Stress Management Activities for Parents

Stress Management Activities for Parents

Having stress as a parent is a very real thing.  As a parent, we have so many more responsibilities, but as a parent of a child that has more needs than other children, the amount on a parent’s shoulders are compounded.  Everything can take more time and the amount of mental problem solving and having to think more about everything can be exhausting and really overwhelming. We definitely all need stress management strategies and activities to make everything that we do possible!

I have mentioned this is several episodes now, but the most important thing that you can do for your child is to take care of yourself.  If you are ran down and exhausted, you will not have the energy and ability to meet the needs of your child.

Since managing your stress is such a huge big part of helping and supporting your child or children, I was super excited to interview Shannon and to have a conversation about why it is so important to manage our stress and some simple ways to help lower stress in our lives. 

#stressmanagement, #parentingautisticchild, #autisticparenting, #stressedparent, #autistmmomma, #autismlife, #spd, #parentingspd, #autismpodcast, #sensorypodcast, #stressreduction, #selfcare, #autismmomsrock, #autisticparenting, #autismlife, #autismfamily, #autismfamilylife, #differentnotless

Meet Shannon

Shannon is a self-love extraordinaire who has a passion to help women all over the world learn to overcome stress, anxiety, and overwhelm and create peace and ease in every area of their life. She has a background in chemistry, is a #1 best-selling author on Amazon, and has special training in memory. Shannon enjoys reading, being around water, and brings her puppy Ruby Tuesday with her everywhere. Please reach out to Shannon through Facebook or email if you have any questions, or would just like to chat.

3 Stress Management Strategies talked about in the Episode

  1.  Set three alarms on your phone.  When the alarm goes off, check in with yourself and think about how you are feeling in that moment.  Do a body scan by closing your eyes and start by paying attention to your feet, “turn off your light switch”, and then check back in with how your feet feel to release tension in your body.  Continue this technique with different parts of your body.
  2. If you are in a stressful situation or can feel a lot of tension, just use your hands and make a fist for 3 seconds and then spread them out for 3 seconds (repeat 15 times).  Now shake your hands for about 30 seconds.
  3. Use an app that uses binaural beats.  One example of a free app is Atmosphere binaural.  This can be used to help shift how you are feeling.  You can also play music over the binaural beats while you do other things. 

Qigong Massage for Your Child with Autism by Louisa Silva

Recommended book:

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

You can find Shannon at:

Facebook profile Link:

Candice Curtis is a licensed Occupational Therapist and the founder of Integrate Family. She is passionate about helping and empowering parents and their children.  Candice has advanced postgraduate training in theory, assessment, interpretation and treatment in Ayers Sensory Integration.  She is a Certified Autism Specialist with expertise in sensory processing, coordination disorders, learning disorders and executive functioning.  Candice also has 2 boys of her own at home, one of which is Autistic. Learn more about her here.

Backward Chaining: A Simple Strategy to Teach Life Skills

Backward Chaining: A Simple Strategy to Teach Life Skills

Is your child still working on learning how to do life skills like dressing, making their bed, or cooking meals (just to name a few)? We all need tools in our toolbox to help our children gain skills! This is a simple strategy that can be used with a ton of tasks!

When I first started to write out the words and my thoughts for this podcast, my thoughts went straight toward all of the many roles and obligations we all have in our lives.  At first, I spent some time writing down my thoughts and emphasizing with all of us parents and what we have been entrusted with as we raise our children. 

This really made me want to focus on having a short episode where you could learn a new skill in a short period of time.  Mainly because I know we are all super busy and have a lot on our plates! 

I also really recognize that even though we might have roles that we were not expecting or necessarily wanting when we started this journey of parenthood, we do have an opportunity now that we do have those roles to learn new skills and help our children learn new life skills.  So, I want you to be equipped with a new skill that can be added to your tool belt.

With that being said I want to introduce a strategy to teach new skills that I use all the time in the clinic or at school when working with a child.  That strategy is called backward chaining.

Why Would You Use Backward Chaining to teach life skills?

#lifeskills, #autismskills, #autismdevelopment, #autismparenting, #childdevelopment, #autismmomma, #autismlife, #spddevelopment, #spd, #sensoryprocessing, #occupationaltherapyactivities, #selfcareskills, #autismpodcast, #sensorypodcast, #autismhome, #autismeducation, #autismmomlife, #autismmomstrong, #specialneeds, #autismfamily, #sensorykids, #sensoryprocessing, #specialneedsparenting, #specialneedskids, #notjustautism

So, let’s start off by talking about why you would want to use backward chaining when you’re with your child.  We want our children to feel success!  Right?!? 

Because, if they have success with an activity, they are more likely to want to keep practicing that task.  Using backward chaining helps a child end an activity with success.  We all know that if we are open to practicing a task, we will have more opportunities to get better at it!

What is it?

So, what is backward chaining?  Backward chaining is when you teach a life skill by having them learn and complete the last steps of a task.  This helps to end the task with them feeling successful that the task is completed. 

As the child is able to complete the last step independently, then you would have them complete the last two steps and so on until they are able to complete the task without your help.

When Can I Use Backward Chaining to Teach Life Skills?

Here’s my list of when should use this strategy, because it is not going to be a strategy that works in all circumstances with all kids. 

  1. Backward chaining can be utilized with any task that requires more than 1 step.
  2. The child needs to have at least shown some interest in the task. If you want them to learn how to tie their shoes, for example, but they really are not interested in doing that then you will not have their attention nor will they have the motivation to learn that task.  Remember that just because the task might be important to you, doesn’t mean that it is important to your child at this point in time.  As they continue to develop and gain new skills, their interest will also change.  So if they are not interested in a certain task right now, it doesn’t mean never, it just means not yet.
  3. Teaching them a new skill also needs to be when they are open to the idea.  It would not be when they are focusing on doing a repetitive activity, because they are trying to help their body feel better in those moments.  So, this means, waiting and watching for your child’s cues that tell you they are engaged with you.  Of note: If their attention span is currently very short when they do engage with you, then you are paying attention to the tasks that don’t take very long to complete to use this type of strategy.  We will go over some examples here in just a moment to explain this idea a little more.

Who would you use this strategy with?

You can literally use this strategy with anyone of any age and any skill level.  You really can adjust it for children and adults of all ages and abilities.  That’s a huge reason why we use this strategy so much during therapy sessions.  It really is crazy versatile when teaching new life skills!

Where and How Would You Use This Strategy to Teach Life Skills?

You can use this strategy at home, out and about when doing errands, at school…it really can be done anywhere.  In reality, really the tool is you and you don’t need anything else to be able to do this.  So, let’s talk about some examples to really explain how you might actually go about doing this with your child in this case. 

I’m going to give 1 fairly basic example and 1 example that might be a better example for older children or children with higher developmental levels.

Example #1:

You are still dressing your child, but maybe they seem more interested. You have noticed that they have started really watching what you are doing when you are getting them dressed.  So, you think that it would be really nice if your child could gain some independence. Maybe with their ability to get their pants on by themselves. 

The next time that he or she is getting on a pair of pants or pajama bottoms, you will put their legs through the holes. You will use simple words to explain what you are doing. Then show them where their hands can go before telling them to pull their pants up. 

Keep in mind you want them to be successful! So give them as little help as possible for them to feel that success.  Don’t forget to make a huge deal out of it and celebrate like crazy.  Them being a part of the activity in this situation really is a huge deal! They should have the recognition when they accomplished part of a task. 

After you realize that they really seem to be getting down the ability to pull up their pants consistently, then would work on them maybe inserting their 2nd leg in the hole and setting them up for success. 

For example, having them sitting on the ground so they are not having to balance and/or holding onto the other part of material so the only place their leg can go is in the empty leg hole before standing up and pulling up their pants.  Don’t forget to celebrate after their success! 

Example #2:

Your child does all of their basic dressing, but maybe he or she has a hard time making their bed.  First off, in this example, you might even want to take a step back and see if there are ways of simplifying the task first. 

For example, maybe right now they have a ton of stuffed animals or pillows on their bed. Maybe only having a few or having one large body pillow instead of lots of small pillows are an option.  Or maybe, you could get bedding that is heavier and wouldn’t require as many blankets.  Or, maybe even something like a Beddy that only requires the sides of the bedding to be zipped up in order for the bed to be made. 

So, I would start thinking about those possibilities first in this example. But just like before you are going to be there with them. Don’t forget to talk about each step as you do it. 

Then for the final step. Which in this example might be putting the pillows on the bed or the stuffed animals. You would ask them to put them on the bed.  Then of course the next time, if they had been able to do that, you might see if they could fold the top of the comforter over and then put the pillow on.

A couple of notes

I don’t want you to think of this as a system that has to be followed.  Keep your child in mind and don’t forget that you are the expert on your child!  If your child seems interested in completing other steps, follow their lead.  The important thing I want you to remember is that you want your child to feel successful. Feeling successful will help them be motivated to keep trying a task.

Don’t expect perfection!  Think back to when you have first learned something new.  You were not perfect at it during your first tries either, so get excited over their attempts, acknowledge their achievement.

Hope that helps you as you support your child in gaining new skills!  Please make sure to leave a review of the podcast. Of course, I would love it if you leave a comment! Contact me with any other questions or thoughts you have!  Many hugs until next week!!

Candice Curtis is a licensed Occupational Therapist and the founder of Integrate Family. She is passionate about helping and empowering parents and their children.  Candice has advanced postgraduate training in theory, assessment, interpretation and treatment in Ayers Sensory Integration.  She is a Certified Autism Specialist with expertise in sensory processing, coordination disorders, learning disorders and executive functioning.  Candice also has 2 boys of her own at home, one of which is Autistic. Learn more about her here.

Top 10 Strategies to Help Your Autistic Child Sleep

Top 10 Strategies to Help Your Autistic Child Sleep

I say these are the top 10 strategies to help your Autistic child sleep; however, in actuality there are way way more than 10 strategies in this episode! 

In this episode, I will talk about why sleep is so important, why your child might be struggling with sleep, and strategies to support your child and their sleep (and in turn, your sleep!)

This episode is planned to come out right after Christmas and that is definitely on purpose!  The holiday season can be a very difficult time for so many Autistic children.  Which in turn, means it can be difficult for lots of parents. 

Being wound up and having a harder time sleeping can affect the whole family.  Lack of sleep doesn’t just happen around the holidays though, it is often a constant area of difficulty for so many families that have Autistic children.  Now that the holidays are coming to an end, I thought that it would be a great time to try to get to a better place with our child’s ability to get a good night’s sleep and in turn for us to get to a better place with our sleep!

Before we get to how to help your Autistic child sleep, let’s start off with these thoughts…

When you don’t get good sleep, how do you feel?  My guess is that you don’t have to think very hard to think about a time when we didn’t get very good sleep, am I right? I know personally, tend to feel groggy, don’t feel like talking to a lot of people, I am basically just trying to survive my day and am not really enjoying it. 

Really I am missing a lot of the things that are actually really great about my day, because I’m just too tired to actually notice them.  I also have a much harder time remembering things, learning new things, and handling stress.  Being super flexible and knowing the difference between a “big deal” and a “little deal” can be really difficult for me as well. 

In short, I am not able to be the thermostat for my family.  What I mean by that is, instead of responding to what my children do or what events unfold in my day, I react in less than ideal ways in most cases.  Obviously, I am aware that it is super important for me to get enough sleep and restful sleep.

In fact, I want you to imagine this….you just got a new job and you start tomorrow.  You are so excited and nervous about it at the same time that you toss and turn most of the night. 

The next day when you are trying to take in all of the new information that you need to know for your new job you are struggling to even keep your eyes open.  It really is so hard to think of appropriate questions to ask and even harder to remember all of the important information. 

This is such a difficult situation to be in…a new environment with different demands and we really struggle in those situations.  This is a small glimpse into the reality that our Autistic child is experiencing most days.  

With that being said, let’s shift gears to now talking about what it is like for your Autistic child and when they don’t get enough sleep.  Essentially, our children will experience the same feelings when they are not sleeping well or getting enough sleep. 

#sleepautistichild, #autisticchildsleep, #autismpodcast, #autismmom, #autismparent, #autisticresources, #autismtreatment, #spd, #sensoryprocessing, #occupationaltherapytips, #occupationaltherapytreatment, #sensorykids

Their attention will be affected, they will have negative behaviors, have a harder time learning and remembering things.  They are also less likely to want to engage with others if they are tired, as well. 

Their brain’s ability to process information is that much harder too!

So, let’s think about that a little more.  We are already aware that our Autistic child has a harder time processing sensory information (aka: all of the information that they are given through their senses).  When something is harder for our brain to do, it takes more energy. 

So on a day that our Autistic child gets good sleep, their brain is using a ton of energy to help our brains process that information and make sense of it.  When you really stop to think about it, it really is amazing that our children function as well as they do most days. 

The other point I really want to make here is that since we know sleep is such a foundational piece of our child functioning well, then that means we really need to try to do what we can to support our Autistic child to get the best sleep possible.  

Why is My Autistic Child having Such a Difficult Time Sleeping?

Studies have shown what we already know as parents.  Autistic children have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep when compared to other peers.

There can be a number of reasons that your child doesn’t sleep well and it is important to understand what might be contributing to your child’s difficulties.  If you have been listening to the podcast for any length of time, you know my biggest thing is to try to understand your unique child. 

This is not an exhaustive list, but some food for thought to help you try to determine what you can do to support your child’s sleep.

  1.  Does your child have GI problems?  For example, is your child constipated?  Is your child still wetting the bed and waking up because of that.  Both of these difficulties were true for our son and we had to work with his doctor to address his constipation.  We also had to work on integrating one of his reflexes to address his bedwetting (a whole nother episode all together!)
  2. Does your child have mineral and vitamin deficiencies?  Many of the vitamins that our bodies need to help us sleep well and keep our minds from racing are deficient in a vast amount of Autistic children.  This is another area to definitely talk about to your doctor or a nutritionist that specializes in Autism, because it really can make a huge difference!
  3. Do they have a hard time shifting between nervous systems?  This is a resounding yes for our Autistic kiddos.  Essentially, if you picture our nervous system as a coin that has two sides, one side, or the parasympathetic nervous system is the “rest and digest” side of our nervous system.  This branch of our nervous system is involved when our heart rate is lower and our body more relaxed, which is what we want when it is time to sleep.  The other side of the coin, the sympathetic nervous system, is the nervous system that is turned on when we go into a “fight, flight, or freeze” response.  Essentially when there is some kind of a stressor.  This part of our nervous system helps us to survive to respond to stressful situations, but all too often this is by far the dominant system in our Autistic children.  This fact also ties back into our children having GI problems and not processing their nutrients properly

Strategies to Support Better Sleep

#sleepautistichild, #autisticchildsleep, #autismpodcast, #autismmom, #autismparent, #autisticresources, #autismtreatment, #spd, #sensoryprocessing, #occupationaltherapytips, #occupationaltherapytreatment, #sensorykids

For purposes of this podcast, we are going to go over 10 recommendations. These are going to focus on helping our Autistic child move out of that “fight, flight, or freeze” part of their nervous system. And instead into the “rest and digest” branch to support sleep.  These are mainly going to be thinking about how their brains are processing sensory information. It will how we can reduce the amount of stress that they are experiencing and give them tools and strategies. These strategies can be used into adulthood.

  1.  Sleep in your child’s room for a night and think about these things.
    • Are there strange shadows, objects, or shadows in the room that might scare your child?
    • Are there a lot of visuals in the room?  If your child is easily overstimulated by visual information this can make a big difference. Keeping their room simple with a minimalist type of design might surprise you!
    • What is the temperature of the room?  Typically a cooler temperature in the low to mid-’60s is the ideal temperature for sleeping.  Is the room drafty?
    • What are the sounds that you can hear?  Does your child seem to pick up every sound that is in the environment?  If so, what can be changed?  Does your child need some white noise so the other noises don’t affect them as much?
    • What is your child’s bedding like?  Is it warm, cool, soft?  Are these textures, feelings that your child does well with?  Keep in mind that you and your child’s favorites when it comes to textures might be different. 
    • What is the lighting like?  Is it too bright or too dark for your child?  Could you use an adjustable nightlight or even try different colors of nightlights?
  2. Have a cold smoothie with a straw before bed 
    • The coldness of the drink helps calm down the body. The use of the straw mimics deep breathing which is also very calming.
  3. Use deep tactile input to help calm your child’s body.
    • Weighted blankets
    • Lycra sheets
    • Squeezes with a towel when getting out of the bath
    • Hugs in your lap while you read a book
    • Tight compression pajamas
  4. Utilize meditation apps
    • Can also do rocking movements during meditations to further support relaxation
    • Doing body scans
    • Sitting like a Frog
  5. Do a massage
    • Qigong Massage is an instructional book that teaches parents how to complete the massage
    • Cranial Sacral Therapy
    • Vibration pads
  6. Take a nice bath with epsom salts
  7. Use relaxing essential oils either in a diffuser or roll ons. (make sure to educate yourself on how to do this safely)
  8. Do some deep breathing and visualization before bed.
    • So many of our kids are very shallow breathers. This is because they are in the “fight, flight, or freeze” part of the nervous system so often. Learning how to breathe is essential.
    • For example, have them picture a balloon getting filled in their stomach. Then have them hold it before slowly breathing it out like they are blowing out a candle.
  9.  Do activities that help them relieve stress throughout the day.
    • Plan margin into your day
    • Have time for physical movement and outdoor play
  10.  Have a regular bedtime routine that helps with their body recognizing that it’s time to wind down.

There is no magic bullet that will make your child always have a good night’s rest; but, there are things that you can do to help your child function and have the room to grow and learn with greater ease.  

Don’t forget that these strategies don’t just work for your child, but they can help you sleep and take care of yourself as well.

Many hugs and hopes of sweet dreams for both you and your child.

Candice Curtis is a licensed Occupational Therapist and the founder of Integrate Family. She is passionate about helping and empowering parents and their children.  Candice has advanced postgraduate training in theory, assessment, interpretation and treatment in Ayers Sensory Integration.  She is a Certified Autism Specialist with expertise in sensory processing, coordination disorders, learning disorders and executive functioning.  Candice also has 2 boys of her own at home, one of which has a developmental disorder. Learn more about her here.

Autism & School: A Mom’s Journey

Autism & School: A Mom’s Journey


In today’s interview I had the opportunity to talk with a mother about Autism and School.  Honestly, I love talking with other moms, because I know how much we can learn from each other!  I really wanted to interview a mom that had placed her kids in the public school system and then later chose to homeschool, because I wanted for parents to know that there are options.

I want to be very clear in saying that by no means am I trying to say anything negative about our public school system by taking the time to speak with Pam today.  There are great people that work in our schools and that work extremely hard to educate our children.  In fact, I work in a school myself. 

My goal of this episode was to share the different options that are a possibility.  Especially when the school environment can be such a sensory overload type of environment for many of our kids.  And, as we have talked about before, it is extremely hard to learn new things when you are experiencing a lot of stress and overload.

I also don’t want you to think that if doing home school that you are not able to meet your child’s needs, because that is simply not true.  I also want to have someone on the podcast down the road to talk about IEP’s and how to navigate the IEP world within our education system, because we are all on different journeys and what works best for our families is going to be different.

#autismschool, #autismeducation, #autismpodcast, #differentnotless, #autismmommasrock, #autismparenting, #autismjourney, #parentingspecialneeds, #autismlove, #parentingautisticchildren, #parentingASD, #parentingSPD, #sensoryprocessing, #SPD, #autismparentsrocks

Meet Pam

While keeping in mind that all of our journeys are different, I really loved hearing how Pam was able to recognize that the traditional school path wasn’t going well for her kids and was willing to step into an unknown.  She didn’t have a crystal ball to tell her how it was all going to work out.  She took a leap of faith because she wanted the best for her kids.  I also love how Pam was open to trying different strategies and methods to find out what worked best for her kids.

In this episode, you are going to hear how her family has managed work and appointments with multiple medical specialists, some of the methods and approaches that her family have tried for homeschooling, how they have been able to connect with great friends, and many more amazing topics.

As you will hear in the interview, Pam is a mom to two teenagers, one with autism and one with muscular dystrophy. As a married, working parent she never expected to homeschool. Her children started in public school then moved to a charter school. When that didn’t work out, the decision was made to homeschool. The homeschool adventure has been a wild ride at times, but very rewarding for Pam and her family.

Top 3 takeaways

  1. Don’t think that you have to pick a certain way of doing school and you can’t ever change.  There are so many different approaches to do school.  Think about what will work best for your children and your family.
  2. When a child can learn in a way that their brain works and learns, then the information starts to make sense for them and they are able to start to generalize the information to their life.
  3. Sometimes trying to socializing at school actually happens less frequently for Autistic children, because they are overwhelmed.  However, they are more open to social interactions when they are not as overwhelmed, for example, when they are in smaller groups.  With the variety of library activities, homeschool groups and with social media groups there are lots of possibilities to get your child around other children.

Recommended book:

Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom by Kerry McDonald

You can find Pam at:

Facebook: Pamela Blessinger

Candice Curtis is a licensed Occupational Therapist and the founder of Integrate Family. She is passionate about helping and empowering parents and their children.  Candice has advanced postgraduate training in theory, assessment, interpretation and treatment in Ayers Sensory Integration.  She is a Certified Autism Specialist with expertise in sensory processing, coordination disorders, learning disorders and executive functioning.  Candice also has 2 boys of her own at home, one of which has a developmental disorder. Learn more about her here.

Simple Ways to Improve Bilateral Coordination

Simple Ways to Improve Bilateral Coordination

I wanted to try something new today. I want to describe and explain Bilateral Coordination. An area I always make sure to access as an Occupational Therapist.  Explain why it’s important and then give you some ideas on how to work on that skill at home.

What is Bilateral Coordination?

Our brains actually have two parts that are also called hemispheres.  So, we all have a left hemisphere and a right hemisphere of our brain.  The left side of our brain controls the right side of our body and the right side of our brain controls the left side of our body. 

In the middle of both sides of our brain we have these white fibers that are called the corpus collosum.  It’s through these fibers that information is passed between the two sides of our brain.

So, if we break down the word Bilateral – the first part of the word, bi – means two and the second part of the word, lateral – means side.  So, bilateral coordination is the coordination between two sides of your body.  Your right side and your left side.

child development, autism development, Autistic Parenting, Autism Podcast, Autism moms rock, Autism momma, bilateral coordination, gross motor coordination


  1. The simplest type of bilateral coordination is when we use our arms or our legs in the same way or, in other words, with the same movement.  For example, when we use a rolling pin, we are using both of our hands together and they are moving with the same movement.
  2. As we continue to develop skill in this area, another form of bilateral coordination that would develop is when we alternate the same movement of our arms and legs.  A great example of this is a child crawling or when we ride a bike.  This is called reciprocal movements.
  3. Another type of bilateral coordination is when we use both sides of our body in different ways, or asymmetrical bilateral coordination.  For example, when we tie our shoes, we are doing two different things with each of our hands.  Another example of this is also when we use one hand to stabilize the piece of paper, while our other hand is writing or cutting with scissors.

How would I know to do bilateral coordination activities with my child?

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This begs the question then, how do you know if your child has difficulty with bilateral coordination?  Sometimes, it can be hard to tell.  Some children are very active and always on the go.  So it might appear that they have good gross motor coordination; however, they might really struggle with moving in a coordinated way or using both sides of the bodies in different ways.  So here are a few things to think about with your child to know if this might be an area of difficulty with your child.  Keep in mind, that kids usually become more coordinated as they get older.  So, if your child is still really young, some of the higher level coordinated movements are going to be too hard for them because of their age. 

  1.  Does your child avoid using both of their hands?  For example, when coloring, do they automatically use their other hand to keep the paper still?
  2. Can your child march?  How about with arm movements?  Are they able to march with their arms moving opposite to their legs?
  3. Can your child get themselves dressed?  Can they button their own shirts?  Tie their own shoes?

By no means is that an extensive list; however, these are common activities that you may have observed your child doing and will give you a general idea.  Also, if you are working with a therapist feel free to discuss this with your therapist if you are unsure.

Why do we want to have good bilateral coordination?

If a child does not have good bilateral coordination, they will have a harder time doing activities the use of both sides of their body.  So, things like, buttoning their own shirt or playing gross motor games that other kids are doing can be large challenges for them.  Affecting the amount of activities that they are successful doing.

This really does make a difference in a lot of areas of our life.  We use both sides of our bodies for most of our movement activities.  Starting when our kids first get up and have the opportunity to get themselves dressed, bilateral coordination is required.  It would affect how they are able to complete school activities such as writing and cutting.  Or maybe, they think soccer looks like fun, but because of not having the coordination, they aren’t able to join in with peers.

Not only would this affect their ability to complete those tasks, but if other kids are doing those activities then those are social opportunities that your child is missing out on.

I am not here just trying to point out all of the things that your child might struggle with.  What are really do what to share and really empower you with this fact, is this.  The amazing thing about our brains is that they can learn new things and new connections can be made!  So, if we support our child in doing things that supports connections that will help make things easier for them.

Ways to Improve Your Child’s Coordination

There are lots and lots of ways that you can focus on improving your child’s bilateral coordination skills by adding in and/or focusing on bilateral coordination activities at home. 

My advice is to start simple so your child can have success, celebrate that success before making it slightly more difficult. 

If your child has more success, celebrate and make it slightly more difficult again.  If it seems that adding more to the challenge or task is too much, simply return to where they were successful.  The most important thing is to take the opportunity to play with them, engage with them and make it fun when you are doing play-based activities. 

Some of these more play-based activities might be:

  • Play with musical instruments
    • drumming with 2 drumsticks
    • make 2 shakers (one for each hand)
    • have a scarf or ribbon sticks
  • gross motor activities
    • swimming
    • hula hoops – have them jump with both feet together, one foot in/out, alternate, play a hotch scotch, jump sideways, alternate jumping forward-then turning 180 degrees-repeat
    • bike riding
  • play zoom ball
  • playing with playdough
  • park play
    • climbing rock walls
    • balance activities
    • monkey bars
    • swings and working on pumping their legs

Other great activities to work on bilateral activities around the house and with them completing dressing tasks. 

  • wash windows
    • spray water on house
    • meal prep
    • cutting up foods
    • tying shoe laces
    • buttoning
    • fold socks/clothes

Candice Curtis is a licensed Occupational Therapist and the founder of Integrate Family. She is passionate about helping and empowering parents and their children.  Candice has advanced postgraduate training in theory, assessment, interpretation and treatment in Ayers Sensory Integration.  She is a Certified Autism Specialist with expertise in sensory processing, coordination disorders, learning disorders and executive functioning.  Candice also has 2 boys of her own at home, one of which has a developmental disorder. Learn more about her here.

Decreasing Sensory Sensitivities with the OT Butterfly

Decreasing Sensory Sensitivities with the OT Butterfly

Sensory Sensitivities (Episode 18) Introduction

Welcome to another episode of the Autism and Sensory Parenting Podcast.  This is some information that you really need to know as a parent if you have a child that has sensory sensitivities.

Today you will be hearing an interview with an Occupational Therapist.  We will be discussing lots of great information about sensory sensitivities and what to do if your child is sensitive to certain types of sensory input.  We will even delve into the question is it sensory or is it behavior and how it is different.

Our guest today is Laura.  Laura is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist from California who specializes in sensory integration. With a daughter of her own who has sensory sensitivities, Laura loves connecting with other parents of sensory sensitive children to provide support and insight. She loves talking about the impact of sensory processing on learning and behavior and how they can support their child with their sensory needs.

#sensorysensitivities, #sensoryprocessing, #SPD, #autism, #autismmom, #autismactivities, #autismintervention, #sensoryprocessingdisorder, #autismmeltdowns, #sensorymeltdowns

Top 3 takeaways

1.  Sensory processing needs to be addressed when it starts to interfere with daily functioning.  If it is stopping them from doing things that is impacting them.

2.  There are two ways to approach the child’s difficulties.  A bottom up approach is focusing on integrating the sensory information and helping the brain to process the information easily.  This is an approach that is used by an Occupational Therapist.   Whereas, a top down approach is when we adapt their environment or task (ie: noise cancelling headphones) or slowly helping a child get used to certain sensory inputs (ie: sensory play).

3.  During a sensory meltdown, their nervous system is responding in a way to protect them from what the perceived danger is.  They go into fight or flight and can happen due to the accumulation of multiple stimuli throughout a day.  You really need to try to figure out the reason why to understand what to do. 

Recommended book:

The Out of Sync Child by Carol Kranowitz

Balanced and Barefoot by Angela Hanscom

You can find Laura at:

Instagram @TheOTButterfly
Free Facebook group:

Candice Curtis is a licensed Occupational Therapist and the founder of Integrate Family. She is passionate about helping and empowering parents and their children.  Candice has advanced postgraduate training in theory, assessment, interpretation and treatment in Ayers Sensory Integration.  She is a Certified Autism Specialist with expertise in sensory processing, coordination disorders, learning disorders and executive functioning.  Candice also has 2 boys of her own at home, one of which has a developmental disorder. Learn more about her here.