How To Help Your Typically Developing Child
Whatever your circumstances, and whatever the abilities and challenges of your autistic child, it’s important to keep your typically developing child’s needs in mind. That said, however, it’s also important to remember that disability in the family is not always a bad thing. Given the right circumstances, a child with an autistic sibling can gain great personal strengths. Empathy, responsibility, flexibility, resourcefulness, and kindness can all come from the experience.
Here are some tips for ensuring that your typical child has a positive outcome:
Im Not Someone To Pity Simply Because My Child Has Autism
Autistic children are writing books, making films, creating blogs, and making all sorts of other groundbreaking achievements. Yet, when a parent tells someone their child is autistic, they are usually met with an unnecessary apology or look of pity. Autism is not something to be pitied, and our societys outlook should change to reflect that.
Discouraging Cursing And Other Interfering Behaviors
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.
Autistic Child Running Away Your Answer
One of the most common worries that I hear from my audience is about their autistic child running away from them. And this can be at home or at school. Its that moment of panic, when you cant find them.
Its even more frightening if they are non-verbal, or struggle with their social and life skills. Would your child know to find a police officer? Can they communicate that they are lost? Can they ask someone for help?
But worst of all. Are they an easy target?
Weve all been there. Running away is quite a big issue in our community. And honestly, that feeling is sickening. Its like all the air rushes to your head. Your heart is pounding in your chest. Something is stuck in your throat. Its awful. And I wouldnt wish it on anyone.
For years, weve tried different things to help keep our children safe. So if they run away, Im within a very short distance so they cant get away. Probably like most of you have.
But, theres always that time when they manage it. Because many of our children can be escape artists. And they know exactly when to strike and make that run.
Why Does My Autistic Child Run Away?
To be honest, this is a difficult one to answer. You know how they always say every child is different? Honestly, its applies very much to this issue. There could be a number of different reasons that causes your child to run away
A lot of our children have a flight response. If something upsets them or frightens them, many of them just have the instinct to run away.
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Assume Their Perspectives Are Skewed And Unreliable
This is Morgan. Brilliant lad, and I promise Im not just saying that because his brains so similar to mine. You may know him from the Facebook page Planet Morgan Aspie Superhero.
Morgans Asperger Syndrome is, in my opinion, not a significant problem for him. In fact , I think his Aspergers actually just makes him awesome.
Sadly, its his severe anxiety that presents him with his biggest challenge. He no longer attends school because the word alone makes him afraid. And, in a story all too familiar to parents of autistic children, the source of this anxiety was a devastating amount of bullying throughout life at one of his previous schools.
Unfortunately, this bullying was allegedly not addressed effectively.
According to those closest to him, the bullying continued because each incident was seen as Morgan having a skewed perspective. After all, he had an autistic spectrum disorder and didnt see social situations like the rest of the children. Therefore, the attitude was allegedly taken that if all the other children in the class were ok and Morgan was not, it was likely to be his faulty perspective at play.
Lets leave aside the little fact that children with special needs are significantly more likely to suffer from bullying by their peers.
And you know what, lets pretend for a moment that people are correct in saying that autistic people are less reliable.
Even then, the autistic persons anxieties are still real, and they still need to be addressed.
Lack Of Social Communication Skills
In order to be successful in pretend play and imitation, typically-developing children actively seek out engagement and communication and quickly learn how to “read” the intentions of other people.
Children with autism tend to be self-absorbed, and have little desire or ability to communicate or engage with playmates. Peers may see this behavior as hurtful , or may simply ignore the child with autism. In some cases, children with autism are bullied, scorned, or ostracized.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism
Classroom Staff Management Podcast
Today on the podcast Im discussing classroom staff management. Within the field of special education and autism classrooms, we often have to work closely, in larger teams than usual classrooms. And sometimes, were all human, and we find it difficult to get along. Or, you may have a team of
Our Home Is Safety Proofed
Youre probably familiar with baby proofing a house. But while most families can take down the safety gates and doorknob locks once the child ages, families with children on the Autism Spectrum often have these items and more protecting their child from their homes inherent dangers. This is because many children on the Autism Spectrum are prone to behaviors that can bring about self injury.
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We Laugh At Inappropriate Moments
When I was at school, we use to have an annual sponsored silence in which students would raise funds on the anniversary of WWII. For the event, a guest speaker would be invited to discuss their experiences of living through one of the worlds bleakest times and, every year, I would start laughing uncontrollably. Inevitably I would be punished by teachers, but the look of disapproval from fellow students was far worse.
Since then, laughter in autistic people has come to be understood a bit better with the prevailing theory suggesting that, as laughter is one of our most innate methods of communication , it could be that when autistic people are experiencing high emotions, our body immediately falls back on to this inherent response and gets the giggles.
Subsequently, to interfere with an autistic person during this time is to tell them to not feel at all and so, while its okay to move us to a more secluded environment, its not okay to scold us for reacting in a way which has been incorrectly perceived as rude. .
Social Communication And Interaction Skills
Social communication and interaction skills can be challenging for people with ASD.
Examples of social communication and social interaction characteristics related to ASD can include:
- Avoids or does not keep eye contact
- Does not respond to name by 9 months of age
- Does not show facial expressions like happy, sad, angry, and surprised by 9 months of age
- Does not play simple interactive games like pat-a-cake by 12 months of age
- Uses few or no gestures by 12 months of age
- Does not share interests with others
- Does not point or look at what you point to by 18 months of age
- Does not notice when others are hurt or sad by 24 months of age
- Does not pretend in play
- Shows little interest in peers
- Has trouble understanding other peoples feelings or talking about own feelings at 36 months of age or older
- Does not play games with turn taking by 60 months of age
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We Dont Need Autism Awareness We Need Autism Acceptance
Youve probably seen the bumper stickers, Facebook posts and the t-shirts calling for Autism Awareness. But as parents of children on the Autism Spectrum continually insist, our society is aware of autism. Its autism acceptance that we need. Though one in 68 American children are now diagnosed with autism, our society still treats autistic individuals and their families as social pariahs. To become a more inclusive society will take advancements in access to services, affordable health care, employment opportunities, Medicaid expansion, fair pay, and more opportunities for quality education.
More for Parents and Families:
We Dont Always Follow The Rules
There are many rules in life which we have to learn that are never taught. For example, we say thank you for a gift regardless of whether we like it, or asking if someone else wants the last slice of anything . The problem is, these subtle social guidelines are everywhere and, more often than not, autistic people break them without a second thought.
Obviously, it is not an autistic persons intention to break these rules, its just that, as the autistic mind works on absolutes , it can be a challenge to understand many of these acts wherein nearly all cases they go against how they would seem i.e. if someone asks how are you? they dont always actually want to hear how you are, they just want you to say fine and then you can move on.
Nevertheless, whilst autistic people arent great at getting the message when the message hasnt been made clear, we are incredible at memorizing what we are told and are brilliant at following instructions to the letter. Therefore, if theres some kind of rule that an autistic person doesnt seem to be following, just tell us. its not like we want to be naïve to this and, whats more, if you know we struggle and arent doing anything about it, well that, my friend, is perhaps more rude than anything we do.
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Let The Child Know What Will Happen Next
For example, After you finish the puzzle, it is time to brush your teeth, or In five minutes it is time to turn off the computer and start your writing assignment. For some children it is helpful to set a timer so the child can keep track of how much time is left. So in the example above In five minutes it is time to turn off the computer and start your writing assignment you would set the timer for five minutes. Some children need reminders as the time is winding down to 2 minutes, 1 minute, etc.
For children who have trouble understanding the concept of time or numbers, a visual timer can be helpful because the child can see how much time is left.
Visual timers can be purchased on or other online stores. Here are some examples below that you can click on to see prices and reviews.
With a red clock visual timer, children can see time running out as the red disappears.
Sand timers let children know that time is up when the sand at the top gets to the bottom.
You can even get a free visual timer app on your IPhone, IPAD, or Android device. Just do a search for visual timer in your app store.
See 3 Ways to Use Timers to Encourage Homework and Chore Completion for more information on how to implement timers for children with and without autism.
You would need to get the paper laminated and purchase Velcro to make this kind of chart .
If Possible Use A Schedule To Let The Child Know How His Day Will Go
For children who have trouble reading or understanding language, a visual schedule would be best. A schedule for after school could include eating a snack, doing homework, watching TV, playing a game with the family, reading a book, taking a bath and going to bed. A visual schedule at school could include math, reading, gym, lunch, recess, art, science, packing up, and getting on the bus. Below is an example of a visual schedule:
See How to Use Schedules to Improve Childrens Behavior for more on getting the materials for and utilizing first/then boards and visual schedules.
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Why Do Autistic Children Scream
This is an assumption that all autistic children scream. They dont. Lower functioning children on the spectrum scream because they like the sound of their voices and arent using them to talk. Or they have a health problem that they cant tell a parent or doctor about. Pain will make them scream too, and since their pain thresholds are already low, they scream when they even so much as feel a pin prickle.
Parents have to recognize what the different screams mean. Just as a scream of terror in a horror movie means one thing and a scream of surprised means something else in another, so the screams of autistic children who do scream have their own meanings. Watching for other non-verbal body cues help parents figure out why their child is screaming.
A particular form of autism spectrum disorder that only affects girls is called Cri Du Chat, which is French for cry of the cat. Its an extremely rare disorder but has become part of the spectrum because it attacks infant girls at the age of twenty-four months, the same time that autism begins to transform children who have it. Their cries, or screams, sound very much like the piercing cry of a cat being tortured, and will continue it for hours. Its very unnerving to hear and even more unnerving to be around the whole time it continues. Supposedly over time it decreases as the little girl grows and continues to regress in all of her abilities.
Top Challenges Faced By Siblings
Whether the sibling of an autistic child rich or poor, mellow or anxious, there are certain shared challenges.
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