Saturday, August 30, 2008

Seeking Toy Reviews for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

I am hoping to find some families that have a child on the autism spectrum that can share a review on a toy, game, sensory item or something similar. If you are not already an Amazon Associate, I suggest Signing Up for their affiliate program.

The reviews I am requesting are for the Autism Spectrum Disorders site at BellaOnline. September is just about here and traffic pick up at this time for families looking for holiday gifts for their children on the Autism Spectrum.

I am a single parent to two boys on opposite ends of the spectrum, ages 12 and 13. I am interested in getting some reviews from families who have girls and also younger children so there is something recommended on the site for all ages. This call also goes out to those with children who have the diagnosis of PDD-NOS or Asperger Syndrome.

I have been writing at BellaOnline since June of 2005. There is a 400 word minimum for articles. This should be no problem. My articles average 1000+ words. You will need to sign a Guest Contributor Agreement. This is what an article consists of:

Title - under 50 characters
Article Author - you would be listed here as guest author
Date - the article stays in archives and under subject header (toys, music, etc)
Article description - this is 300 characters
Keywords - under 300 characters
Text - 400 word minimum
Subject - I will help with this
Three links - these would be other articles on my site linked at bottom

You can do a sentence or two bio that can be placed at the bottom of the article and include your personal site or blog. Give me your amazon ID and the item on amazon you are reviewing and I will add that to the article. While the article is on the site you will get the amazon associate credit. Articles are never deleted so the article could be at the site for several years. I can help you with the title, description and key words as well.

Here are some examples of mine:

Crayola Folding Table Top Art Easel

This example has more than one product being reviewed, which is also a possiility should guest contributor have a few items and want to combine into one article. An affiliate link for each item can be placed in the article.

Leap Frog Phonics for the low functioning child

Matching and Sorting Activities for the child on the autism spectrum

Movies for children

Music and Software Reviews

I am looking for families that use toys in their home. This is not for those who own companies to market their products. The site gets 55,000 page views a month. This will be an opportunity for sharing about your family, making some amazon affiliate money and linking to your site. There is no compensation, writing at BellaOnline is a volunteer gig.

A newsletter goes out each week so the article will be linked there. Currently there are 1100 subscribers. An article can be clicked to Digg or There is a section where visitors can email an article to a friend, bringing more readers to your article.

BellaOnline does not have a comment section, but there are is a forum for the autism spectrum disorders site. I can start a thread there linking your article and can be a place for discussion of the article.

Here is what a Guest Author article looks like, note the top with the name and bottom with contact info.

Please leave a comment if you are interested and let me know the age, sex and toys or related items you can write on. Remember to check out the guest contributor agreeement as well.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Questions for Middle School

I visited the Middle School the other day with my nonverbal son on the autism spectrum along with his male aide. I had the enrollment papers mailed to me to expedite this procedure and be prepared for the visit with my list of questions.

The person at the Attendance Office noticed my two page typed out document entitled Questions for Mioddle School, mentioning how organized I was. After we left that office we were directed to the Counselor's office. Once they realized my son has an IEP we were sent to the Bridge Coordinator. This is the person I will be in contact regarding IEP issues.

I had both IEPs for their office. The triennial in May with the due process IEP naming their school in June. The aide learned of a meeting taking place the day prior to school starting next week. We had a tour of the school, seeing the lunch area, gym building, classroom from outside and restroom facility close by. We finished at the Main office giving them the aides information.

This is the list of questions I asked the Bridge Coordinator:

Teacher name –

# of kids in class –

# of adults in class

Name and ext # for SLP, Adapt PE and OT

Name of Bridge Coordinator

Do they go to library and computer room – how often, where is it

Time for PE, how often, how long

Do you need extra sneakers for PE

Do you need socks for PE or keep same ones on?

Do socks have to be all white?

What is lockdown policy

What is discipline of special ed students policy

When and where is assembly

Phone in classroom

Bathroom in classroom

Lockers in classroom

Daily communication notebook

Where is the bus location

Where does toileting for those with diapers on take place

What is policy when aide on break and lunch

What is policy when aide is out sick for bus

How often is art, music and science – in separate rooms

Which subjects are with general ed classes

Class schedule

Field trips – how often and where in the past

I have previously written two articles at my site that are checklists for visiting classrooms.

Classroom Visitation Checklist - this is for the younger years, including preschool

Visiting Middle School Autism Classes - this is the list I had when I visited some other schools during Spring Break.

Six Unspectacular Quirks

I was tagged for this meme by Mama Mara. The rules are stated below:

1. Link the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules on your blog.
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks you possess.
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them.
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

My six quirks:

1. I cannot use a sheet of notebook paper if it has been torn. I have to throw it out in the recycle bin. Also when I remove a sheet from a notebook I have to stand over paperbag for recycling and use a scissor to cut it evenly to remove those ridges. I am happy to report that my 13 year old son on the spectrum does the same thing. We are neat with our papers.

2. I take this a bit further with paper towels and will not use one if I tear it unevenly. I use paper towels to blow my nose, so when the paper towel is torn I will wipe down the sink or stove before tossing it so it got used.

3. I have this fascination with candles. At family dinners and holidays I would sit there and fling my finger back and forth through the candle. I think the last time I did this was when living in NJ and I was showing my nine year old cousin. His mother did not think it was something I should be showing her child. Since it is just me and my two sons on the autism spectrum, ages 12 and 13 there have not been any dinners with candles, so this quirk of mine stays with me.

4. I never have a utensil out when the toaster is plugged in. I had a fascination with this as a child and avoid temptation for me or either of my kids by never having them on the counter at the same time.

5. I must have all hangers facing the same way. This includes the clothing as well. Recently when watching one of the home selling shows on HGTV they told the lady to do this since her closet had a variety of hangers and they were all in different directions. So this is another efficient and neat quirk to have.

6. I always have to have the emergency brake on. This is just in case the car rolls down the hill on the street. I think this does damage to my brakes so I am weaning myself off of this quirk. I even wrote an article awhile ago called Keeping Compulsions in Check, which mentions some of these as well.

Next I need to tag six people to follow suit and post about their quirks.

teen autism
three channels
Autism Insights
Crazy Jugs
Life With Autism
Composter Mom

Twitter Tag

I practically start each day checking out Twitter and end the night or early morning hours by refreshing the page one more time as I pass the computer on my way to bed. So when I came across this twitter tag at Swept Away where I was dropping an Entrecard and seeing twitter caught my eye.

{start copy here}

+ Answer all the questions.

+ Add your twitter username to the list and leave a comment on this post so I can add you on the master list.

+ Tag other twitter users you know.

1. Who invited you to join twitter? Lisa Shea

2. How many twitter updates have you made since you signed up? 2,835

3. How many direct messages have you received so far? 220

4. On an average, how many twits do you make a day? 20+

5. How many followers do you have? 461

6. How many are you following? 437

7. Have you ever blocked/denied follow requests? yes, spammers and one recently

8. What did you write in your one line bio? writing on autism and advocating for children to be treated with respect from general public

9. Did you even bother to customize your twitter page? Nope, not interested

10. Do you think twitter is cool or is just a waste of time? cool and neat

Twitters: cherryrose | maileen1| autismfamily | Your Twitter Username

{end copy here}

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Preparing for Enrollment in Middle School

My 12 year old nonverbal son Matthew starts sixth grade at a Middle School in September. The homeschool for these grades was not acceptable to me so we had to go to Due Process. This took place at the end of the 2007-2008 school year. My main concern was to get into a school that follows the traditional school calendar of September through June. Los Angeles has year round schools with the offer starting a few days after school let out.

By that time I was already in summer camp mode so I did not get all the pertinent details on the class and school options. Once the six weeks of camp was over we took a week off before I delved into the school information. The school was getting new pavement so for two weeks it was closed and then trying to get anyone to answer in Special Education was not possible.

After several attempts I was able to talk someone in the office into mailing me the enrollment papers instead of having to fill these out with my son and his aide there. This preparation process is very necessary when taking a child on the autism spectrum to their new school for the open enrollment first come first serve four day bonanza. It is one of those times I wished there was special treatment for the special education students. I believe hearing my son screaming in the background with my pleading to make life easier for everyone at the office upon our arrival clinched obtaining these forms in the mail.

The forms were overwhelming, asking the years he attended other schools, what age when he first spoke, sat, crawled, fed himself. They wanted to know the dates of hospitalization and last visit to the Dentist. Other pertinent data like a court order about either parent, which I am bringing since I have sole physical and legal custody with the noncustodial parent on
supervised vistation per a custody evaluation years ago.

I put together a folder for the aide that will be taking the bus with my son. I have copies of both IEPs, a print out of the school calendar, a document I typed up with school name, address, phone number, bus route info, meal times and school hours. I also included the original copy of the document I had provided the Elementary School in using for a communication notebook.

I also taped the school picture of my son on the top of the folder and placed an English and a Spanish autism behavior card inside, as well as one of my business cards. I purchased two books about school buses and want one to be kept at school to help my son learn about the bus and as a reminder. I still need to look through my pecs resources to find a few bus picture cards for the schedule at school and his communication device.

I am hoping to have better communication with the school than with the two previous Elementary Schools. There is still the issue of toilet training at school and finding out if that takes place in the Nurse's office or regular restroom.

I was pleased with the information received from the Bus Supervisor when we talked last week. Hopefully it will be a Safe Bus, as well as a safe campus.

I do not want to overload the aide at the start of the school year, but I really feel two books he needs to peruse and share with the teacher/therapist is the one on the oral-motor program and the strategies at hand laminated bookcards that is portable and has tips on assemblies and fire drills.

I am also planning on going over the Basic Skills Checklist book with the aide to see which ones would be useful to new teacher and therapists.

I have typed out a list of questions for the enrollment tomorrow and what does not get answered will hopefully be addressed at the orientation the following night. I tried several times to schedule a tour and was told to just do it after we enroll. I hope they realize this will not be a quick walk through.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Brilliante Web Award - My first blog award

It was a nice surprise when
MT of
The Bon Bon Gazette tagged Autism Family Adventures the Brilliante Weblog Award. Thank you for the recognition. I have been writing online for many years, but just started this blog as a way to communicate with readers since Autism Spectrum Disorders @ does not support comments. I was feeling left out of the blog world since I was visiting, reading and commenting on autism related blogs.

The rules for this award are as follows:

1. The winner can put the logo on their blog.
2. Link to the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you’ve nominated.

Here are the lucky seven I have chosen:

1. Coping with Disability - Rudy Sims is known as Rudy 10 on Twitter. He was among the first I met at the site. He has shared interesting articles he reads online and writes from firsthand experience as someone with Cerebral Palsy. He is a master at reading and blogging, plus he resides in my homestate of New Jersey.

2. A Deaf Mom Shares Her World - I have known Karen as Barefooter on Epinions for eight years now. We both started writing reviews in January of 2000. While Karen has not been as active in the past year like I have, we have kept in touch over the years through email communication. I joined Disaboom after reading a blog of Karen's on that site. Karen leads a busy life and has a fun personality. I even learned after all this time why she used the pen name barefooter.

3. Fun Cool Collectibles - Christina runs the company that is known as All Things Character Unique. She is busy getting her site ready for the upcoming holiday season. Great ideas for presents for kids. She is also a whiz on Squidoo with a lens on Autism. I hope to emulate her on that site and learn from her expertise.

4. Laura Loves Art - Laura is always on the move and I like her style. It just so happens we were both born in April of 1960. We are also part of the Adoption Triad in different roles. You have to read about the audition Laura took her cat Oliver to for the Meow Mix Think Like A Cat Game Show, it is a fun excursion. I enjoy following her on Twitter.

5. Do It Myself Blog - Glenda has Cerebral Palsy and is known as the left thumb blogger. She has a book entitled, I'll Do It Myself. Here is the trailer. I plan on getting her book soon. She is very outgoing on Twitter. Make sure to read her Accessibility 100 series, which are free and inexpensive tips for improving accessibility for people with disabilities.

6. Floortime Repository - Alexis and her husband created this ning group. In fact thanks to Alexis I am learning my way around the Ning groups I have since joined. Besides her blog at the site there are her home made videos showing therapy with her son. Very dedicated parents that are in the process of creating another website known as Coolest-Kids-Games. This will be another site to check back for holiday gifts.

7. April Tara - April Tara and I have a few things in common. We are both single mothers working at home, homeschooling and we are members that help out other families on the website Wish Upon A Hero. April Tara has launched a website that is seeking bloggers, But What About The Kids. This is a unique site since it targets custody, co-parenting and court issues. I should share my past experience with supervised visitation.

I enjoy reading these blogs and award this recognition to each of them.
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