APA Newsletter - Issue 18 (Feb 2016)

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Autism Parent’s Association

APA Newsletter February 2016

Message from Omar!

Inside this issue: Message from Omar!


Up Coming Events


Events So far

Famous people who have ASD

Dear Parents, Here we go again...


Book review Grant awarded


Autism Law






Membership form


Enjoy this newsletter and as always "Help Us Help You" All the very best.


The difference between tantrums and sensory meltdowns

attend our talks and if you can't make it, share the information with others whom have a family member/s under the spectrum. Stay tuned for the upcoming activities, especially the ones in April to celebrate the autism awareness month.


Things to do on a rainy 4 day!

Issue 18

We are delighted to bring you another issue full of information, activities and much more... The committee works tirelessly to "support" all those who need our help, so, if you are faced with a situation, don't stay back, contact us, APA is there to support you and facilitate the process. We would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to

Omar Farrugia President – APA

APA Newsletter

Issue 18

Up Coming Events APA Annual General Conference 12th March 2016

Wear blue t-shirts and bring your family and friends!

Autism Fun day

3rd April at 10:00

30th April

Meeting at Qui-Si-Sana swings and walk up to the Love Sign in Spinola Bay.


Venue: to be advised

Light it

up blue for Autism! 1st April 2016

Youth Meetings

Autism Handbook

(14 years to adults) Periodical meetings will be held for all Youths and their parents in order to give everyone an opportunity to put forward suggestions regarding future activities that will be organised by APA. Contact: Sandra 9942 7839 (After 5pm) and Valerie 7928 5438.

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APA has been granted an award under the Small Initiative Scheme and the projects working group within the APA committee are in the process of developing an Autism handbook from young and beyond.

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Events So Far August 19/08/15 Parent suggestions meeting at the Kitchen Garden.

September 19/09/15

December 03/12/15

Autism Empowerment Law has

been drafted and will be read in Parliament in the coming months. 27/12/15

APA Christmas Party.

APA end of summer BBQ .


January 13/01/16


APA attended the Disability Fo-

rum organized by President's foundation for Social Wellbeing to forward any concerns related

9/10/15 ‘Back to School Coping Strategies’ Parent educational talks.

28/10/2015 ‘Enable’, Kummissjoni Nazzjonali Persuni b’dizabilita’/UNCRPD, Article 19: Living independently and being included in the community.

to the youths and adults. 20/01/16

APA gave a talk to Homestart

volunteers. 22/01/16

APA awareness talk to a group of

parents at Birgu Learning Resource Centre.

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APA Newsletter

Things to do on a rainy day

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Rainy days can be some of the most fun and memorable days for kids. Following are some creative ideas on how to encourage children to join in the fun and have a break from television or computer time! Most of the ideas below are social activities that promote turn taking, language, and collaboration. These skills are the foundation for building friendships and learning to work with peers and adults. Children will be engaged in these play activities while learning critical skills. What can be better than that on a rainy day? 1. Have a Treasure Hunt – Each person picks a figurine, toy, or memento to be their treasure, keeping what their treasure is secret from the other players. Each person hides their item and makes a treasure map leading the other players to their item. The map can be a drawing or it can be a set of clues with hints like, “This is where Fluffy gets her treats.” Each clue leads to another clue, eventually ending at the treasure. 2. Write a Story Together – Work as a group to write a book. One person writes the first page, another person writes the second, etc. Write a few lines then let the next person continue the story on another page. Leave room for drawings to make a colorful story with ideas, and artwork that is a team effort. 3. Create an Indoor Obstacle Course – Keep children moving with an exciting indoor version of an obstacle course. Throw soft balls in wastebaskets, walk on a chalk or tape line, hop between cans, and jump over pillows or other items. Not only can children stay active but they also can work on prepositions like over, between, on, and under. 4. Finger Paint with Shaving Cream - Put shaving cream on a table or in the bathtub and draw in the shaving cream. This erasable drawing board smells good and cleans markers, paint, and other stains from many surfaces. Be sure to test the surface first to make sure the shaving cream will not damage it. 6. Play Board Games – Simple board games teach problem solving, waiting, turn taking, and simple directions. 7. Make a Snack or Lunch Together – Have children help make the iced tea, put the cheese on the crackers, assemble the sandwiches. Instead of eating at the table, have a picnic in the house.

However, when it is computer time, make the most of technology! Technology is constantly around us in smart phones, tablets, gaming devices, and computers. Computer time at school, at home or when on the move, have become standard practice. Children are given more information and in a variety of ways, but how can you make the most of technology?

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APA Newsletter

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1. Find Learning Opportunities – Handing a child an iPhone or letting them play on the computer will entertain them, but working with them is an opportunity for learning. Technology frequently is used purely for entertainment when it actually holds many possibilities for learning. Language, social, and academic skills all can be taught through fun videos or games. Children can have fun while working on a variety of skills. Language skills: When watching videos or playing games, ask children questions about what they see or hear or what happened first, second, third. Use this as an opportunity to work on answering questions or to expand sentence length. Academic skills: Discuss colours, numbers, and prepositions. Choose videos or games that incorporate new concepts. Science, Geography and History, are just a few examples of the many topics that can be found in videos and games. Expose children to new topics through technology to engage and motivate them. Social skills: When playing games, interact with children. Take turns and talk about what is happening in the game. This is a great opportunity for interacting, not just entertaining. 2. Combine with Real World Experiences – Modern video and graphics are increasingly life like but should not replace real world experiences. Learn about science or history through video games and videos but go to exhibits to get a comprehensive view of the subjects. Learn about social interactions from video models but then practice these skills with peers and adults. Use technology to enhance education but not to replace hands on learning. Following is a link that may be of interest to your child: http:// zacbrowser.com/ This article was adapted from Sandbox Tools Educational Website.

Contacts: Parent Support Aides Autism: (General)

Mrs. Valerie Brincat

7928 5438

Autism: (Youths)

Ms Alexandra Borg

9942 7839 (After 5pm)

Diets & Alternative therapies:

Mrs. Vira Bonavia

7903 0687

Autism: (Gozo)

Mrs Joanne Sciberras

9955 1337

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APA Newsletter

Famous people who have ASD Temple Grandin is an autism advocate who rose to fame as an author of several books on autism, in addition to

the 2010 HBO Film on her life

titled 'Temple Grandin'. She speaks across the country about her life growing up with autism and is a professor at Colorado University. She has a successful career as a livestock-handling equipment designer, one of very few in the world. She has now designed the facilities in which half the cattle are handled in the United States, consulting for firms such as Burger King,

McDonald's, Swift, and others. Susan Boyle is a 52-year-old church volunteer with Asperger Syndrome who has become a global star in the music industry. Boyle shot to fame on the TV show "Britain's Got Talent" in 2009. A devout Catholic who lived on welfare handouts, she became an overnight sensation after her rendition of "I Dreamed A Dream" from the musical Les Miserables went viral on the internet.

Academy Award Nominated actor and writer Dan Aykroyd has been contributing to films since the late 1970s. He first came out about his autism diagnosis in 2004. In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, Dan shared how his Asperger Syndrome contributed to the inspiration for the hit movie Ghostbusters.

Lionel Messi is an Argentinian footballer who plays as a forward for La Liga club FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team. He serves as the captain of his country's national football team and is regarded as one of the best players in the world.

Satoshi Tajiri is a Japanese video game designer best known as the creator of PokĂŠmon and the founder of video game developer Game Freak, Inc. He

was diagnosed with autism, and has been described as creative, eccentric, and reclusive. As a child, Tajiri enjoyed insect collecting as a hobby, which would be an inspiration for his later video game work

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APA Newsletter

The difference between tantrums and sensory meltdowns

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Tantrums and meltdowns can look very similar when you see a child in the middle of having one. But knowing the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown can help you learn how to respond in a way that better supports your child. A tantrum is an outburst that happens when a child is trying to get something he wants or needs. For instance, some children with learning difficulties can be impulsive and have trouble keeping their emotions in check. They may get angry or frustrated quickly. A child may have a tantrum if he didn’t get to go first in a game . Yelling, crying or lashing out isn’t an appropriate way for him to express his feelings, but he’s doing it for a reason. And he has some control over his behavior. Your child may even stop in the middle of a tantrum to make sure you’re looking at him. When he sees that you’re watching him, he may pick up where he left off. His tantrum is likely to stop when he gets what he wants—or when he realizes he won’t get what he wants by acting out. On the other hand a meltdown is a reaction to feeling overwhelmed. For some kids, it happens when there’s too much sensory information to process all at once. The commotion at a party or local festa might set them off, for instance. For other kids, it can be a reaction to having too many things to think about. The excess information from the child’s surroundings are sensory inputs that flood your child’s brain. That excess input overflows in the form of yelling, crying, lashing out or running away.

Different Strategies for Tantrums and Meltdowns It’s important to remember that the key difference between the two types of outbursts is that tantrums usually have a purpose. Kids are looking for a certain response. Meltdowns are a reaction to something and are usually beyond a child’s control. A child can often stop a tantrum if he gets what he wants or if he’s rewarded for using a more appropriate behavior. But a meltdown isn’t likely to stop when a child gets what he wants. In fact, he may not even know what he wants. Meltdowns tend to end either when the child is too tired or when there is a change in sensory input, helping the child to feel less overwhelmed. So how can you handle tantrums and meltdowns differently? 

Tantrums: acknowledge what your child needs without giving in. Make it clear that you

understand what he’s after. “I see that you want to be first. When your coach calls your name, it’ll be your turn.” Then help him see that there’s a more appropriate behavior that will work. Meltdowns: help your child find a safe, quiet place to de-escalate. “Let’s leave the party and sit in the car for a few minutes.” Then provide a calm, reassuring presence without talking too much to your child. The goal is to reduce the input coming at him.

Knowing the difference between tantrums and meltdowns is the key to helping your child through them. It may also help to get a better idea of the kinds of situations that can be challenging for your child.

Article adapted from www.understood.org

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APA Newsletter

Book Review The Verbal Behavior Approach: How to Teach Children With Autism and Related Disorders by Mary Barbera (Author), Tracy Rasmussen (Author) The Verbal Behavior (VB) approach is a form of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), that is based on B.F. Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior and works particularly well with children with minimal or no speech abilities. In this book, Mary Lynch Barbera draws on her own experiences as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and also as a parent of a child with autism to explain VB and how to use it. This step-by-step guide provides an abundance of information about how to help children develop better language and speaking skills, and

also explains how to teach non-vocal children to use sign language. An entire chapter focuses on ways to reduce problem behavior, and there is also useful information on teaching toileting and other important self-help skills, that would benefit any child. This book will enable parents and professionals unfamiliar with the principles of ABA and VB to get started immediately using the Verbal Behavior approach to teach children with autism and related disorders.

AUTISM HANDBOOK FOR YOUNG AND BEYOND The Autism Parents Association (APA) has been awarded a grant under the Small Initiative Scheme in 2016 to develop a handbook to be handed to parent members upon their child’s diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Over the years a number of parents sought the assistance of APA for guidance as to how to handle their child with Autism and to enquire what is available in Malta with regards to therapy and social services amongst others. The committee therefore identified the need to develop the handbook which will provide parents with an overview of Autism, guidance on how to cope in the early years, the services offered locally and the benefits one can avail from. The handbook will also include a record keeping section where important reports and other important medical and educational information may be stored for future reference. The handbook will be developed by parents for parents. The information will also be available digitally.

This project has been funded with support from the VO Fund managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector (MCVS). This project/publication reflects the views only of the author, and the MCVS cannot be held responsible for the content or any use which may be made of the information contained therein .

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'Persons within the autism spectrum empowerment act' On the 3rd of December the Autism Empowerment Law has been drafted and will be read in Parliament in the following months. Parliamentary Secretary for Rights of Persons with Disability Justyne Caruana said that the main aim of the bill was to create more awareness and the creation of a council for Autism. The document is a result of efforts by a varied working group and the draft focuses on early detection and awareness of symptoms as well as acceptance and social inclusion. Autism Parent’s Association P.O. Box 30 Marsa

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2016 Memberships are due! Membership renewals are due every January. So for those of you who haven’t sent in their renewal or if you would like to become a new member, we kindly ask you to fill the application form that is being sent with this newsletter and send it to the address noted in the form together with €10 for your 2016 membership. All money collected from memberships and donations received go towards the Association’s expenses, which include the printing of leaflets and the organization of activities for parents and children. Financial statements, outlining all income and expenses for the past years will be presented at the Annual General Meeting, and published on the APA website.

Donations Parents with lots of experience and brilliant ideas are ready to answer your questions!! Hope to see you there…. Facebook

Donations are welcome and appreciated. You can help us by sending cheques payable to

Autism Parent’s Association P.O.Box 30

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