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TIPS FOR PARENTS FOR CHILDREN WITH ASD
- Be consistent: Individuals with ASD have a hard time adapting what they have ve learned in one setting (such as the therapists office or school) 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 ABA sessions 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: Individuals 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, 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.
- Reward good behavior: Positive reinforcement can go a long way with individuals with Autism Disorder, so make an effort to catch them doing something good. Praise them when they act appropriately or learn a new skill, being very specific about what behavior they’re being praised for. Also look for other ways to reward them for good behavior, such as giving them a sticker or letting them play with a favorite toy.
- Create a home safety zone: Carve out a private space in your home where your child can relax, feel secure, and be safe. This will involve organizing and setting boundaries in ways your child can understand. Visual cues can be helpful (colored tape marking areas that are off limits, labeling items in the house with pictures). You may also need to safety proof the house, particularly if your child is prone to tantrums or other self-injurious behaviors.
- Look for nonverbal cues: If you are observant and aware, you can learn to pick up on the nonverbal cues that persons with ASD use to communicate. Pay attention to the kinds of sounds they make, their facial expressions, and the gestures they use when theyre tired, hungry, or want something.
- Figure out the need behind the tantrum: It’s only natural to feel upset when you are misunderstood or ignored, and its no different for individuals with Autism Disorder. When individuals with ASD act out, its often because youre not picking up on their nonverbal cues. Throwing a tantrum is their way of communicating their frustration and getting your attention
- Pay attention to your childs’ sensory sensitivities: Many individuals with ASD are hypersensitive to light, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Others are under-sensitive to sensory stimuli. Find out what sights, sounds, smells, movements, and tactile sensations trigger your kids challenging behaviors and what elicits a positive response
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