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Each April, we celebrate Autism Appreciation Month here at ESH. Celebrated since 1970, this month is a time to recognize the achievements of all those in our communities with autism, to value the growing movement of authentic representation, and to appreciate the individuals and families with autism who contribute to our society. You can take a look at how we’ve been celebrating this month on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter platforms!

Additionally, April is Stress Awareness Month and a great time to take a deep breath, practice self-care, and reflect on the things that bring positivity to our days. Inside this month’s newsletter, you’ll find great tips to reduce stress for the whole family.

Take a look at what’s new at Easterseals Hawaii this month. As you think ahead, please take our survey to help us ensure we continue to deliver great, relevant content to you in future months!

Please reach out to us at [email protected] with questions.

Early Intervention (EI)

We recently sent out a communication to families regarding the updated guidelines for in-person visits from the Department of Health — Early Intervention Section, which went into effect on March 26, 2022. Here, we point out some highlights:

  • Face masks are optional for participants, however staff will continue to wear masks during sessions
  • Reschedule sessions if/when someone in the family or the provider is sick or appears sick
  • Practice hand-washing (family and participant) during the visit
  • Social distancing will be practiced, and family members included in sessions must be limited
  • Sessions are to take place in well-ventilated areas

Please refer to the full communication sent by email on March 31, 2022, for more information, or review the guidelines here. We value the health and safety of our participants, their families, and our staff providing care.

Home and Community-Based Services

The Kahului group on Maui has enjoyed regular activities since 2019, which they’ve recently been able to resume after a temporary halt due to COVID-19. Back in action, the group is volunteering in a community club at the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens! It’s been a great opportunity for our participants to get to know others in their neighborhoods, learn about gardening, and make a difference in the botanical gardens by pulling weeds, planting native plants and harvesting food. Here’s what some of our participants think about the program:

Howard likes to clear flowerpots and rake leaves.

Keala likes to clean the flower beds.

Gwen says it's fun and she likes to plant all kinds of plants.

Autism Services

We’ve put together some handy tips and resources in honor of Stress Awareness Month! For our ESH families, parenting a child with ASD can sometimes be a source of additional stress on the parent and family system. Here are some behavioral tools to support parent well-being that are proven to help parents stay present and reduce stress levels in a practice known as Mindful Parenting (Fuller & Fitter, 2020).

  • Mindful parenting refers to a parent's ability to practice mindfulness in daily life and apply the benefits of mindfulness when engaging with their child.

‘Mindfulness,’ refers to a wide array of meditation practices based on concentration, behavior, cognitive and empathetic strategies (N. N. Singh, Lancioni, Wahler, Winton, & Singh, 2008). Here is a specific mindful parenting practice to try that can reduce your stress and the stress of your child today!

  • Mindful S.T.O.P. Use this visual and acronym to slow down and check in with yourself throughout the day. You can click on the image below and download a printable version. Read each letter below slowly, pausing to review the questions and bringing attention to the present moment.
    • S – Stop your body (make sure to physically stop your body by either standing still, sitting comfortably, or lying down)
    • T – Take a breath (inhale for 5 seconds, then exhale slowly for 5 seconds)
    • O – Observe (acknowledge what you are feeling while you breathe in and out for 5 seconds each, and continue to observe and breathe slowly for 1-2 minutes or at least 3 full cycles of breath until you feel your body relax)
    • P – Proceed (make the most of the rest of your day knowing that you are aware of your current feelings and abilities)

Make sure to post this visual reminder in areas of the house where you find yourself needing to STOP the most!

Image of a cartoon depicting a physician helping a child get a vaccine

Mindful Parenting practices reduce parent stress and decrease unwanted behaviors by:

  • Increasing parent attention to the present
  • Increasing engagement with the child
  • Decreasing judgement of the situation

Share Your Feedback

We want to hear your thoughts on our Family Newsletters! Please take a moment to take our short survey to share your experiences with our monthly updates and tips.

ESH Office Closures

All Easterseals Hawaii services will be closed on the following days:

  • Friday, May 30 — Memorial Day
  • Friday, June 10 — King Kamehameha Day

For general questions, please reach out to us at [email protected]

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