Autism News Articles
December 22nd 2007- December 28th 2007
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From a Listmate
Monday, Dec. 24, 2007
Autistic Kids: The Sibling Problem
By Amy Lennard Goehner
A few months ago, I took my sons to buy shoes. Nate is 14 and autistic. Joey is 8 and "typical." And I'm the parent — most of the time. Before we got to the store, Joey said to me, "If Nate has a tantrum, I can handle him. You just focus on buying shoes. I'm better at handling tantrums than you. Sometimes you just yell and it makes things worse. No offense."
None taken. He's absolutely right.
The "typically developing" siblings of autistic children are, in fact, the furthest thing from typical. Often, they are wiser and more mature than their age would suggest. And they have to be, given the myriad challenges they face: parental responsibility; a feeling of isolation from the rest of their family; confusion, fear, anger and embarrassment about their autistic sibling. And on top of all of it, guilt for having these feelings.
As their parents, there's a lot we can do to help. For starters, we can educate them early on, by explaining their sibling's disorder — a conversation that should be ongoing. Dr. Raun Melmed, co-founder and medical director of the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center in Phoenix, suggests including non-autistic children in visits to the doctor or other autism professionals. Early intervention doesn't have to be "thought of as being geared only to the involved child," Melmed says. In his office, Melmed reassures siblings that "other brothers and sisters have negative and confusing thoughts about their [autistic] siblings. That is common." He also instructs parents to reaffirm that message at home. "Parents need only acknowledge to their healthy children that they know what they are going through and that negative feelings are normal," he says.
A great way for kids to feel "normal" is to meet other siblings of autistic children, which they can do at sibling workshops. At the Kennedy Krieger Institute for children with developmental disabilities in Baltimore, social worker Mary Snyder-Vogel runs a program called Sibshops. "The workshops give these kids the opportunity to realize they're not alone," Snyder-Vogel says. "[We play] a lot of games that help them interact and problem-solve with peers. Kids don't even realize they're getting support."
At a recent Sibfun workshop at the Jewish Community Center on Manhattan's Upper West Side, therapists used puppet shows to illustrate issues that are common among siblings of special-needs kids. When asked what they thought the puppets were feeling, the children in the audience needed no prompting, immediately shouting out words like sad, disappointed and jealous.
Siblings will commonly have negative feelings — some might never connect or want to connect with their autistic siblings — but the good news is that typical siblings often turn out to be more compassionate and caring than average. "These siblings have seen what it's like to have a hard time in life," says Sandra Harris, executive director of Rutgers University's Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, a program for people with autism spectrum disorders and their families, and author of Siblings of Children with Autism: A Guide for Families (Woodbine House).
There are many other, more specific challenges that affect siblings of special-needs kids — and many of them apply to sibling relationships of every kind. Here are some of the issues that most frequently confront typical siblings — and their families — with advice from professionals.
Challenge #1: "Why won't he play with me?"
For younger siblings of autistic children, one of their first doses of reality usually comes when their older brother or sister won't play. "The child on the [autism] spectrum may seem indifferent or have a meltdown when the sibling tries to interact," says Rutgers' Harris.
Seven-year-old Adam, whose autistic brother Jacob is 11, says, "I can't really play games with Jacob like I can with my cousin Eric [also 11]. Jacob likes to play games on the computer — but by himself, not with me. He gets too angry if he loses and then doesn't want to play." Adam's father, Paul, says soberly, "I'm sure Eric represents the brother Adam might have had."
Solution: Find common ground
Parents can start by telling the typical sibling that his brother or sister "is doing the best he can, and here are some things you can do with him," says Judy Levy, director of social work at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. "Maybe in the future he'll be able to learn to play with you in other ways, but right now this is what he can do."
Harris encourages parents to "find ways in which the siblings can relate [or] share an interest." That can be something very simple, as Elliot learned at an early age. "It turns out my brothers [Benjamin and Aaron] are really ticklish," says Elliot. "Tickling was a good way to bond with them, and for them to show affection back by laughing and wanting it again." (And again and again — and again.)
Challenge #2: "It's not fair!"
Every parent has heard his or her child say, "It's not fair!" But for families with autistic and typical siblings, "not fair" is the reality, when it comes to one child being treated differently from the other. Martin Bounds has one autistic child, Charlie, 13, and one typical child, Alex, 15, about whom Bounds says, "He'd get very upset when he would bump his knee or complain of feeling sick. He thought we weren't sufficiently concerned about him, in the spirit of 'I could be over here dying, and all you care about is Charlie.'"
That may be overstatement, but such sentiments often stem from legitimate gripes. Bounds recalls when he and his wife attended an important fund-raiser for Charlie three years ago, on the same day Alex rode in an annual bike race. "Alex won the race for his age group and was really upset when we were not there to greet him at the finish line," says Bounds. "As much as you try to balance schedules, as parents of an autistic child, you have to basically accept that you are going to have moments when you feel you have cheated your other children, and those moments are awful."
Solution: Create special time
Harris urges parents to set aside alone-time with their typical kids every week. "Private time can even [include] riding in the car to pick up the laundry," she says, "but since [the child is] with Daddy, [he or she is] the focus of his attention."
Some kids, like Elliot, develop new hobbies as a way to spend time with a parent. "Gardening was something I could do with just my mom — it was never easy to get my mom to myself," he says. Elliot began gardening five years ago; he's now a junior judge at flower shows and grows about 330 varieties at home, including the 170 seedlings he has hybridized.
For single parents, however, eking out one-on-one time can be a daunting task. As a widowed mom, I know firsthand — we do the best we can with the time we have. Single dad Ron Barth says his autistic 9-year-old, Daniel, "dominates everything, so I have to make special moments with Nicole [age 15], like taking her shopping — without Daniel." But, says Barth, "There aren't enough of those moments."
Challenge #3: "I'm scared!"
Some autistic children are aggressive, which can be scary and dangerous, especially for younger kids. And parents can't possibly keep an eye on their kids every second — which is about the amount of time it took for one child I interviewed to get squirted in the eyes with Windex by her younger autistic brother. (She survived just fine.) Even my son Nate, who isn't aggressive but is twice the size of Joey, often hugs Joey — tight. Very tight. Around the neck. When Joey yells "MOM!" I've learned to tell the difference between Mom, can you help me find my Gameboy? and MOM, he's choking me!
Solution: Find a safe haven
"I tell parents to have a 'safe place,' usually the child's room, where the typical child can go while an adult handles the behavior problem," says Harris. "Then, as soon as they can, the parents should comfort the typical child and help him or her understand what happened."
Harris also suggests that parents develop an "intervention plan" to teach the child with autism alternate behaviors — such as asking to be left alone, or using words, cards or a special gesture — when he or she feels upset. "Kids with autism can learn to go their room, sit in a beanbag chair, or do something else that helps them calm themselves," says Harris.
Challenge #4: "He's so embarrassing!"
It's common for siblings to feel embarrassed by their autistic brother or sister's behavior in public, or to be reluctant to bring their friends home. Kelly Reynolds, 21, says it can be difficult introducing her autistic brother, Will, to her friends: "It's hard to have a young child in an older kid's body. [Will] may go up to one of my girlfriends and sit on her on the couch — which probably would have been cute when he was five years old but he's 17 now," Reynolds says. "That can be hard because you can tell when someone feels awkward or scared or thrown off."
Solution: Encourage honesty — and laugh
"Interestingly, a lot of these [typical sibs] are more outspoken," says Levy of the Kennedy Krieger Institute. "They'll go up to people and say, 'Yes, that's my brother. He has special needs. Do you have any questions?'"
My son Joey is one of those kids. When he was 6, we were at a bus stop when Nate started jumping up and down and making weird noises — just being Nate. When Joey's friend started making fun of Nate, Joey got right in her face and said, "Do NOT make fun of my brother again! Everybody learns differently." They were my words coming from Joey's mouth.
Several parents I interviewed said a sense of humor is key. "Your typical child can see the humor in the actions of his autistic siblings," says Bounds, father to Charlie and Alex. "It's okay to talk about his or her 'weird brother' in a way that signals that you both know this isn't normal."
When Nate does something bizarre in public, which is just about whenever he's in public, Joey and I often give each other an Oh, my God! look and roll our eyes, which sort of says, "We're in this together."
Challenge #5: "I feel like the parent."
Angela Bryan-Brown, 15, says she often feels like a parent to her 14-year-old brother Alasdair. "You don't have a choice," says Angie. "You've got to help out, and your parents can only do so much. They're so stressed out." Angie's mom Florie Seery refers to Angie as "the third parent in the house" and "an old soul," a phrase I've heard often from other parents.
Elliot says of his siblings' disorder: "Even though I'm four years younger, it places me in the position of being the older brother. "
Solution: Let sibs be children too
"It's a challenge for children to feel that sense of responsibility for their sibling," says Harris. "A wise parent works hard to temper that and to make the responsibilities fitting to the age of the siblings. An older sister can keep her brother entertained for half an hour because an older sister would typically do that to help out — but she's not a parent."
For young siblings, Harris suggests counseling them: "'It's wonderful to care about your brother, but you're my little boy too. Because your brother has trouble learning sometimes, he might need help from you, but you're not his mommy or daddy. We will take care of him when he needs help.' That kind of message reaffirms one's love and lifts that burden."
Challenge #6: The holidays
"Attending loud, busy social gatherings with new sights, sounds, smells, intrusive relatives and strange places overwhelms the best of us, let alone those with sensitive sensory systems," says Dr. Raun Melmed of the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center. "Of course, when the child gets overwhelmed and melts down, so do the siblings and parents."
"In short, holidays suck, especially the ones you spend outside your own home," says dad, Bounds. "They're full of the most dreaded thing in an autistic life — unstructured time. People get together with relatives and friends and talk — which is sort of hard to do when your child has your sister-in-law's cat by the throat and is about to put him in the food processor."
Solution: Ask family members to help
Harris suggests that parents "create a rotating team of adults. Each person spends a half-hour with the child, so that parents and siblings aren't trapped, and the child doesn't have to be exposed to the chaos of the party. Cousins and aunts can take a turn."
Siblings, however, should be spared. "The typically developing kid wants the holiday to come. She's off from school, she's getting her present and she can't really enjoy that" if she's expected to take care of her autistic brother or sister, says social worker Snyder-Vogel.
Challenge #7: In adulthood, the sibs will become "parents"
Someday, inevitably, the sibling of an autistic child will most likely take on the role of guardian and advocate. "You're basically at some point going to be their parent," says Kelly Reynolds, 21. "Anyone I want to marry has to take that into account. In some ways you kind of feel like you already have a kid. ... For me, it's kind of a deal-breaker when someone can't really get along with my brother. He's such a big part of my life."
Solution: Discuss future plans with adult children
Parents should talk about financial plans and any care arrangements that have been made, once typical siblings are old enough, says Harris in a recent article for the Autism Society of America. But this isn't a discussion to initiate with younger children — unless they bring the topic up on their own.
Many of the children I interviewed showed deep concern for their autistic brothers and sisters. And nearly all of the professionals and doctors I talked with said that a disproportionate number of their students and residents were siblings of people with autism. "I'm very interested in trying to help find a cure," says 15-year-old Elliot, who closely follows news about the disorder. "I'd just like to get a neat little pill someday for my siblings that they can pop in with their apple juice and hopefully be normal."
From a listmate
Shurman blasts McGuinty government for
neglecting special-needs children
TORONTO – One of the PC survivors of the
recent Ontario election, Thornhill MPP Peter
Shurman, is new to the political scene. Yet
he’s already attracting attention at Queen’s
Park by trumpeting the cause of specialneeds
In his first speech as Thornhill’s MPP at
the Ontario Legislature on Dec. 6, Shurman
addressed the dire need for increased funding
for Zareinu Educational Centre of Metropolitan
Toronto, which provides special education
and individualized therapies to children
with physical and developmental challenges.
Zareinu is located in the basement of
the Sephardic Kehila Centre in Thornhill.
Shurman, a former radio talk-show host,
isn’t a novice at speaking his mind and tackling
controversial issues. The following are
excerpts of his address:
• “In 1999, a Conservative government
allocated $14.5 million annually to specialneeds
children in private schools much like
this one; ‘special-needs dollars,’ they call
it…this is medical. But this government
does not interpret the regulations with any
technical latitude…. So Zareinu and other
organizations like it are sitting out there and
suffering silently, and the kids and their families
are being shortchanged. Only $4.5 million
annually is being spent. If you do the
math on that, and you take it from 1999,
since nobody has changed the line item,
these kids are being shortchanged, and
many like them around Ontario , to the tune
of about $10 million a year; eight years, $80
million. Maybe it went into non-bank, assetbased
commercial paper; I don’t know. But
the bottom line is, that money isn’t there or
at least it hasn’t been there. The government
has to understand that people are not numbers;
they are faces. They’re faces, and I’ve
seen the faces.”
• “Our bureaucrats saved us $80 million.
Wow, $80 million. Can you imagine what
that could have done for Zareinu, for these
kids and these families and for countless
other facilities like this all over the
• “I’ve got to say that it broke my heart,
despite the very great progress that they
make in doing what they do, because they
operate in circumstances that none of us
would wish to see in our own individual
lives, much less on behalf of children who
are incapable by any stretch of the imagination
of speaking for themselves and who
come from families that have a big problem
making happen what has to happen for a
normal child, much less a child with developmental
• “The funds basically are derived on a
public basis from fundraising to the tune of
a couple of million dollars, a very small
grant of about half a million that comes from
the local CCAC to meet the needs of a gargantuan
budget, and the rest, of course,
comes from parents who either can, or in many cases,
cannot afford it. But the cost is gargantuan”.
Dec 20, 2007
From a Listmate
The Toronto Sun
Hard to diagnose, but behavioural signals include:
Stressed or depressed behaviour.
Behaviour indicating anxiety, such as pacing, clicking pens.
Unusual repetitive movements such as hand flapping, finger twisting, tics.
Unusual or no response to emotional situations.
Being described as hyperactive, inattentive or unfocused.
Highly developed verbal skills, poor writing skills.
Difficulty handling unstructured times such as recess or gym class.
Inability to make friends.
Statistics are vague and varying, but Aspergers occurs in roughly one in 1,000 people.
Only one in eight Asperger children are girls but they often are very sensitive to any touch, including something as slight as that of a clothing tag. Some will eat only a certain food.
Celebrities who have been reported to have Aspergers include director Steven Spielberg, actor Dan Aykroyd, scientist Albert Einstein and pianist Glenn Gould.
The name comes from a Viennese psychiatrist, Hans Asperger, who noted the cluster of characteristics in the 1940s. A British doctor brought his work to contemporary attention in the 80s.
One mom's struggle leads to group offering practical expertise on baffling syndrome
Dec 27, 2007 04:30 AM
A 10-year-old girl refuses to wear anything but her bathing suit. In winter. To school. To the distress of her parents.
A 12-year-old boy is obsessed with Toronto's transit system, memorizing the location and number of every city bus and subway route.
Normal-looking and normal-behaving in many ways, these are GTA children with Asperger Syndrome, commonly thought of as a form of high-functioning autism. But it's rare and frequently misdiagnosed as an attention deficit or anxiety disorder, or even giftedness.
In fact, Aspergers children are often overwhelmingly bright, but they can't process more than one thing at a time. Super sensitive to outside stimuli, they easily overload. One describes being in a classroom like being in a closet with 2,000 people talking at once.
As a result, they often have highly focused, if unusual, interests. They may know the latitude and longitude of every world capital city, but they can't read non-verbal communication and therefore are duds at social interaction. Worst of all, they are smart enough to know it.
"I'm so bad, I should be dead," Matthew Leaton told his mother, Nancy, when he was just 7. He'd fly into rages â€“ punch and kick â€“ but not be able to tell his parents why. But he is also a sweet, affectionate boy who loves reading maps.
Then, last summer, at age 11, he was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.
"He's happier because he knows it's not his fault now, that parts of his brain don't connect. They're all there; they just don't connect. Now we just have to learn the skills to get along with this," says his mother Nancy, a retired teacher.
She is finding them â€“ and moral support â€“ in the new Eglinton Ave. offices of the Aspergers Society of Ontario.
For eight years, Margot Nelles ran the society single-handedly out of the pantry nook off the kitchen of her small home in Toronto's Wychwood Park area.
There Nelles organized two ground-breaking conferences and helped publish a respected Canadian text on a syndrome that has really only been on the health radar for less than two decades.
As a mother of two boys with it, she has become the foremost expert and resource for other parents.
"Aspergers needn't be a bad thing but parents are usually devastated when they hear the diagnosis and often don't want to tell the child," says Nelles, 44.
"If they don't tell, depression will happen. They are smart kids. They can see they are not connecting. The depression derails them. It's inevitable. Whether they are 16, 18, 23, it will happen."
Asperger Syndrome was first included in the DSM-IV, the diagnostic bible of the psychiatric community, only in 1994.
"It really is new," says Kevin Stoddard, a social worker with a practice specializing in Aspergers. "We are really struggling with how to identify these kids and adults and to differentiate high-functioning autism from Aspergers. It's still not clear."
Eight years ago when Nelles was trying to get help for her eldest son, Zack, now 16, things were positively murky.
"I had been looking for help since he was 2 1/2," she recalls. She had been told repeatedly she was a bad parent, a hysteric; she was told her child â€“ who would twirl on the floor for hours â€“ was just going through a phase.
"She was a mess and he was such a sad little guy," recalls Carole Nelles, Margot's mother.
Dr. Leon Sloman at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health diagnosed Zack with Asperger Syndrome.
When Nelles told her son that things would get easier now that they understood the nature of the problem, the boy replied: "I always thought I was a broken, rotten kid." Those words propelled her into action.Two weeks later, Nelles, at one time an associate television producer, was back in Sloman's office with a plan for a registered charitable organization and a board of directors. She had spent her savings to start a website for the new organization. Almost immediately the emails and phone calls started.
"There was a complete vacuum in terms of facilities for these children," Sloman says.
Nelles suggested group meetings so the children could interact socially. That was the start of a flourishing program that takes place at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health every Wednesday afternoon. While the children are meeting, so are their parents.
Nelles talks for at least two hours to every family who phones or writes her. "Why should other people take all those years (I took) to get on the right road?" she says.
Nelles and her mother, who helps co-ordinate the parents' groups, scramble to pay the facilitators and the experts they bring in.
They've never received government money but many of their 200 members do their own fundraising. Two years ago they received a windfall private donation of $50,000.
Nelles' work is paying off for GTA kids with Aspergers.
The girl in the bathing suit is now wearing regular clothing. She has a small gang of friends at school and plans to be a counsellor-in-training at a camp this summer.
Matthew Leaton is starting a new school next month. It is for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Next year, fingers crossed, he will be enrolled in a special class for Asperger kids taught by a teacher with Asperger Syndrome.
"Because he is bright they are telling us there is no reason he couldn't go to university," says Nancy Leaton.
"There is hope," Nelles says. "Aspergers is not a dead-end sentence."
MOST POPULAR ON THESTAR.COM
From a listmate
December 24, 2007 THE TORONTO STAR (ONT) PAGE: AA08 (OPINION)
From sea to sea to sea, a model for the world
What does it mean to be Canadian when we come from everywhere?
How do we forge a shared national purpose among people who have never shared anything before?
The world is coming to Canada. More and more Canadians are global citizens, exploring the world or staying connected to our countries of origin more instantly, more easily and more inexpensively than ever before.
We are Canadians without borders, looking outward to an exciting future. We have come together from every corner of the globe to continue to build a progressive, vigorous, multi-ethnic democracy that is unique in human history. We want to embrace the national responsibilities that have been thrust upon us because of our unique place in the international community.
Our destiny is to show that Canada can be a model for a troubled world increasingly challenged by religious and sectarian friction, and environmental catastrophes. Our growing diversity as a people, our huge pool of human talent, is our greatest strength from which to forge a clear, national purpose.
We need bold and visionary national leadership to inspire us to confidently take on the world and convey a sense of forward motion.
We need national leadership that inspires Canadians once again to believe that those in public life can translate rhetoric into action. We need a national government that governs for the Canadian people, not the provincial premiers, and that brings forward initiatives with clarity and conviction.
Here are some examples of what such leadership could achieve:
We need a vigorous national commitment to establish the best public education system in the world. Among other things, this should mean:
Child care, including early childhood education, available in the schools (elsewhere as necessary) from the age of 3.
Enhanced parental leave to permit one parent to stay home with children for at least the early years of a child's life.
No public funding for faith-based schools and a curriculum that includes serious study of religions of the world.
Funding to ensure that there is a teacher's assistant in every classroom.
Schools open in the evening and serving as community hubs.
Assured access to the full range of post-secondary education to all qualified students.
We must once and for all devote the attention and resources necessary to put an end to Third-World conditions among aboriginal Canadians.
We must likewise take all necessary steps to achieve equality of opportunity for all Canadians in practice, not just in theory. We must solve the foreign credentials problem that has deeply hurt so many new Canadians, and provide adequate infrastructure to help new Canadians maximize their potential through language training, settlement services and internship programs that provide work experience.
We must also establish wage security to enhance the employment insurance of those whose jobs are displaced by global forces, and take much more effective steps to eliminate poverty and unemployment.
We should have true national standards for medicare, with a commission at the national level establishing what services should be necessary for all Canadians, from autism therapy to physiotherapy.
As important as it is that we find cures to the diseases affecting Canadians, we must also take much more aggressive national action against environmental causes of ill health and disease, such as by identifying and eliminating the toxic chemicals and pesticides to which Canadians are exposed daily.
The time is long overdue for the national government to:
Put an end to the costly, wasteful barriers to trade among provinces.
Create a single national securities regulator.
Take firm steps to make Canada the greenest country on the planet, with a minister of the environment on a par with the minister of finance.
We can start by putting a price on carbon and introducing a carbon levy on polluting activities, including a levy on gas at the pump. This will provide substantial dedicated funding for a wide range of initiatives designed to increase energy efficiency and conservation, and develop new sources of clean, renewable energy, including a national electricity grid. The additional revenues can contribute to a reduction in personal income taxes and ensure that business and investment taxes remain competitive.
The time is also long overdue for a well-funded national infrastructure program to help establish public transit, new sewers, safe water supplies, and ensure repairs to existing bridges, roads and railways.
Finally, almost every aspect of our daily lives has a global dimension. All the serious challenges we face - whether climate change, dreadful poverty, wars, sicknesses, nuclear proliferation, terrorism - require global co-operation and decisive national leadership.
With clear global vision and bold national leadership, Canadians are uniquely positioned to be in the front ranks of a world without borders.
Deborah Coyne is a Toronto-based policy analyst and consultant, and ran as a Liberal party candidate in the 2006 general election. deborahcoyne.ca.
From A Listmate
The OACRS website has the following article: "Moir on bill at upcoming
special education workshop? Follow this link to check it out.
AFASE at School
From a friend
Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you think would find
The festive season, while generally fun can also be pretty
stressful, particularly for those with autism, as it means a break
However, with some forward planning you can enjoy the holidays
rather than dreading them.
This time of year is often when we catch up with extended family.
These gatherings can be quite large and overwhelming.
So to see you through any family outings try out the following tips:
1. Explain in advance where you're going and who you're going to be
seeing. Putting photos of the people who are going to be there,
along with a note of their name into a hand held album will help
your child prepare for the event. Look through the album and talk
about the people in the run up to the big day.
2. Pull out your social stories books and go through any that deal
with starting conversations or how to respond to questions.
Practice these at home so that when asked 'how are you?' your child
knows the appropriate response.
3. Arrange in advance with whomever you are going to see for them
to remove any breakable objects - just in case.
4. Don't forget to take along your child's favorite toy and also if
appropriate some quiet activity items like coloring books and pens
or picture books. These can be useful for the car journey too. If
appropriate you may consider taking a preferred DVD/video if there
is somewhere they can watch it for some 'time out'.
5. With regards to food either feed your child before you go or
take along their food with you. It would be best if you mentioned
in advance any dietary requirements to your hosts and to let them
know if your child will be eating or not.
6. A change of clothing is always a good idea in case of accidents.
A coat and walking shoes can come in handy too, as heading out for
a quiet walk can be an effective way to calm anxiety due to crowds
or unfamiliar faces.
7. When you arrive at your destination identify a quiet area that
your child can use if they need to in advance. This will allow you
to act quickly if needed.
8. If your child feels comfortable doing so, have them hand out any
snacks to the other guests. This can be a great way to practise
their socialization skills.
9. If you're going to be in a restaurant or crowded public place
over the holiday a pair of earplugs or headphones with some
soothing music can help to moderate noise.
10. The key to a successful outing is to stick, as much as you can,
with the methods and routines you use at home. So, if you use a
sticker chart take it along and add stickers to it as you would at
Best wishes for a happy holiday season.
end of mailing