If Speaking Doesnt Work Try Writing
If you get to sticking points in the conversation, try restating what you just said on paper. Draw a picture or write the words down and show them. ASD patients tend to think visually, so even if they dont immediately understand what they just heard, they might get the same message if you put it on paper so they can see it.
Provide Single Simple And Clear Instructions From The Start
Simple instructions facilitate understanding and reduce confusion. For example, if you want your child to stop playing, simply say Times up! Keep the toys! instead of saying Were going to have dinner now, no more playing, keep the toys! the toys now!;
You can say more if your child is proficient in the language but the issue is not about word choice but rather about compliance. Therefore it is best to state the matter simply and clearly, as that will make it more meaningful for your child.
Show Them That You Value Them
Giving your child your full attention also shows them that you care and that they are valued. Everyone wants to feel valued. Our children should always feel that we value them.
Some ways that you can give your child attention and show that they are valued include the following:
- Praise your child.
- Give physical affections, such as hugs.
- Show interest in their activities.
- Get on their level when talking.
- Make eye contact and smile while interacting.
- Give positive feedback in your daily interactions.
- Provide them with support in accomplishing daily activities .
- Build up your child with positive messages.
- Reassure your child when they are fearful.
- Support your child when they are upset.
- Make time to spend with your child one on one daily.
- Respond to your child every time they talk to you .
- Ask your child about their day with meaningful, open-ended questions.
According to the article, Positive Attention and Your Child,
From birth, children need experiences and relationships that show them theyre valued, capable human beings who bring pleasure to others. Positive attention, reactions and responses from key grown-ups help children build a picture of how valued they are.
Children must be told and shown that they are valued. What we say and how we act toward our children should be done in a way that makes them consistently feel valued. This will help build a relationship where listening and respect go both ways.
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Consider Your Childs Point Of View
Your child may have a good reason to resist your requests and orders. With very young children, it is more valuable to understand what is driving their resistance. The reason may seem obvious , but let them express their feelings and concerns. Problem-solving will calm the situation better than insisting on compliance. It may also help prevent the pattern of behavior from recurring in the future.
One of my clients has a son who gets angry when it is time to leave a friends house after a play date. I encouraged her to sit down with him and calmly talk about the afternoon. She mentioned to her son that he seems to have an especially hard time leaving Sams house when they play and asked what was so different about leaving Sams house. She eventually learned that Sams building set had characters that his did not. Mom was then able to sort out the frustrating problem they found that they could create similar characters out of ones he already had.
More important, they talked about what her son can do when he is frustrated that would help him solve his problems moving forward. Telling Mom why he is upset, instead of fighting with her, sounded like a better idea.
Plan Playdates And Social Time
It’s important for kids with autism to socialize with their peers, even if sometimes it can be challenging for them. Playdates and other activities are some much-needed chances to practice social skills and make new friends. Those who are struggling can sign up for a social skills group, which helps with things like introducing yourself, talking to others, reading social cues, and more.
When helping your child choose a playmate, look for someone who shares the same interests. Pre-plan the activities , and avoid places with too much noise and stimulation if you think it will overwhelm your child. Let your child know what to expect ahead of time. Consider using a visual schedule with pictures or create social stories to help “tell ahead” what will happen during a playdate.
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Dont Wait For A Diagnosis
As the parent of a child with ASD or related developmental delays, the best thing you can do is to start treatment right away. Seek help as soon as you suspect somethings wrong. Dont wait to see if your child will catch up later or outgrow the problem. Dont even wait for an official diagnosis. The earlier children with autism spectrum disorder get help, the greater their chance of treatment success. Early intervention is the most effective way to speed up your childs development and reduce the symptoms of autism over the lifespan.
When your child has autism
Learn about autism. The more you know about autism spectrum disorder, the better equipped youll be to make informed decisions for your child. Educate yourself about the treatment options, ask questions, and participate in all treatment decisions.
Become an expert on your child. Figure out what triggers your kids challenging or disruptive behaviors and what elicits a positive response. What does your child find stressful or frightening? Calming? Uncomfortable? Enjoyable? If you understand what affects your child, youll be better at troubleshooting problems and preventing or modifying situations that cause difficulties.
Dont give up. Its impossible to predict the course of autism spectrum disorder. Dont jump to conclusions about what life is going to be like for your child. Like everyone else, people with autism have an entire lifetime to grow and develop their abilities.
Parents Better Understand Their Autistic Child
The first major change that happens when parents listen to autistic adults is they start to better understand their child.
I cant count the number of times Ive seen a post in the Embracing Autism community where a parent is sharing that they FINALLY understand why their autistic child does something.
Maybe they understand their childs sensory needs in a new way, or theyre finally starting to see why a small change to routine can throw off an entire day.
Its seriously incredible to see the insights parents are gaining each and every day simply because they are open to listening and learning from autistic adults.
Its really helped me understand what my childs behavior is saying, when he doesnt have the words. Listening to the success stories, and awful experiences of adult autistics gave me the confidence that homeschooling him, on his schedule is not doing him a disservice. I can let him grow his own way. Hell be fine. Beth
It has helped me understand them better which is absolutely priceless. Understanding is everything. It leads to better communication and a better relationship. I also feel more confident in advocating for them. I feel like were an over all happier family because I have this resource. Mandy
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Attach Labels To Things And Feelings
Let your child know the names of things and feelings. The best way is to teach him is to keep it subtle, for example, if he is going towards the fridge, tell him that hes doing it because hes hungry or thirsty. This will enable him to learn the names of the things around him, and attach names to different emotions.
What To Do If Your Child Hits You
Neutral redirection;is effective in how to stop an autistic child from hitting. This is an Applied Behavior Analysis technique consisting of replacing a childs aggressive, potentially dangerous behaviors with functional, appropriate behaviors.
With some guidance and gentleness, neutral redirection allows parents to effectively teach their children socially appropriate and safe behaviors, skills that will help them interact with peers, share experiences, and enjoy a higher quality of life. This process begins at treatment centers like Therapeutic Pathways, but can be followed at home.
As a parent or caregiver, heres how you can remediate your childs aggressiveness through neutral redirection:
- Remain calm. Remember that your childs behavior may be kindled if you give in to their aggression.
- Prevent your child from making contact with you by moving out of the way.
- If this is not possible, you may need to protect vulnerable parts of your body.
- During the process, refrain from speaking to your child , making eye contact with them, or reacting physically .
- Calmly redirect your child to a different method of communication. For example, if your child usually hits you to get your attention, you can instead instruct them to tap you on the arm and say excuse me.
- Only give your child direct acknowledgment when they engage in the appropriate behavior. Failing to do so could lead your child to associate aggressiveness with attention and getting what they want.
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Hearing Lack Of Focus
Hearing is the ability to take in the sounds around oneself, or as the dictionary describes it: The faculty of perceiving sounds. In the case of many Autistics, there is a heightened ability to take in quite a lot of sounds all at once without the minds filtering system in place to muffle unimportant sounds into the background.
What this means is that it becomes very difficult to focus on one sound in particular in order to truly understand what it is. Or in the case of us parents and our children, they are unable to focus on what were saying in order to understand what we said.
My Autistic Child Is Not Trying To Be Difficult
As one parent stated about her autistic son on the popular website Baby Gaga, He isnt giving us a hard time. Hes having a hard time. No child on the Autism Spectrum is trying to behave badly when they experience a meltdown. The biology of autism is complicated and extensive, and much of it cannot even be tested for medically. Children on the Autism Spectrum have trouble with their methylation pathways. Their intestinal tracts do not absorb nutrients well. This impairs their immune system and guts, which then leads to issues in the brain. Because the brain and body of an autistic child do not always work as one, they have to express their pain and frustration in the form of things like meltdowns.
Remember They Are Just Kids
Autistic kids may not act a lot like neurotypical children, but remember youre still talking to someone whose thoughts and attitudes are being formed in an immature brain.
With a little practice, you may find that you can talk to autistic kids just as easily as any kid. The results, for both you and the child, can be both positive in terms of their development of communication skills and enjoyable as you make an interpersonal connection.
Theres A Difference Between Forcing Behaviors And Encouraging Independence
Ive learned from experience that trying to force independence is counterintuitive, whether or not your child has autism.
When we push a child, especially one prone to anxiety and rigidity, their natural instinct is to dig their heels in and hold on tighter.
When we force a child to face their fears, and I mean screaming-on-the-floor petrified, like Whitney Ellenby, the mother who wanted her son with autism to see Elmo, we arent actually helping them.
If I was forced into a room full of spiders, I would probably be able to detach from my brain at some point to cope after about 40 hours of screaming. That doesnt mean I had some kind of breakthrough or success in facing my fears.
I also assume Id store those traumas and theyd invariably be triggered later in my life.
Of course, pushing independence isnt always as extreme as the Elmo scenario or a room full of spiders. All of this pushing falls on a spectrum ranging from encouraging a hesitant child to physically forcing them into a scenario that has their brain screaming danger.
When we let our children get comfortable at their own pace and they finally take that step of their own volition, true confidence and security grows.
That said, I understand where the Elmo mom was coming from. We know our kids would enjoy whatever activity if they would just try it.
We want them to feel joy. We want them to be brave and full of confidence. We want them to fit in because we know what rejection feels like.
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Or Find A Coach For Autism
Guest Blog by Autism Specialist, Rachelle Blair. Rachelle has helped parents adjust and find balance with autism in their families for more than 20 years. She has worked in both the private and public sector. She currently is a licensed early intervention autism specialist for the Jordan School District. She frequently presents and trains teachers on autism, and she is an independently contracted consultant focusing on the most effective in-home autism strategies for parents. Rachelle is the author of the online course, How to Discipline Children with Autism.
My Autistic Child Has Feelings
A common challenge children on the Autism Spectrum and their parents face is the assumption that because an autistic child cannot verbalize or express their feelings like a neurotypical child might, those feelings must not exist. But nothing could be further from the truth. As one parent bluntly describes, Even children who dont speak can still hear you. Dont talk to me over my children like they arent there, especially if youre going to sympathetically tell me what a saint I am for dealing with a horrible situation every day. Im not a saint. Im their mother. And she HEARS YOU and understands that youre saying shes a burden to me.
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Children On The Autism Spectrum Are Not Dumb
Kids with autism have the potential to be absolutely brilliant. Theyre also talented, philosophical, kind, and creative. This is something much of society fails to see, but in truth, the autistic mind is simply wired differently than those not on the Autism Spectrum. Hans Christian Andersen, Emily Dickinson, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Michelangelo, Mozart, and Sir Isaac Newton all are said to have exhibited autistic tendencies.
Change Mood Through Exercise
The literature on the relationship between mood and exercise is extensive. If you can get the blood moving then endorphins will fire, and a euphoric feeling, sometimes called a runners high, can change your mood. Nowhere is this more true in children who have fewer filters and access to a more immediate response to endorphins.
You probably arent going to get your child to go for a run when they are really angry. Try instead for small gains; keep them walking around after you, even if that means a trip around the entire house four or five times. Chances are theyre so keen to yell at;you that theyll come without even knowing what they are doing. Its a dirty trick, but it works.
Sometimes simple things like tickling work. Its hard to be angry if someone is tickling you, but be sure that they arent so angry that youll just make it worse. Get down on the floor with them, wrestle, tickle and just turn a tantrum into fun. Sometimes theyre really just bored and a little physical engagement can do the trick.
When My Child Is Having A Meltdown Please Stay Calm
Meltdowns occur because children on the Autism Spectrum often feel overwhelmed by their surroundings. Therefore, a sense of calm is required to end the meltdown and restore a childs feeling of control. During a meltdown, the parent will likely be busy trying to calm their child. A helpful person standing by shouldnt approach the parent and child. They can help by trying to make the immediate area as peaceful as possible. As Autism Speaks recommends, Scan the area around the child for sights and sounds that may have contributed to the meltdown. . . . Is there an alarm that can be silenced? A flashing display that can be temporarily turned off?
Understanding Common Autistic Behaviors
We usually discipline children because they consciously act in inappropriate ways, whether it’s swiping treats off a sibling’s plate or intentionally tripping a child on the soccer field. However, a child with autism may not be able to control certain behaviors, and it’s important that they are not harshly punished for them. Some behaviors that children with autism may struggle to control include:
- Biting their hands and fingers
- Hand flapping or rocking
- Screaming or yelling
- Hurting themselves by banging or hitting their heads
- Not looking at people or making eye contact
- Physical aggression toward peers and grown-ups, like biting or kicking
Many of these behaviors stem from children’s struggles to express their needs or desires or understand social norms and cues. You shouldnt place your child in time-out, shame them, or spank them because of these behaviors. Rather, it’s important you work to better understand why they are acting out in this way and, if necessary, try to avoid those triggers in the future.
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How To Get Your High
Here are 25 such strategies to add to your parenting toolbox:How to Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums in Children with Autism Spectrum DisorderParenting System that Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder;Launching Adult Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-RelianceMore resources for parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum: