Monthly Archives: August 2017

Help Your Child Understand Class Rules

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Helping your child on the spectrum understand classroom rules and expectations is a priority at the beginning of the school year. Since your child with autism has to make the transition from his summer schedule to a new school year schedule, we found that it was important to help parents take the proper steps to posting, presenting and reinforcing their new schedule and new school rules.

1. Find out classroom rules and post them at home – To get your child with autism used to specific classroom rules, it is always a good idea to get a copy of the classroom rules and create a poster board, list or picture board that is posted in a location that is easy for your child on the spectrum to see. This you’re your child acquainted with the new rules and provides a visual children can refer to if there are questions about the rules.

2. Review Regularly – At the beginning of the year, it is important to review these rules with your child with autism daily. As time passes, your child will need less frequent verbal reminders, but they still may need reminders at the beginning of the week and after returning from a break.

3. Enforce Rules at Home– It is also important to discuss the importance of the classroom rules at home. Maybe even enforce some of the rules in your home. Start with the ones that your child on the spectrum has the most trouble following.

4. Address Other Rules – Classroom rules are not the only rules your child with autism should learn and live by. The home, cafeteria, playground, hallway, friend’s homes, relatives homes etc all have different rules. Although broad rules such as respecting property and people may cover different areas, prepare your child on the spectrum for expectations across environments by addressing rules specific to each environment they visit.

Helping your child on the spectrum understand classroom rules and expectations is a priority at the beginning of the school year. How rules are developed, posted, and reviewed is important for a child with autism.

How To Manage Stress

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A new school year brings on new teacher, new friends, a possible new environment… and new stresses.

Stress is a part of life even for everyone, not just children on the spectrum, but a child who has autism or other behavioral need some additional help learning to cope with difficult situations that can cause them stress.

Here are some ways that you can help your child on the spectrum cope with stress:

1. Create a Safe Word or Place – Communicate with your child with autism on the importance of them letting you know when there is a situation they are in that is uncomfortable to them. Take the time to help them come up with a safe word (code word) that they can say to you when they find themselves feeling stressed about a given situation. If they are experiencing stress at home or at school talk to them about finding their “safe place” – their bedroom, the classroom, etc. That way when they feel like things are becoming overwhelming for them, they can go to their “safe place” and unwind before rejoining a group activity, a family party, etc. It is also good to practice taking a break in places where there is no quiet area and to practice stepping away from a stressful situation, counting to ten, or visualizing a calming environment.

2. Role Play – it is important to be open with your child on the spectrum about things that can occur in school and the community that can cause them stress, such as not getting their way, being made fun of or called names, hearing the word “NO” from a peer, family member or teacher etc. It is ideal to prepare your child with autism for situations like this. One good way to do this is to cerate a set of situation cards (think of the game clue) have 3 sets of cards that allow you to pick a location (school, grocery store, park etc.) a situation (not being picked for a team, not getting a toy you want, not being able to play with a friend etc.) and some phrases that your child might hear in a situation like this (you’re to slow, we don’t want you on our team, you can’t have that candy bar, it’s not your turn, etc.) pick a card from each category and role play the situation, all the while talking to your child about appropriate responses and behaviors and throwing in other situations that can arise in that particular situation. You can turn this into a family game and each person in your family can take a turn picking cards for everyone to act out. This will allow you to show your child with autism how to overcome obstacles and make good choices even in stressful situations.

3. Find A Way To Help Reduce Their Stress Reducer – Giving your child a stress ball to squeeze or directing them to jump on a trampoline, taking a deep breath and counting to 10, are just some examples of how your child with autism can exert their energy in a positive way when under stress. Teach your child on the spectrum to resort to using their items rather than reacting physically when they find themselves getting stress out or upset to help calm themselves down and regroup.

The Importance Of Being Kind To Others

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School is back in session and your child with autism will be netting new people and building new relationships. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.