I wanted to share with you a short social story I wrote for Michael to prepare him for starting fourth grade at a new school in a few days. I will probably write more stories to cover different aspects of school that Michael is worried about, but this one was prompted mainly by his reaction to the teacher assignment letter we got.

When I opened the letter and told him his teacher’s name was Mrs. Godfrey, he immediately got very upset. “I can’t have a teacher who is God-free,” he protested. “I’m going to have to talk to her about that or it’s going to be a very bad year.”

I tried to explain that it is just a proper name and isn’t spelled the way he heard it, and that it doesn’t tell us anything about her personality or beliefs, but he was convinced that this was a bad thing. I got the idea today to look up what the name “Godfrey” means and then decided to write this story.

I am sharing it here, although I shortened all the names except for the teacher’s. Feel free to use it as a springboard for your own story or share any other ideas or suggestions with me for other stories. I am planning to do ones for the bus and the after-school program once I have more details about how they work.

This school year, I will be in fourth grade at MV Elementary School. My teacher’s name is Mrs. Godfrey. The name “Godfrey” comes from German words meaning “God” and “peace.” B. [a family friend] had Mrs. Godfrey as her teacher when she was in fourth grade too, and she says Mrs. Godfrey is a wonderful teacher who especially loves science.

I already know a few people at MV. I have met Mrs. B, the school secretary, and Mr. R, the principal. I will also have two teachers that I know very well from when I went to P. Elementary – Mrs. F for speech and Mrs. C for physical education. I will meet more new teachers and staff people once school has started.

I will ride the bus to school in the morning. Mommy will take me to the bus stop and wait with me for the bus to come. In the afternoon, I will ride on a van to the after-school program. Mommy or Daddy will pick me up from there when they get off work.

This will be an exciting year as I get to learn new things and meet new people. I will make lots of new friends. MV has a great playground too.


Note: this is a special offer from Future Horizons that I have been given permission to share with my readers. It is only available by phone or fax through June 25th, so if you’re interested in the resource or know another parent or professional who would be, don’t wait to call!

America’s Best Selling Behavior book now accompanied by a video by one of the authors!!

The book A Treasure Chest of Behavior Strategies for Individuals with Autism has long been a favorite of parents, educators and therapists. It has a “treasure chest” of case studies offering over 100 typical problems and clear answers to those problems. There are many “jewels” of behavior adjusting ideas, “crossed swords” indicating things to never do, and “diamonds” of ideas to prevent problems before they begin, all of which are great guidelines at home and at school.

Whatever problems you face, you’ll find helpful solutions to them in this book, which should be on the bookshelf of every teacher, special ed and regular, plus that of every parent of a special needs child!


This video features one of the authors, Maria Wheeler, with over 160 minutes of in-depth tips and ideas on ways to improve behavior. It includes many areas of behavior management including, but not limited to, sensory challenges and how they affect behavior; over stimulation; meltdowns and tantrums; sleep difficulties; compliance; anxiety; etc. Improved behavior makes a happier individual with special needs….and therefore a happier parent, teacher, or therapist!

The award winning book is $39.95 and the new video is $49.95…

However, now, you can receive them both for only $49.95!!… and shipping is free anywhere in the USA — But only for those on our Special Friends list who call before June 25th! Call 800-489-0727 or fax to 817-277-2270. Call Now—your video and book will be to you within a few days!

Sorry–this special is not on our internet site….offered only via phone or fax!


No Longer A SECRET: Unique Common Sense Strategies for Children with Sensory or Motor Challenges
by Doreit Bialer, MA, OTR/L, and
Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D., OTR
Sensory World, 2011

This book is the product of a collaboration between Dr. Lucy Jane Miller, one of the leading researchers in the area of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and Doreit Bialer, an OT with many years of experience with SPD on both the personal and professional level. Their goals in writing it were to offer low-cost, low-tech strategies for children with sensorimotor challenges, as well as to teach principles that will allow parents, teachers, and other professionals to problem solve on their own and come up with effective solutions that will address the specific sensory issues faced by their child, student, or client.

The first two chapters give a brief overview of the eight sensory systems and the six SPD subtypes that have currently been identified, and also provide an introduction to Dr. Miller’s method of approaching treatment, known as “A SECRET.” For a more thorough explanation of these topics and method, Dr. Miller’s earlier book Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder is highly recommended. At its most basic, however, the method is simply an acrostic to help guide you through the areas to consider when looking at a child’s behavior when they have SPD:

A = Attention
S = Sensation
E = Emotional Regulation
C = Culture, Context, or Current Conditions
R = Relationship
E = Environment
T = Task

Following this introduction to the material, the authors spend a chapter talking in more detail on the topic of Emotional Regulation, and then they spend a chapter on each of the six subtypes of SPD. For each one, they provide numerous examples of how a child might be affected by the disorder and walk you through how to problem solve in each situation to come up with appropriate strategies to assist the child in reaching a calm state.

One of the most important lessons I learned from this book was the concept that being able to problem solve is much more important than following a rigid sensory diet. Not only will it cause you to respond more appropriately to each situation, but it will also help to teach the child how to apply the concepts themselves and move towards self-regulation, which is after all our long-term goal.

If you have a child or student with SPD, then No Longer A SECRET will be an invaluable resource as you attempt to find solutions and strategies for each challenge that arises.

Discount Opportunity: If you order No Longer A SECRET directly from Future Horizons, you can use the code INTERRUPTED to receive 15% off and free shipping in the continental US.

Note: I received a review copy of this book for free, but all opinions are my own. I am an affiliate of Future Horizons and receive a small amount of compensation for any sales made using the promotional code provided. You can use the code INTERRUPTED when ordering books or other materials – or even conference registrations – to receive 15% off plus free shipping in the continental US.

{ 1 comment }

Visual Techniques for Developing Social Skills: Activities and Lesson Plans for Teaching Children with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome
by Rebecca Moyes, M.Ed.
Future Horizons, 2012

Social skills instruction for K‑8th grade children on the autism spectrum requires an emphasis on visuals, or “show‑teaching” techniques, rather than language‑based instruction. This book fulfills that need, consisting of easy‑to‑use, step‑by‑step lesson plans with a wealth of visual tools and aids for teaching children with high‑functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. These K‑8 lesson plans, featuring explicit IEP goals, can be incorporated into both General Education and Special Education classrooms and offer both individual and small‑group instruction.

The lessons are broken down into three main areas:

  • Interpersonal Interactions
  • Appropriate Communication, and
  • Working Successfully with Others

Each lesson includes a detailed plan with clear directions on how to present the concepts and activities along with a list of what materials are needed. The items are mostly common objects that are used in ways designed to bridge the gap between typical verbal instruction methods and easier-to-process visual and hands-on representations.

Moyes also gives some good guidelines on how to organize the groups, including how to bring in typically developing peers. Two very important points that she highlights in her opening chapter remind us that we must also maintain an awareness of each participant’s own understanding and challenges:

Firstly, she instructs, “In your future interactions with a child on the spectrum, please make sure you consider whether he is exhibiting problematic social behavior because he is incompetent or because he is noncompliant.” Boy, isn’t that what we all want to know! It’s often hard to find the answer to this question, but I will say that having the adults who are working with my son understand this distinction goes a long way towards helping me trust them.

Secondly, she reminds, “We must not forget that children’s social deficits do not occur in isolation of their cognitive and language deficiencies.” This is so true, and a good program will take into account the whole picture of the child’s current abilities and challenges. A leader who can find the balance between motivating and frustrating a child is a person to be treasured!

Visual Techniques for Developing Social Skills offers a clear and concise program that could easily be used by any clinician or educator working with children on the spectrum. I highly recommend it.

Discount Opportunity: If you order Visual Techniques for Developing Social Skills directly from Future Horizons, you can use the code INTERRUPTED to receive 15% off and free shipping in the continental US.

Note: I received a review copy of this book for free, but all opinions are my own. I am an affiliate of Future Horizons and receive a small amount of compensation for any sales made using the promotional code provided. You can use the code INTERRUPTED when ordering books or other materials – or even conference registrations – to receive 15% off plus free shipping in the continental US.

{ 1 comment }

I read a post today at Reports from a Resident Alien entitled Eye Contact and could relate to a lot of what the writer said about the topic.

If you can, take a couple of minutes to read it. Either way, I’m curious what your thoughts are on this subject. Do you (or your kids) have trouble with eye contact? If you don’t, how do you feel when someone you are speaking with does not make much eye contact? If you do, do you try to explain it to people or attempt to change it or have some other way of dealing with it?

Here’s what I wrote in response to the post:

I have been trying to pay attention to my eye contact that last few months to see how I do with it and have observed that I rarely make eye contact when I am speaking, especially if I am sharing a story or answering a question that requires me to think.

I actually do better with it when I am listening to someone, although if I start thinking about it, I can become distracted by their eyes or their face and miss part of what they are saying!

I haven’t yet decided if this is something I want to try to change or perhaps if I should just have a conversation about it with the people I talk to regularly so they will understand why I have a problem with it. I may try to work harder at it during short conversations or when first meeting someone so they don’t get the wrong idea, but I don’t know how feasible, or even necessary, it is to change long term.

I would love to hear what you think. Please be open – I am not offended by different opinions, only by people who are rude about it.