On the Horizon – 08/22/12

Welcome to "On the Horizon"

Issue 195: Let’s Pretend!

On the Horizon is an award winning weekly ezine for parents of children with developmental disabilities who want simple, effective strategies to reduce stress, support their child’s development, and improve quality of life for the whole family.

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  • A Note from Nicole: Great Summer of Growth & Relationship Building
  • Feature Article:
    Let’s Pretend!
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events
  • Recommended Resources

Hi Everyone!

It’s hard to believe that another year of summer programs is coming to an end! It has been a wonderful summer of growth and relationship building. We’ve got new pictures up on the website to show off some of what the kids have been up to this summer. On the home front my kids are gearing up for another school year. My oldest has already started in his online school. That is a new adventure for us this year, but it already seems to be a great fit for him and his learning style. The rest will continue at their elementary, with my youngest starting her first grade year. She has informed me that she is no longer a “little kid” now that she is a first grader!

This week’s feature article by Erin is all about pretend play and child development. Being able to create things in imagination is a critical developmental milestone as it forms the foundation for many aspects of complex thinking and problem solving. Even some of the older clients I work with can benefit from practice with creating ideas in their minds – a more “grown up” version of pretend play. See what ideas you can come up with after reading the article.

With the new school year upon us, now is a great time to use our Autism Transformation for Educators program for staff training. Check it out on the right in our Featured Resource box!

Make it a great week!

Looking to the horizon,

Let’s Pretend!

By Erin Roon, MA CCC-SLP

Watching pretend play begin to develop can be so much fun! Typically, when a child first begins to pretend it is by watching a parent or another child, and then imitating what they have done. This may be something as simple as taking a block and scooting it across the floor while making “vroom” sounds. There is something magical about pretend play and it offers great insight into a child’s awareness is of his/her surroundings.

Over the last few months, I have been watching a few of our clients and my daughter begin pretending. Each of them has started out with imitation of something that an adult is doing, and has progressed to more spontaneous pretending within a familiar context. One of my clients started out by just imitating the sounds I made for the animals in the barn, and has now progressed to the point where he takes the animals and moves them around the barn and makes the noises without my model.  Another child has started to pretend using puppets and will act out elaborate stories based on actual shared experiences with his mom. This is a favorite activity for him and his mom.  My own daughter will often pretend that she is going to the store, pushing her shopping cart to the kitchen and putting food in her cart. 

Click here to read the rest of this article…


My child is a picky eater. He eats only a handful of things, mainly carbs. This seems to be his only issue. He does well in school and has friends. My question is whether you treat only kids with autism or if you also treat kids who just have a feeding problem?

Kathy in Michigan


Dear Kathy,

That is great question. Yes, I see a variety of children with feeding disorders. Some of those children are on the autism spectrum, some have other types of neurodevelopmental disorders, and some have no other difficulties outside of feeding. I have seen progress in all of the children that I have treated. The amount and type of progress is dependent on the individual child/family and not on the diagnosis a child has. I look forward to talking with you more about your child and would be happy to work with you to help him expand his food range.

Take care,

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Upcoming Events

Hear Nicole Speak

Upcoming dates and locations where Nicole Beurkens, PhD will be speaking:

Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Practical Strategies to Improve Processing

September 26, 2012 in Missoula, Montana

September 27, 2012 in Butte, Montana

September 28, 2012 in Billings, Montana

October 18, 2012 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

October 19, 2012 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey


Autism Transformation for Educators Audio Program

From Frustrated and Overwhelmed to Overwhelming Success: 10 Concepts That Will Transform the Way You Understand and Teach Students with Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders

More Information >>