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Sandra P. Newman MA, LTD/C,  "TITLE: Autistic Teens: Building Life Skills at School or Home."

Tuesday,  September 16th at 9 p.m. (Eastern), Note portions of the text have been edited for spelling and grammatical errors, while other text with errors was left in tact in the context of the chat.

Rebecca {public msg} Hello and Welcome to our talkAutism Specialty Chat. If you have a question for our Host Speaker, "Autistic Teens: Building Life Skills at School or Home - Sandra P. Newman MA, LTD/C". Just type a ? in the room. The names will be taken in order received. Hold your questions until you are cued by the Moderator. Also, Please keep chit chat down to a minimal, unless ok'd by the Host. Thank You and enjoy your stay!
Sandra P Newman {public msg} I am an educational consultant working on organizational skills with children and adults.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} Let's start with questions on how to organize a student to do homework.
Ron {public msg} ?
Mhpgh {public msg} ?
Ron {public msg} for those of us with low functioning kids: how about guidance first on making sure a child is getting the right type of homework for him / her
rrussell58 {public msg} My child refuses to do homework! After being in school all day, once he is home, he wants no part of homework. We have this written into his IEP. How do you feel about that?
Sandra P Newman {public msg} the first step is to make sure the teacher is getting all the homework into the child's backpack
Sandra P Newman {public msg} this can be done by having a check list on what is called an empowerment card.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} the empowerment card is a check list with a check off for the child to do work
Ron {public msg} who makes up the empowerment card?
Sandra P Newman {public msg} the child can check before he leaves the class to make sure that the work is followed. This can be done with picture cues or written
Sandra P Newman {public msg} the empowerment card is written by the teacher, student and sometimes the parents.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} this can be used as a visual tool to inform the parents that the child has complied with what needs to be brought home
Sandra P Newman {public msg} it is important that there is a check and balance tool that can be used everyday to make sure work comes home
Sandra P Newman {public msg} I find that card is better then a worksheet, because it lists specific skills that the child needs to work on
rrussell58 {public msg} Nathan is 14 and is in the 9th grade
Sandra P Newman {public msg} this can be as simple as putting words on the card as did you put your books in the backpack...or have a picture with this
Sandra P Newman {public msg} Hi Nathan
Sandra P Newman {public msg} Tell me Nathan do you have difficulty with organizational skills?
Sandra P Newman {public msg} Many students do, because they are not rechecking their books and binders, but also because they have too much materials to look through
rrussell58 {public msg} This is Robin, Nathan's Mom. Yes, he definitely has problems with organizational skills!
Sandra P Newman {public msg} Nathan should have a simpler technique to help him. I assume that he is using a morning and afternoon binder. That his work is placed in individual folders then placed in a place that can be filed
Sandra P Newman {public msg} Tell me what difficulties you are having?
Mhpgh {public msg} How do you get a middle school student to *remember* to write down, bring home and start his homework? He would need prompts for an empowerment card and sometimes he is oppositional. And he would never remember to do any of this on his own. He is 11.
LSH {public msg} ?
rrussell58 {public msg} If it were not for Nathan's Para, nothing would get home.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} There are several things that you can do for a middle school child. One he should have a system worked out with another student to check his work, or have a study buddy that he can call. That study buddy should fell comfortable about calling him also
rrussell58 {public msg} We have a daily journal that goes back and forth between home and school telling us about the day.
Mhpgh {public msg} My son has *zero* organizational skills and a system of folders is too complex for him, although he is high functioning.
rrussell58 {public msg} And, he does have separate folders for each class.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} Another way, would be for him to have someone check his binder at the end of the day. This can be the guidance person, or his homeroom teacher
rrussell58 {public msg} He has an assignment book wherein he can write down homework assignments/test days, etc.
Mhpgh {public msg} Teachers have shown resistance to doing this.
Mhpgh {public msg} There is no Para in his private school.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} A system where he places papers into a file (such as a plastic box at the end of the week. You can set up the box to have places for each subject. Everything is set up in one place
rrussell58 {public msg} I hear about the resistance from allot of parents. We have really been blessed with Nathan's teachers and Para.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} Writing assignments down or having a calendar that sits on his desk, and possibly getting the teachers to give him his notes before the week is another tool
Rebecca {action} . o O ( please, one at a time, names are taken in order received so as not to confuse or overwhelm our Guest Speaker, thanks! )
Sandra P Newman {public msg} Teachers are often resistant to help because they do not understand what executive functioning is all about.
Mhpgh {public msg} His problem is part behavioral, part lack of executive function skills.
Mhpgh {public msg} Thank you.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} I understand. Executive functioning, limits his ability to understand what is being said, and following through.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} I find that students with executive functioning difficulties have many teachers opposed to them
Mommyo {public msg} What is executive functioning? Can you explain?
Mhpgh {public msg} Ms. Newman, please let me know if you have a book, I'd like to purchase it!
Sandra P Newman {public msg} It is really important that children have a place where they can start self advocating their needs.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} I have information on executive functioning and organizational skills if you e-mail at
Mhpgh {public msg} Thank you. I will do so.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} Self advocating is important because it allows the student to express what his needs are
Sandra P Newman {public msg} I believe that it is important that parents and students learn about their learning styles
Sandra P Newman {public msg} It is never too early to explain to a child how they learn
Moderator {public msg} Ron has the next question, please go ahead Ron
Ron {public msg} pass - mine ahs been answered. thanks Sandra!
Sandra P Newman {public msg} Executive functioning is having difficulty understanding time, organizational issues, developing priorities, and writing things down
Moderator {public msg} ok thank you Ron. Mhpgh had the next question, did you want to go ahead Mhpgh?
Sandra P Newman {public msg} The way to address this is usually through visual cues, and many can be done in the home to get started with.
Mhpgh {public msg} Sorry I jumped the gun, I have a lot of delays.
Rebecca {action} . o O ( We are patient...take your time mhp )
Sandra P Newman {public msg} If no one has a question, I would like to tell you how to set up your home for organizing
Mommyo {public msg} I would love that
Moderator {public msg} Oh alright, was your question answered? Thank you, then LSH has the next question for now, go ahead LSH
Mhpgh {public msg} How do you develop both a behavioral system along with all of your techniques so the autistic child can function in school and with homework? Also, how can he start self-advocating? He has a hard time reading social cues. He has difficulties with
LSH {public msg} How would you go about teaching a 16 year old to self-advocate?
Sandra P Newman {public msg} To begin with, never assume that a child understands what you are saying.
Mhpgh {public msg} pragmatic language and social skills.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} The most important piece is to develop a way to vent, that is not threatening.
Moderator {action} . o O ( we'll get back to LSH, go ahead with Mhpgh )
Sandra P Newman {public msg} One way is to have a mailbox, or a place where letters are written. In my house we always had postems, a mailbox, where everyone checked their messages and notes were delivered regularly, visually..
Sandra P Newman {public msg} it is important with students with social cueing difficulties to communicate through visual techniques
Sandra P Newman {public msg} Another tool, is always have a large calendar on the child's desk, or where it is visible, so that he can check off what he has to do that day
Sandra P Newman {public msg} Self-advocating for me begins with students understanding their learning styles. This can be done through informal tests, or identifying through things they do
Mhpgh {public msg} Thank you. You have given fabulous suggestions. I will email you and please Rebecca, let me know how I can get a transcript of this chat?
Sandra P Newman {public msg} For example, if a students is able to write things down, but not express them orally, then he needs the teachers to understand that he understands better through hearing.
Rebecca {public msg} mph we have all of the past transcripts posted and update Monthly as fast as possible..
Rebecca {action} smiles.
Mommyo {public msg} ?
Sandra P Newman {public msg} It is important that parents identify the best way to learn through communicating the easiest way they do it.
LSH {public msg} Thank you
Mhpgh {public msg} please give a website, Rebecca
Sandra P Newman {public msg} For example, it is important that if a child uses their smelling to identify learning that the parent use this cueing for them to remember things. Most students are auditory /visual learners.
Rebecca {public msg} sure, one sec
Moderator {public msg} mommy, you are our next question, go ahead please.
Rebecca {public msg} Details on Transcripts*click here*
Sandra P Newman {public msg} I find that children with executive functioning difficulties do best when they identify what kind of learner they are, and then inform the teachers.
Mommyo {public msg} Do Palm pilots work well for organization skills? Or is there a better technology that works.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} There are many types of palm pilots being used. Unfortunately, the ones that are too sophisticated keep the child amused with the palm.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} make your pal pilot easier to use, one that is not complicated, and only provides a places for writing down information.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} allot of students have difficulty with remember where they place their palm pilots
Ron {action} . o O ( that's me )
Mommyo {public msg} Would if be easier to keep their schedules and calendar events in their palms
Mommyo {public msg} And to always keep it on them
Sandra P Newman {public msg} my suggestions is that you get one of those devices that rings where the palm is if it is misplaced
Mommyo {public msg} I did not know that existed
Sandra P Newman {public msg} not there alone...because it is important to identify several things about time management
Mommyo {public msg} Please explain
Sandra P Newman {public msg} yes, there is a device that is available that can be attached to keys, remote controls etc., this is usually found at sharper image, or other mail orders
Moosehed {enters}
Mommyo {public msg} Thank you!
Sandra P Newman {public msg} I think it is important to to also have the child have a digital watch or a time piece that identifies the time
Sandra P Newman {public msg} most of these children do not realize how long it takes to get things done, especially with their distractions
rrussell58 {leaves}
LSH {public msg} ?
Sandra P Newman {public msg} for instance, radio shack sells a quiet timer that a child can identify their real vs. their estimated time for doing homework
Moderator {public msg} LSH, go ahead, you are next with a question
LSH {public msg} Do you have ideas for simplifying and establishing priorities?
Moosehed {public msg} I got here late, is there anyway to get a copy of all that's gone on here so far?
Sandra P Newman {public msg} first it is important to establish goals...written down
Sandra P Newman {public msg} make a list starting with the goal or thing that the person wants first
Rebecca {private msg: Ron} believe me, they can use the help
Sandra P Newman {public msg} Moosehed, write Ron at talk autism
Rebecca {public msg} Details on Transcripts updated Monthly *click here*
Sandra P Newman {public msg} thank you Rebecca
Rebecca {action} smiles.
Rebecca {public msg} Your Welcome!
Rebecca {public msg} Any other questions? Please post a "?" in the room.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} in addition, I think it is important that you have a checklist with these goals so that the student knows what needs to be done
Sandra P Newman {public msg} when goals are established, write them with a checkbox next to them, make sure there are small steps to achieve each one
Sandra P Newman {public msg} then make goals for social areas, academic and personal
Mhpgh {public msg} ?
Moosehed {public msg} Besides AS, one of my kids has medical issues that needs meds for. Must take them at a certain time daily, but it is almost a losing battle getting him to be responsible for it. I find I need to remind (read: nag ;-) him daily about it, and I really need h
Sandra P Newman {public msg} ways to simplify priorities, is to limit them
Sandra P Newman {public msg} figure out what must be done first, then set times on each one
Sandra P Newman {public msg} I will finish by stating that it is important to have the child continuingly understand that priorities change, and nothing is exact
Rebecca {public msg} Details on Sandra Newman *click here*
LSH {public msg} Thank you
Sandra P Newman {public msg} for medical reasons, there are many devices now that have beepers on them, have you seem them?
Moosehed {public msg} (cont) him to be responsible for taking his meds himself. Any suggestions, or is what you're discussing the approach we should take?
Sandra P Newman {public msg} I know there is a vibrating device advertised in the CHADD magazine
LSH {public msg} ?
Rebecca {public msg} Ish, go ahead
LSH {public msg} What is your feeling on a reward system - does it work?
Sandra P Newman {public msg} I am not sure that children can always remember about their meds until they are full maturity, at least in their brain circumference, around 14
Moosehed {public msg} We gave him an alarm pocket watch, something he thought was *way cool*, but he *still* would miss meds time, turn that sucker off, be so engrossed in what he was into at the time that he'd totally forget he heard the alarm.
Rebecca {action} . o O ( sorry Sandra )
Sandra P Newman {public msg} I mean that children have difficulty with this, and possibly assigning a fellow student, or a monitoring teacher would help
Moosehed {public msg} So how old are kids before their brains get to 14"? My son is nearly 16yo.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} what i meant by that, is the neurodevelopment maturity of children with executive functioning does not really occur until the brain is fully developed.
Mommyo {public msg} My husband is 40 going on 14
Mhpgh {public msg} ?
Moosehed {public msg} Another student or teacher wouldn't help him, he needs to take night time meds.
Moosehed {public msg} Mommyo: LOL!!!
Sandra P Newman {public msg} is there a way that you can have the child tell you why he won't take the meds? Sometimes there are real reasons, and they are not just forgetting
Rebecca chuckles at Mommyo.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} I find that the students who do not take meds, sometimes need to express the reasons why, or they are just not ready to take on the responsibility.
Moosehed {public msg} For years it's been the same answer - *sorry mom, I forgot, will do it now*. He knows he feels better when he takes them on time and has better sleep and then a better day the next day. He just gets so obsessed with whatever he's into at the time, and he
Moosehed {public msg} does not transition well without lots of warning ahead of time.
Mhpgh {public msg} My son probably will not be motivated to complete the daily checklist in the organizational chart. He might get frustrated when he is trying to complete them. How can he be motivated to to complete each point on the list?
Sandra P Newman {public msg} set up an empowerment card for nighttime, and have him check off the list, i.e., write down all the things he has to remember
Moosehed {public msg} Even reminding him every 5 mins (and every 2 mins) for about 15 mins before meds time hasn't worked. Am kinda desperate to figure out how to help him on this score.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} make the list simpler
Moosehed {public msg} He's made soooooo much progress socially in the past 18 mos, and is doing better academically. But this meds thing is a real bear.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} remember it is hard for these children and adults to do the simplest things, make the list easier, and in smaller steps
Mhpgh {public msg} A lot of times, he expects very tangible rewards. He does not have intrinsic motivation to complete these things.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} first, on the list should be take off your clothes and place them in the bin. or something like that
Sandra P Newman {public msg} how old is he again?
Mhpgh {public msg} 11 yrs. old
Sandra P Newman {public msg} with students in preteen years, believe it not, I get them use to using a atm card, and using this as reward system. Let me explain.
Mhpgh {public msg} Emotionally and socially, subtract several years.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} I find these students are very visual, and kinesthetic or hands on.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} they see many of us using the atm cards, and we can get one for them under out safe deposit accounts
Mhpgh {public msg} Actual ATM cards with actual bank accounts?
Sandra P Newman {public msg} here is how it goes. First, give a token reward (monetarily ) and have them get money each day liker an allowance for their work.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} believe it or not...I start my students as young as 9 years old.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} like the token behavior system, place times before the things that you wish for them to do, and then have them do the items within a certain time frame
Mhpgh {public msg} Also, because of his executive functioning, he really has a hard time understanding the concept of time so if a reward isn't given almost immediately, to him it's as if he'll never get it.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} that is why with a check off system, that he gives you immediately he can get rewarded for it....this is how i use the empowerment cards
Mhpgh {public msg} Rewarded with a token?
Rebecca {public msg} ?
Sandra P Newman {public msg} after he does his work, have him check off all the work and pay him for it. usually i pay immediately into the atm, because then the child can start saving or using their money.
Mhpgh {public msg} Thank you, I definitely will email you because his situation is very complex.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} not a token, uses money...or deposit it into the atm. I also have a atm piggy bank that works the same way, that I have in my office.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} i find that these same children have difficulty with forgoing rewards, so i teach them early about the use of money, and rewarding them and watching how they use cash
Moderator {public msg} Rebecca has the next question, go ahead Rebecca
Rebecca {public msg} my question is quick and part of this conversation but what sort of rewards do you use? Just money?
Sandra P Newman {public msg} for instance, these kids have a tough time understanding cash flow, when they are older, why not introduce early. Most of my parents love using this as a reward for work done.
Rebecca {public msg} suggestions or ideas i mean, pertaining to the age of the child.
Rebecca {public msg} yes, very true & kids like money.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} no, anything can be used, money is just an example. using a point system, can equate to a point system, for using the computer, or anything that the child wants.
Rebecca {public msg} I see! Thanks!
Sandra P Newman {public msg} I think it is important the times are placed before every skill that you want the child to achieve
Sandra P Newman {public msg} remember they do not have executive functioning skills, that include time management
Sandra P Newman {public msg} at least most of the students
Sandra P Newman {public msg} any other questions
Rebecca {public msg} Thanks allot for spending the hour with us Sandra...It has been greatly appreciated. Love to have you back. :)
Rebecca {public msg} Details on Transcripts updated Monthly *click here*
Sandra P Newman {public msg} thanks for having me here, it went so quickly
Rebecca {public msg} Details on Sandra Newman *click here*
Mhpgh {public msg} Please come back!!!
Sandra P Newman {public msg} thank you again....I have lots more to share on another occasion
Rebecca {public msg} Contact Ron if you would like to return, We would be happy to have you.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} thank you Rebecca
Ron {public msg} Sandra, you were great,! Thank you, we'd love to have you back
Moderator {public msg} Yes, thank you, it was a great chat.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} thank you Ron for having me here
Mommyo {public msg} Thank you for a great night. I learned alot!
Mhpgh {action} ) I only meant to say that once. Didn't mean to sound like a little kid there.
Ron {public msg} Please thank our Moderator, Rebecca, and mark from Parenthood place who host this for the autism community as well. Great, professional job as always
Sandra P Newman {public msg} this is a great way to communicate to allot of parents
LSH {public msg} Yes!
Sandra P Newman {public msg} thanks Rebecca and mark....
Rebecca {public msg} Your most welcome Ron ;)
Moderator {public msg} you are welcome :)
Mommyo {public msg} Your transcript will help allot more people
Mhpgh {public msg} Thank you Moderator, Rebecca, and mark. What a great service.
Moosehed {public msg} Thank you all!
Rebecca {public msg} This chat room is here 24/7 if anyone ever wants to meet up here to just chit chat.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} you guys are great!
Rebecca {public msg} Your welcome to use it as long as Ron doesnt have a Scheduled chat, of coarse.
Ron {public msg} look for distance learning presentations being added to talkautism's virtual speaker in the next few weeks. Good night, all!
Rebecca {action} smiles.
Sandra P Newman {public msg} good night.
Rebecca {public msg} Good Night & Thanks for coming every one!
Sandra P Newman {leaves}

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