Organization Skills for Children with Aspergers

aspergersI recently had a client with a “chronically messy” daughter who we later found out had Aspergers. After doing some research on how Aspergers affects organisation skills, I came across a website called My Aspergers Child which had some great tips I thought I would share with my readers: 

Below are some ways in which children and teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) can organize and prioritize daily activities and tasks. At first, parents may need to have a lot of involvement introducing the techniques and helping their child to get used to using them. Also, the techniques can be used in more than one place (e.g., at home and at school). 

Therefore, it is important that everyone who is using them (e.g., parents, babysitters, teachers, friends, etc.) uses them consistently. Over time, most children and teens with Aspergers will be able to use the strategies independently (although some may always need a certain degree of support). 

Organizations Skills

 1. Be a coach: For the best results, you’ll want to be a low-key coach. You can ask questions that will help your child get on track and stay there. But use these questions only to prompt their thought process about what needs to be done.

 2. Color coding for tasks: Colors can be used to indicate the importance or significance of tasks (e.g., chores, homework, etc.), and therefore help to prioritize tasks and work through them in a logical sequence. For example, a note on the child’s bulletin board written in red could mean “urgent.” A note on the bulletin board written in green could mean “pending.” And a note written in blue is not important or has no timescale attached to it.

 3. Lists: Lists, both written and pictorial, can help children with Aspergers in the same way as color coding. Lists can also be a good way of (a) registering achievements (e.g., by crossing something off when he/she has completed the task) and (b) reassuring the child that he/she is getting things done.

 4. Make a plan: Decide on one thing to focus on first. You can come up with three things and let your youngster choose one (e.g., if homework or a particular chore has been a problem, that’s the natural place to begin).

 5. Praise progress, but don’t go overboard: The self-satisfaction children will feel will be a more powerful motivator.

 6. Sell your youngster on the idea of “staying organized”: Brainstorm about what might be easier or better if your youngster was more organized and focused. Maybe homework would get done faster, there would be more play time, and there would be less nagging about chores. Then there’s the added bonus of your youngster feeling proud and you being proud, too.

 7. Set expectations: Be clear, in a kind way, that you expect your children to work on these skills and that you’ll be there to help along the way.

 8. Social stories and comic strip conversations: Social stories and comic strip conversations can be a really good way of illustrating the consequences of an action and can help children to understand why it’s good to be organized (e.g., what might happen if the child doesn’t get his/her homework done).

 9. Task boxes, envelopes and files: Children can store work or belongings in set places, so that they aren’t misplaced or forgotten.

 10. Teaching materials: You may find that certain teaching materials (e.g., sequence cards, games, timers, clocks, etc.) help some Aspergers kids to understand the concept of time and sequences. Materials like this can be adapted and used in different places (e.g., home and school).

Read the entire article here. 

Image courtesy of:  My Aspergers


The Habits That Make You Happy

You too can jump for joy!

You too can jump for joy!

I just love this post from Zen Habits. It outlines a few things you can do each day that will increase the happiness in your life. And none of them are hard or take up much time.

Try doing these on a daily basis:

List 3 Good Things.  Tell someone or write down 3 good things that happened to you today. Focus on what you’re grateful for. This can create a mental habit of gratitude that you can use other times in your day (like when you’re focused on the things you don’t like or have). When you feel this, think about something you do have, that you love. Find a way to be grateful, and you’re happier.

  1. Help Someone. When we focus on ourselves, and the woeful state of our lives, we are self-centered. This shrinks the world to one little place with one little unhappy person. But what if we can expand that worldview, and expand our heart to include at least one other person? Maybe even a few others? Then we see that others are suffering too, even if that just means they’re stressed out. Then we can reach out, and do something to reduce their stress, put a smile on their face, make their lives easier. Help at least one person each day, and you’ll find your entire perspective shifted.
  2. Meditate.  Meditate for just 2 minutes a day, and you’ll create a habit that will allow you to notice your thoughts throughout the rest of the day, that will help you to be more present (unhappiness comes from not being present), that will help you notice the source of anxiety and distraction. That’s a lot that can be accomplished in 2 minutes! Sit every morning when you wake, and just notice your body, and then your breath. Notice when your mind wanders, and gently return to your breath. You become the watcher of your mind, and you’ll learn some useful things, I promise.
  3. Exercise. Everyone knows you should exercise, so I’m not going to belabor this point. But it really does make you happier, both in the moment of exercise (I’m exerting myself, I’m alive!) and throughout the rest of the day. Exercise lightly, if you’re not in the habit yet, and just for a few minutes a day to start out. Who doesn’t have a few minutes a day? If you don’t, you need to loosen up your schedule a bit.

There are a number of other habits that also help: mindful eating, drinking tea, doing yoga, socializing with others.

How do you form these habits? One at a time, starting as small as possible, with some social accountability. Set these habits in motion. You’ll notice yourself becoming more present, more grateful, more other-focused. The shift that results is nothing short of a miracle.

Read the entire post here from Zen Habits

A sneak preview of 2013…

Today’s guest post is by the fabulous Rosina Bond from Women 2 Success:

Do you feel energised, tired, lost or inspired?

The strong soul energies of this year brought about the inner and outer change that you have desired and for some there has been little rest. Many have gone through fundamental life changes and saw this year as a way to jump into the unknown and soar… did you?

October is a sneak preview of 2013.

We now move into October and this month gives us a window view of the potential and the pitfalls for 2013. For you to maximize this as an opportunity you simply need to be aware and take note of the following.

What comes up, do you feel energized, tired, lost or inspired?

How are your relationships?

What do you feel emotionally?

Is there anyone pushing your buttons and if so which ones?

How are your earnings and work?

How do you feel physically?

At the months end, take some time and overview how you felt and what you needed. This then allows you to include these insights into your goals for 2013 as you will know what is needed to support yourself next year to maximize your true potential.

This month is all about setting the tone, and you now have 13 weeks to clean, clear and complete 2012 and what this year has made you face to conquer.

Now is not the time to sweep things under the carpet but deal with them face them and do the necessary. If you complete this month with these tools in mind then you have a head start to next year and what an opportunity this is. This month gives you an opportunity to change outcomes by making a positive approach and clear decisions. Energy in means energy out; if you do the work you will reap the rewards.

This month will have a strong focus for money in general including business. The more attention to detail the better as there is a strong cause and effect associated to a 6 for those who ignore what is required will mean along drawn out process and not necessarily good. Don’t ignore instead deal with what you need to as the rewards are worth it.

Magnetism is increased and especially in relationship, there is a lovely undercurrent of sexual attraction and this can be a nice romantic time and especially for those who make the effort for a new relationship or an existing one.

Potential or new relationships – Often openings of the heart are easier and men especially find it easier to talk and I encourage you to make the most of this. if someone is not ready for this, then don’t push them rather go with the flow, use your instincts to feel your way through to gaining more.

Spiritual work and endeavors

This month also brings a stronger connection to spirit and is an ideal time for magic and magic practice for relationships of any kind, love, personal, and business and money matters. The way to connect is by taking the time to meditate or small ritual can be followed to gain insight and strength. Talk with like-minded people and share experience as we enter this amazing new consciousness.

If you need more specific ideas for clearings or enhancement remedies, please email me at

Also I have a few spaces left this month for those keen to work on them

‘Defining You’ is a four week series to help you do this, to help you clear the blocks that limit you from knowing and living. This series helps you reconnect to feel more empowered and stronger but most of all satisfied, even through times of challenge.

Go to

Have a great month and remember to always embrace your intuitive self!

Rediscover your emotional self and empower you again

Today’s guest blog post is by Rosina Bond.  Rosina is a 4th generation clairvoyant with a passion for Numerology and Lunar energies. Rosina was taught the spiritual arts and lore’s by her mother Clarice who worked spiritually with many business people and individuals professionally in Auckland New Zealand for many years.

Learn to let go…

I have always considered myself a positive person who approaches life intuitively and thoughtfully. Working in such a way gives me windows of light and an alternate view to my life and those of many women I work with.

Women are amazing, how they manage and approach life, fitting so much into each day. Women expect so much of them and often over deliver to their own detriment.

Lets face it… women are givers, nurturer’s and always there to help everyone and often leave them selves last.

Do you constantly give and push yourself to get everything done; this becomes draining and slowly drains your passion and disempowers you.

When you lose touch with your feelings and emotions you lose touch with who you are but worst of all you can lose your passion for life and your true purpose. Often becoming emotional and reactionary to those closest to you.

When you constantly give out and drain yourself you end up in a routine that starts fast and early each day and ends late at night, often without a simple thought for you, waking, feeling as drained as you finished the night before.

Some women can do this for years until a crisis hits…  he walks out or they get sick.

We have all done this or know someone doing this. Why do we all do this to varying degrees and when those wake up calls come calling, it can often a shocking relief. Why get here, why does it often take a shock or crisis to allow you to stop and think and consider you and your emotional self and what you want.

I meet a lot of women who are at the beginning of a marriage split or a mid life crisis, as we start to talk and digest what has been going on they often acknowledge they didn’t see it coming, then they finally acknowledge how they feel.

The common theme is always personal neglect and I often hear those words… I don’t know what I want anymore and I don’t know how I feel. We start to talk and as I slowly undo the layers of energy they start to feel again and the empowerment heart opens.

Out of a crisis comes clarity, you always slow down and breathe. These are times when you go inward and look for your feelings you have buried and once you have sorted the grief, you always get a clear picture and rediscover you.

You don’t have to get to crisis to be in touch with your emotional self or to find who you are and what you want. You can empower yourself daily and rediscover where you want to be in five years. You don’t need to lose yourself entirely in your family, work or anything else. You can acknowledge your busy but you can always stay in touch with your emotional self, to connect to your fire and empower you as this will increase your passion, energy and drive.

Start now by asking yourself. What do I want? By staying in touch you open yourself spiritually to knowledge; your instincts are there to help you, doors will open and your relationships will become stronger.

When your feeling tired and over whelmed. Stop take a step back and ask yourself how you feel and what do you need now. When a woman works on an emotional intuitive level you have resources available to you that you wont find anywhere else on the planet, as they are unique and individual to you. When I crash I go on a five week self discovery adventure, I eat better and take oil baths, have massage and read as many wonderful stories as I can find about women discerning their strengths.

Talking to other like-minded women also helps gain clarity and clear clutter. When you stay in touch with your emotional self this is also the center of your passionate self and how to connect to the fire with in. Not only will you feel better but you will read those around you better and you wont miss those signals to avoid potential threats.

I encourage you to stay in touch with you each and every day. Some of our most prominent powerful women are emotionally involved with themselves and I encourage you to do the same. Women are now discovering themselves in new ways and taking on the business and political world in mass. What do you want now?

Take a look at this TED on how women in war zones are building world class business and succeeding with passion and pride.

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon: Women entrepreneurs, example not exception

Also another woman to inspire Hanna Rosin: New data on the rise of women

For more information on Rosina go to:

Editor – Woman2Success –

How to sort cleaning & organising duties before you move in together.

Ahh, domestic bliss!

I have many couples that call me after they have just moved in together and are trying to work out their organising styles – or lack thereof!

It can be a stressful time as it is without having the added burden of fighting over who does what, or who is tidier than who. These are topics that need to be sorted (pardon the pun) before your get your new keys, so grab a pen and paper and sit down with your significant other to nut out the details. had a similar question for a newly wedded couple with the following advice:

  • What is your vision of your place together and how you will live in that home? Will your home be a place to entertain your friends and family, and how often? Will your home be a place to relax and rejuvenate after a day of school or work? How do you want things to look and what do you expect out of the space?
  • What will the both of you be responsible for every day? Do you expect dirty clothes to be put into the hamper? Do you want all dirty dishes to be loaded into the dishwasher or will it be okay to have them sit in the sink? How long can a project mess be left out on a table or in a room? How will these responsibilities be met and when?
  • What chores will each person will be responsible for in the home? Will you take out the garbage or will he? Will you change the kitty litter box or will he? Who will cook, clean up afterward, scrub the tub and toilet, vacuum the carpet, dust? How will these responsibilities be met and when? Divvy these chores up now to ensure that one of you won’t be carrying the full load.
  • Plan for handling frustrations in the future. There will be times when one of you will be more messy than normal and this will bother the other person. How will you handle conversations about these frustrations so you don’t hurt each others’ feelings, show respect for each other, and help you find the best solution?
  • Review policies. How often will you review your daily and chore responsibilities? How often will you unclutter your closets, garage and other storage spaces? Will you take on spring cleaning? If you hire someone to clean, how often will you review their services and decide if you should keep them or hire someone new?

To read more go to:

Clearing the clutter after a loved one dies

A keepsake box for their treasures

My husband lost his mother last week.

Losing a parent or a loved one is the most stressful thing that can happen in our lives, but for many it doesn’t end there. Although my mother in law had little possessions as she was in a nursing home, for some having to deal with what is left behind is the hardest job of all.

A letter to from a lady who recently lost her husband caught my eye addressing this very topic:

The most important thing you need to remember during this process is that you are not trying to forget your husband.

Uncluttering your home does not mean you are banishing him or turning your back on his memory. Uncluttering is a way for you to bring the best of him with you into the future.

As you start this process, seek out the treasured items first. Find the handful of his things that you value most and that best honor your memories of him. You will instantly recognize these special items when you see them, and they will remind you of his life and the life you happily shared together. Store these items temporarily in a secure location.

All the remaining stuff in your home that reminds you of him can be given away to charity, given to friends and family, sold, or distributed in whatever way you wish to unclutter them from your space. This could be a one-time process taking just a matter of weeks, or it might be an on-going process taking years. You need to move at a pace that is right for you. Don’t feel pressured to part with things if you’re not ready — you can spend however long in the reconstruction period as you need to.

Once the clutter is gone, find a way to honor the treasured items you decided to keep. Frame and/or display these things so you can enjoy them. Let these wonderful objects continue to bring you happiness. Since you’ll only have kept the most valuable pieces (and I don’t mean financially valuable, I mean the pieces that make your heart sing), they will remind you of the good times you shared.

Finally, if you find this process difficult to go alone, I really believe that hiring a professional organizer can be a good idea.

Read more here:


What does Australia Day mean to you?

You are never too young to celebrate Australia Day!

Today is Australia Day – normally a day most Australians head outdoors to have a BBQ, play a game of cricket (or watch one) and crack open a tinne to celebrate being a true blue, dinky di Aussie. But Beyond the BBQ, beyond the backyard cricket, and beyond the fact that most of us get a day off work, what does Australia Day REALLY mean to us?

(For my international readers, Australia Day is commemorated each year on January 26th, the day The First Fleet (a group of ships from England) landed in Sydney Cove in 1788 to begin forming the Colony of New South Wales).

City Search Sydney (a website that helps people to find out what’s on around town  asked a few locals to put down their tinnies, and tell us what Australia Day means to them. Here’s what they had to say:
“I think sometimes we’re too busy watching the rest of the world for clues on where we should be heading, and what our identity should be. I believe we have a great culture and sensibility, and that we have a lot to offer the rest of the world. The funny thing is, the rest of the world knows that; we’re just a little too slow and reluctant to realise and admit that. We’re far too good at putting ourselves down, so Australia Day is a chance to really grab hold of our culture, and say, ‘Hey we’re not so bad after all’!” (Tim)

“For me, Australian Day signifies that fact that I’m lucky enough to live in a country not at war with the rest of the world, the individual freedom this offers, and the opportunity to spend time with family & friends enjoying the day.”(Karen)

“I’m patriotic everyday so I don’t get all gushy over Australia Day – but I do enjoy the day off to lie in the sun and actually experience what Australia is about – sun, sand and surf!” (Donna)

“Australia Day is about friends, celebrating our beautiful environment, friends, sport and having a laugh. Things we do everyday, but rolled into one big happy celebration! I’ll always remember Australia Day 1996, travelling on a bus through heavy snow from Cork to Dublin with a bunch of fellow Aussies. We all longed to be with our family and friends back home. We talked of blue sky, the smell of lamb chops on a bbq, cricket on the radio, cold beer, Paul Kelly songs, a game of beach cricket, jokes, lamingtons and even flies! The bus was 5 hours late getting to Dublin so when we arrived for our Irish Australia Day celebration – the pubs were shut!” (David)

“To me Australia Day means a chance to remember how the Australia of today came about. It is also a reminder of the cultural tsunami that white man inflicted on the indigenous population and the lack of progress we have made in terms of reconciliation.” (Gabrielle)

“It makes me feel warm and fuzzy about living in a pretty good country that’s come a long way in a short time. And I will be eating Vegemite on toast for brekkie, having a barbie in the arvo and keeping my stereo an Oz only zone!”(Kelly)

“Having recently established my Aussie citizenship, Australia Day means a lot to me: it’s a celebration of a country (and people) who welcome others with open arms, offering the promise of prosperity for both me and my family. It’s about the freedom to speak your mind, and be heard. And it’s all those other things that we take for granted — but aren’t afforded to those less fortunate. (Oh, and before my brother-in-law punches me in the arm: it’s about beer and backyard cricket).” (Richard)


What’s in a name – or “Who are the people in your neighbourhood?”

Get to know your friendly mail man

The Queensland floods have brought complete strangers together through both grief and support – but how well do you know your own neighbours or those you speak to everyday?

Just like the song from Sesame Street says “Who are the people in your neighourhood?”

Another post on Unclutterer called “Uncluttered benefits of learning people’s names” got me thinking of this very topic and how my own life has been enriched by knowing my newsagent, my car mechanic, the folks at my post office, the local bakery and liquor store. Not only is it great for the community spirit – but who knows what support they can give you (and vice versa) during an emergency such as a flood?

Unclutterer: I grew up in a small town where everyone already knew everybody else’s name. When I moved to a major city, I missed knowing my neighbors and the people where I went. So, a decade ago, I started making it a point to know people’s names. I know the names of the checkout clerks, butchers, and the wine and cheese buyers at the grocery store; I know the names of my regular mail man; I know the name of the woman who schedules appointments at my hair salon; I know the names of bus drivers, cab drivers, and the women who work at the dry cleaner’s. And, for the most part, these people know my name, too.

Although learning people’s names takes a little bit of time (you must strike up a conversation), I’ve found that the act has incredible uncluttering benefits overall. Had I not started talking with my butcher, I’d have never known that I can order a quarter of a cow (instead of a whole cow) from a local grass-roaming, organic farm each year and that the butcher will cut up the meat for me exactly how I ask him to, free of additional charge. Buying a quarter of a cow has saved me incredible amounts of money and time (I don’t have to run to the store).

Twice, I’ve called the receptionist at my hair salon and she has found a way to get me on the schedule at the last minute, and I haven’t had to whine or beg or threaten or do anything other than ask nicely. The mail and package delivery folks always wait for me to answer the bell, instead of slapping a sticker on the door and driving away like I know some of them do. I get my package on the first delivery attempt instead of having to go to a central office to pick something up or wait another day. Bus drivers have waited for me as I’ve hurried down the street. Simply stated, my life runs more smoothly because I’ve taken the time to learn someone’s name and taken a sincere interest in what they do. Read more here:

Who can you connect with today that will not only benefit your life, but who may have their lives enriched by you as well?

Decluttering Dilemma – Moving in together!

Starting a new life together - one box at a time!

Moving in together is such a big decision – the last thing you want to do is complicate matters by introducing your new partner to your old clutter.  Before you begin to combine your households, take a read of some helpful hits from Erin at

  • Get rid of your clutter before you move. There must be things in your current place you don’t even like or want to move, so get rid of this stuff immediately. Donate the good stuff to charity or give it away or sell it and recycle or trash the rubbish. Don’t move your clutter into your new place.
  • Unpack your boxes together in your new place. Have a glass of wine, play upbeat music, and have as much fun setting up your new place together as you can. Whose towels do you keep? Talk about it while you’re unpacking the towels. Do some of the towels go better with the colors of the bathroom? Are one set of towels better quality? How many towels will you need and which ones do you both like? Figure out these decisions as you unpack, together.
  • If you need to, call in a professional. Professional Organizers are fantastic to have on site when setting up a new place because they can help you organize and unclutter as you work. If you have interior design questions (What should we hang on the walls?), call in an interior designer for a few hours. Having a third party present is also great for keeping emotions in check. It’s difficult to raise your voice in front of a stranger.
  • For more tips go to:

    How to deal with a disorganised house mate…

    A warning to the wife!

    When I asked my friends and family for their decluttering dilemmas, I had responses varying from paperwork in the home office to tackling Tupperware in the kitchen. One recurring challenge that really struck me however, was the problem of what to do if you are organised and your partner isn’t.

    Take my husband (please!). Being a Professional Organiser, I am extremely organised and declutter everything that is not nailed down around the house. The one area of the house I am not allowed to touch is the “man cave” – the garage and shed. This is his domain and whatever he chooses to keep or toss is his business and I respect that.

    A post from “hits the nail on the head” on this topic:

    Being part of a mismatched couple is quite common. By “mismatched,” I mean couples where one of the people in the relationship is clean and organised and the other person in the relationship is messy and disorganised. This doesn’t necessarily cause a problem until it starts to put a strain on the relationship.

    When considering moving in with someone (romantic or otherwise), a person’s level of tidiness and cleanliness should be part of the equation. Maybe this should also be part of pre-marriage counseling?

    If you’re already in a living arrangement and are disappointed by your partner or flatmate’s level of order, it may be time for a little chat.

    Here are some points to remember:

    • No nagging. Treating someone with disrespect is never a good option. Either the person honors what you say the first time you say it, or they don’t.
    • No bringing up the past. Set a time limit for how long after something happens that it can be discussed (like two weeks). If you don’t bring up the frustration within that time limit, you have to let it go. Also, if you’ve already discussed something, you don’t bring it up again to rehash over and over.
    • Discuss the real problem. If you’re upset that your boyfriend repeatedly leaves his underpants on the bedroom floor your frustration has very little to do with the underpants. You’re upset because you believe he doesn’t care about the cleanliness level in the living space.

    Sometimes, the person who is messier than the other doesn’t care if the house is tidy or clean. When this is the case, and if you’re the one who prefers a more orderly home, prepare to take on full responsibility for cleaning up after the other person. This may sound unfair, but think about the pent up resentment it will save.

    Happily do the work because you’re the one who gets the sense of joy from an organised space. If that pair of underpants in the middle of the bedroom floor annoys you, just pick them up and put them in the laundry basket. The five seconds it will take you to move them are less than the time you will be angry with your partner if you don’t move them.

    Another solution is putting some systems in place to deal with the mess where it happens. For instance, I have introduced a “docking station” in my home; a small table for car keys, sunglasses, wallets, spare change, handbag etc to be dumped as soon as you come in the front door. My husband and I know exactly where our personal items are and it stops the age old questions and arguments over “where did you put the car keys/my glasses, why can’t I ever find any change for the paper?”

    You just need to think about how you live and find solutions that meet your actual needs and those who live in the space with you.

    Another great idea is to designate clean rooms or messy rooms in your home. The lounge room is usually a “public space” that visitors would see, so this means it must be free of clutter. Whereas visitors would rarely come into your office or bedroom so they can be a bit less stringent with a once-a-week cleanup.

    Finally, if you’ve tried all of the previous options and nothing is working for you, try seeking outside help such as a professional organiser or if the problem is more relationship based, maybe a couple’s counselor. It could be in the form of a cleaner twice a month. Let someone else handle the deep cleaning so that the light work is less of a burden and it gives you more time to enjoy together.

    PS – My husband must have gotten a whiff of my blog today, he is currently under the house decluttering and organising his tool collection!

    Read the entire article here.