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Regulating play for your AUTISTIC CHILD

Is your Autistic child's exploratory behaviour causing problems in therapy or during your day?

One of the most difficult problems that parents and therapists face in being able to manage the self-directed exploratory play of the Autistic child. Autistic children may be still learning our rules of the environment such as we sit in the waiting room in a chair, we don’t touch that person’s toys, we don’t raid the therapist toy shelf, we don’t strip the supermarket of all the yummy food when we go shopping.

Families who are new to understating Autistic children are coming to learn that their child may not understand the social context and the social rules of play and their environment. For example, the Speech Pathologist prefers that you stay and work on the task in front of her rather than the one on the second shelf that you spotted.

Children with language comprehension impairment as well as self-directed and sometimes compulsive thinking patterns can be difficult to communicate with when they set their interests on a task or toy. We use the session regulation tool of the available-not available scarf to support learning this function of WAITGO-FINISHED PLAY—PLAY WITH THIS ONE NOW. Autistic children can respond poorly to NO, MISTAKE, or NAUGHTY or BAD. This is why the RED was not used but the checkered flag pattern.

The RED is used for emergency when STOP or RISK is required. To find out the WHY about how children feel the colours in words, join our community of families who are learning about various communication conditions to gain their answers about their child. Speech Therapy DIY is here to help.

Trust me as a clinical Speech Pathologist – it is a lifesaver and I would never have a session without various types of session regulating tools such as this Available-Not Available scarf at my disposal. Visit the BLOG list to find out about the others you can use.

Autsim, Autistic spectrum equipment tools products, speech therapy DIY, DIY speech therapy program, Helping children with Autism, Dyspraxia, language impairment, speech impairment, behavioural challenges, meltdown, Social Stories Carol Gray, Tony Attwood-Autism Psychologist


Join our list for the information based on the STEPS to using the session regulation tool so you can share it with your family, your kindergarten or school support team.

For those families without the ability to stitch a straight line or who have no access to a sewing machine, you can visit our SHOP and order your own SCARF from us. These come in various sizes to suit your needs such as LARGE to block out a entire activity over a table, MEDIUM to block out playing with a toy in the middle of an activity and even iPAD holders to enable your child to finally reach the dining table for a meal or to sit there.

Some days after a long day of teaching SPECTRUM children, I have often considered throwing it over me-just so I can have 5 minutes break to sip my coffee. I know some of our families will appreciate this-just don’t do it when driving!

Help your Autistic child keep to the activities and tasks that suit your day schedule and routine. The AVAILABLE– and NOT AVAILABLE scarf supports you to regulate the flow of task and saves you the problems from meltdowns and concerns.

The medium sized scarf is suitable to have in your handbag when you are on the go. You simply pull it out and block the item in your child’s interest that they may be heading for that it out of bounds to their play. Use the green side to then show them what they can play with when their is an item of interest that your child would like to engage with.

Show your child what they need to learn and know about BOUNDARIES OF PLAY and POSSESSION of goods, toys and items in their day. Many of us think we are entitled to everything unless we are taught otherwise. Your Autistic child just needs to learn this human rule. Be part of our Speech Therapy DIY community by joining our family list and you will gain a lesson sheet based on how to implement this wonderful tool. (on the BLOG page or you can visit www.speechtherapyDIY.com directly)

Available on request from the Optimal Communications Speech Pathology clinic. Save anguish and your child from having to experience meltdowns about change in routine or disappointment from wanting a toy when they don’t understand it is not available for them to play with.

Order your medium sized scarf now.

Also available in large sizes and iPAD bags.

Join our FREE BLOG list for families with tips of how to use it from qualified Speech Pathologists.

It’s a good day when you don’t leave home without it. 🙂 


How far can one toy go in Speech Therapy?

Using toys to gain Optimal Communication Potential in your child's home speech therapy program

Being creative and ingenious is one of the first skills to learn to be a Speech Pathologist or an integral part of the Speech Therapy team. Many people can often be involved in supporting your child to develop their speech and language skills over the years of their early development. It is common to have fantastic input from Kindergarten teachers, school teachers, therapy aides, and also you, being the parents undertaking your child’s home program.

Having the right equipment is very helpful to supporting your child to learn many speech and language tasks, however it is not the MOST important factor.

The most important factor is having the skills to know WHAT you are doing and whether it is the right task or skill to be focusing on to make the greatest differences based on your child’s neuro-developmental age and their observed challenges. Your child will need an assessment from a Speech Pathologist to determine what that is.

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Bring in the Mr. Potato Head Crew… to make Speech Therapy at home fun for your child. Use the toys you have in a different way.
Speech therapy speech and language stimulation home program

Here are some Mr Potato Head ideas for games:

  1. Movie making with Mr Potato Head (Pictello)
  2. Using Mr Potato Head to Motivate Multistep Sequences
  3. Learning Vocabulary with Mr Potato Head
  4. Going on a Treasure Hunt with Mr Potato Head
  5. Learning Phonic All Stars speech sound cards with Mr Potato Head


Join the list to get your downloadable pdf’s so you can get started from home!

Get your FREE Phonic All Star home therapy beginners resources.

Developing your child's listening skills

A toy can be used in so many different ways to stimulate your child’s communications skills, so you may be able to save on all the expense of the resources when you invest your time in learning what to do. We have some tips to help you get started, however join the list on the left for more help across amny areas of listening, speech, language, early literacy and social-pragmatic skills.

TIP # 1: Following Spoken instructions

Mr Potato head says…  

Use Mr Potato head to facilitate a Simon Says style of activity where Mr Potato head provides the instructions and your child has to accurately listen and carry out the instruction.  If they do so, they can opt to change 1 item of Mr Potato Heads body per correct instruction followed! So the toy acts as the actual reinforcement for your child after each verbal instruction and then connects your child back to the lesson to listen to the next instruction. This is important as some children can wander away when they get bored.

To read more about how…enter our list to the right to collect the password for onsite page access.

Let us give you loads of fun ideas about how to get the most out of Mr. Potato Head across heaps of tasks with your child

Why is spelling so confusing?

Spelling can be such a struggle for so many children when they are developing their literacy skills.

At the first stage of learning, they need to develop their phonological processing skills (speech sound processing) and their phonological awareness skills (speech sound awareness skills). The first is developed by the brain growing and engineering itself (eg. auditory memory, auditory discrimination, sound synthesis, the sound chain length, the sound processing speed, capacity to hold-store-retrieve and manipulate sound information), whilst the other is taught as skills (ie. rhyming, sound decoding, sound encoding, blending sounds, segmenting sounds in words, syllabification, sound identification manipulation). The Phonic All Star program assists to teach kids these skills in a fun and exciting way and you can order the basic starter pack to get you on the way to success. This assists kids to learn the first stage o acquiring their literacy skills for PREP and Grade 1 skills.

Phonic All Stars Katrine Elliott Optimal Communications Speech therapy resources articulation therapy speech impairment auditory processing impairment

Once these skills are achieved, then students then progress to understanding spelling rules which include skill development at the orthographic stage of literacy. This is a cool stage because in therapy, I can teach a spelling rule in 15 minutes and kids are then able to read 300 words straight after that. It is an enormous confidence booster for students that have struggled with reading for such a long time. They can’t believe how easy it is … and they then trust the process further and start to enjoy the next stages of therapy. This can also be for student that have been stuck with their reading level for many years. We have a cool job!

Read more

Phonetics or Sight words…?

Phonetics or Sight words…?

When is phonetic the key to reading ? I have been told that it is most important to teach children to read by sight reading-whole word reading?

What should I do?

Katrine will provide information about this burning question that is asked by many parents in speech therapy soon. Keep posted. Read more