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Autism Resources and Community (ARC)

Early Childhood Education

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Autism and Physical Spaces

12 Popular Games Adapted for Children with Autism

Play is often described as the “work” of childhood, where children can make friendships, learn social skills, come to understand expected group behavior, consequences, turn taking, and cooperation, not to mention have some fun! Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can reap these same benefits by playing games with other kids, though many do not naturally gain the aforementioned skills simply by being exposed to games or other play objects, as might their non-disabled peers. As with many concepts, games and their component skills may need to be explicitly taught, supported, and adaptations made in order for a child with autism to experience success with the activity.

Updated on 6/26/19 5:54 PM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 6/26/19 5:54 PM

World Autism Awareness Day 2019: A Look Back and a Look Forward

Tracing the journey of improved diagnoses, treatment and

educational outcomes for children with autism

April 2, 2019 marks the twelfth annual observation of World Autism Awareness Day.  As described by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, World Autism Awareness Day exists to:

Updated on 4/1/19 2:45 PM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 4/1/19 2:45 PM

Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

Receptive Labeling Lesson Plan

 Lesson Overview:

By touching or pointing to the appropriate card, students show that they recognize the word and can identify the corresponding picture. This activity can be prefaced by the Picture ID lesson to familiarize the student with the pictures he/she is finding.

Updated on 7/30/15 12:15 PM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 7/30/15 12:15 PM

Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

Expressive Labeling Lesson Plan

Lesson Overview:

Students will practice expressive language skills by verbally identifying a picture on a card. Skills practiced include expressive language, picture identification and photo identification.

Updated on 6/30/15 9:27 AM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 6/30/15 9:27 AM

About Autism

Health & Nutrition

Autism & Transitions

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Talking about Puberty with Children with Autism

All bodies go through puberty, regardless of the developmental "age" of a child or the level of their cognitive or academic skills. It can be startling for parents to see their child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) begin to develop an adult body and characteristics when they do not have the adult skills, reasoning, or competences to go along with it. Regardless of a child’s cognitive abilities, they will go through puberty and they will need support to understand the changes that are happening to their body, as well as assistance to know that these changes are normal and not something to be scared of. Children with ASD will also benefit from understanding about the social rules that accompany puberty, including those that relate to privacy, hygiene, and relationships with others. While schools teach about puberty and sex education in their health or wellness programs, children with autism often need much more explicit instruction about these topics than what they receive in school. Therefore it often becomes the parents’ responsibility to teach about these topics in a way that will be accurate, meaningful, and appropriate to their child with ASD.

Updated on 6/30/15 9:27 AM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 6/30/15 9:27 AM

About Autism

Teaching with Pictures

Health & Nutrition

Autism & Transitions

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Teaching Stranger Safety to Kids with Autism

Teaching young children about safety around strangers is nothing new. In fact, most adults can remember their own parents and teachers talking to them about the dangers of “taking candy from a stranger” or “getting in a car with someone you don’t know” at an early age. For today’s youth, these same ideas still exist, but parents can find it even more challenging to protect their children from strangers, not only in the physical sense, but also virtually, in a world of cell phones, texting and social media. For parents of children with autism, these challenges can be magnified because of the social and communication weaknesses experienced by their children. Autistic people do not always pick up on the subtleties of social interactions as easily as their typically developing peers. They may not understand why it is okay to hug their friend on a play date but it’s not acceptable to hug a stranger on the sidewalk. These types of safety skills often need to be explicitly taught in order for kids with autism to understand, practice and generalize them in everyday life.

Updated on 5/30/15 4:50 PM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 5/30/15 4:50 PM

Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

Picture ID Lesson Plan

Lesson Overview:

Students will learn picture identification based on word association. Skills practiced include receptive language and photo discrimination.

Updated on 5/30/15 10:05 AM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 5/30/15 10:05 AM

Autism & Transitions

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

3 Ways to Build Skills for Transition Now!

Planning for a young adult with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or other special needs to transition from special education to adult services can be overwhelming for children and their parents alike! Many parents are so intimidated by the transition process that they refuse to think about it until their child turns 14 and a statement about that student’s transition services is required by law to be in their individual education program (IEP), or age 16 when those services must start to be implemented. Other parents may think that they don't need to consider transition until their child is older since the actual transition from special education doesn't happen until students turn 21 (or the age at which special education services end in their state). However, as with any change, the sooner parents and their children start preparing for transition, the smoother the actual shift from special education will likely be.  Despite what some may think, there are skills that can be taught to children at a young age that will make any transition easier as they get older. Three of these skills and the importance of implementing them at home are discussed below:

Updated on 4/27/15 11:42 AM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 4/27/15 11:42 AM

Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

Guess Who Lesson Plan

Lesson Overview:

Students increase their understanding of jobs, tools used for certain jobs and identify features of particular workers by guessing which occupation the teacher is describing.

Updated on 4/22/15 2:14 PM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 4/22/15 2:14 PM

Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

Tell Me About Lesson Plan

Lesson Overview:

Students will learn job identification and better understanding of tools and identifying features of particular workers as they respond to the prompt, "Tell me about..." to describe a worker and/or a worker’s job as depicted on Language Builder Occupation Cards.

Updated on 4/22/15 2:07 PM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 4/22/15 2:07 PM

Autism & Emotions

Autism & Transitions

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Grief and Loss: Helping Children with Autism Cope

Coping with the death of a loved one is difficult for everyone. The idea of death can be particularly scary for kids, and the thought of not being able to see or talk to a loved one again may be confusing and overwhelming.

Updated on 3/25/15 11:00 AM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 3/25/15 11:00 AM

Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

Identical Matching Lesson Plan

Lesson Overview:

This lesson plan teaches fine motor and receptive language skills in order to have students match identical pictures of familiar objects.

Updated on 3/18/15 9:22 AM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 3/18/15 9:22 AM

Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

Adjectives Lesson Plan

Lesson Overview:

This lesson plan focuses on the uses of adjectives and other descriptive terms to discuss the attributes of objects shown in the pictures with a teacher, and develops picture identification and vocabulary skills.
In a Hurry? Download a print-friendly version of this lesson plan:

Updated on 3/16/15 12:48 PM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 3/16/15 12:48 PM

Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

Functions Lesson Plan

Lesson Overview:

This lesson plan practices sentence building, picture identification and vocabulary development. Students look at pictures of objects and describe the function of each item.

Updated on 3/16/15 9:52 AM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 3/16/15 9:52 AM

About Autism

Autism is on the Rise

Autism – you see it on the news; hear about it from advocacy campaigns like Autism Speaks [1]; you may know someone whose life is affected by someone with the diagnosis. Undoubtedly, there are students with autism in your local public schools. Simply put, autism is more prevalent than ever, and it is on the rise.

Updated on 2/18/15 8:09 PM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 2/18/15 8:09 PM

Language Builder App

Autism Technology

Language Builder from Stages App Updates!

The Language Builder from Stages app was released earlier this year to high praise from long-time Stages Learning Materials customers who were looking for a digital companion to the paper flash cards they love. The app has now been used in classrooms, clinics, and homes throughout the United States, and teachers, therapists, and parents have provided us with invaluable input about improvements to make the Language Builder app even better. Stages Learning Materials is happy to announce that version 1.1 has just been released for both the Basic and Pro versions with this customer feedback in mind! The latest version of the app has some great new features, including unlimited student accounts and record keeping capabilities to track student progress, and the Pro version now offers the ability to create your own flash cards. Your favorite language builder app has been updated and is now better than ever!

Updated on 12/7/14 3:03 PM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 12/7/14 3:03 PM

Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

"I Need Help" Lesson Plan

Lesson Overview:

This lesson plan reinforces the idea that sometimes, you just need a little help! Students use their problem-solving skills to identify when they need help, then advocate appropriately to get the assistance they need to complete a puzzle that is missing a piece.

Updated on 10/4/14 6:26 PM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 10/4/14 6:26 PM

Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

Teaching with Pictures

Autism and Language

Autism & Emotions

Go Fish with the Language Builder Emotion Cards!

This lesson plan gives the classic card game Go Fish an emotional makeover! Students work on their expressive and receptive vocabulary and understanding of the five basic emotions, all while practicing social skills, taking turns, and following the rules of the game.

In a hurry?  Download a one page description of this lesson plan by clicking on the picture below:

Updated on 8/30/14 4:57 PM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 8/30/14 4:57 PM

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