Time Management Tips from a Therapist

Time Timer_Got-AUtism

In today’s fast-paced society, students and professionals are under tremendous pressure to meet various deadlines and be somewhere on time.  Time management skills are fairly natural for the majority of neuro-typical people; however, for children with special needs, managing time effectively can be a big struggle.

Some kids with special needs can become easily distracted by extraneous sensory stimuli like noises, smells or visuals that are not relevant to the point of focus. This can make it a challenge to think, act, solve problems and accomplish tasks in a timely manner.  One of my goals as a therapist is to teach children how to effectively filter out extraneous stimuli and give them appropriate tools to promote independent success in this area.  These tools can help children complete the task at hand while helping them cope with anxiety and frustration.

Teaching Time ManagementTime Tracker_Got-Autism
One of the most effective tools/techniques I’ve found to be helpful is a visual-auditory countdown timer.  Children often enjoy impressing a parent, teacher, therapist or caregiver by successfully completing a timed task.  This gives the child a sense of pride and makes them feel clever, smart and capable.  It’s important to introduce the timer as a friend not an enemy.

Teach the child how it works by letting them set the timer and letting the time expire.  For children with auditory defensiveness you may want to silence the auditory alarm or make the child aware that it will beep.  As a parent or therapist you can incorporate the timer into something the child already enjoys and is familiar with, such as putting on their clothes or making their favorite food.  Give them extra time especially if they are highly distractible.

First, start off in a quiet and organized room with little to no visual or auditory distractions.  Once they can perform the fun task with time remaining try the same task in their bedroom, living room or playroom.  Once they have mastered the fun tasks, attempt to slightly challenge with a simple academic worksheet they have done before.  If the tasks assigned are too challenging, they may shutdown, get upset/aggressive or portray that the timer is against them.


Make it a Lifelong Habit
Now it’s time to teach the child tools for time management skills they can use on a daily basis for the rest of their life. If they were not able to complete the task, solve the mystery with the child.  You can ask them, “What were the time robbers?” Maybe it was the sound of the fan, the toys scattered on the floor or their next playdate.  Figure out what stole their time and how to defeat the time robber with some tools.

Visual Schedule CHart_Got-Autism


A visual timer is a great tool in conjunction with a picture schedule to increase independence in your child’s daily routines.  You as the caregiver get to be the teacher and example.  Let your child observe you by setting a timer for tasks you want to accomplish (e.g. laundry, dishwasher, exercise, etc…).  Involve the whole family to increase success for task completion and to let your child know they are supported.




Alex Lopiccolo is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Consultant, Jin Shin Practitioner, Wilbarger Therapressure Brushing Protocol Practitioner, Therapeutic Listening Program Practitioner who explores Sensory Integration inspired therapeutic activities. Alex, his wife and baby live in Edmonds, Washington. His favorite activities are spending time with his family and exploring the Pacific Northwest.


Sensory Processing Disorder & Your Child

Many children and adults with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) or with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may have auditory defensiveness/sensitivity.

What is SPD?

This is a condition where someone is highly sensitive to sounds that most people can tolerate, filter out or modulate. It puts their Central Nervous System (CNS) into a fight, flight or freeze reaction which makes their bodies feel like they are in danger. The person’s adrenalin will spike from the sounds. Crash Pas_Got-Autism

As a result, they may act out in a negative behavior response in public, school, home or at work. This may also result in a more stressful/upset day because the CNS is thrown-off from its typical self-regulated path to a more stressful and emotional path for the rest of their day.



What are some calming techniques? 

There are many different ways to help with sound hypersensitivity. Many Pediatric Occupational Therapists (OT’s) are trained in Therapeutic Music programs. These programs have the patient wear high definition headphones with specially recorded music to exercise the inner ears and the auditory centers of the brain to help the child regulate the sound. And there are some other benefits too! If interested, ask your OT about which Therapeutic Music programs they use.

wilbargerAnother technique OTs are trained in is the Wilbarger Protocol for Sensory Defensiveness. The Wilbarger-Therapressure-Brush is used for a specific brushing and joint compression protocol that may also help regulate a person’s CNS to decrease the hypersensitivity to sound.

Are there products that can be useful?

If your child is not seeing an OT, you can get them noise cancelling headphones to Plane Platinum Headphones_Got-Autismhave in the classroom, on an airplane, out in public or at home while someone vacuums, uses a blender, flushes a toilet, etc. These headphones block out extraneous background noise and dampen loud noises, but allow conversational level speech to be heard. 10549

I have children dampen sound to help them get used to it at a lower intensity vs. canceling all sound out, unless they’re performing a concentration activity (homework, paper work or learning a new skill by themselves).

Privacy Pop Tent_Got-Autism











Another idea is to create a special space for your child – somewhere they will feel
secure and can relax and be themselves. A Privacy Pop Bed Tent is a great place a person can seclude themselves and get away to block out sound and visual distractions while relaxing with no worries.

Also try bean bags or hug chairs where the body will sink in and feel loved. The deep pressure it provides may help relax the CNS and be the key to calming down after that frightening sound.Hug CHair Lounger_Got-AUtism

Now you have many therapeutic tools to look to for helping anyone with auditory sensitivity, it’s time to see which ones work best for you or your loved one!



Alex Lopiccolo is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Consultant, Jin Shin Practitioner, Wilbarger Therapressure Brushing Protocol Practitioner, Therapeutic Listening Program Practitioner who explores Sensory Integration inspired therapeutic activities. Alex, his wife and baby live in Edmonds, Washington. His favorite activities are spending time with his family and exploring the Pacific Northwest.


Related Products:
Music Therapy
Bed Tent
Wilbarger Brushes
Hug Chair
Bean Bags

Play Date Gifts That Last

~~ By: Alex Lopiccolo, COTA/L, CPT, NC aka Mr. Alex

You want your child to interact with the world around, make friends and get to know how to be a part of society. Just because he’s on the Autism Spectrum should not prevent him from enjoying a play date or mingling with other kids. Got-Autism guest-blogger Alex Lopiccolo provides some valuable insights on how parents can guide ASD kids on play dates.

When two children on the Autism Spectrum have a play date there can be little to no peer interaction.  They may not even make eye contact or be on the same topic.  The parent(s) may need to lead the structured play date just like a therapist would during an Occupational Therapy session.  But that doesn’t mean kids with Autism cannot have play dates.


Children with Autism may not understand the concept of many toys and you may need to guide them on how to share and play together as a team.  As the Wonder Pets would say, “What’s going to work? TEAMWORK!”  With Candy Construction, they can use Teamwork to construct a house, railroad, maze, automobile or plane, make a candy pie or anything they agree on with their creative imaginations. Once again, they may need some guidance to get started. Give two or three choices and/or guide a conversation by cueing the kids to ask each other what they would like to do.

Candy Construction3_Got-Autism

Another way to have children work together to build a specific design from the booklet. If they need it, an adult can direct them to take turns finding pieces and placing them in the correct place according to the chosen design. Most children are attracted to candy so you can also use it for a Q & A game of what’s their favorite candy then build the conversation from there to see what things they can bond with.

Manners & Social Skills

Something else that is difficult for children with ASD is manners and other social skills.  I need to give verbal prompts every session when teaching children on the spectrum social nuances and manners. The two keys to teaching these skills are frequent repetition and fun learning experiences.

Blunders Board Game_Got-Autism

When children with poor social skills are on play dates with children that have typical social skills, they may be seen as mean or rude when they don’t say anything or when they run into others, walk over toys, don’t say please, or burp in someone’s face without knowing or saying “excuse me”. By playing the Blunders board game, children can learn how to work through these real life scenarios.

Adults can also help any kid to recall other instances of when they or their friends might have had to work on manners. By playing this game during a play date, it may also give a neuro-typical child some idea of how their friend sees the world. This is a great game for the Special Ed, Speech Therapy, Art Therapy, Family Counseling, Occupational Therapy, Play Therapy or your household during family time.



Alex Lopiccolo is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Consultant, Jin Shin Practitioner, Wilbarger Therapressure Brushing Protocol Practitioner, Therapeutic Listening Program Practitioner who explores Sensory Integration inspired therapeutic activities. Alex, his wife and baby live in Edmonds, Washington. His favorite activities are spending time with his family and exploring the Pacific Northwest.

The Benefits of Proprioceptive Input

~~ By: Alex Lopiccolo, COTA/L, CPT, NC aka Mr. Alex

Proprioception is the concept of knowing where your body is positioned in space. In other words: body-spatial awareness.

The connective tissues, joints and muscles have proprioceptors deep inside and they are triggered through exercise. Children with proprioceptive dysfunction feel as if they are wearing dad’s baggy sweater, sweatpants and socks. These children often appear clumsy and have poor motor skills because it is difficult for them to know where their body parts are in relation to anything else, be it another person, the rug, furniture, paper, or anything else.

Here are some activities and sensory products you can use to help your child reap the benefits of proprioceptive input or “heavy work” for a home exercise program:

Crashing into Crash Pads

bar jump

This high intensity, forceful, proprioceptive input repeatedly done over a short duration can often calm the Central Nervous System.

  1. Have your child run and perform a high jump over a pool noodle into a crash pad. Make sure to have multiple cushions for safety. Also, start the noodle low to work on technique, form, and safety.
    Crash pad jump
  2. From a high platform or step, have your child squat then jump with a ball and throw it to a target while moving through space to land on the cushion.

Dark Space with Compression using Sensory Sack

Covering the eyes makes the child rely on the proprioceptive (body awareness) and vestibular (balance) senses. Sensory sacks filter out the extraneous visual stimuli and dampen noises.

  1. Ask your child to do animal walks in the sacks (bear, crab, starfish, and snake).
  2. Make crawling obstacles under chairs, through tunnels and over the couch.

Isometric Push and Pulls

Pushing or pulling against a stable surface, or with an adult giving the resistance, recruits more muscles and proprioceptive feedback.yc2start

  1. Play foot wars on your backs with the soles of your feet against each other’s and push back and forth with moderate resistance.
  2. Have the child try to break the adult down while the adult is in tabletop position. Explain rules, take turns, and be safe.

Deep Pressure with Heavy Blanket or Steamroller

SteamrollerDeep sustained pressure like a heavy comforter on you at night helps calm and organize the Central Nervous System.

  1. Place the weighted blanket on your child’s back and have them crawl to get an item and bring it to a target.
  2. Have the child crawl through the steamroller as part of an obstacle course.

Compression with Bear Hug Vest

bear hug vestUsing a compression vest combined with heavy work activities may help calm the child’s Central Nervous System and decrease negative behaviors associated from hyperactivity, anxiety, and more.





Alex Lopiccolo is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Consultant, Jin Shin Practitioner, Wilbarger Therapressure Brushing Protocol Practitioner, Therapeutic Listening Program Practitioner who explores Sensory Integration inspired therapeutic activities. Alex, his wife and baby live in Edmonds, Washington. His favorite activities are spending time with his family and exploring the Pacific Northwest.

“Presumed Competence”

There is a line out of a movie that has had a profound effect in my life.
It’s from the beautiful documentary, Wretches and Jabberers. Tracy Thresher, a non-verbal man with autism is asked a question by the parent of a child with autism, “Tracy, you have said that you know you were loved as a child, but if there was one thing you could change about the way your parents raised you, what would it be?”
Tracy slowly typed out these important words, “I wish they would have presumed competence.

As the parent of a 9-year-old son who is non-verbal with autism, I have played Tracy’s response over and over in my mind, sometimes with a heavy heart while other times feeling elated with inspiration. I pondered those words the day I tried to teach my son how to empty the dishwasher only to have him complete the task as if he had been doing it his whole life. I pondered those words certainly, as I realized that I had been an unintentional enabler of laziness, not just his mom standing in the gap for him.
On one recent occasion, the words “presume competence” weighed especially heavily on my heart as I faced my son’s intervention team for his 4th grade IEP meeting. I intended to insist on changing the focus of my son’s IEP goals to becoming what I called “total concept driven.”
I had rehearsed my speech again and again in my mind, looking for a way to be firm, yet confident. “No more “first-then” focused goals. No more enabling splintered skills by presenting over-simplified concepts out of context. Let’s focus solely on context-driven concepts with an emphasis on executive functions.”
I was bracing myself for the infamous “pushback” that nearly every parent of a special needs child can relate to. I knew my son had many more cognitive gifts than he was given credit for and I was, (and am), determined to facilitate him reaching his upper limits, not sit idle, allowing his precious life to simply click by.
Have you ever been in such meetings when you listen to a panel of people explain where they think your child’s deficits lie and you wonder if you are in the right meeting? As I advocated for his goals to be redefined to a higher standard, I fielded comments that challenged what I knew to be true of my son with their underlying, (though somewhat compassionate), air of “You are in denial.”
I tried to explain that my son’s non-verbal protests to schoolwork below his skill set consisted of him fussing, rushing through the task at hand, or scribbling on the paper. It was not an expression of “I can’t do this” as much as it was, “Why should I do this, AGAIN, when I mastered this skill two years ago?” My insistence was met with an element of disbelief.
Later that day, my son’s intervention specialist was working with him on a subtraction worksheet. He tried to rush through it, whined and scribbled on the page in protest. Remembering what I had said, the teacher decided to take a break from math and just talk with my son about his school work.
She shared my thoughts with him and that I had said he may be bored at school because the work was so easy for him. She said, “It that true? Are you bored at school?” He vocalized a high-pitched “yeah”.
She, then, apologized for underestimating him and promised that from then on, she would give him more challenging and interesting assignments. In that beautiful connecting moment, he did the most profound thing: With a grin on his face, he turned the math sheet over and on the back wrote the words, “raise bar.”


“Presumed competence” grants liberty to people like my son, and like Tracy Thresher, who have intelligent minds beyond what we often give them credit for. It’s not always easy to grant such liberty when the smoke screen of autism can cloud one’s view of the truth. In fact, it may be nothing shy of an art to fully access their gifts and support their gaps. That being said, it is my heartfelt hope that we will heed what a wise young boy once said and consistently “raise bar.”


To those who choose to presume competence in folks like my son and facilitate their sense of liberty, I offer this personal tribute:

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes,
and you are one of them.
Many may try,
but only few walk through that door,
the one marked
and bring forth my smiling son.

-Vicki Sotack

Social Security Benefits for Children with Autism

By Molly Clarke of Social Security Disability Help


Parenting a child who has autism often comes with a unique set of challenges. Among these is the challenge of finding the best types of therapy and supportive care for your child. Unfortunately, the costs associated with medical attention and therapy can be difficult to manage—especially if you’ve had to take time away from work.

If you find yourself facing circumstances such as these, your child may be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a type of disability benefit offered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and can be used to help cover your child’s daily expenses.

Continue reading to learn how to qualify and apply for SSI benefits on behalf of your child.

Disability Definition

To receive SSI benefits, all children must meet the following criteria:

  • Is not working at a job considered to be substantial work; and
  • Has a physical or mental condition (or a combination of conditions) that seriously limits his or her ability to participate in age-appropriate activities; and
  • The condition(s) has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 1 year or is expected to result in death.

These three criteria make up the SSA’s official definition of childhood disability. If your child is not disabled according to this definition, he or she is unlikely to be awarded benefits.

Requirements for SSI Benefits

SSI is a benefit program intended to provide financial assistance to disabled individuals who earn very little income. The SSI program has strict financial requirements that applicants must meet in order to qualify. In the case of a child applicant, the SSA will evaluate his or her eligibility based on a portion of a parent(s) or guardian’s income. SSI best suits children over any other federal disability benefit program because there are no age, work, or tax-related eligibility requirements.

To learn more about SSI financial requirements and deeming visit the following page: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/text-child-ussi.htm.

Medical Eligibility

The SSA maintains a guidebook of conditions designated to be disabling. This guidebook is typically referred to as the Blue Book and is split into two sections—one for adults and one for children. To qualify medically, all applicants must meet the requirements listed under the section designated for their condition.

A child with autism will need to meet the criteria under 112.00—Autistic Disorder and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders. This listing states that to qualify for disability benefits, your child must show significant deficits in the following areas:

  • Reciprocal social interaction
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Imaginative activity

Your child must also demonstrate:

  • Markedly restricted repertoire of activities and interests

This listing also states that, depending on your child’s age, he or she must demonstrate a combination of developmental delays in the following areas:

  • Gross or fine motor development;
  • Cognitive and communication functioning;
  • Social functioning; and/or
  • Personal functioning.

It is highly recommended that you look at the Blue Book listing to become familiar with the specific requirements that your child must meet.  Access this listing, here: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/112.00-MentalDisorders-Childhood.htm#112_10.

The Application Process

A child’s initial application for SSI benefits will consist of several forms and an in-person interview with an SSA representative.  To begin, you should call the SSA immediately to schedule your interview appointment. This is because there may be a backlog of interviews and the next available appointment may not be for several months.

While you wait for your appointment, gather all the necessary documentation. This will include financial information and medical records proving that your child meets both the technical and medical requirements for SSI benefits.

The application and approval process can take several months or longer. If the SSA denies your child’s claim, you are allowed to file an appeal. It is important to note that if you plan to file an appeal, it must be initiated within 60 days of receiving a denial. Although receiving a denial can be discouraging, you should not give up. The application process is difficult, but if your child needs the assistance, it is a necessary step toward being awarded benefits.

For information about applying for benefits on behalf of an individual over the age of 18, visit the following page: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/autism-and-social-security-disability.






What’s a Dad Worth?



By Dan Coulter

Lasse and kids in sweden



I heard a discussion about a dad’s worth the other day as I was radio channel surfing in my car. Two talk show hosts were hotly debating some comments made by actress Nicole Kidman. The topic: does a rich single mom have anything to complain about? The female host said that even a famous, wealthy single mom can have it tough raising kids. The macho male host wasn’t buying it. “Come on, she’s got jillions of dollars! She can buy anything she needs.”

He might have been more persuasive if he’d pointed out that many divorced dads are devoted to their kids and not all single moms are raising kids alone. But the argument that you could buy what a dad does makes this guy sound pretty clueless.

Or maybe it says something sad about his relationship with his father.

A dad who shows his kids he cares about them can be one of the most powerful influences in their lives. This is especially true of kids with special challenges, such as Asperger Syndrome.

Dads are incredible role models. Who hasn’t been proud — or mortified — to see your child copy something you do? You’re teaching even when you’re not trying. And dads who put real effort into raising their kids get the biggest rewards.

I think the dads who have the most impact are the ones who find ways to really enjoy being with their kids – even kids with problems. From the other side of the picture, kids who enjoy being with their dads are much more eager to listen to them and to try and make their dads proud as they grow up.

Here are a few things I’ve seen great dads do that can’t be bought.

First, these dads let their faces light up every time they see their child and show him it’s a treat to see him. This makes a son or daughter feel really special – like an injection of self-worth. And there’s nothing like self-worth to combat negative influences outside your home. If your child feels great being with you, doing things together is more like recreation than obligation. As a bonus, you’re likely to wind up having more fun and finding ways to spend more time with your kids.

lasse and lucas charleston

Second, these dads kick into “patient gear” whenever they deal with their kids. It’s easy to forget that talking isn’t teaching and hearing something once doesn’t mean a kid understands and the ins and outs of what you’re talking about. Taking the time to understand how much your child is absorbing of what you’re saying can really help him learn. Some kids don’t pick up social skills intuitively, just by observing others. If this is your child, you have to figure out how to help him understand. As a dad, you need to be like the test pilots in Tom Wolfe’s book, “The Right Stuff.” If a test pilot’s plane didn’t perform as predicted and the normal procedures didn’t work, he’d try something new, and something else new, and something else, until he found something that worked. You can do the same thing and you don’t even need to worry about a parachute.

Third, these dads use consistent, measured discipline and lots of positive reinforcement. Even if their child throws a tantrum in public, they don’t let embarrassment tempt them into overreacting verbally or physically. Who doesn’t respect a dad who is calm and patient with a child having a meltdown? Who hasn’t seen a child glow from a dad’s compliments? These dads teach a child what it means to be fair – and how to get the best out of people with praise.

Fourth, these dads look at things from their kids’ point of view. They see that kids don’t always understand when dad’s had a hard day. These dads learn to leave problems at the door and let good times with their families bring up their spirits.

These are the dads I admire and try to be like.

The bottom line: every contact with your son or daughter is an opportunity. The way they feel about you the rest of their lives depends on the countless little interactions between the two of you every day. If you treat every contact with your child as one he could remember forever, you’ll be the dad you really want to be.

That can’t be measured in dollars. And, as a dad, it’s kind of nice to know you’re priceless. todd and lukey





ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Dan Coulter is the author of 11 DVDs about Asperger Syndrome and autism, including, “Asperger Syndrome for Dads,” and “Understand Brothers and Sisters with Asperger Syndrome.” You can read more articles on his website: www.coultervideo.com.

Check Out Asperger Syndrome for Dads (DVD)



Copyright 2013 Dan Coulter Used By Permission All Rights Reserved




Parents take heart: extra time effort and therapy bills make a difference for special needs kids

summer shoesFor many parents, the end of the school year is a jubilant time of celebration and planning fun and relaxing summer activities and vacations with their families.

But for families living with children who have special needs like autism or Aspergers Syndrome, it can be a time that creates more than just a bit of anxiety at the prospect of spending more time together during the day. Often summer time translates to lots of additional work and effort on the part of parents to manage their children’s activities and guide behavior. Add therapy sessions into the mix and suddenly the summer schedule can become quite exhausting!

These are days when parents need encouragement the most. We need to be reminded that all the work and effort and therapy bills do make a difference for our children.

In that spirit, we wanted to share one of our favorite stories that we think really reinforces the notion that all that we do is NOT in vain. Carly Fleishmann is a young girl living with autism. She is non verbal, and until she was 11 years old, she did not communicate. But, through the relentless dedication of her parents and therapists, she has broken through and has made an amazing connection with the world around her using electronic communication tools. And the things she says – the insights that she is giving to what is really going on inside the mind of a person living with autism – is astonishing!

“People look at me and assume I am dumb because I cannot talk.” — Carly Fleishmann

Learn more about her story at her website: Carly’s Voice
Also, this news story: Girl with Autism – that aired last year on ABC’s 20/20 tells more about Carly’s incredible story!

What does your summer routine look like with your special needs child home from school?

Got-Autism offers communication skills therapy tools and resources that include assistive technology, ABA and language therapy, interactive software, games and electronic devices.

Did you enjoy this article?  Please subscribe to our newsletter receive more content like this.  Also, we’d love to have you join us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and/or Linkedin.

Photo credit:  Alex of Gothenburg via flickr cc

Asperger Syndrome and “The Talk”

By Guest Blogger Dan Coulter

If talking to children about sex is hard for most parents, it can be a real nail-biter for
parents of kids who have Asperger Syndrome. But if you’ve been dreading having
“The Talk,” some of the reasons going through your head may not be based in fact.

Here’s a parent’s True or False quiz about the subject with some answers that may
surprise you. Put a “T” or “F” next to each question, then see how you’ve done. The source for the answers is the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina.

1. ___ The media is the single most influential source of information for teens about sex, more than parents or friends.

2. ___ Teens today tend to have sex at earlier ages than their parents did.

3. ___ Your child wants to talk with you about sex.

4. ___ Having your child ask you about sex is a sign that he or she has started or is about to start engaging in sex.

5. ___ Talking with children about sex will make them think you’re somehow giving them permission to have sex.

6. ___ Most people become sexually active during their teen years.

7. ___ Talking with children about sex from a young age is better than waiting to have a major “facts of life” talk when they are teenagers.

8. ___ Teens today are more likely to use condoms and contraceptives than their parents did at the same age.

9. ___ Most parents are opposed to having sex education taught in schools.

10. __ Parents who don’t talk with children about sex miss an opportunity to pass on their values about sex.


1. False.  In surveys, teens say their parents influence their decisions about sex more than any other source — including the media and their friends.

2. False.  Rates of teen sex are at their lowest rates in history. Which means your teen is likely to wait longer than you or your peers did.

3. True.  Children want their parents to talk with them about sex and nearly 9 out of 10
teenagers say that it would be easier to avoid sex if their parents talked openly and honestly about it.

4. False. Kids are naturally curious. They are likely to ask about sex as they would anything else that they see gets a lot of interest and attention.

5. False.  Research shows that teens don’t think you’re condoning sex just because you’re talking about it.

6. True.  The median age when people begin having sex is 17. While you can influence your children to wait until they are mature enough to make adult decisions about
sex, you can help ensure they protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies and
sexually transmitted diseases whenever they decide to start.

7. True.  Giving kids accurate information about sex from an early age, including using correct names for body parts, makes it easier for them to learn. You can create
“teachable moments” when something related to sexuality appears on TV
or in a song. Children are more likely to listen and learn what you want them
to know if you share knowledge over time — than they are receiving a sudden
information dump. Especially if they sense you’re reluctantly dealing with a
subject that freaks you out. Delaying your teaching until “The Talk” means that, until then, they’ll be forming ideas based on information and mis-information from the media and friends. This can be hard to overcome.

8. True.  Teens are more likely to use condoms and contraceptives than ever before. Even if you want your children to delay having sex until they pass a special milestone, you want them to be among those who understand how to make responsible decisions
whenever they start.

9. False.  Most parents want schools to teach sex education. In North Carolina, for example, more than 90 percent of parents say they want schools to provide education about sexuality.

10. True.  The best way to instill your values about sex in your children is to be open and honest with them, teach them what you want them to know, and show them you
trust them.

How’d you do? If you scored a 9 or 10, maybe you should be writing this article. If you scored 8 or below, I’ll bet you picked up some good input for talking with your kids
about sex.  You can find more information at the excellent Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina website page: http://www.appcnc.org/resources/for-parents

Many parents are reluctant to talk with children about sex because they’re concerned sons or daughters will ask mom or dad about THEIR sex lives. This is an opportunity to
teach lessons about privacy. You don’t have to share intimate details about
your experience to talk about facts and values that will help your children
make good decisions about sex. Keeping things general and keeping a sense of
humor can help.

“The Talk” doesn’t have to be a dreaded or embarrassing ordeal for parents or
children. It can be an ongoing communication that helps make everyone
comfortable and confident. You can find resources online and in bookstores and
libraries that make information sharing easier. Appropriate sex education in
school is a great asset. But nothing replaces parents. And it’s a good thing that the children you want to instill with accurate information about sex and with your values, are precisely the ones who are looking to you to provide them.

Dan Coulter is the author of the DVD: “Managing Puberty, Social Challenges and (Almost) Everything: A Video Guide for Girls.” You can find more information and articles on his website: coultervideo.com.

Copyright Dan Coulter 2013 All Rights
Reserved Used by Permission


How I Feel About the Holidays

By Guest Blogger Chloe Rothschild

Chloe is 19-years old and is on the autism spectrum.  Chloe’s blog “Oh, The Places You’ll Go: Finding My Way With Autism!” utilizes her writing talent to teach others about autism.

I love the winter season, because I love the joy that it brings, with all of the winter holidays right around the corner. But while I truly enjoy the holiday season, it can be stressful for me as well. Especially because of the fact, that I have PDD-NOS which is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Even though I enjoy the holidays, I find it to be difficult at times as well.
Unlike the majority of society, I do not celebrate Christmas. I celebrate Hanukkah. Hanukkah last for eight nights and usually falls before Christmas. Sometimes, I wish that I would celebrate Christmas, just because I hear many people around me talk about Christmas, Christmas trees and stockings etc. I have never had any of those things, because the traditions and customs for Hanukkah are different than the traditions and customs for Christmas.

Parts of the Season I enjoy:
I enjoy opening presents, and buying and giving presents to others. I enjoy giving presents to others, just as much as I do receiving presents. I have a great time picking out gifts for my family and friends. This year, in addition to picking out gifts for my family and close friends, I decided to make holiday cards for my friends. I had so much fun doing this, I let my creativity run wild, and the cards looked great. I hope that my friends have as much fun receiving the cards as I did making them.  This year, my mom and I made snowman cut out cookies. We had not made cut out cookies in years. I had so much fun with this activity. Most of all, I loved spending the time with my mom doing something that we both found to be fun. I enjoyed cutting out the cookies. Then I really enjoyed and had a great amount of fun decorating the cookies.

Parts of the Holiday Season That Are Harder For Me:
One of the hardest things for me this time of year is waiting to open my presents. This is mostly because I do not like surprises. I want to know what I am getting. But even if I give my parents a list, and they buy me what is on my list, along with some surprises, I tend to still sometimes get overwhelmed and upset. Also, the anticipation of waiting to open gifts is very hard for me, even if I know what I am getting.

I hope everyone has a very happy holiday season!

Chloe Rothschild and Dr. Stephen Shore Discussion on YouTube