Monday, July 15, 2024

How To Explain Autism To A 4 Year Old

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Lack Of Eye Contact And Joint Attention

Autism-explain to children 5-10 year olds

Joint attention refers to two people sharing a focus on the same object after one alerts the other to the item using verbal or nonverbal cues. For example, a parent or caregiver will point to a toy or tell the child about it, and the child will then look at the toy. Joint attention is an important way of connecting and interacting with other people.

According to a 2016 article in PLOS ONE, from about 9 months old, a baby should be able to make regular eye contact and share focus with their caregivers.

Autistic babies can find it challenging to pick up on these social cues and may ignore the person or the object that they are pointing out.

Helping Your Child With Autism Thrive Tip : Provide Structure And Safety

Learning all you can about autism and getting involved in treatment will go a long way toward helping your child. Additionally, the following tips will make daily home life easier for both you and your child with ASD:

Be consistent. Children with ASD have a hard time applying what theyve learned in one setting to others, including the home. For example, your child may use sign language at school to communicate, but never think to do so at home. Creating consistency in your childs environment is the best way to reinforce learning. Find out what your childs therapists are doing and continue their techniques at home. Explore the possibility of having therapy take place in more than one place in order to encourage your child to transfer what he or she has learned from one environment to another. Its also important to be consistent in the way you interact with your child and deal with challenging behaviors.

Stick to a schedule. Children with ASD tend to do best when they have a highly-structured schedule or routine. Again, this goes back to the consistency they both need and crave. Set up a schedule for your child, with regular times for meals, therapy, school, and bedtime. Try to keep disruptions to this routine to a minimum. If there is an unavoidable schedule change, prepare your child for it in advance.

How Do You Explain Autism To A Four Year Old

Yesterday B and I were chatting about life in general and he began to talk about J being autistic . We have always tried to be open with B and explain to him why things can be different for his brother, why sometimes he doesnt want to play and why he cant quite talk yet. It occurred to me today that part of this explanation is that J is autistic, but up until now I hadnt really thought about going into much more detail than that. That is until B said Mummy J doesnt really talk yet, but thats ok its like back when I was ontistic and I couldnt talk yet. Thats when I realised that he knows the word but doesnt really understand what it means. I asked him what he meant by saying when he was autistic and he said it was when he was like J and didnt know how to talk and couldnt always understand what people were telling him to do.

I was a bit stuck for what to say to him. I explained that B is not autistic, that it doesnt just mean when someone cant talk or understand, that autism can mean not being able to play with people, as well as many other things and that its not something that goes away as you get older. I told him that J works very hard to learn the things he learns, a little bit harder than B has to and that J will always have autism.

Information on explaining autism to siblings:

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Dont Assume Nonverbal Children Cant Communicate

Many children with autism dont speak at all. But never assume that they dont have something to say.

For children with autism, behavior is a form of communication. That includes:

  • Blinking
  • Hitting
  • Walking away

Listen to what the child is trying to say. Ignore it, and the behavior may escalate until the child gets the point across.

Growing Numbers Of Teens With Asd

Autistic 4

Chantal Sicile-Kira says nobody told her what to expect when her son with autism, now 24, became a teenager. Jeremy Sicile-Kira was born when autism was considered to be relatively rare just before the tide of diagnoses began rising in the 1990s. “Nobody ever told us anything about adolescence and autism,” she said.

Today, many more parents have children with autism entering or already in their teens.1 Ms. Sicile-Kira tries to educate them through her books, speeches and seminars on autism spectrum disorders .

One common complaint she hears from parents: their teens’ autism is getting worse. But that may be a misunderstanding, she said.

“The teens are not getting more noncompliant because their autism is getting worse. It’s because they’re teenagers,” said Ms. Sicile-Kira, author of Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum. Like all teens, they may want more independence. Parents can help: “If your child needs schedules, for example, give him more control over his schedule. That gives him a way to be ‘noncompliant'” to have his own way sometimes.

Research into autism in the teen years and beyond is still in its infancy: “very little is known about the course of ASD through adolescence and into young adulthood,” one study said.1

Autism is a broad spectrum, and adolescence will affect each child differently. If recent studies are an indication, parents generally can expect some of the following along their child’s road to adulthood:

Also Check: Mild Autistic

Eye Contact And Empathy

One of the first signs that your child may be autistic is if they are uncomfortable with eye contact. This goes beyond being interested in other things, it actually is a case of being severely uncomfortable with eye contact from a loved one like a parent. Attached to this is often a lack of empathy.

Your two year old should be trying to mimic your emotions to understand them. They look to you with something unfamiliar to see if they should laugh or cry. If they are not doing this, this could be an early sign that they are not empathetic, which can be a symptom of autism.

Sharing An Autism Diagnosis With Family And Friends

Tips for explaining autism to family and close friends, to help them become effective allies

Rachel Ehmke

  • How can parents of kids with autism help friends and family understand the diagnosis?
  • What are some common misunderstandings about autism?
  • Why do relatives sometimes dismiss the diagnosis or say you are overreacting?

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Help During A Meltdown

We tend to expect a lot from children with autism. They thrive in environments that are calm, familiar, and supportive. But we often ask them to succeed in grocery stores, airports, and classrooms.

When children with autism are overwhelmed, they can experience meltdowns. Meltdowns can involve:

  • Withdrawal. The child retreats to an inner world and stops talking altogether. The child may perform repetitive actions like rocking or hand flapping to self-soothe.
  • Tantrums. The child cries, screams, stomps their feet, or curls into a ball.

Parents often become adept at dealing with these episodes, but always ask if you can help. You could ask a restaurant to turn down the music, for example, while a mother attempts to calm her child.

You can also intervene directly. Experts suggest using a gentle voice and simple commands. Tell the child, Get up, and stand next to me. If the child cant respond, stay nearby and let the meltdown work through. When the child seems calmer, try the instructions.

Sesame Street And Autism: See Amazing In All Children

Our Amazing Autistic 4 Year Old is Starting To Talk!!! Speech Progress and A New Diagnosis?!

In October 2015, Sesame Workshop created Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children, a national initiative aimed at families and communities with children 2 to 5 years old. See Amazing in All Children offers families ways to manage common challenges, to simplify everyday activities, and to grow connections and support from family, friends, and community.

Recommended Reading: Autism Spectrum Disorder Symbol

How To Explain Autism To Kids: Useful Tips

  • Explain autism in a way that is developmentally and age appropriate
  • Focus on the positives
  • Speak about autism matter-of-factly and avoid these autism myths
  • Read books about autism to your child
  • Watch a video about autism with your child
  • Answer any of the questions your child has honestly and as specifically as possible
  • Include your autistic child in the conversation
  • Don’t pathologize autism
  • Embrace autism from a neurodiversity perspective

About Early Signs Of Autism

Some early signs of autism usually appear in the first 1-2 years of life.

Early signs of autism are listed below. Some children have many early signs, whereas others have only a few. The number of signs autistic children have varies according to their age and the effect that autism has on their everyday lives.

Sometimes early signs of autism change over time. For example, children might lose or stop using social-communication or language skills, or signs might become clearer as children get older.

Recommended Reading: Autistic Life Expectancy

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Grooming And Personal Hygiene

Some teens may need reminders to shower and shave. They may not understand the importance of grooming to social acceptance, or they may have less social motivation to smell and look clean. “They may be rejected because of poor personal hygiene but may not connect one to the other, or they may not have the skills to address the issue,” Dr. Keefer said.

Ms. Sicile-Kira recommends doing detective work to determine why your teen is shower-averse. Does he understand the importance and mechanics of good hygiene? Is the problem sensory? Suppose he hates the sensation of water pounding on his body from a shower head. If that’s the case, she said, “Give him a plastic cup to pour water on his head, so he has control over the flow of water.”

Even with good hygiene, adolescence can be a time of frustration or uncertainty for almost anyone. The social world with its cliques and pecking order becomes decidedly more complex during high school. Factor in dating, with its own set of unwritten rules, and students with ASD may feel adrift.

Problems with social and communication skills can leave them particularly vulnerable to bullying. IAN research shows that children with ASD are bullied at a much higher rate than their unaffected siblings, and that bullying spikes from fifth to eighth grades for them.13

Calming Activities To Prevent Autism Meltdowns In Class

Signs of Autism in a 4

When students with autism are feeling overwhelmed, the intense response that they feel may cause them to lose control of their emotions. This is called an autism meltdown and is different from when students without autism act out in class. While the best strategy for autism meltdowns is to seek help from a school specialist, these calm down activities can help to de-escalate stressful situations.

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How Should I Tell My Child

There isn’t one ‘right’ way to tell your child about their diagnosis. However, here are some points to consider.

Who is the best person in the family to help bring up the subject? If your child is comfortable with a grandparent or aunt, it might be a good idea to get them involved too.

Choose a moment when you’re both in a calm mood and in a familiar place where you both feel comfortable. Autistic children can find it difficult to process new information, especially if they’re feeling anxious, stressed or are in an unfamiliar environment.

Try to make sure you won’t be interrupted. Your child may need time to think about what you’re saying or to ask questions.

One of the ways some parents start a conversation about autism is to talk first about differences. For example, you could write a list of family members’ strengths and weaknesses, then talk about what your child is good at and what they find difficult. You could point out that there is a name to this particular pattern of strengths and weaknesses.

Your child may have met other autistic people. You could explain that although autistic people have some things in common, they are all different.

The following might be helpful:

About Siblings Of Autistic Children

Most siblings have their ups and downs. It can be great to have sisters and brothers to play and share interests with. But many siblings also have times when they disagree, fight and feel like theyre competing for their parents attention.

In many ways, having an autistic sibling is similar to having typically developing siblings its both enriching and challenging.

For example, siblings of children with disability, including autistic children, are often particularly caring, compassionate, independent, tolerant and responsive to the needs of others. But sometimes siblings of autistic children might feel sad, anxious or confused about their autistic siblings behaviour or its effects on family life.

Its normal for typically developing children to have a range of changing feelings about their family situation.

If you have both autistic and typically developing children, theres a lot you can do to support your typically developing children and their relationships with their autistic sibling.

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Tips For Explaining Autism To Family Friends And Kids

If your child has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, you may be wondering what this diagnosis means for them and their future. Along with these overwhelming feelings of confusion and uncertainty, you may be wondering if you should share this news with friends and family and how you should explain it. The good news is, as you come to terms with this new future for your family, you will be able to better understand what and how to share with others It might just take some time. Here are some tips that will help you when you are explaining autism to family and friends.

Lack Of Imitation Skills


Typically-developing children watch how others play with toys and imitate them. For example, a typically-developing child might line up blocks the first time they play with them. But as soon as that child sees others build with the blocks, they will imitate that behavior.

A child with autism may not even notice that others are playing with blocks at all. They are very unlikely to observe others’ behavior and imitate that behavior.

Also Check: Mild Autistic Behavior

Offer Accommodations For Students With Limited Motor Skills

Some students with autism may have more trouble with activities that require fine motor skills than others. In an article with the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, renowned scientist and advocate Dr. Temple Grandin suggests offering accommodationslike typing on a computer instead of writingto mitigate these challenges.

When it comes to specific accommodations, it may depend on the individual. Its always a good idea to reach out to a students family to determine the best resources for their child.

Interacting With A Child Who Has Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder. It affects how children interact and communicate with others. The disorder is called a spectrum disorder because children can be anywhere on the autism spectrum.

Children with ASD start to show symptoms at an early age. The symptoms continue during childhood and adulthood. Healthcare providers dont know why some children develop ASD. It may be a combination of genes they are born with and something in their environment that triggers those genes.

Children with ASD have trouble relating to other people. They have trouble making eye contact. They often withdraw into themselves. They may seem uninterested in relating to family members.

But some children with ASD may love to keep talking with family members, friends, and even strangers about a topic they are obsessed with. The problem is that they may talk about it too long. Or they may talk only about that one subject. This can push other people away.

If you are a parent or grandparent of a child with ASD, it can be heartbreaking if you feel like you just canât connect with him or her. But learning more about these disorders and what has helped others can help you and your relationship.

Read Also: Life Expectancy With Autism

Tips On Explaining Death To Children

1. Be honest with them and encourage their questions and expressions of emotions. It is important that kids know they can talk about it and be sad, angry, scared, or whatever emotions they feel.

2. It is usually easier to talk about death when we are less emotionally involved. Children are exposed to mortality at a very young age: from dead flowers, trees, insects, or birds. Take time to explain these to children. Though it may sound morbid to us, it is an opportunity to help children learn about death.

3. For children under age 5 or 6, explain death in basic and concrete terms. Often it helps to explain it as the absence of familiar life functions. For example, When Grandma died, she cannot breathe, eat, talk, think, or feel anymore.

4. Kids often will repeatedly ask the same questions it is how they process information. As frustrating as this can be, continue to calmly tell them that the person has died and cant come back. Also, do not discourage their questions by telling them they are too young.

5. Try to answer childrens questions with brief and simple answers that are appropriate to their questions. Answers should be ones they can understand. Be careful not to overwhelm them with too many words.

7. Using the word sickness can be scary to young children. It is often helpful to explain to children that serious illnesses may cause death and although we all get sick sometimes, we usually get better again.

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