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.
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.
It’s summer! The sun is out, the weather is hot and besides begging for ice cream your kids can’t wait to get in the pool. Now that swim season is among us, it is important to discuss water safety and how critical it is for children with autism. Many individuals on the spectrum are drawn to water, some of whom are unable to understand the dangers associated with it.
It is never too early to start teaching your child with autism the importance of water safety. It is good to expose your child on the spectrum to water at a young age so they can become comfortable around it.
The most obvious way to help prevent tragedy around water is to teach your child to swim or provide them with either public or private swim lessons. There are several organizations that teach children with autism how to swim. It would be worth while to research an organization like this near you.. Remember that special needs swim lessons aren’t just about swimming itself, but about how to be safe around water.
If your child has not yet been exposed to water, it’s not too late to start. Since many children with autism are visual learners, use visuals like picture cards or social stories to teach rules related to water. Staying safe around water is about more than just the ability to swim. A second component is making sure your child with autism understand the importance of water safety. Even if your child on the spectrum is a capable swimmer, they may still have an attraction to water that can lead to dangerous situations – like a river with a strong current, a shallow pool or an unsafe temperature. Make sure your child with autism understands all of the dangers associated with water.
It is also important to take precautions to prevent wandering towards water unsupervised. If your child is drawn to water, make sure to take the appropriate safety precautions to keep your child away from pools or other bodies of water.
It is also a really good idea to let your neighbors know about your child’s attraction to water so they can be on alert as well. Not only is it a good idea to let your neighbors know. It is also important to let any first responders in the area know of your child’s special needs. It is a great idea to call them and ask them to send you an Autism Elopment Alert Form that you should fill out and get back to them.
Now that you have the information you need to keep your child with autism safe, enjoy the rest of this incredible summer season!