Monthly Archives: August 2015

Encourage your Child to Exercise

Physical fitness is important for everyone. It makes you healthier, gives you more energy and can improve your quality of life. The best way to turn exercise into a routine is to start encouraging your child on the spectrum to do physical fitness at school and at home. Outside of traditional physical education, encourage your child to join a sports team or, if team sports are not an option for your child, who has been diagnosed with autism, try finding fun activities they can do on their own.

Consistently making exercise part of a routine is important, but it is also important for your child on the spectrum to enjoy themselves while working out. Walking the dog, playing catch or summer swim time, are all great ways to get your child to go outside, get fresh air, get a light work out and most of all, have some fun!

Leverage the strengths your child on the spectrum has by encouraging them to do activities they enjoy. If they want to be part of a team, sign them up for soccer, baseball, or whatever sports they like. If they prefer to do something independently, recommend taking karate or swim lessons or maybe they prefer doing a family walk/run. Allow them tell you what activities will make them happy.

If your child on the spectrum doesn’t know what type of physical activity they prefer, or seems indifferent and would prefer not to do anything, maybe it’s because they haven’t found something that peeks their interests. Try introducing new possibilities to them. As a parent, it is important to expose your child to new activities through stories, movies, or sporting events.

Starting a new activity and committing to it, can be difficult for your child, who has been diagnosed with autism, so be persistent and set goals. Children like to feel like they have a goal to work towards. By setting realistic goals, children stay focused and strive to accomplish them in a set timeframe. Encourage your child to give a new sport a fair chance, so that they can truly see if they enjoy it or not.

Most importantly, be a role model. Your child looks to you as an example of what is good and what is bad. Don’t just tell them that being physically fit is important, show them. Children will learn the importance of setting a goal and sticking to it, when they see you do it. They will learn to try new activities and giving them a chance, from you. Set a good example for your children, it will help get them fit and will keep your family healthy, plus it’s a great way to spend quality time together.

Strategies to Help Your Child Transition During Routine Changes

It’s the time of year when you start thinking about transitioning your child, who has been diagnosed with autism, from their summer schedule to their school schedules. Since routines provide structure that many children on the spectrum need, here are a few strategies and ideas for developing routines that will help children cope with schedule changes.

Expected and unexpected routine changes are part of life. When your child’s schedule is about to change, it is very helpful to know the proper techniques to use to help them transition easily. The best tools to help develop a routine or cope with schedule changes are visual aids. Many children, who have been diagnosed with autism, benefit from a picture or written schedule that indicates the sequence of activities they should expect each day. Such tools provide reminders to help children transition smoothly from one activity to another.

A consistent routine at home, and in the classroom is important to help children on the spectrum. Drastically varying the order or time certain activities happen can cause tremendous stress for children, who have been diagnosed with autism, because they crave and thrive on consistency. With expected changes, take the time to speak to your child on the spectrum about what to expect and when to expect it. Create a chart or mark off a calendar, when summer comes to an end and the school year is beginning. By doing this your child understands that the routine they have gotten used to will change in a given amount of time.

Help your child successfully transition to a new routine by keeping your home, and their belongings organized. When it is easy for your child on the spectrum to find what they need for their new or changing routine, they feel more at ease with the changes happening in their life. Allowing your child to bring a security item (toy, blanket, picture) with them the first few days of a new routine, until they get used to it, will also elevate stress and help them transition.

Preparing your child in advance and making them feel comfortable with new routines will increase their chances of being confident, successful and less stressed when expected, and possibly unexpected changes occur in their daily routines.

Teach Your Child to be Kind to Others

It is important to teach your child on the spectrum how to act around others, especially how to be kind to others. Modeling kindness and practicing acts of kindness can help your child, who has been diagnosed with autism develop proper social skills. Here are some ways that Beautiful Minds Center believes you can educate your child to practice acts of kindness.

  1. Be a role model to your child – Your child on the spectrum looks to you to set a good example. When you say unkind things, they learn that this form of communication is acceptable. Try to speak positively about others around your child. Act how you would like your child to act around others.
  2. Use stories to show examples of kindness – By reading stories to your child centered on kind acts, you show them examples of how others react to given situations. Talk to your child about the actions the characters in the story take to be kind to others and teach your child different types of kind acts. It is also great to ask your child to share times when they were kind to others and when others were kind to them.
  3. Practice small acts of kindness – In addition to reading your child stories about kind acts, work with them on practicing kind acts on a regular basis. Teach your child to help others, create scenarios where your child on the spectrum can help someone and have your child role play what they would do to be helpful in each situation.
  4. Support a charity – If your child on the spectrum is passionate about something, find a way to turn that passion into supporting a charity or doing volunteer work. Charity and volunteer activities teach your child that even a small amount of time and energy spent trying to help a cause can make a big difference.

From setting a good example for your child on how to be a kind to others, to working with them on different types of kind acts, practicing kindness is something that every family should make a priority. Taking the time to be selfless and give to others will make each of you a better person and will allow you and your children to lead more fulfilling lives.