Thrive – November 2016 Issue (Part 2)

by A is for Apple, Inc. | Nov 21, 2016

Welcome Back! In the first part of this month’s newsletter we talked about holiday travel and gave tips on how to prepare your child for airport screening, boarding, and travel. In this issue, we are expanding on that topic and talking about how to keep busy in the car while driving to your holiday destination.

Preparing Your Child For Travel: Part 2

Car rides don’t have to be stressful or boring for you or for your children. You can make it fun by adding a bit of entertainment to the drive. Before the car ride, it is a great idea to have a conversation as a family to set expectations. Talk about the behaviors that as parents you want to see from your children on the trip; offer a reward if those behaviors are exhibited, like a favorite place to eat along the way, or something that will motivate children to participate in games and activities.

Here are some games and activity ideas our staff has compiled to relive some possible stress from the upcoming holiday excursion.

Tips for Family Survival During Long Car Rides

  • Use games, songs, mind games, guessing games, storytelling, and other easy activities to make the miles pass quickly. Here is a link to a great article with 8 fun car game ideas.
  • Have them label fun things they see along the trip
  • Play detective and learn about the different states by checking the license plates and talking about where they are from. Bring along a map of the country to find each state and add a fun geography lesson to your trip!
  • Have a kid friendly road map (or each one) so they can follow along and really know “are we there yet?”
  • If more than one child is traveling in the back seat they can play the “quiet game” and the “turn taking game” that promote social skills development and interaction between each child. (If possible an adult can sit in the back to mediate and help prompt turn taking and prevent any inappropriate behaviors that may occur between the children.)
  • Sing your way to the next stop. Get CDs (or download them on your device) of scout camp songs, campfire songs, day camp songs, and marching songs with lots of repetition so kids can join along in minutes.
  • Pencils, crayons, and markers for drawing, coloring, and fill-in activity books are always handy.
  • Have individual magnetic games, packs of playing cards, string, and “fidgets” for hands-on items.
  • If your trip is longer, have some stops along the way so everyone can stretch their legs and release some energy at a rest stop or park. Please make safety first priority when implementing these strategies and techniques to promote a friendly and fun atmosphere.

In some cases, a child may need additional items like the iPad or a hand held game. Also make sure to provide earphones, some favorite music, or audio books for your sensitive child if the above activities are not suitable.

Parents should keep in mind that these activities are supposed to be fun activities! Try and make the games more friendly and fun so the child will continue to participate in the games.


Thanksgiving is a time where most people get together with their families that they haven’t seen all year long. The house is normally filled with lots of people, loud noises, music, laughter, football on the television, new faces, crowded spaces, and a lot of food. Sounds like an exciting time, right? While this can be an exuberant time of year for most, for the sensitive child, it can be overwhelming and they should have a plan for when they are feeling like they need some time to regroup.

Before leaving the house, make sure you prime your child by telling them where they will be going, and show them pictures of the location if possible. For example, ask a family member or friend to take pictures with their phone and text or e-mail them ahead of time. Show your child pictures of relatives and friends that may be present at the holiday. This will make the environment and people not so “new” and unexpected and will prepare your child for what and whom they will come into contact with.

“Motivate them with reinforcement”- Select several items your child likes prior to leaving the house and bring them with you. Once in the new environment, hold out two items at a time and see which of the two items your child reaches for. The one they reach for is the one that will be the most reinforcing for them at the time. You can learn more about how to motivate your child by using reinforces here.

Remember to offer frequent breaks and time alone where they can go into another room where it is a less bright/noisy/busy/ environment. It may be a good idea to call ahead and set up a place beforehand to ensure there is a space available for you and your child to go and “retreat” – planning is key.

With holiday/family gatherings there can be a lot of unfamiliar foods and if your child has dietary restrictions, not all of it will be suitable to eat. It is helpful to bring a favorite snack for your child rather than have them try a new food during meal times as well. Offer frequent social praise for sitting at the table during the mealtime, as this is especially hard in a new environment!

It is always good to keep in mind that in a new or unfamiliar environment for your child, it could be helpful to engage in calming sensory activities such as gentle squeezes. Here are some other helpful ideas for activities you can do:  Winter Sensory Play and Fine-Motor Skills Turkey Craft

Local Events


The Nutcracker Is Coming To San Jose

Two exciting sensory-friendly events that are open to families and their special needs children are coming up just in time to start celebrating the Christmas season.

FBAA / CAA Nutcracker Workshops

Please join us for a Nutcracker Themed Dance Workshop run by the students of College of Adaptive Arts School of Dance. We will learn adapted pieces for: Waltz of the Flowers; Chinese Tea Dance; Russian Dance.

All special needs families are welcome. No dance experience needed. Space in our Nutcracker Workshops is limited to 12 dancers per class. We wish to give each dancer individual attention and preserve a Sensory Friendly environment for your dancer.

  • What: An interactive dance workshop to the music of the Nutcracker! With College of Adaptive Arts School of Dance
  • Where: College of Adaptive Arts
                 1401 Parkmoor Ave #260
                  San Jose, CA 95126
  • When: Saturday 12/03/16, 2pm & 4pm; Sunday 12/04/16, 2pm & 4pm. Each workshop lasts one hour.
  • Cost: Free
  • Please RSVP by 12/01/16:
  • Questions: (408) 426-1582

Autism Friendly Nutcracker

A holiday classic, the Nutcracker will enchant and delight both children and adults. This season, our families are invited to two spectacular Azure shush-proof performances featuring some of the Bay Area’s most talented professional dancers! (These are the companies’ dress rehearsals which they have graciously opened exclusively to our DD families.)

Thursday, December 8 — 7:30 pm: Los Gatos Ballet
Flint Center for the Performing Arts, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino

Thursday, December 15 — 7:00 pm: Peninsula Ballet Theatre
Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City

Tickets: $10: with scholarships available for families experiencing financial hardship. Space is limited. RSVP here:  RSVP

By |2018-11-29T00:40:22+00:00November 21st, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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