Sexuality and Autism, Part 2

In Part 1 we explored the fact that people with autism are no different from any other person, they, too, enjoy sexual experiences. This article is going to take a closer look at what may be a part of an autistic persons’ introduction to puberty.

Author Geri Newton, in her article, Social/Sexual Awareness, states that, “Many of my clients have told me that having sex with someone is the only time they feel normal… when they are sexual with someone, they are just like everyone else – grown up.” She says that she has heard this same message from people with Identified IQ’s from 30 to 70, verbal and nonverbal. This is something we, as a society, should take time to explore further. Why? In my opinion, it is sad to realize that so many of our “brothers and sisters” can only feel normal when they are involved in a sexual encounter. And how much time do they spend in these sexual experiences? Most likely not too much time. This means that during the other hours of the week these people are probably feeling different, even out-of-place.

If you are the parent of a son, or a daughter, reaching puberty you most likely have some concern, maybe even some fear, as to how to deal with this new chapter in your autistic child’s life. During this time, you will need to first prepare your child for puberty and the body changes s/he faces. In girls, the parents should be prepared to help their child through this exciting time. This allows the parents the opportunity to review, on a regular basis, such areas as social expectations. This includes manners, positive sexual behavior, social accepted rules along with boundaries. These discussions should be conducted at home as well as in public. This is the perfect time, when in a restaurant, for example, to discuss manners and behavior.

Parents of an autistic girl, entering puberty, might discover it easier to use ability-appropriate level books, with pictures, to explain and show as you go. She needs to understand her various body parts and the function of each. She will most likely be delighted to hear that she will soon be developing breasts. However, she might not feel the same excitement about menstruation and the procedures to follow when the period starts. If your daughter carries a small purse you should make certain to pack some sanitary napkins and a pair of clean undies. Frequently remind her about the changes she will soon be facing.

Hopefully you have been working together as a team, her teacher, your daughter, and yourself. It is imperative that the team frequently review what happens once the period begins and to go through each step of using the sanitary napkin. She also needs to understand that her pad needs to be changed regularly and she may also need to clean herself. If you follow each of these steps, then you will prepare her for the “event.” You should also teach her how to properly dispose of her used pad. If a young girl is not prepared it can be terrifying for her to be sitting in a classroom and suddenly feel something running down her leg. Then, when she realizes it is blood this can cause her to have a very traumatic experience. While explaining the whole process, you should have a couple of sanitary napkins (the type she will be using so she is familiar with them) to show her the proper way to apply it. If you have a large doll, or some other object, show her the steps to applying the pad. Then, have her practice doing the same. You should review this procedure until she feels comfortable and can properly apply the pad.

In Part 3 we will discuss sexuality – your son and puberty.

I Love My Kids, But I Never Got Around To Saving For Their College – Now They Are In High School

I always thought about starting a college fund. I even set up a small savings account when they were born. Now they are in high school, time is running out and I am starting to panic. What can I do? Where should I start? Are they going to hate me? I really wish I had started earlier.

Get Started: As their guidance counselors, teachers and friends are helping them evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in an effort to narrow down their career options, you need to take action now if they are going to make it to college. Here is how to begin.

Relax: Your first step is to take a deep breath and realize that you are starting late. You can’t change the past, but you can take positive action to change the future. The fact that you are reading this article tells me that you are ready to make an effort to help your children as much as possible. It will take some time and effort on your part, but you WILL make progress one step at a time.

Follow These Steps: The following steps will get you started on a nice structured path. You will start a journey that will take you from where you are now, through to the college graduation of your youngest child. It will not be easy or without some sacrifices, but if you do it right, it will be fun and your children will appreciate your efforts.

Step 1 – Family Net Worth: Prepare a current Net Worth Statement so you can see where you stand right now. This is a financial snap shot that will show your assets and liabilities as of today. (You can find a free one-page net worth statement on our site listed at the end of this article – forms section – or by searching the internet.) Once you know where you are today, every positive step you take will improve your net worth and help your efforts to send your children to college.

Step 2 – Maximize Income: Now that your children are all in school, consider maximizing your earning and saving potential. If one spouse was the primary care giver for the children, maybe they were working part-time or not working outside the house. Consider having both spouses work full-time to add extra income into the family budget. These increased earnings can be directed specifically into college savings, but make sure you put them in the right type of accounts.

Step 3 – Talk To Your Kids: Discuss college and financial aid with your children now. Review the costs associated with community colleges, state universities and private colleges. Let them know that you may be late to the game, but you are trying to help them as much as you possibly can. Depending on your family size, income and assets, you can get an estimate of your expected family contributions by using one of the online EFC calculators. Once you and your children are aware of these estimates, you can begin looking into your best college alternatives.

Step 4 – Let Them Help: Finally, encourage and help your children to become more “Financial Aid Worthy” students. By doing the right things while they are in high school and positioning your assets properly, you can help them by qualifying for more financial aid and learning how to further reduce college costs.

Keep Moving Forward: The most important point to remember is that even small steps will help, so if hitting a college financial “Home Run” isn’t possible, a solid single or even a bunt will help your cause. Every little bit helps and if you keep moving forward in your efforts to narrow the college funding gap, your children will see your efforts and be that much better off.

In Summary: Don’t beat yourself up. You are in the same boat as plenty of other American families. Your kids won’t hate you, but taking the first steps now will help substantially. Talk with your children and give them realistic expectations about what you can and can’t do to help. Remember – Where there is a will… there is a way.

With the many options for college, students need to evaluate their own situation and decide which path is right for them. It will be easier if they know all the relevant details. They might surprise you, so encourage them and help them to make good decisions.

To discover very specific ways to maximize your financial aid and reduce college costs, I have prepared a FREE College Cost Savings Kit which you can download by Clicking Here.

Please consider printing this article and sharing it with a friend. Many parents are in the same situation as you are. By paying it forward, you could help them save a lot of headaches and plenty of money too.

10 Essential Safety Rules for Kids

All parents want to keep the kids safe. But, as children grow older, you can’t be with them all the time. Children need their freedom so that they can learn and grow. Whilst you cannot watch over your kids 24/7, you can teach rules to follow that will help keep them safe. Here are ten basic safety rules that kids need to learn at an early age.

1. Remember Your Address and Phone Number

If children memorize their home address and their parent’s phone number, they can share that information with someone in an emergency. Kids of any age can wander off and get lost. So, the earlier they have this information memorized, the better.

2. Don’t Walk Off on Your Own

Very young children need to have strict boundaries. They shouldn’t walk off on their own at all. As they get older, this rule may change to become don’t go anywhere without telling an adult. If a young child needs to go somewhere, they should be accompanied by an adult.

3. Don’t Talk to Strangers

This is a basic rule that all kids should be taught. Don’t talk to strangers, don’t get in a stranger’s car, and don’t accept any gifts from strangers.

4. If You Get Lost, Stay Where you Are

If kids get separated from their parents, the best thing they can do is stay where they are. That will make it easier for the parents to find the child again. The most common places that children get lost is in stores. In this case, kids should understand that it’s OK to get help from a store assistant or from a mom with kids.

5. No Playing with Fire

Kids are naturally curious, but it is important that they learn that playing with fire is not allowed. Matches, cigarette lighters, and flammable materials should be kept out of the reach of children. Even if you do that at home, kid’s still need to learn how dangerous playing with fire is.

6. Don’t Climb Over any Fences

Children need to be taught that fences are there for a reason. If they are playing ball and the ball goes over a fence, they should ask an adult to retrieve it for them. Climbing fences can be dangerous. What’s on the other side of the fence may be dangerous too.

7. No One is Allowed to Touch You

You can teach children at an early age that secret touching is not allowed. This doesn’t need to be too descriptive or frightening. It can be a simple rule that adults are not allowed to touch kids’ bodies. Kid’s should also understand that it is OK to tell their parents if an adult does do something inappropriate.

8. Know What 911 is For

Children should be taught how to dial 911 in an emergency. However, they should also be taught that 911 is only to be used for real emergencies. There have been many cases where young children who have been taught how to use 911 have saved an adult’s life.

9. Don’t Put Any Personal Information Online

Very young children should be supervised when they go online. Older kids should be taught not to put any personal information online and never agree to meet anyone in person that they have met online.

10. Trust Your Instinct

If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Even if your friends are doing it. Children have gut feelings when something is wrong. They should be taught that it’s OK to say no if they feel uncomfortable about something.

You can start teaching children the basic safety rules from as early as three years of age. As well as these rules, it is also important to teach kids that can always talk to you. Encourage open communication and honesty. It’s important that a child knows they can always talk to their parents if anything at all is worrying them.

Kids & Gratitude = Magic!

Have you ever lain in bed at night wondering what kind of future your kids will have with a world gone hay-wire? Will your kids be successful? Will they have enough money, clean air or clean water? Will they be able to afford housing, schooling and own their own car? Will they live their unique purpose? Will they be happy? No wonder you may have sleepless nights? Is your child being bullied, are they overweight, too skinny, too shy, too loud, overly quiet, can’t focus, focuses too much… or an untold number of countless things that cause you or they, to worry?

How may you shift your child’s focus from what is wrong, to what is right in their lives? How may you empower your child to attract all the good that he, or she deserves? What if you keep it so simple that it takes only three to four minutes a day for your child to do? Would that be worth something to you? Absolutely! Because the truth is, at the end of the day you want to know you have done a great job as a parent, teacher or caregiver! However, your time and energy aren’t bottomless. So, it makes sense for your child to develop a habit, a system that gives you both the best bang for your time. Do you have an idea of what this power is? I make reference to it in the title.

What I’m talking about is the power of gratitude. I wish my parents had taught me the power of gratitude when I was little! Have you already taught your child to get up in the morning, look at themselves in the mirror and state what they are grateful for? Yes, no, maybe? To start off with, you can make it into a game, until it becomes a habit. You can do it together! You can laugh out loud, dance around the room, play music as you and your child chant what you’re both grateful for. Live in the present moment!

If you don’t believe me that gratitude is powerful, let’s do this simple experiment. Put a post-it note or a smiley face on your bathroom mirror. This is a trigger to remind your child, or you to take three to four minutes each morning, to say what you’re grateful for! Have your kids practice this with you the first time. This is meant to benefit both of you. They will follow your lead. I have no doubt they will think you are silly, even as they smile. Remember, what you focus on you attract. Kids + gratitude = magic of attracting all the good they deserve.

Does it not make sense to empower your child with skills they may use for the rest of their life? Totally! Have fun with this! Know you are doing the best job you can as a parent, teacher or caregiver! Because, when your kids learn to be grateful for all that they are and have in the present moment… seemingly magical moments are attracted to them. With each new success, your child’s confidence grows and with it, the knowledge of how powerful gratitude really is!

Wishing you and your kids all the success you and they desire!

Playhouses for Children and Their Educational Benefits

There are many different types of playhouses for children available on the market today. While children’s playhouses have the capability of providing hours of high quality entertainment to children that play in them, it has been established that there are many educational benefits associated with these types of toys. Many parents and professionals that work with children have determined that the outdoor world provides many possibilities when it comes to pretend play and educational benefits. Playhouses for children provide an opportunity for their budding imaginations to literally take off. Play that is imaginative in nature is an important factor when it comes to cognitive development. Throughout this article, you will discover the educational benefits associated with playhouses that are designed for young children.

Children that play in playhouses are able to explore the outdoor world through the senses. By exploring the world in this fashion, children are able to experience various forms of cognitive growth. This type of growth is based on the smells, sounds, and visual observations that are made while the child is playing in or around their playhouse. Playhouses for children allow them to explore the aspects of science that surround them. Feeling the cool breeze on their face, the rain drops fall on their skin, and even the heat of the sun will provide a young child with the ability to learn more about the world that surrounds them on a daily basis. Being outdoors on a regular basis will allow a child to explore several different scientific aspects of their world, without them even knowing it.

There are several life skills that a child may learn by playing in children’s playhouses. Many may decide to plant items around their playhouse, while others may choose to build furniture and decorations for their play area. Then, of course, children will likely clean their playhouse and even pretend by playing “house”. In this aspect, children will mimic the activities that they see other adults performing in their own homes. As they put the actions into play that they consistently see, they start to develop skills that will assist them throughout the duration of their entire lives. Even something as simple as pretending to cook and creating those glamorous “mud pies” in their playhouse may prove to be an educational experience for a child.

When we think of education, we often think of school. Since our children attend school, they often bring home homework. This is not the most exciting of tasks for children. However, if there is a playhouse in the backyard, it could provide a child with a quiet and enjoyable location to do their homework. You could place a desk in the playhouse, writing utensils, and other school supplies. You could even place a bookshelf in the playhouse and a large assortment of reference items. This would excite your child about school and have them wanting to visit the little play area over and over again. There are many ways that playhouses for children could prove to be educational. All you need is a little time and a bit of creativity and you can enhance your child’s knowledge using children’s playhouses.