My youngest daughter and I recently attended a disability conference. Seeing her interact with the families of disabled children, as well as disabled youth really showed me the empathy and compassion she’s gained by having a sibling with special needs.Continue reading Having a Sibling With a Disability Changes You – For the Better
Here are five tips on how to keep morning routines consistent and calm for children on the autism spectrum. Continue reading 5 Tips for Keeping Morning Routines Consistent for Children with Autism
In this guest post from Better Speech, the writers discuss the difference between autism presenting at birth versus a regression later in toddlerhood.Continue reading Regressive Autism – Understanding the Causes and How to Help Your Child by Better Speech
If you are the parent of a child with autism spectrum disorder obsessed with their saliva, you must be frustrated! Not only is the world still in the midst of a global pandemic transmitted primarily through respiratory droplets, but playing with saliva is also messy and socially unacceptable. My autistic son is six years old,Continue reading Minimizing a Saliva Obsession in Children With Autism
Hey There! A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with Leanne Page. If you are a parent, grandparent or work with children in any capacity, this is a conversation you don’t want to miss!
The arts have an incredible ability to facilitate creativity, self-expression, and personal development. Dancing, music, drawing, painting, and theatre are invaluable for healthy child development. More specifically, art-based hobbies have unique and diverse benefits for children with developmental disabilities. Artistic hobbies can help children communicate, reduce stress, and build self-confidence. If you are looking toContinue reading The Benefit of Artistic Hobbies (and How to Get Started) Words by Lillian Brooks
An advocate can be defined as a person who pleads on behalf of another’s cause. Plead can be defined as making an emotional appeal. Lastly, a cause can be defined as a principle for which a person or group is dedicated to fighting for. So, an advocate is a person who makes emotional appeals onContinue reading Being an Advocate for Your Autistic Child
The Value of Parental Friendships Both Inside and Outside the Special Needs Community – As Featured in Exceptional Needs Today
I am honored to be featured in Exceptional Needs Today’s 3rd edition. Building and maintaining friendships both inside and outside the exceptional needs community is vital for us as parents of exceptional children. Not only to find the support we need to be the best parents possible but for our own mental health and well-being.Continue reading The Value of Parental Friendships Both Inside and Outside the Special Needs Community – As Featured in Exceptional Needs Today
Raising a child with exceptional needs is often overwhelming for families. Even if the child receives the services and support they need outside the home, they may still struggle at home. I am excited to announce that I will soon be launching Big Abilities Caregiver Coaching.
Raising a child with a developmental disability such as Autism Spectrum Disorder can have a huge impact on a family’s finances. Families of children on the spectrum often have less income because one parent may need to leave the workforce to be the primary caregiver. In addition, the expenses of an ASD diagnosis can spanContinue reading Top 5 Free Autism Resources in 2021
I speak with parents all the time about optimizing their home environment to help their exceptional needs family thrive. Often I use the children’s book, Sally’s Room, written by M. K. Brown, as an example of why an organized and tidy environment is so important for our children with exceptional needs.
Back in 2017, when my son was first diagnosed with a speech delay, while we waited for speech therapy to begin, I searched for as many resources as possible to help him at home. One of the first resources I found was an app called Speech Blubs.
I recently read a quote, “It’s never the same day twice, but don’t dare change the routine!” If you are the parent of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, I am sure you can relate!
In this episode, I have a conversation with Meegan Winters. CEO and Co-Founder of Able Eyes, a virtual platform that offers people with disabilities access to virtual tours, of businesses, video modeling “How-To’s”, and social stories. Continue reading Pod 37: Meegan Winters of Able Eyes
If you are the parent of a child with exceptional needs and are using the same techniques your parents used while raising you, or that you’ve used with your children who don’t have exceptional needs, it’s probably not working. But, here are three strategies that will!
Rose is an ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She divides her time between a public school and her own private practice- ABA SPEECH. ABA SPEECH provides specialized in person and teletherapy speech therapy services across 10 states including California, Ohio and Florida. Rose is the creator of the Autism OutreachContinue reading Pod 36: My Conversation with Rosemarie Griffin of ABA Speech
Follow my blog with Bloglovin Family’s of children with exceptional needs often spend a great deal of time looking for resources and providers outside the home, and understandably so. However, it is equally important to focus attention on what is happening inside the home as well. The following suggestions can help your exceptional needs familyContinue reading Optimizing Your Home Environment to Help Your Exceptional Needs Family Thrive
Burn Your Parenting Books: Why Traditional Parenting Won’t Work With Children With Exceptional Needs
Why traditional parenting strategies won’t work with children with exceptional needs and what to do instead.Continue reading Burn Your Parenting Books: Why Traditional Parenting Won’t Work With Children With Exceptional Needs
Young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder can struggle with following instructions, fine motor skills, creativity, color and number recognition, and task completion. Fortunately all of these skills can be improved with one simple and fun activity: coloring by number!
Autism Navigator, created by the Autism Institute at the Florida State University College of Medicine, is for families of children between birth and age eight with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis or at risk, as well as the providers that support them. Autism Navigator provides resources such as online courses, live webinars, and more.
Former Umatilla Middle School Staff Member Working to Support Families of Children With Exceptional Needs
(previously published in The North Lake Outpost) I spent most of my childhood and professional career in Umatilla, Florida. My family moved to North Lake County in 1980, and I joined the staff at Umatilla Middle School in 2005 as Media Specialist and Television Production teacher. I left Umatilla Middle School to be a full-timeContinue reading Former Umatilla Middle School Staff Member Working to Support Families of Children With Exceptional Needs
Jessica Andrews knows firsthand how challenging raising a child with exceptional needs can be for families. She and her developmentally disabled brother, Juan, grew up in the Tampa area. Jessica saw her single mom struggle to get a break, and when she could find respite providers, they were often ill-equipped to properly care for Juan.
Navigating the world of raising a child expectational needs can be overwhelming. This is why Collaborative Corner is offering personalized Client Concierge Services.Continue reading Client Concierge Service at Collaborative Corner for Exceptional Children
A Google search of the phrase “what is autism spectrum disorder” will net you about 46,700,000 results in 0.62 seconds. Many of those results are full of complex medical jargon, paid advertisements, obsolete information, and misconstrued facts. It’s understandable that so many people both inside and outside the autism community do not have an accurateContinue reading What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
The Premack Principle, often referred to as First/Then or Grandma’s Rule, is a simple behavior modification strategy parents can easily implement to help children overcome challenging behaviors.Continue reading The Premack Principle: How Using First/Then Can Improve Behavior
Had a great Facebook Live with Wendy Valente where we spoke about transforming screen time for sedentary to passive, to physically active and cognitively engaging.Continue reading Toys, Storage, and the Importance of Play with Wendy Valente
Children love their favorite movie and TV characters. By organizing their character-themed toys into interactive bins and engaging in play with your child you can increase their verbal and nonverbal communication, as well as cognitive skills in just 4 easy steps!Continue reading 4 Steps To Make Screen Time Interactive Using Toys
In this article, posted originally on Collaborative Corner for Exceptional Children, you’ll learn early intervention strategies you can implement now while waiting for therapies to begin.Continue reading Early Interventions You Can Implement Now!
In this episode, I have a conversation with Aaron Wright, author of the book Thirteen Doors.Continue reading Pod 35: Aaron Wright, Author of Thirteen Doors
Educators often schedule parent-teacher conferences regularly to discuss with parents their child’s academic progress and struggles as well as behavior and social-emotional development. For families of children with exceptional needs, the interactions between home and school are typically greater than for general education students. But what happens when a parent, rather than the teacher, requestsContinue reading How to Structure an Effective Parent-Teacher Conference From the Parent’s POV
Before you were born, I had a pretty good idea of the path you’d follow. At least early on. All the baby books written by Drs. X, Y, and Z, as well as what I intuitively knew about child development, led me to believe that you’d smile before you laughed, coo before you spoke, sitContinue reading To My Child on the Autism Spectrum
Amy Nielsen shares how choosing therapy instead of school helped her autistic son during the COVID-19 pandemic. — Read on themighty.com/2021/01/therapy-remote-learning-autism-covid-19-prnt/
In this episode, I have a conversation with Zafer Elcik, co-founder of Otsimo, an award-winning educational app for children with special needs.Continue reading Pod 34: Zafer Elcik Co-Founder of Otsimo
Thank you to Otsimo for this guest blog post on the role technology can play in enhancing the lives of children with special needs.Continue reading Technology: Front and Center – Guest Blog from Otsimo
The emotional health of parents of children with exceptional needs can be at-risk. However, there are ways to keep your emotional health balanced.Continue reading The Importance of Emotional Health for Parents and Caregivers of Exceptional Children
Listen for my top 10 takeaways, tips and tricks from 2020 to help your family thrive in 2021!Continue reading Pod 33: 10 Takeaways From 2020 for 2021 for Families of Children With Exceptional Needs
Marlee never imagined her Facebook post would go viral. Now she’s spreading autism awareness. It all started with one simple question, “Why?”Continue reading One Question Gives Mom of Autistic Son Platform to Spread Awareness
I recently had a conversation with Tiffany Johnson, author of the book “Brave Enough Now” on her “When We are Brave” podcast. To listen, check out the “When We Are Brave” podcast wherever you listen to podcasts or you can stream it from Spotify at this bottom of this page.
Recently, I had the pleasure of a follow-up conversation with The Autism Dad, Rob Gorksi. In our discussion we talked about my family’s experience with COVID and how families impacted by autism often receive judgmental comments from others! We also discussed some new services offered through Collaborative Corner that might be beneficial for your exceptional needs child.
Continue reading My Recent Conversation with The Autism Dad, Rob Gorski
In this short video, I share 5 simple activities to improve play skills in children on the autism spectrum and why this it is so important to build these play skills.Continue reading 5 Tips To Promote Play For Children With Autism
In this episode, I speak with interior designer, Wendy Valente, of Live Well Designs and Designing Interiors for Autism.Continue reading Pod 32: Designing Interiors for Autism
In this article I wrote for Speech Blubs, I explain how to help children on the autism spectrum improve imaginative play which to improve speech.Continue reading Play To Improve Speech in Kids With Autism
Taking turns is an important developmental milestone that most children naturally develop, but children with autism may need to be taught how.Continue reading How to Teach Turn-Taking to a Child With Autism
I typically write about our family’s experiences in raising a child with developmental disabilities, but not always. I wrote this piece months ago when my youngest daughter was struggling. She’s overcome so much in a short time. I am so proud of her! It is my desire that this message can give you hope if you have a child struggling to find their way. And to tell you this, never give up!Continue reading The Prodigal Daughter
Creating safe, welcoming, and sensory-friendly environments can help children with autism thrive. This article, featured on Autisable, gives 4 simple suggestions to help parents get started.Continue reading 4 Easy Ways of Making Your Home More Special Needs Friendly – A Collaborative Post From Autisable
Wendy Valente is the owner of Live Well Designs, an interior design company that is home to Designing Interiors for Autism. Continue reading “Designing Interiors For Autism” by Wendy Valente
It is an honor to feature on Big Abilities guest blogger, Liz Talton. Liz is the author and creator of Pitter Patter of Baby Feet, a website dedicated to families trying to conceive, fertility, pregnancy, mental health, and anything related to motherhood. Before starting a family, Liz received her master’s degree in forensic psychology and mental health. She is now a full-time blogger, wife, and mother to two boys, ages three and six months.Continue reading The Most Important Skills to Teach Your Child With Autism – Words by Liz Talton
If you have a child with special needs and they attend school, daycare, therapy, or spend time with a sitter, considering sending an “About Me” brochure.Continue reading How to Create an “About Me” Brochure
Parents and caregivers are often guilty of overlooking their own needs as they work to deal with the significant needs of their child. However, neglecting your needs can have a negative impact on your ability to handle the stress and responsibilities that having an exceptional child often entail.Continue reading How to Take Care of the Most Important Person in Your Child’s Support System – You!
Parenting a child with autism spectrum disorder means that if you have other children, they are likely to get less of your time. While that often makes parents feel guilty, it’s an unfortunate reality. However, your other kids need to know that while they may not get an equal share of your time, they have an equal share of your love!Continue reading To My Other Kids Not On The Autism Spectrum
Because children with autism spectrum disorder function best in a structured routine, taking them out of that routine can cause overstimulation, dysregulation and confusion. Today I share about a recent experience we had taking our son with ASD to an aquarium and what I learned as a result.Continue reading When Plans Need to Change Quickly
Up to 50% of children with Autism are aggressive. However, understanding why and implementing some simple strategies can greatly reduce the frequency.Continue reading Curbing Aggression in Children with Autism
Explaining Autism Spectrum Disorder to children can be challenging as ASD is so complex. So I created a resource to help make it easier. I took the familiar story of Goldilocks, giving her characteristics that someone on the spectrum might exhibit. This free resource includes an audio version of the story, a free downloadable PDF of the story and a detailed Discussion Guide. Continue reading How to Explain Autism Spectrum Disorder to a Child – Part 2
Explaining Autism Spectrum Disorder to children can be challenging as ASD is so complex. So I created a resource to help make it easier. I took the familiar story of Goldilocks, giving her characteristics that someone on the spectrum might exhibit. This free resource includes an audio version of the story, a free downloadable PDF of the story and a detailed Discussion Guide. Continue reading How to Explain Autism Spectrum Disorder to a Child – Part 1
Check out my guest appearance with Rob Gorksi on The Autism Dad podcast.Continue reading My Guest Appearance With Rob Gorski on The Autism Dad Podcast
I love buying my son toys that serve a valuable function. We have had this Melissa and Doug Fresh Mart for a couple of years and we love role playing shopping at our favorite grocery store, Publix. For children on the autism spectrum, life skills can sometimes be difficult. So check out the review below and click the link for more great Melissa and Doug products!Continue reading Melissa and Doug Fresh Mart: a Great Tool For Teaching Life Skills
Some days need a real and raw description and this was one of those days. However, despite the challenges, at the end of the day, I am grateful for what really matters.Continue reading What Really Matters at the End of the Day
As quickly as you make a plan, living in a world amid a global pandemic means that plan can come to a screech halt without warning. That is precisely what happened to our family yesterday when our 5-year-old son with Autism Spectrum Disorder tested positive for COVID-19.Continue reading Catching COVID-19: Our Family’s Story
Are you the parent of a VPK student and are not sending them to a brick and mortar campus for the upcoming school year? If so, check out this free downloadable At-Home Guide created by our team at Collaborative Corner for Exceptional Children.Continue reading Collaborative Corner For Exceptional Children’s Get Started VPK At-Home Guide
Educational choice for children has historically been a fairly easy decision for families. But families of children with disabilities, who already faced tough choices, amid a global pandemic the decisions are even tougher.Continue reading Education 2020: School Choice Amid a Global Pandemic
Autism and Eloping: What it is, Why Children on the Spectrum Are Prone to It, and How to Minimize the Risks
Today, as my husband and I stood in the garage about to put our 5-year-old son in his stroller for a walk he did something he never had before, but something I’d been terrified he eventually might.Continue reading Autism and Eloping: What it is, Why Children on the Spectrum Are Prone to It, and How to Minimize the Risks
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a highly effective therapy for children on the autism spectrum that is based on the science of learning and behavior. As a mother of a child with autism, I have seen firsthand the positive impact of ABA therapy with my son. I have also seen the confusion in others about what ABA is and the controversy surrounding it. Hopefully this post will break it down and dispel those misconceptions.Continue reading The Confusing Controversy Around Applied Behavior Analysis
This article by the online speech pathology program from Baylor University’s Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences is an excellent read for parents who may be concerned about language delays or speech disorders.Continue reading Parent’s Guide to Language Delays and Speech Disorders in Children by Baylor University
My mother began dating a new guy a few months ago, right as the COVID-19 pandemic began to ravage the country. She and I talk almost every day, and I began to hear a lot about this guy. How he had this thick Boston accent, talked A LOT, and was already referring to my sisterContinue reading Mourning the Loss of Someone You Never Met, But Should Have
If you are the parent of a child with a physical, cognitive or developmental disability, home safety can be a concern. Fortunately, Bob from Child Senior Safety is here to help!Continue reading Keeping Children With Special Needs Safe at Home with Child Senior Safety
In this video, I share three easy to implement strategies for helping transitions with children with developmental disabilities go more smoothly. Stay tuned to the end for a special bonus tip!Continue reading Behavior Strategies: Tips for Transitions
I am excited to share my new role at the nonprofit Collaborative Corner for Exceptional Children.Continue reading My New Role at Collaborative Corner For Exceptional Children
I raised girls for more than a decade before I became the mother of a son. When I was pregnant with my first son I was worried I wouldn’t know how to be a good boy mom. Now I have two sons and I realize, all I needed was love. They’d teach me everything else I needed to know!Continue reading The Bathroom Always Smells Like Pee and Other Joys of Raising Boys
Dental visits can be very challenging for children on the autism spectrum. Here are some tips that have helped my 5 year old with ASD have his best dental visit yet!Continue reading Tips for Helping Children on the Autism Spectrum at the Dentist
The Big Red Safety Box is a free toolkit for families and caregivers of children with autism who are prone to eloping, which means wandering away from a safe and supervised environment. In this review, I share what comes in the box, information about eloping and offer strategies to help protect your loved one.Continue reading Big Red Safety Box: Autism and Eloping
In this article for Autism Parenting Magazine, Amy shares actionable steps you can take immediately if you suspect your child is on the autism spectrum or they are an early diagnosis and you are struggling to find the best resources.Continue reading Big Abilities Featured in Autism Parenting Magazine
There are so many benefits to a morning routine, but it can be hard to keep one going when you have children on the autism spectrum. Here’s how I do it.Continue reading Keeping Morning Routines Consistent for Children with Autism
Amy shares how using the BigBoxPlay system with her son who is on the autism spectrum both at home and in therapy has helped his imaginative play skills improve.Continue reading BigBoxPlay! Helping Children on the Autism Spectrum Improve Their Imagination
In this episode, Amy shares her interview with Jessica Barisano, founder of Collaborative Corner for Exceptional Children.Continue reading Podcast 29: Jessica Barisano of Collaborative Corner for Exceptional Children
You can’t go wrong with the Maxtrix bed from Maxwood furniture. It’s a safe, affordable, and comfortable option for your growing little one that will last through years of childhood. Here’s my review of it!Continue reading The Maxtrix Bed by Maxwood Furniture
In this post, I share my
take on the difficult decision the Stauffer family made to “rehome” their son Huxley and how our culture surrounding Autism Spectrum Disorder has evolved over time.Continue reading The Evolution of the Culture of Autism
Amy shares the impact systemic racism has on children of color who are on the autism spectrum and the hope that change is coming.Continue reading How Systemic Racism Harms Children On The Autism Spectrum
Here are 8 steps parents should immediately take if they suspect their child may have a developmental delay or disability.Continue reading 8 Steps to Immediately Take if You Suspect Your Child May Have a Developmental Delay or Disability
Amy shares a letter she wrote to her family and friends while celebrating her 50th birthday during the pandemic and her optimism for the future.Continue reading To My Family and Friends on My 50th Birthday: A Letter of Optimism and Hope
In this episode, Amy shares the program her son’s behavior therapy team developed to help him tolerate wearing a face mask.Continue reading Podcast 28: Helping a Child With Autism Tolerate Wearing a Face Mask
Even children with Autism can be taught to wear a face mask amidst living with a pandemic.Continue reading Teach a Child With ASD To Wear a Face Mask
As a mother of a child on the autism spectrum, I’ve learned that self-care must be a high priority. Early on in my special needs parenting journey, I realized that if I didn’t fill my needs first, I couldn’t fill the significant needs of my son. In my book “It Takes a Village: Get YourContinue reading Caregivers of Children With Autism: Self-Care During the Pandemic
In this episode, Amy shares why she is temporarily hitting the pause button on her blog and podcast. She also offers tips and suggestions for how you can also hit the pause button on what may be impacting your ability in filling the needs of your child while also protecting your mental health during this unique and challenging time. Continue reading Podcast 27: Hitting the Pause Button
Amy shares how she has adapted her daily schedule as she now finds herself in the role of her ASD preschool son’s home-school teacher and ABA therapist.Continue reading Mom School: When You Must Become the Teacher & the Therapist
Children with autism can be obsessed with saliva. I break down why and what to do about it.Continue reading Helping My Autistic Son Move Beyond a Saliva Obsession
Amy shares her guest appearance on the podcast “I Used to Be a Therapist” hosted by Dr. Wendy Bruton.Continue reading Podcast 26: My Guest Appearance on “I Used to Be a Therapist” with Wendy Bruton
Vacationing with children on the autism spectrum can be an overwhelming and unpredictable experience. Fortunately, several vacation destinations are now getting Certified Autism Accreditation to help make it possible for those families of autistic kids to enjoy their vacations too!
Amy shares what families of children impacted by developmental disabilities, such as ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder, wish their friends and families knew. Continue reading Podcast 23: What Parent’s of Children With Special Needs Wish You Knew
Amy shares her guest appearance on the podcast “Thriving in the Midst of Chaos” where she talks with host Jessica Temple about the importance of building a support system and how to make it happen.Continue reading Podcast 24: Guest Appearance on “Thriving the Midst of Chaos” with Jessica Temple
In my guest appearance on the podcast “Thriving in the Midst of Chaos” I talk with host Jessica Temple about how to make your family thrive when you are parenting a child with Autism or ADHD.Continue reading Guest Appearance on “Thriving in the Midst of Chaos” with Jessica Temple
Amy shares a personal experience that illustrates how even though autism is hard, loving your child is easy.Continue reading A Positive Mindset Isn’t an Option
The world of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) encompasses a large list of diagnosis-specific vocabulary. Often this jargon can be confusing to those who may not know much about ASD. Understanding these words might help you better comprehend how this condition impacts loved ones on the spectrum and provide insight into their unique needs.
“Their Stories” is a series that focuses on the strengths of children with developmental disabilities such as ADHD and autism. In this first episode, Amy interviews her husband, Brent, about their nearly 5-year-old son Barclay’s big abilities.Continue reading Podcast 22: Their Stories “Barclay”
Amy shares how she uses timers with her son who has autism and offers helpful tips and suggestions.Continue reading Using Timers For Children With Autism
In this episode, I share my research on whether using functioning labels to describe a person’s autism is helpful, harmful or even necessary.Continue reading Podcast 21: Autism and Functioning Labels