Friday, October 26, 2012

13 Spookishly Simple Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is a time of year that can create a lot of excitement for children; however, it can also cause some anxiety for parents about their child’s safety. Here are 13 helpful tips for making this, and every, Halloween safe.

1) It is always best practice to accompany your child as they go door to door, even in your own neighborhood. Also, even if you are with your child, try and get a group together – there is safety in numbers

2) Never accept items/candy if they look tampered with or are unwrapped

3) Make sure you bring a flashlight. Even if you begin trick or treating during daylight, the sun can go down quickly

4) Do not take “short cuts” or use alleyways to go between houses

5) Always remind your children to WALK, not run between houses. You never know when that unsuspecting hole, exposed pipe, or branch is going to pose a safety hazard

6) We know children will like to dress up as their favorite character, but try to make costumes as bright as possible, or add some reflective element to the costume if possible. The brighter the better for visibility at night

7) Make sure that masks fit well and properly to avoid obstructing your child’s vision, which can also pose unforeseen accidents

8) Limit accessories if possible. For instance, if your child is Luke Skywalker, they do not need to bring a light-saber and the phaser pistol, and drag along R2D2… It is cumbersome and can cause can trip up your child, causing injury

9) Keep a good distance from candles in bags and Jack-O-Lanterns, and make sure costumes are fire resistant

10) Have a brief talk to your children about speaking to and accepting items from strangers. Additionally, bear in mind that anyone can wear a costume and pretend to be friendly

11) Set a time limit for trick-or-treating. Do not allow it to be a free for all where we try to hit every house in the neighborhood. It’s unrealistic and can cause fatigue

12) Have your child carry some personal identification on them in case they got lost. Include name and adult contact information – and make sure they know where this information is in case they get lost

13) If your child wanders or frequently runs off, make sure you have a safety plan in place ahead of time. Review it, know it, and teach it to your child. More information on this can be obtained from the Autism Wandering and Elopement Initiative

And for our final tip, have fun and be safe. Halloween can be exciting and fun for all members of the family. However, safety is the paramount concern. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

About Tooth Brushing

Tooth brushing is an integral daily living task that is vital to ensure dental and overall health. It is also one of the more difficult skills for children to learn and master. For some of our learners who need additional help, we wanted to provide you with some basic information and practical tips as they relate to tooth brushing.
Most developmental cusps are not set in stone in terms of age. Some skills take longer to learn and master, while others happen way before they were anticipated. There are, however, some typical ages when certain skills related to tooth brushing should occur. At 24 months or slightly older, the child should be brushing their teeth with assistance. At around 3-4 years, they should be brushing their teeth with a vertical and horizontal motion. Around this same 3-4 years old time, they should spit out the toothpaste when they’re done, rinse their toothbrush, and wipe their mouth and hands dry following tooth brushing.A little bit after this, we typically see that children are able to replacing the top on the tooth paste, and return their tooth brush and tooth paste to a designated area. And lastly, around 5 ½ years old, children can typically use proper brushing strokes. (Information adapted from the HELP for Preschoolers curriculum). Even if your child is not exactly where they ought to be in the realm in tooth brushing , you do not need to worry! Learning can occur!

Now, for some practical tips that you can use in the home!

- The first step is to desensitize the child to the sensation of having something in their mouth with an awkward feel and taste. This can be started by using a clean, wet piece of cloth wrapped around your finger to wipe the teeth (Please note, if a child bites,neverput your fingers in their mouth). You can start this as soon as you see the first tooth
- If your child is 2 and older, you can begin to introduce the tooth brush. Letting them explore the tooth brush (play with it, mouth it, imitate you using a tooth brush, etc.) is a great first step to introducing this new stimulus
 - Keep it short! A quick tooth brushing is better than nothing at all
- If it’s a matter of the toothpaste being aversive, start without toothpaste and gradually increase the amount
- For children who are presenting with more difficulties, do not hesitate to make brushing happen after every meal to create a routine
- If your child needs physical assistance, standing behind them, rather than to the front or sides, can make the assistance easier on you and less threatening for the child

With these tips in mind, and with appropriate interventions provided by trained and qualified personnel, you are moving in the right direction towards having successful and functional tooth brushing for your child!