Manic Mondays Solution #1: Dangle a Carrot!

Parents of children with autism know all too well the difficulties our children experience with transitions. For many of us, the Monday morning transition back to school can be the most anxiety provoking, dysregulating transition all week.

When my children struggled with those “Manic Monday” transitions I would create reinforcers, or as I like to call them “carrots” based on their affinities. The carrots would be highly engaging, and then dangled during the Monday afternoon pick up time.

Some of the “Manic Monday” carrots we have used throughout the years with my own children and with many of the children we support at Friend 2 Friend have been:

  • McD’s Monday (an early dinner on the way home)
  • Monday App Day (choose or buy a new app for your iPad)
  • Miss a little Mondays (early pick up to shorten the day)
  • Mouthwatering Mondays (baking a sweet treat together when you get home)
  • Movie Mondays, as well as DVD Tuesdays, Fun Fridays, and the list goes on

While some may feel these carrots are not “appropriate” ways of encouraging children to go to school, I say that we all give ourselves carrots every now and again. The bigger the transition – the more stressful and the more dysregulating – then the bigger the carrot.

At the Friend 2 Friend Play Centres the transitions into play group is rarely an issue, however, the transition out of play group is a different story!  Who wants to leave when you are busy on a secret agent mission or tending to sick animals at our animal hospital?  Therefore, to lessen the children’s’ stress about the transition out of play group we offer routine, predictability and simple carrots like choosing a sticker (after you get your shoes on of course), as well as a visual schedule and “How to Play…” Social Stories to prepare the children for the next play group session.

For me, coffee it is my carrot! Anyone else feel they need or deserve a coffee once a less preferred task has been completed?

Do you have any unique “Manic Monday” transitions, or carrots (reinforcers) you would like share with us?

Want to learn more about reinforcers a.k.a. carrots? Click on the link below.

Why is Friend 2 Friend Different – Read What a Parent Says

When my son was diagnosed with autism I felt like our life was over. Having worked in the field as a behaviour interventionist many years ago, I could not see how the therapies I was aware of could serve my child. In my eyes, my child was perfect the way he was and I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of shaping his behaviour to look like a ‘typical’ child.  Quite frankly, I didn’t want a typical child, I wanted my child but the thought that others wouldn’t accept him in this world made me feel like I had no option other than to take him out of it.

I was feeling severely depressed and hopeless the day I (reluctantly) landed in an autism demystification workshop at Friend 2 Friend. During the meeting Heather McCracken addressed me directly and said, “there’s nothing wrong with your son, your son is fine, and by the way nobody ever stops developing.” These words were so powerful and unlike anything I’d heard about autism up to this point. It was exactly what I needed to hear and it changed the course my life. After that meeting, I unexpectedly had hope that my son could be accepted in this world.

Friend 2 Friend allows for the unconventional yet wonderful qualities of people on the autism spectrum to shine. My son looks forward to play group like no other activity I have ever put him in, I believe, because he can be himself and play with other kids. My son has always loved to play with other children but can find it frustrating without proper support because he struggles to keep up. The workers at Friend 2 Friend skillfully offer my son just enough support so that he is able to play and have fun with his peers without feeling singled out. His ‘typically developing’ peers are also having fun and learning ways to be inclusive which is a life skill any parent should want for their child. It is the only place where I confidently drop off my child. To date, he is as happy if not more when I come to pick him up.

I am so grateful for the climate of acceptance that exists at Friend 2 Friend. By supporting this organization you are having a significant impact on people’s sense of community and acceptance, a basic human need we should all be entitled to. 

Want to learn more about how Friend 2 Friend is "different" join us on Oct 5th!

Burnaby Pro D Day Seminar “Creating a Culture of Inclusion: Supporting Play and Friendships Between Children with Autism and Their Classmates”

Once again this year Friend 2 Friend will provide a free seminar to the Burnaby School District. Heather McCracken will be speaking Friday September 30 from 9-12 at Byrne Creek Secondary School 777 18th Street, Burnaby BC. "Creating a Culture of Inclusion: Supporting Play and Friendships Between Children with Autism and Their Classmates"

Creativity in Children a Source of Inspiration at Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society

In a research article conducted last year, it was found that young children between the ages of 7 to 12 outperformed adults when producing creative ideas for smartphones. The children had ideas that were more original, relevant, transformational and applicable.

We’re not surprised. At Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society we are incredibly fortunate to continually witness this ourselves in our Integrated Play Groups® program at our Play Centres in Vancouver, BC Canada.

Current thinking would have you believe  that the world we are living in is impairing creative development in children. However, at Friend 2 Friend we see the children acting out games or stories they’ve imagined, singing and dancing to their favourite songs, and dressing up as their favourite superheroes. Often we find ourselves inspired by the creativity we see in the children who participate in programs.

We’re proud to provide them the resources they need for creative expression while playing and making friends..

Do you agree that children have more creativity than adults? Would love to hear your thoughts.



Heather McCracken
Founder/Executive Director
Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society

Friend 2 Friend’s New Blog

Check it out!!!

Thank you to The Edith Lando Charitable Foundation

Friend 2 Friend Social Learnng Society wishes to thank The Edith Lando Charitable Foundation  or their generous support of our Integrated Play Groups programs. 

Thank You to the Greygates Foundation

Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society wishes to thank the Greygates Foundation for their generouse support of our Integrated Play Groups programs

Back to School – Back to Play Group

Back to School – Back to Play Group!
Fall registration closed September 15th! We have a few spaces left in our early childhood and afterschool programs
Free Parent Training September 10th 10-12 at our Play Centre New Westminster BC
Early Childhood and the Autism Spectrum workshops Oct 5th

Register Closes September 15!

We have a few spaces left for both Novice and Expert Players in both our East Vancouver and New Westminster Play Centre. Registration closes September 15, 2016 don't wait register soon!

Fall Program Registration Opens Tomorrow 6AM!

Team Autism Rides in Test of Metal

IMG_1030“It’s that last year for the Test.  This year will be the second annual race for "Team Autism” who are riding with me for the last and final Test of Metal.  Our team will race and raise funds to assist Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society with all the fabulous work they do. My son lives with autism and Friend 2 Friend has been fantastic for my son as he’s grown to be a 12 year old boy. They have been key in helping my son to be accepted as a peer in his class and developing friends he will hopefully have for the rest of his life.  As always funding is key and the need seems to be growing so please join me and my team Darin, Chris, Lisa and Michelle for the Test by donating through the link below!!"  John Taylor BC Paren



Thanks to the following generous donars:
Leann Finlay
Charlene Krepiakevich 
Diane Franceschini
Heather McCracken
Sandra Doyle
Pamela Cheal
Andrea James
John Taylor
Christine Little/
Carol Peters
Teresa Ehman
Kim Branch
Robert Buchanan
Barbara Musselman
Catherine Branch
Mucky Dog Web Projects
Lisa Welbourn
Phil von Massow
Jason Weinman

Carly Savard