rush things. The brain is ready when it’s ready. 

And, if there have been no negative experiences associated with the process to delay it, the brain will astound you.

I always refer back to Bulldozer when talking to people about this. Bulldozer did not develop a hand preference for writing until he was seven years old. 

He could not write successfully on his own until he was eight years old. 

All the occupational therapy in the world couldn’t force this process to happen sooner. In fact we stopped OT. His brain wasn’t ready.

But now…

Bulldozer is my best writer. His penmanship is incredible. That kid can spell better than his big brother. He writes for fun, making lists of all of his favorite movies etc. Don’t even get me started on his reading abilities.

There are many people who judge children by milestones and academic standards, but usually that’s because they struggle with the standards they’ve set for themselves and are deep into the trap of comparing. Don't fall into that trap!

Your child will get there. Enjoy every step of the way!

You’re the Parent and Know What’s Best for YOUR Child

When my children were first diagnosed as autistic, I was advised to take advantage of every service available to me. There was OT, PT, Speech, Special Education Services, and ABA.

“The services are necessary!” professionals said.

“They will help them!”

And so I signed my kids up for EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

We had therapists, educators, and specialists at my home EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

The kids were miserable.

I was a wreck.

The appointments and therapies came with all of this advice about what to do and what not to do.

Some of it contradicted what was said by other professionals.

Some of it I whole heartedly disagreed with. 

This of course led to that mom guilt over what I felt was right and why it differed from what professionals were recommending.

Eventually, I learned that whether my child is autistic or not, I’m still in charge.

It is okay to say no to four days a week of therapy because it’s too much, and just choose one day a week instead.

It is okay to prefer a sensory based approach used by an OT, rather than a behavioral based approach like ABA.

It is okay if you don’t get along with a professional and request a new one.

It is okay if you disagree with a service, and just say no.

A wise OT once told me that 30 minutes of therapy a day, no matter how many days during the week it’s given, won’t make a bit of difference. It’s what the caregiver decides to do with the child outside those 30 minutes a day that makes the difference.

If you already feel confident in your ability to help your child be the best he can be, while embracing the autism at the same time, don’t be afraid to say no.

If you feel horribly incompetent and anxious, wait until you feel better, or build services slowly until you feel you’re in the right place. Meanwhile just love your child fiercely.

And in regards to your child. Let him be a child. Hours of therapy a day is healthy for no one.

Self-Soothing Tendencies Are Not Bad; Embrace Them!

It can be so easy to disregard an autistic child’s need for order, rituals, and routines. There are times when the hand flapping and stimming can get annoying. 

When you’ve listened to your child talk about dinosaurs for the last four hours and there’s still no end in sight, you can get pretty tired.

But here’s the thing, all of these things cause your child to feel immense joy, happiness, and peace. Rituals and routines bring comfort, as does order.

Flapping or any other form of stimming is a self-soothing tool that helps regulate your child.

Those passions and intense interests are just as important as your own interests and hobbies. 

So long as they are safe, embrace them. If they are not safe, find a similar action or activity that is.

Go with the Sensory Approach First

More than anything else, a child wants to feel safe. Once the basic necessities of a stable home, food, water, clothing, and heat are in place, sensory needs come next.

It is only when your child’s senses are regulated, that he will feel happy and at his best.

What are the senses you ask?

Just think of the five senses you learned in school: hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and seeing. And then add a few more like balance, the need to move, lifting heavy objects etc.

How does your child respond to sensory input around him? Is he extra sensitive or does he crave different forms of sensory experiences? Autistic children often crave or are extra sensitive to the senses.

If your child is extra sensitive to different sensory experiences, how can you help him? If your child craves different sensory experiences, how can you provide him opportunities to obtain them?

Through providing for these sensory needs, your child will feel calm and safe. He won’t be afraid of the world around him or exhibit challenging behaviors that you can’t seem to stop.

After sensory needs are met, then you can start working on things like emotional regulation and communication.

So many behaviors that you're concerned about disappear when you understand and can help your child stay regulated in regards to their sensory needs.  

Observe Your Child and Follow Their Lead

Though we are not fans of ABA therapy, we are all about analyzing behaviors to truly understand your child. 

In the Montessori world, this is called observation. You sit back and literally watch your child to understand why they do the things they do.

Unlike ABA, once observation is complete, we recommend you follow your child’s lead instead of insisting that he follow yours. This Montessori principle truly embraces the individuality of the child and that he is valued and respected.

When you follow your child’s lead, you are accepting him where he is at and letting him lead the way in learning and growth. You’re affirming your love for him just the way he is.

Through following your child’s lead, a special bond of trust is created. Your child with thrive in ways you never knew possible.

Help Your Child Be as Independent As Possible

As a young mother with two autistic toddlers, the one approach to parenting that I loved more than any other was the Montessori Method. The Montessori Method promotes as much independence as possible for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, etc. As independence is promoted, so many battles, meltdowns, tantrums, and more are eliminated.

How do you promote independence?

We provide the opportunities to be independent in a prepared environment that lets our child participate in anything and everything he can I highly recommend the book: How to Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way.

How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way

You would be amazed at how much a toddler can do when you provide the right materials and prepared space to do it.

As a child embraces independence, confidence increases. Confidence brings about the desire to try new challenges. New challenges bring about growth.

Take the word “can’t” out of your vocabulary when it comes to your child. Provide more independent opportunities, and watch your child shine.

Please Note: When you do provide more independence be sure it matches your child's developmental age. This will most likely be lower than your child's chronological age by birthdate.  

If your child is five years old, but developmentally only two years old, focus on activities and tasks that are appropriate for a two year old to ensure safety and success.  

Teach Autism Acceptance rather than Autism Awareness

Being aware that a child is autistic is completely different than accepting the child as autistic.

Awareness means that you acknowledge your child’s neurodiversity, but want to change it, or get rid of it.

Acceptance means that you love your autistic child just they way he is, and do not want to change him.

No one should ever be made to feel that they are not good enough the way they are, especially because of autism.

An autistic brain is not bad or wrong. It does not need to be fixed.

It is different and unique. That’s what makes it so beautiful.

Once you have come to accept autism, promote acceptance in your neurodiverse child. Then work on changing the world from there. It will be hard, but it will most definitely be worth it.

And on a more personal note, please stay away from all things shaped like a puzzle piece, or are that focus on the color blue!  These objects promote awareness, not acceptance.  Wear red instead! 

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

With an autism diagnosis comes all of the testing scores. It is so easy to get wrapped up in what your child can't do and what he NEEDS to learn to be okay. 

The fact of the matter is, so many things on those tests are not going to matter one bit in the long run.

If your child can’t button, zip, or snap his clothing items, he’s going to be okay. There are so many clothing options out there that don’t require those skills for kids and adults alike.

If your child can’t cut a straight line, so what? There are paper cutters that can help him out when he’s older.

Bulldozer is twelve and still doesn’t tie his shoes. I used to worry about this, but the truth is there are so many shoe options out there that don’t require laces. He’s doing just fine!

All of my autistic children have proven time and time again, that when they want to learn something they learn it. 

Dinomite decided at age twelve he wanted to learn to tie his shoes and ride a bike. So he did.  At forteen he's decided he really wants to improve his pencil grasp, so he's doing it.

At age eleven, Bulldozer decided he wanted to learn how to button his church shirt.  So he did!

The worrying is so not worth it. It only stresses everyone out, including the autistic child.

Have Fun!

I seriously don’t know how to parent a child without diverse needs at this point. Truthfully, I worry I would be so bored. Autistic children are so much fun!

I love how passionate they get about things they love. 

Because of my autistic children, I have learned about so many interesting subjects.

It is so much fun to join my autistic children in their worlds. Their worlds are truly magnificent.

Once I understood my autistic children’s sensory needs, the sky was the limit as to what we could do, as I followed their lead.

I think my favorite experiences have included enjoying Bulldozer’s rollercoaster and theme park passions. We were able to have so much fun together at Universal Studios.

Dinomite’s love for history, especially war history, has provided us with so many incredible experiences. We were able to check out an awesome battleship together and go to so many cool museums.

Autism is not bad or wrong. 

It is different, amazing, and absolutely incredible.

I know that the diagnosis can be overwhelming and cause parents to grieve, and that’s okay. 

Life isn’t going to be the way you assumed it would be and you now need to make adjustments.

Grieving that your child has autism is not a sign that you think it's a bad thing. It may just mean that you're struggling with change.

I know what it’s like to have so many services and opinions thrown at you the minute you receive the diagnosis.

Hang in there! Take advantage of the services that help, and don’t feel guilty about the rest. 

Most importantly, take care of yourself, so you can be the best parent for your child. 

Both of you deserve that!

And if you're still feeling lost, check out the book recommendations below! They are my favorite go to resources!

Toddler Discipline for Every Age and Stage

Uniquely Human

Uniquely Human by Barry M. Prizant, PhD

You can do this and you will!  

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What I Wish I'd Known When My Child was Diagnosed with Autism

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