Four: Plan Ahead With Scripts
Now, just because we are confident in ourselves and our child and we know that people will judge anyway doesnt mean that we are just going to ignore everyone all the time.
But spouting off a snotty remark wont actually help the situation .
Beyond that, I dont know about you, but I can never come up with something good to say on the fly.
Im always that person who comes up with the perfect comeback hours after Ive already gone home.
So instead, I plan ahead with scripts.
But before I can create a script, I need to know what Im actually scripting for.
So before you go somewhere with your child where you think you may be judged, take a moment and jot down all the things that you are nervous might happen.
- Im nervous people will stare at us.
- Im nervous someone will say Im a bad mom.
- Im nervous someone will yell at him.
- Im nervous someone will say shes a brat.
Then for all of those situations you brainstormed, think: what will I think, do, and say if that happens?
First, what will you think?
Have a thought prepared that you will use to remind you that everything is okay.
This might be something likemy child is having a hard time, not giving me a hard time or I am doing the best thing for my child.
Next, what will you do?
Know ahead of time what you will do for yourself or your child to help de-escalate the situation.
This is going to highly depend on what calms you and your child down, but it might be offering deep squeezes or it may be giving some space.
Make Directions Clear Short And Concrete
For example, if your child is throwing food at the table say, eat your food rather than Be good at the table, Dont throw your food or Would you stop with that! You are always throwing your food. For children with difficulty understanding language, showing them a picture or a visual demonstration of the behavior you want to see, can be helpful.
When Giving Tasks Assignments Chores Etc Many Children Do Better If They Know When The Task Will End
Some examples of activities with a clear ending include puzzles, a specific number of math problems, a specific number of pages to read, a timed event , a specified way to complete a chore such as Put ten toys in the bin. or Spray the window three times and use the paper towel to wipe the spots off, a specific number of lines to write on the page for a writing assignment, etc. . See an example of an activity with a clear visual ending below:
Please cut out each word and match it to the correct picture.
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Additionally, when the task has a clear visual ending, it eliminates the need for a timer. For instance, if the child is working on a 10 piece puzzle you can let him know what comes next and no timer would be needed. This concept can be applied to anything with a clear visual ending . Whether you are using a timer or giving an activity with a clear visual ending, give a break in between for the child to do something enjoyable if he gets overwhelmed or frustrated with lengthy tasks. For example, if the child is supposed to write 20 sentences for homework, let him write ten, take a 10 minute break to do a preferred activity, and then do the next ten. .
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Break Out Your Sensory Toolkit
Keep a few sensory tools or toys in your car or bag. You can offer these to your kid when their mind is overwhelmed.
Kids have different favorites, but some common sensory tools include weighted lap pads, noise-cancelling headphones, sunglasses, and fidget toys.
Dont force these on your child when theyre melting down, but if they choose to use them, these products can often help them calm down.
Set & Explain Realistic Expectations
Most children function better when they know whats required of them and when they have the skills to meet those expectations. Children with autism are no different, especially since they can think in very literal and concrete terms.
Carefully set realistic expectations, and explain those expectations clearly to reduce autism behavior problems in the classroom.
For example, teachers may need to show students visually what they must do and use simple instructions. Have the child repeat the instructions back to the teacher, too, to ensure understanding and reduce outbursts.
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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.
Rise To The Challenge
Positive Action recognizes the value of each and every person. We help special needs students integrate into mainstream classrooms while equipping them with the essential skills and motivation to thrive.
Positive Action can help you assess your special education students needs and plan how to meet them with Individualized Education Plans.
I am very grateful for these lessons. They fulfill a need that so many children are lacking in the educational process today. Linda Davis, 2nd Grade Teacher, Davis Elementary
If you want to see how Positive Action can increase educational success at your institution or organization contact us by phone, chat, or email or schedule a webinar with us below.
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Dont Approach Parents With Pity
Children with autism bring their parents joy, and theres plenty to be proud of. Approaching parents with pity undermines all that, and some parents take offense to those statements.
Children with autism often listen closely to what adults say, activists explain. Hearing an exchange of pity can make the child feel bad, wrong, or worthless. Your comment could cause more work for already overburdened parents.
Dealing With Meltdowns And Tantrums
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What To Do When Your Child Hits You
Stay Calm: Although it might sound pretty obvious, the first step is staying calm. When you stay calm it shows your child that you are in control. Which, can represent huge support for him/her during a frustrating moment.
Never Punish/Yell/Spank: Keep in mind that your childs behavior is not personal. It is not that he/she means to hurt you. If you react with similar behaviors, you will only reinforce the conduct in your child, and somehow he/she will learn that it is okay to express his/her feelings in that way.
Stop The Behavior: Stopping the behavior is the first step to properly managing anger episodes.
Gently grab your childs arms to stop him from hitting you, and then calmly but firmly mention to him/her I see that you are angry but I wont let you hit me. A simple statement like this will show your child that you care and validate his/her feelings, but you are setting healthy limits.
Validate his/Her Feelings: Validating your childs feelings is crucial for his/her connection with you. This way you are letting your child know that even though you dont approve of his/her conduct, you understand the feeling behind it.
The following phrases will help you validate your childs emotions while setting boundaries:
- I know that you were very angry and this is why you hit me. Im here if you want to talk about it.
- I see how upset you are. Lets talk about this!
- Lets take a moment to calm down and see how you feel.
Remember, you are not alone!
Teaching Tips For Children And Adults With Autism
Temple Grandin, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
Good teachers helped me to achieve success. I was able to overcome autism because I had good teachers. At age 2 1/2 I was placed in a structured nursery school with experienced teachers. From an early age I was taught to have good manners and to behave at the dinner table. Children with autism need to have a structured day, and teachers who know how to be firm but gentle.
Between the ages of 2 1/4 and 5 my day was structured, and I was not allowed to tune out. I had 45 minutes of one-to-one speech therapy five days a week, and my mother hired a nanny who spent three to four hours a day playing games with me and my sister. She taught ‘turn taking’ during play activities. When we made a snowman, she had me roll the bottom ball and then my sister had to make the next part. At mealtimes, every-body ate together and I was not allowed to do any “stims.” The only time I was allowed to revert back to autistic behavior was during a one-hour rest period after lunch. The combination of the nursery school, speech therapy, play activities, and “miss manners” meals added up to 40 hours a week, where my brain was kept connected to the world.
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Figuring Out Your Childs Needs
Theres been a lot of research about how people with autism lack a so-called theory of mindthey dont understand that you are a different person with different needs than theirs. That may be true, but teachers, parents, and specialists are often just as lacking their understanding of what might be called the childs theory of sensation and perception.
You dont get why she experiences a flickering light bulb as a bolt of lightning, a doorbell ringing as the sound of a thousand church bells. You dont appreciate why a child might need to tap his foot and run around the classroom to keep from falling out of his chair. And you dont grasp how yogurt, because of its smoothness, may be one of the only foods that doesnt make your daughter feel like she has a mouthful of pebbles.
Your child may have as hard a time figuring out your needs as you have figuring out hers. She may not notice that today is a bad one for you, and so try to be less needy. He may talk endlessly because he cant read your cues of boredom.
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Follow A Behavior Plan
Because each child with autism is unique, they need a customized behavior plan. This document is part of the childs Individualized Education Plan and outlines the childs needs and includes specific steps that improve maladaptive behaviors without punishing the child.
A behavior plan starts with a Functional Behavioral Analysis . This analysis identifies the root of behaviors, which can include the childs desire to obtain an object, activity, or sensation, escape a demand or undesirable situation, or gain attention. The FBA will describe the frequency and intensity of behaviors, identify the causes and consequences of behaviors, and suggest possible solutions.
With information from an FBA, a special education or behavior consultant writes a Behavior Intervention Plan . This document lists the challenging behaviors, their causes, and effective solutions that are specific to the childs needs. The BIP includes measurable goals that the teacher and other staff can monitor. The BIP can be modified as the student achieves goals.
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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.
Keeping Your Child Safe During An Autistic Meltdown
In the heat of the moment, safety if the most important thing to consider. Make sure your child is in a safe place. If you are at home, move them to a crash pad or a similar area, where they are able to move around without causing injury.
If they are hitting, kicking, or banging their head, make sure they are away from hard objects, and give them a pillow or stuffed toy. If they are biting, offer a chew toy or food grade tubing.
Make sure you are not adding to the problem. I know some days are harder than others, but take a few deep breaths. Use a calm and gentle voice with your child. Dont use negative talk, and dont tell them to stop or calm down. If they could, they would. We need to provide peace during their times of turmoil.
Side note: if youve failed in this area, dont beat yourself up just figure out what caused you to lose it, and make sure it doesnt happen next time. Youve got this! I highly recommend Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids if you struggle in this area. It is a game changer!
If you are in public, try to find a quiet place nearby, and let your child calm down. Try to keep their head away from floors and walls, and keep your other children out of the line of fire. Only restrain your child if absolutely necessary, as this could cause further anxiety.
You can also get a monthly subscription box that provides your child with new sensory toys and autism tools each month!
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When Do You Utilize Menu Items
When do children engage in sensory experiences as part of a sensory diet?
- With a therapist. For example, an Occupational Therapist will utilize sensory diets in their practice
- At home. Parents and caregivers can follow a sensory diet with their child
- At school. Teachers may implement sensory diets for their students as part of specific strategies outlined in an Individualized Education Plan
Do Not Wait For Diagnosis
As the parent of a child with ASD, the best thing you can do is to start your treatment right away. Dont wait for an official diagnosis of autism. Seek help as soon as you suspect any difficulty. The earlier the child with ASD get help, the greater their chance of treatment of success.
Early medication is the most effective way to speed up your kids development and reduce the symptoms of autism over the lifespan.
Thats all in this article. If your childs behavioral crises continue to be a problem, I urge you to consult a therapist who can customize a plan to improve your kids behavior. Or if you didnt find any, you may also consult our experts by giving us a call on our toll-free +91-9899437202.
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Autism Meltdowns Come From Overwhelm Or Overstimulation
Next, lets answer the question. What is an autism meltdown? A meltdown is when the child loses control over his behavior and can only be calmed down by a parent, or when he reaches the point of exhaustion. These will sometimes be referred to as autism outbursts, but we will refer to it solely as an autism meltdown in this article.
Meltdowns are reactions to feeling overwhelmed and are often seen as a result of sensory overstimulation. Tantrums can lead to meltdowns, so it can be hard to tell the difference between the two outbursts if youre not attuned to your childs sensory signals.
For more information on sensory processing, check out Harklas article here.
When a person with autism experiences too much sensory stimulation, their central nervous system is overwhelmed and unable to process all of the input. Its a physiological “traffic jam” in your central nervous system and the sensory overstimulation is not unlike a maladaptive response to an actual traffic jam.
Weve all had the experience of happily driving to our destination, cruising down the highway singing along to our favorite song, when all of a sudden traffic comes to a dead stop. Now, instead of comfortably cruising , youre at a standstill surrounded by imposing big trucks, offensive exhaust fumes, blaring horns, and the blazing hot sun peeking through your windows.
The last thing you want is to be stuck in your car in that traffic jam – you want out!