Being a new parent can be hard to navigate. Everyone wants what’s best for their child and wants to make sure their needs are met. Cecilia Armenta, a mother of a 5 year old girl who was diagnosed with Autism last year, discusses what parents of children with Autism can do to make sure their children thrive. Early intervention is the key. Individuals with Autism need to make sure they have accommodations as soon as possible. Armenta’s daughter, Sophia, also featured on the show, has used sensory boxes which Armenta recommends not only for children with Autism, but also for any child with a disability. “It really helps stimulate all the five senses, it will help with fine motor growth and it will help with learning and growing their brains.” Armenta said.  Armenta has seen a massive improvement in her daughter’s communication with other adults and has been able to find the right structure for Sophia. 

Armenta brought her daughter’s rice grain box that includes uncooked grains of rice, sprinkles, and numerous tools and toys which implements use of fine motor skill, something that Armenta says Sophia was delayed in. Armenta also suggests parents should use shelf stable foods in their child’s personalized box, especially foods that they would like to have their child eat. Touching the food may lead to them feeling more comfortable with putting the food in their mouth and is a beneficial way for them to introduce new foods that they may be otherwise scared to eat in their diet. Kinetic sand with a straw is another way children can improve their strength in motor skills as the sand is firmer thus having to have the child use new muscles. The boxes can be a great bonding experience between a parents and child and are very economically feasible, with most items being sold at dollar and big box stores., 

Armenta is also the owner of YUMZ Bakery and Cafe, a fully vegan Latin inspired bakery, located 3490 S State St. in South Salt Lake. YUMZ is Utah’s only Puerto Rican and Mexican Fusion vegan bakery and is also Latina owned and features numerous Latin American inspired desserts and dishes. YUMZ’s hours are Noon-8 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays and closed Mondays.