Best Sports for Kids with Autism

Exercising and sports are not only good for our bodies, but they are also good for our minds as well. Team sports help children to work as a team and gain some social skills as well as confidence. However, these team sports aren’t the best for kids with autism because of the coordination that is required. With that said, there are several sports that are perfect for kids with autism. Here are three examples:

1) Swimming

If your child doesn’t have particularly good ball-handling skills, then swimming could be the perfect sport for them. Learning how to swim could be challenging, but in the end it could be very rewarding for the child. Teaching them simple strokes and playing typical water games would give them a great amount of exercise and also strengthen their body and mind. Participating in a swim team organization could also be valuable because the child could interact with others, but still perform individually. Or maybe another watersport like stand up paddleboarding is a good option.

2) Track and Field

There are many events in track and field that could be perfect for children with autism. The training can be as calm or as intense as you think your child can handle. Like swimming, track and field is a team sport, but kids compete individually. Events like running and jumping could give a child with autism a great amount of confidence while also stimulating their mind. Since there are several events that can be trained on, your child will have a better chance of remaining engaged in activities rather than getting bored at the repetitiveness.

3) Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is a great therapeutic activity for children with autism. Autistic children seem to be able to communicate better with animals than other humans so this is the perfect opportunity to allow them to bond with their horse. Aside from the fact that horseback riding can be a little expensive, making multiple trips to take your child could be beneficial to them. Since human interaction is not their strength, allowing them to bond with a horse could enhance their social skills and would be very rewarding and relaxing for your child.

Having your autistic child being involved with one of these three sports could be very important in their development. Not only will it give them something to work toward achieving, but it could also increase their social skills. Of course, if you find out that your child doesn’t like any of these sports, then don’t force them to continue on. As many people say, the best sport for your child is the one that they love the most. You may discover that your autistic child is not a fan of any type of outdoor sports but thrives in a home gym or workout room on something like an indoor rowing machine or treadmill.

Experiment with your child to see what they respond the best to and encourage them to set goals and try to reach them. Set a specific training program so they have something to fall back on and know exactly what they have to do to achieve their goals. This could end up being one of the most rewarding experiences that you and your autistic child have together.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Info

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, or FASD, is the condition that describes what happens to a child whose mother who drank alcohol during the pregnancy. The effects of this can be long term and plenty of things can show up as an effect of it. It includes things like physical, behavioral, mental and/or learning disabilities that show up in the child. Sometimes these things are temporary and other times they are life long effects.

Some of the common effects that you will see include:

  • abnormal facial features
  • slowness of growth
  • central nervous system problems

How this happens is that pregnant women drink alcohol when they should not be, since they are pregnant. By doing this, they pass the alcohol along to their unborn babies through the blood stream. The end result of this behavior is physical and mental disabilities that are collectively known as FASD.

The numbers are not available when it comes to the prevalence of FASD in the United States. However, it is known that FASD seems to occur more often in certain tribes of Native Americans and Alaska natives. The important take away here is that any time a pregnant women drinks alcohol, she is increasing the risk of FASD with the child that she is carrying.

Doctors can diagnose FASD with the following criteria:

  1. Growth deficiency in height and/or weight either prenatally or postnatally.
  2. Specific pattern of facial anomalies: short eye slits, smooth or indistinct philtrum (the ridges running vertically between the nose and lips) and a thin upper lip.
  3. Some brain damage to the central nervous system demonstrated through microcephaly (small size of the brain), tremors, hyperactivity, fine or gross motor problems, attention deficits, learning disabilities, intellectual impairments and possible intellectual disability.
  4. Evidence of alcohol use by the birth mother during pregnancy (however, some diagnoses are made without this criteria).

If this diagnosis is given, know that there is no cure and that it does usually get worse with age. That being said, early identification is better for the child so that they can get help to live up to their potential.

NEWS FROM THE STATE CAPITOL

On February 1, OPM Secretary Benjamin Barnes sent a memo to the Commissioners of DDS, DMHAS, DCF, DOC, DPH & DSS directing them to make important reforms within their Purchase of Service contracting systems and that action was in response to the hard work initiated and advocated for by Nonprofit Liaison Deb Heinrich, the work of the Commission on Enhancing Agency Outcomes, the Commission on Nonprofit Health and Human Services and the Governor’s Transition Team Human Services workgroup.

The changes are listed below for your review. One of the most important points within Secretary Barnes’ memo is Governor Malloy’s commitment to partner with private providers. He also addresses his priority to ensure that human services are contracted for in a manner that is cost-effective and efficient for both the private providers as well as the State.

Each agency is to submit an action plan to OPM by March 31, outlining how they will implement the following directives:

• Timely Execution of Contracts:  Agencies need to take the necessary steps to ensure that 95% or more of contracts are executed no fewer than 15 days prior to the commencement of services. Secretary Barnes notes that “the late execution of contracts imposes costs on nonprofit providers and is not an acceptable business practice for either the State or its providers.”

• Multi-Year and Consolidated Contracts:  By having contracts of an appropriate term and by consolidating the number of contracts an agency has with the same provider, the State can reduce the overall administrative burden imposed on both State agencies and nonprofits.

The memo also calls for the creation of a Multi-Agency Group to Streamline and Standardize Contracting Systems. This group will be led by Deb Heinrich and Bob Dakers, Executive Finance Officer at OPM (and co-chair of the Commission on Nonprofit Health & Human Services). The group has 60 days to report back and will work on the following issues:

• timely payments and electronic payments/fund transfers

• budget flexibility

• reporting requirements and systems

The Governor also requests that a liaison or work group be established and designated in each agency to address these issues and to be able speak on behalf of the agency.

OTHER BILLS WE’RE MONITORING

Three new bills came out February 2 regarding DDS and the people we advocate for and support. Please note that H.B. 6279 is right in line with Rosa’s Law, which was signed into law by President Obama last year. We will be monitoring the progress of all of these bills and will be sure to alert you when they are up for Public Hearings.

S.B. 885, “AN ACT PERMITTING INQUIRY ACCESS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES’ ABUSE AND NEGLECT REGISTRY FOR CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS WHICH RECRUIT VOLUNTEERS TO WORK WITH PERSONS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES.”

To ensure that individuals with substantiated abuse or neglect allegations against persons receiving services from the Department of Developmental Services are not permitted to serve as volunteers for charitable organizations such as the Special Olympics.

H.B. 6278, “AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES DIVISION OF AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER SERVICES.”

To make technical changes to statutes that include autism related terminology and repeal a statute concerning the autism spectrum disorder pilot program which terminated on June 30, 2009.

H.B. 6279, “AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO STATUTES RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES INCLUDING THE UTILIZATION OF RESPECTFUL LANGUAGE WHEN REFERRING TO PERSONS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY.”

To: (1) Utilize person first, respectful language in statutes relating to the Department of Developmental Services that refer to persons with intellectual disability, (2) eliminate obsolete statutes and reporting requirements, and (3) have the statutes accurately reflect the department’s responsibilities for licensing community companion homes and community living arrangements.

What You Should Know – Feb 8th Edition

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE HEARINGS on Tuesday the 8th and Wednesday the 9th

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2011 HEARING • INSURANCE AND REAL ESTATE COMMITTEE

The Insurance and Real Estate Committee will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 1:00 P.M. in Room 2D of the LOB. Please submit 35 copies of written testimony to Committee staff two hours prior to the start of the hearing in Room 2800 of the LOB. Sign-up for the hearing will begin at 11:00 A.M. in Room 2800 of the LOB. The first hour of the hearing is reserved for Legislators, State Agency Heads and Municipalities. Speakers will be limited to three minutes of testimony. Unofficial sign-up sheets have no standing with the Committee.

SUBJECT MATTER: Miscellaneous Bills:

*Proposed S.B. No. 308 AN ACT CONCERNING COMMUNITY-BASED HEALTH SERVICES.

To require the Insurance Commissioner to explore an incentive-based system to expand private insurance coverage of community-based health services, including, but not limited to, outpatient and home-based health care, earlier screening and diagnosis, preventive care and treatment for developmentally disabled children.


WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2011 HEARING • PUBLIC HEALTH COMMITTEE

The Public Health Committee will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 11:00 A.M. in Room 1D of the LOB.  The Committee is accepting electronic testimony via email at phc.testimony@cga.ct.gov. Please submit electronic testimony no later than 3:30 PM on February 8, 2011. If you require assistance with electronic testimony submission, or if you wish to submit paper copies of testimony, please call (860) 240-0560.  Please submit separate testimony for each bill. Testimony submitted after the deadline will be made available after the hearing. Sign-up for the hearing will begin at 10:00 A.M. in the First Floor Atrium of the LOB. The first hour of the hearing is reserved for Legislators, Constitutional Officers, State Agency Heads and Chief Elected Municipal Officials. Speakers will be limited to three minutes of testimony. Bills will be heard in the order listed in the Bulletin. Unofficial sign-up sheets have no standing with the Committee.

SUBJECT MATTER: Bills related to the Department of Developmental Services, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, smoking, and other public health related bills.

2.*H.B. No. 6278 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES DIVISION OF AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER SERVICES.

To make technical changes to statutes that include autism related terminology and repeal a statute concerning the autism spectrum disorder pilot program which terminated on June 30, 2009.

7. *H.B. No. 6279 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO STATUTES RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES INCLUDING THE UTILIZATION OF RESPECTFUL LANGUAGE WHEN REFERRING TO PERSONS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY. 

To: (1) Utilize person first, respectful language in statutes relating to the Department of Developmental Services that refer to persons with intellectual disability, (2) eliminate obsolete statutes and reporting requirements, and (3) have the statutes accurately reflect the department’s responsibilities for licensing community companion homes and community living arrangements.

10.*S.B. No. 885 (RAISED) AN ACT PERMITTING INQUIRY ACCESS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES’ ABUSE AND NEGLECT REGISTRY FOR CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS WHICH RECRUIT VOLUNTEERS TO WORK WITH PERSONS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES. 

To ensure that individuals with substantiated abuse or neglect allegations against persons receiving services from the Department of Developmental Services are not permitted to serve as volunteers for charitable organizations such as the Special Olympics.

PLEASE NOTE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR TESTIFYING BEFORE EACH COMMITTEE

They are all different and specific. In particular, please note the requirements for the Wednesday, February 9th Hearing. The Bills are numbered in the order in which they will be heard by the Committee. There are 12 Bills on the Agenda for that day; the ones important to DDS are 2, 7, and 10.

BUDGET TALK FROM GOVERNOR MALLOY

February 2 — With his first budget scheduled to be announced Wednesday, February 16, 2011, Governor Malloy has begun releasing information as to how he plans to balance the state budget. He started last week when he met with his agency commissioners to discuss his plans to balance the unprecedented deficit of $3.5 billion dollars.

First, he outlined his plans for nearly $2 billion in spending cuts. Second, he outlined his goal for the $1.5 billion dollar remainder that would be gained in revenues.

Governor Malloy has ruled out any further borrowing or the use of early retirements incentives for state employees. He has also vowed that he will fully fund state pensions.

House & Senate Republicans released a joint plan for addressing the state’s budget deficit. It is attached for your interest and review. The plan calls for, among other things:

• implementing the Constitutional spending cap

• freezing state employee salaries for 2 years

• repealing unallocated bond authorizations after 5 years

• requiring state-funded programs to sunset after 2 years unless a review shows that they have met their stated purposes (does not include federally funded programs such as Medicaid)

• close Riverview Hospital

• consolidate state agencies, including the creation of a Department of Human Services

• increase reliance on private providers for human services

It is anticipated that The Appropriations Committee will hold budget hearings during the weeks of February 21st and 28th. We will keep you posted as information becomes available.