Monthly Archives: April 2017

Teaching Children How To Behave In Group Settings

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Sometimes fun social events can be very stressful for a child on the spectrum. Group gatherings such as assemblies, plays, places of worship, and sporting events are meant to be fun ways to spend quality time with family, friends, and peers, but when a child with autism has a difficult time functioning in a large group, it is time to figure out ways to help them enjoy they types of events.

Here are some helpful recommendations on how to make a group activity, r event more relaxing and enjoyable for your child with autism:

1. Let Them Know What to Expect: Before the event, provide your child on the spectrum explanations and visual tools of what to expect when they are in a large group setting. Depending on the activity additional expectations could include sing with the group, clap when other people clap, or raise hand to ask a question. You may also want to print out a list of these expectations and give them to your child during the event.

2. Videotape your child’s role playing: Role play different social events with your child and videotape them correctly demonstrating skills. Edit the video to show only correct behaviors and then play the video back to them. While they watch the video verbally point out appropriate behaviors.

3. Practice before an Event: It is always good to practice going to a specific event right before the even takes place. Go through each step from attending the event, proper behavior while at the event, when to cheer, when to listen, etc and what to do at the end of the event before leaving. This can be done at the actual venue or at home or school.

4. Be Realistic: Sometimes no matter how much you plan, some events will just not be appropriate for your child with autism. They may be too loud, slow paced, or too long, your child may not be interested in attending and give you a hard time, etc. When you, your family and your child’s friends throw events it is always important to set realistic goals, that way the event or activity is more pleasant for everyone.

5. Reinforce Good Behavior: Provide your child on the spectrum with positive reinforcement during the event for attending and following rules. Use what is truly motivating for your child to encourage them to continue to be on their best behavior and participate appropriately at the event.

Learning to follow rules and behave appropriately in large group settings such as assemblies, places of worship, or movies can be challenging for many children, but can be extremely challenging for a child that has been diagnosed with autism. Some events repeat frequently and provide frequent opportunities for practice while others may occur every few months or sometimes once a year. Regardless of how often an event or activity occurs, or how many large events your child on the spectrum attends, it is always important to remind them of the skills they have learned in the past and teach them new skills to help them participate, stay relaxed and have a good time, no matter where they are or where they go.

Teaching Cooperation Through Fun Activity

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Cooperation skills build the foundation of a happy life. Children on the spectrum, who acquire several important skills such as sharing, turn taking and following instructions, will have a much better chance at succeeding in school, in relationships, in group-projects/group-play and other extra-curricular activities.

A great way to teach cooperation to children that have been diagnosed with autism is through fun; engaging activities while at home, in school or out in the community. Here are some activities that are sure to help teach your child on the spectrum how to cooperate, while still having fun!

To start off it is important to create rules so that you can properly teach your child to wait, take turns, and follow directions. Some great ways to do this is through activities such as cooking, gardening, and Art. Here, we break down the importance of each activity to further help you understand why they help children on the spectrum learn to cooperate.

Cooking – By turning cooking into a small group or family activity you are able to divide the work and have your child practice skills such as measuring flour or water, counting the correct amount of eggs, pouring liquids, stirring etc. Start off by showing them a written or pictorial recipe and work with them step by step to complete it. By cooking dinner, or baking cookies your child will learn to follow directions, wait their turn and share the responsibility of creating part of a meal that they can enjoy later.

Gardening – Children can be given individual responsibilities while gardening with their parents, siblings or peers. From potting seeds, planting flowers, digging holes and watering, gardening can provide the opportunity for continued cooperation for weeks to come. It is not only a one time project, but a continuous responsibility to make sure the flowers are growing, getting enough water and sunlight, and to make sure there are no weeds growing etc.

Art – Working on a group art project, such as a collage is also a great way to build cooperation skills. It will allow your child to be assigned a task, such as cutting pictures out of magazines or gluing pictures down on poster board and take turns picking what pictures they want to incorporate into the collage and where they want to place them.

Role playing is also a great way to teach your child, that has been diagnosed with autism, cooperation skills and helps then learn to discuss good choices. Role play can incorporate many different subjects, situations, and conflicts.

Decide what you feel your child is struggling with and use role play exercises to help guide them through it, and to figure out the best possible outcome. Reenacting situations and discussing alternative responses will help your child on the spectrum become more cooperative at home, in school and while in social situations.

Lastly it is important to provide your child, who has been diagnosed with autism, the opportunity to practice these skills on their own. Some great ways to do this is to:
Assign your child chores, such as

Laundry (separating lights from darks and discussing what items of clothing go in what pile).

Putting the groceries away (What goes in the refrigerator? What goes in the freezer?

Ask them to create a plan of where things should be put away to keep the refrigerator and freezer organized).

Playing games is also a great way to practice cooperation skills. Many games naturally lend themselves to determining teams, resolving conflicts, and being cooperative.

When you encourage your child to play games and discuss the issues that come up, you allow them to practice the cooperation skills that have acquired. Some great games for this task are:

A scavenger hunt – this is a fun activity that requires collaboration and problem solving, and possibly breaking up into small groups and working together.

Board games and card games – can also often be made into team games that require team strategies and cooperation.

Teaching your child the proper cooperation skills will allow them to build stronger relationships, have more social interactions and thrive better in society. Take the time to help your child on the spectrum learn the proper ways to cooperate and watch them obtain the social skills needed to live a fulfilling life and reach their fullest potential.

Finding Opportunities To Learn New Skills

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Sometimes we’re so focused on the task at hand that we miss great learning opportunities . It’s important to find every day activities that your child on the spectrum can relate to in order to practice new or emerging skills.

Use the strategies below to turn almost any activity into a fun learning opportunity!
Make sure your have your child, who has been diagnosed with Autism’s goals are always on your mind and pre-select skills to work on during activities. The first step is to make the most of your child’s experience when you choose a skill to target. Encourage your child on the spectrum to learn from other children by pairing them up with their peers who all have different strengths and give this group of children roles that develop their skills while doing an activity like an art project, group skit, etc.

Use every opportunity you have to practice these skills in different settings and while engaging in different activities, to always keep your child who has been diagnosed with autism interested. Assign a regular task that involves interacting with peers or adult and look for impromptu moments for skill building.

If your child with autism shies away from group activities, try to use materials that encourage their learning process. Many children on the spectrum would rather select independent activities rather than group activities. Although everyone needs time to themselves, plan activities where that you know your child will be interested in so that they want and have to interact with others.

Prevent skill regression by letting your child with autism be the experts and use skills they have already mastered and intermix them with new or emerging skills throughout the day. Plan events where they are in charge of the activity or are paired with a peer to be the group expert. These opportunities will allow your child on the spectrum to practice and demonstrate their skills to family and friends.

Family and community activities often are viewed as breaks from learning, but they are great opportunities for practicing existing, emerging, and new skills.