Fall 2016 Newsletter
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Halloween Sensory

Children in snow

For most families, Halloween is a fun and exciting experience. However, for children on the spectrum, the excitement, sensory stimulation, and “scary” atmosphere can feel overwhelming. We’re here to tell you that anyone can enjoy the festivities--as long as proper preparation is taken into consideration.

Follow these tips to make trick or treating a little less spooky:

  • While you still have a few days until Halloween, begin talking about all the lights, masks, crowds, and costumes. You want your child to know what to expect, but be careful not to focus on small details they may obsess over.
  • Practice trick-or-treating scenarios before the big day arrives. Watch online videos on how trick-or-treating works with your child, and review what to say at the door. Typically, after knocking on a door and getting an answer, the next step is entering the home, so the concept of taking treats and leaving may be confusing. Make sure your child understands Halloween is different.
  • Take a walk through the neighborhood to show your child the route in advance. Explain the differences between how the neighborhood currently appears and how crowded it may get on the 30th.
  • If your child is hesitant, make a list of things your child was fearful of but ended up really enjoying. Show that although trick-or-treating isn’t part of their usual routine, it can be a positive, fun experience!
  • Bring anything else you know can help with your child’s specific sensory needs, such as their favorite toy to fidget with or hold when overstimulated. With some creativity, you may even be able to incorporate this object into their costume!
  • If your child is sensitive to loud sounds, consider bringing earplugs to help protect against any loud surprises from trickster homeowners.
  • Also keep sensory needs in mind when choosing a costume. Children may struggle more with the stimulation of trick-or-treating if they are wearing fabrics, masks, or face paints that make them uncomfortable.
  • Plan to travel with another adult while trick-or-treating to help with unpredictable situations.
  • Remember to take a deep breath and enjoy the candy!

With a little preparation, Halloween can be a blast! Don’t forget to share some of your favorite costumes with us on Facebook or Twitter!


Flu Season

child with tissue

Most common childhood respiratory illnesses like the flu, colds, coughs, and sore throats are caused by viruses and do not need antibiotics. Your goal as a parent, caregiver, or teacher is to help prevent the flu from spreading! Here are some important guidelines:

  • Immunize children and adults before and during flu season.
  • Recognize illness when symptoms such as fevers, runny noses, sore throats, and coughs appear.
  • Care for and separate ill children from others when needed.

If your child has the flu, don’t panic! Remember that more than one-third of children younger than 6 years may be infected with an influenza virus each year. If you suspect a child has the flu, have your child do the following things:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Follow proper hand hygiene
  • Stay home until better

With proper precautions in place, we can make it through flu season together!


Preparing Your Child for School

The Sunny Days Sunshine Center Announces New Leadership

After 4 years as Program Director at the Sunny Days Sunshine Center, Dr. Judy Sloop has decided to relocate and pursue new endeavors. We wish Dr. Sloop all the best, and she will be greatly missed. In her place, Dr. Lindsay Hilsen has been promoted to the position of Program Director, effective today. We’re excited for this change and the expertise Dr. Hilsen will bring to her new role, and we wish her much success.

ABCD Luncheon

At their recent anniversary celebration luncheon, ABCD invited its member partners to share in the celebration of individuals who demonstrate the vision and values of ABCD and the EIPA, Early Intervention Provider Association. Selected individuals were recognized for their exceptional commitment to the disability community, exemplifying person-centered thinking in their everyday interactions with children and families with disabilities, supporting varied choices based on unique individual needs, and promoting full community inclusion.

Mr. Scott Leshin, President and Founder of SJ Personal Healthcare Advocates, received an Honorable Mention on behalf of the Alex Gallione Family for his tireless efforts in advocating for the special needs and medically fragile community.

Dr. Lindsay Hilsen, Clinical Educator at Sunny Days, Inc., was awarded the Early Intervention Professional Practitioner Award. Dr. Hilsen is responsible for trainings related to autism and applied behavior analysis. She also supports practitioners by conducting observations and consultations. She currently holds a doctorate and two master’s degrees in education, two teaching certifications, an NJ supervisor's certification, and is a board-certified behavior analyst. Dr. Hilsen is an internationally published author of two curriculums designed for children on the autism spectrum.

ASHA Convention

Sunny Days is a proud sponsor of the ASHA Convention, which will be held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado, November 12–14, 2015. This year, we sponsored over 14,000 convention bags. Come out and show your support!

The ASHA Convention is the premier annual event for speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Bringing together more than 12,000 attendees, the Annual Convention provides you with a once–a–year opportunity to learn about the latest research, polish your clinical skills, improve your techniques, and gain new tools and resources to advance your professional development.

Sesame Street Introduces Character with Autism

As part of a program related to autism awareness, Sesame Street has recently introduced their first muppet with autism. Julia features in the program Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children, which includes a storybook and videos intended to educate both parents and children. The significance of Julia’s role in Sesame Street has already created a buzz and started a conversation.

Dr Lindsay HilsenDr Judy Sloop

Dr. Lindsay Hilsen & Dr. Judy Sloop


Award Ceremony





Asha Sponsor


Sesame Street Autistic Character




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