Month: July 2017

First – Then Boards

First – Then Boards are very helpful when helping children to learn to complete specific tasks. For example First “Wash Hands” Then “Eat Lunch”.

First – Then Boards facilitate positive behavior support for children. Children know what is expected of them and this can reduce frustration and anxiety.

First – Then Boards display two activities, the first is usually a non-preferred activity and the second is preferred activity. The child must complete the first activity before doing the second.

The Picture Cards are fixed to the First – Then Board by Velcro and can be switched to different cards as required.

First Then

What are Picture Cards?


Making your own Picture Cards

Making your own Picture Cards is very simple.

Resources Required:

Access to the Internet, Printer, Card, Laminator, Velcro


  1. There are many free images available on the internet, search for “free pecs images”.
  2. Choose an image as clear and simple as possible.
  3. You can also take a photo for the card, if using a photo keep it as simple as possible with the background blank and only one object in the photo. Some children have difficulties generalizing so try not to include details such as the name of a book or labels on food or drinks etc.
  4. Using Word insert a text box, type the name of the item/activity in the text box, I prefer to place it at the top and middle of the text box and I use Calibri size 14 font. Including the text word with the image ensures that all using the card are using the same vocabulary.
  5. Insert your image, this can be in color or black and white but try to be consistent across the images.
  6. Resize your text box, I have found that sizing the picture to 2 inches by 2 inches works very well.
  7. You can fit up to 9 images onto your page.
  8. Save the images so you can reprint at a later date if required.
  9. It is a good idea to make a few duplicates of each image in case one gets lost. And if using the image in different places make sure you use the same image each time.
  10. Print onto the card.
  11. Laminate and cut out individual pictures.
  12. Place a small piece of Velcro on the back of each picture.
  13. Store pictures safely.


Wash Hands Pic

Velcro Tips

  • Place the rough or “hook” side of the Velcro onto the Board because it gets most use and is easier to clean with a dry toothbrush.


What are Picture Cards?

Social Stories

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often find it difficult to interpret and understand social cues, social rules and social context.

Social Stories can help children who have difficulties developing social skills to learn how to respond appropriately in social situations.

Social Stories are brief descriptive stories that provide information about a social situation. This information will help children to understand the expectations of a situation.

Social Stories are a tool that can be used by parents and early childhood teachers to help prepare a child for a new situation, to address challenging behaviour or to teach a new skill.

Please see this website for more information about Social Stories:

Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning

For more information about Autism Spectrum Disorder please click on this link:

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?


Potential strengths of children with ASD

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder may have these strengths:

  • Good recall of information over a long period of time
  • Specialist knowledge in topics of interest
  • Exceptional memory for facts and figures
  • Very high level of motivation in topics and activities that are of interest
  • Ability to carry out tasks with a high degree of accuracy
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Good at understanding and following instructions and rules
  • Exceptional skills in creative arts, such as Art and Music
  • Ability to see the world from a different perspective and so bring a different insight
  • Ability to bring an innovative and original approach to problem solving
  • Tendency to be honest and non-judgmental
  • Tendency to have a strong sense of loyalty in all social relationships
  • Unique sense of humor
  • Passionate about hobbies and interests
  • Enthusiasm for favorite interests with a drive to share this enjoyment with others
  • Problem solving skills, very logical, visual and structured thinkers
  • High-level of concentration skills, ability to persist and focus on detailed activity
  • Excellent Mathematical and IT skills
  • Strong rote memory abilities
  • Good at visual learning and thinking

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

What is the DSM-5?

What is the DSM-5?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) is the fifth edition of the manual and defines and classifies mental disorders in order to improve diagnoses, treatment and research. DSM-5 is the product of more than 10 years of work by international experts in all aspects of mental health.

For more information see please visit the DSM-5 page on the American Psychiatric Association website.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Potential strengths of children with ASD




What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism Spectrum Disorder is the term used to describe a collection of developmental disorders primarily affecting a child’s ability to communicate and form social relationships. It is a complex neuro-developmental condition. The characteristics and symptoms of ASD fall on a continuum and can range from mild to severe and present in a wide variety of combinations. ASD is three to four times more likely in boys than girls.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is the revised diagnostic term under DSM-V and encompasses the four separate disorders of DSM-IV; Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and the catch-all diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

Under the revised DSM-5 criteria, individuals with ASD must show symptoms from early childhood, even if those symptoms are not recognized until later. This criteria change encourages earlier diagnosis of ASD but also allows people whose symptoms may not be fully recognized until social demands exceed their capacity to receive the diagnosis. It is an important change from DSM-IV criteria, which was geared toward identifying school-aged children with autism-related disorders, but not as useful in diagnosing younger children.

What is the DSM-5?

Potential strengths of children with ASD


Mary Ainsworth (1913-1999)

Mary Ainsworth was born in on 1 December 1913 in Ohio, United States. She was a Developmental Psychologist and was best known for her research on Attachment Theory and in particular her “Strange Situation” study which she carried out in 1978 with children aged 12 – 18 months, 100 families took part in her study.

In the Strange Situation study the young child and mother play together in a room, the child is free to play with the toys in the room and explore. A stranger then enters the room and tries to interact with the child. Sometime later the mother leaves the room and returns after a short period of time, approximately 3 minutes. The child’s reactions are observed and recorded. Ainsworth categorised the child in one of three ways, securely attached, insecure avoidant or insecure resistant. A fourth category of Insecure disorganised was added later.

Securely attached: prefers their mother to the stranger, seeks physical proximity to their mother, uses their mother as a secure base to explore the room and toys, is upset when their mother leaves the room and when she returns they are positive and happy, avoids the strange when alone and friendly when the mother is present.

Insecurely attached (three types):

Avoidant: little interaction with their mother, not distressed when she leaves the room and doesn’t seek comfort from her when she returns. Plays normally when the stranger is present.

Resistant or Ambivalent: Clings to their mother and does not explore the room very much. Very distressed when the mother leaves the room and resists contact on her return and possibly pushes her away. Avoids the stranger and may seem fearful of the stranger.

Disorganised: Child shows strong avoidance of their mother and/or extreme fearfulness. They are confused and fearful when left alone with the stranger.

Click here to watch a Youtube video about the Strange Situation.