Do you want to increase the communication skills of your child with autism? Here are some strategies you can try today!
All of these strategies can be modified to every age & skill level!
1. Can’t get something for nothing- Try to always have the child do something to get a desired item or activity. Whether it’s a point, a vocalization, or a verbal request, the child should always have to do something to get something.
2. Use the Visual Schedule- Most classrooms have a visual schedule, but at home the child may not have a good understanding of what is coming. Have the child interact with the schedule throughout the day to tell what comes next, to make choices, and to decrease anxiety.
3. Anticipatory Games- Initiate any kind of repetitive game (pushing cars to each other, chase, peek-a-boo). Make sure the fun part of the game is correlated with a vocalization that repeats. After a few times, wait for the child to make a vocalization to continue the game & then immediately continue.
4. Play ‘Dumb’: Pretend you don’t know where a child’s lunch is or what item the child needs to complete a task. The sillier, the better! Have the child tell you (verbally or gesturally) where to find the item or what to do.
5. Model Social Interaction- Practice the skill of independently interacting with others. For example, you can play a game where you practice entering a room & having a child say 'hi' first.
6. Encourage rather than Discourage Interaction: The attempts to engage by a child with ASD may look different and may even be a little uncomfortable for other children. Help to facilitate the interaction by making it fun for both. For instance, if the child with autism grabs a toy from another child, use the opportunity to have the child request or to institute turn-taking.
7. Improve Imitation Skills: Imitation skills are the foundation for communication. Reinforce gross-motor, fine-motor, oral-motor, and vocal imitation skills.
8. Give the child the words you want him to use-If a child hears only questions, then the child may tend to wait to be spoken to rather than being spontaneous. Instead, model what the child should say in a statement-statement format.
9. A little at a Time- If a child asks for a cookie and gets the whole cookie, that is only one opportunity for communication. Giving the child small pieces of cookie or single puzzle pieces for each request increases the number of opportunities for communication.
10. Behavior is communication! Figure out what the child is trying to say & help them to say it!
For more information, please contact A Child's Potential, Inc. through the contact page on our website or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.
All children can learn.
All children's potential is unlimited
Token boards, M&Ms, potty videos, and potty parties. While toilet training your child on the autism spectrum, you may have tried them all and yet your child is still not consistent or may even have an aversion to the potty. Here are some tips and tricks to increase your child's chance of success and to decrease some of the anxiety around toilet training. If toilet training has been unsuccessful, or if your child has developed aversions or tantrum behavior around toileting, try taking a step back and introducing some of these strategies.
- Bathroom stuff stays in the bathroom: When your child is wearing diapers or pull-ups, it can be tempting (and easier) to change them wherever you are. However, by changing your child only in the bathroom, it strengthens the understanding that all urination and bowel movements belong in the bathroom. You can also have them flush the waste down and wash their hands, which are also important pieces of the toileting process.
- Routine is important: Even if your child is not having any success yet on the toilet, put sitting on the toilet into the daily routine. Familiarity with sitting on the potty at predictable times throughout the day can decrease anxiety around toileting. If you use a visual schedule, make sure sitting on the potty is in the schedule multiple times during the day.
- Modeling: This may sound silly, but I have seen it work! Have favorite characters request to use the bathroom, and then have them pretend to go (sometimes I use a dollhouse for this). This works very well with kids who have a tendency to be anxious about using the toilet. For example, last week I started modeling Thomas the Train asking to use the toilet and after a week the little boy started modeling that Thomas was using the toilet and then the boy started asking, too.
- Relax: A child who is stressed or anxious may tend to hold back. Focus on making sure your child is relaxed and calm while sitting on the potty. Find some favorite books or Ipad games and keep those just for sitting on the toilet or play some favorite music. Try to minimize stress and expectations by not talking about peeing/pooping the whole time your child is sitting there. They need to relax for anything to happen!
- Comfort: Is your child using the proper toilet? If your child is bigger, he/she may be uncomfortable on a small potty. If your child is sitting on the big toilet, he may be more comfortable spreading his legs so he doesn't feel like he's falling in or she may need a small stool to put her feet on so they are not dangling. All these factors can contribute to a child feeling more relaxed and less anxious about the toileting process.
Toilet training is not a 'one size fits all' process. Every child is different and has his or her own needs and personality. For more information or assistance on making a specific activity easier for you and your child, please contact A Child's Potential, Inc. through the contact page on our website or visit us on Facebook.
- Tone down the "Potty Party": One piece of advice frequently given to families is to show a lot of positive reinforcement when a child has had success in the potty. Unfortunately, having a big potty party for your child when she is using the toilet or immediately after can backfire by creating stress or startling the child around the toileting experience. Try keeping your positive praise low-key, behavior specific, and only after you are sure the child is done. I usually say something like, 'Hey, good for you peeing in the potty,'.
All children can learn.
All children's potential is unlimited.
When school starts, it can take kids on the spectrum a few weeks to adjust to a new schedule. Here are some strategies you can start putting in place now to make the start of school easier for the whole family.
Your child will need to adapt to a lot of changes with the beginning of a new school year, by starting the process ahead of time he or she can get off to a more successful start!
1. Schedules: Going to bed later and waking up later can be perks of Summertime for kids & adults alike, but now is the time to start moving the schedule closer to what will be expected during the school year. Start pushing bedtime a little earlier and get them up and having breakfast as close as possible to the time they will need to for school. A visual routine for the morning can be helpful for all kids whatever their skill levels and can really increase independence in the morning. Put the schedule in place now so it can be practiced before you are trying to get your kid out the door to catch that bus!Here is a link to a website that has some good, basic visual schedules:http://www.livingwellwithautism.com/how_to_use_picture_cards_and_schedules/self_care_visual_helpers
2. Screen Time: For many kids, the start of school can bring earlier bedtimes and homework, which can lead to battles over turning off the screens. Try to start putting a few more limits on screen-time now before the start of school adds more stress to the situation. Using a timer consistently can be helpful for many families as well as putting clear boundaries on when and where a device can be used. For instance, letting the Ipad be used only in the car or having the t.v. on for specific shows only.
3. Get Familiar: Whether your child is going to be in the same classroom or at a completely new school, it can be very helpful to familiarize him or her with the school as much as possible. Get some pictures of the school or go over and play in the playground. If you know any kids from his or her class, have them meet you there for a playdate. If you know who the teacher is, try emailing them for a picture so you can show your child who his teacher will be. With some preparation, you can help your child adapt to the start of school and decrease the stress levels for everyone in the family. Please contact A Child's Potential, Inc. using our contact page if you have any specific questions about this topic.
Do you dread taking your child with ASD to the dentist? Is a trip to get a hair-cut out of the question?
Try using the '3 P's': Pretend, Practice, & Pair to take the sting out of necessary outings. With a little time and preparation, kids of all ages and skill levels can learn to tolerate these and many other difficult activities.
1) Pretend: Start with acting out the challenging situation on a regular basis. Get a toy dentist or doctor kit and take turns with your child pretending to be the doctor/patient or dentist/patient. Recruit siblings, favorite stuffed animals, or family members to join in the fun. Make a visual schedule to use during the play-acting so that you can use it for the actual activity later.
2) Practice: How often does your child go into the dentist's office? Probably when he has an appointment, right? Generally these visits are few enough that the situation feels unfamiliar and possibly has negative connotations from a previous (sometimes traumatic) experience. Talk to the office about visiting a few times leading up to a regular appointment. Have the child interact with the receptionist, meet the doctor or hair-stylist, and sit in the chair or lie down on the table. Familiarity can make the experience more understandable and less scary for a child.
3) Pair: Your child may be associating a trip to the doctor with a painful shot or a hair-cut with loud clippers. During the practice phases, start pairing the visit with something more pleasurable that he only gets to have while the appointment is going on. For instance, bring a favorite book or character and let the child hold it while sitting in the dentist chair and then remove it when you have the child get out of the chair. Or let the child play a preferred Ipad game while you acclimate them to the clippers noise and then remove the game when you turn the clippers off. Your child will start to associate the dentist, doctor, or hair-cut with a much more fun activity.
The 3 P's can be modified to improve your child's experience with any challenging, infrequent activity like getting a picture with Santa, going on an airplane, or whatever!
For more information or assistance on making a specific activity easier for you and your child, please contact A Child's Potential, Inc. through the contact page on our website or visit us on Facebook.
All children can learn.
All children's potential is unlimited.