Challenges and Obstacles to Overcome
The goal is to enhance your child’s abilities and positive behaviors while decreasing their disabilities and negative behaviors. As with any child, you want to build on their strengths and improve on their weaknesses. Children on the Autism Spectrum are just wired differently. Children on the spectrum can get from A-C, but their B is just applied, processed and done differently. It can also take them a little longer to get to C, but it’s not impossible! Pave their path!
- There may be a delay in or lack of, learning to talk. Some people with Autism never speak, but many have gotten better, and their are some that defy all expectations!
- They may speak in an abnormal tone of voice, or with an odd rhythm or pitch.
- They may have repetitive use of language. They may repeat a phrase they heard previously over and over again. It’s called Echolalia. They are like little parrots.
- They may not seem to understand simple directions, statements, or questions.
- They may respond to a question by repeating it, instead of answering it.
- They may refer to themselves in the third person.
- They may take what is said by others very literally. It’s hard for them to understand Idioms, sarcasm, irony, and undertones in humor.
- They may have difficulty in making gestures such as pointing at objects.
- They may use language incorrectly (grammatical errors, wrong words).
- They have overall difficulty communicating needs or desires.
NONVERBAL WAYS OF COMMUNICATING
- IPAD APPS (I will share Nick’s favorite apps…coming soon)
- PECS (PICTURE EXCHANGE COMMUNICATION SYSTEM)
the cards are used to communicate in exchange for the desired item. It helps to eliminate frustration and encourages language. (We found PECS to be very useful with our child.)
Try using labeled PECS to work on nouns (People, places, things) by labeling and making picture boards, verbs(action words) by doing and showing word, prepositions by acting out when playing while showing word. I like to make my own and use real pictures of things in my son’s actual environment, but you can also purchase them right off the P.E.C.S. website.
- TWITTER: https://twitter.com/PECS_USA
- WEBSITE: http://www.pecsusa.com
make pecs board or book for person, places, things, action words
FIRST AND THEN BOARDS
MAKE A SCHEDULE BOARD
Signing Time Videos by Rachel Coleman
Teaching verbal communication to your child.. http://www.specialed.us/autism/verbal/verbal12.html
- May play differently by stacking, lining up or spinning toys, enjoys computers (ipads), puzzles, mazes, fact books
- While tantruming they may bang their head, bite or scratch themselves or others.
- Gets nervous, upset or frustrated when can’t communicate wants and/or needs, when plans change, things go out of order, or when senses are over stimulated. May self soothe (Stimming).
Common self-stimulatory behaviors:
- Hand flapping
- Rocking back and forth
- Spinning in a circle
- Head banging
- Staring at lights
- Moving fingers in front of the eyes
- Snapping fingers
- Tapping or covering their ears
- Lining up toys
- Spinning objects
- Wheel spinning
- Watching moving objects
- Flicking light switches on and off
- Repeating words or noises, humming
I found these resources for dealing with challenging behaviors and I wanted to share them with you. They have helped me, so I hope they will help you too!
MOTOR SKILL CHALLENGES
Can be impaired due to neurological problems and sensory processing. They have difficulty with body awareness, balance, and motor control.
- Fine motor skills such as writing, drawing, getting dressed, brushing teeth
- Gross Motor skills such as walking, jumping, swimming, playing sports, riding a bike
- Abnormal posture, clumsiness, or eccentric ways of moving (walking exclusively on tiptoe, flailing arms, etc.).
Very sensitive by their heightened senses (5 senses- sight, sound, smell, taste, touch) Can feel overstimulated by them and try to self soothe to tune them out.
- Reacts unusually to sights, smells, textures, and sounds. May be especially sensitive to loud noises. They may want to self soothe to tune out over stimulation from sensory overload. (cover ears, rock, tap things, verbal noises)
- May be picky eaters due to smell, texture, taste, or color of certain foods.
I got this information below off Temple Grandin’s website.
What are the most common sensory therapies?
- Deep pressure such as rolling up in mats, weighted vest, squeeze machine or weighted blanket to help sleep.
- Slow swinging 10 to 12 times a minute for calming
- Brushing the skin with soft brushes for calming (Wilbarger Method)
- Irlen lenses and pastel-colored paper to help with reading. Pale colored lenses help a subset of children with autism or dyslexia with reading. When the child picks the right pale color that works for them, the print will stop jiggling on the page. Often pale pink, light blue or light tan sunglasses are helpful. More information is on the Irlen website. Try printing reading materials on different pastel papers such as light green, light blue, tan, gray, lavender, and light yellow. The child must choose the paper that works best for them. Children who respond well to colored lenses and colored paper often cannot tolerate 50- or 60-cycle florescent lights. If possible, get the child away from florescent lights. They can see the flicker of florescent lights and they make the room flicker like a strobe light.
- Chewing Activities – Some children respond well to having things to chew. Chewing activities will calm them down. They need oral stimulation.
- Balls and other items to hold in their hand and squeeze. This helps some kids sit still.
- Auditory Training – There are a number of CDs and devices for auditory training. The child listens to music that has been electronically modified. For some children, auditory training may help reduce sound sensitivity and improve the ability to hear hard consonant sounds. Some auditory training programs are very expensive and the results are highly variable and may not be worth the cost. Try simpler methods first such as speaking slowly to the child to help him hear hard consonant sounds. Singing is helpful for some children and they may be able to learn to sing words before they can learn to speak them. Singing coupled with careful enunciation of hard consonants, such as the “c” and “t” in cat may be helpful.
Social & Emotional Function
*You may have to practice with your child to get comfortable with wearing headphones first.
SOCIAL INTERACTION CHALLENGES
Social issues are one of the most common symptoms in all of the types of ASD. Basic social interaction can be difficult for children with autism spectrum disorders. Many kids on the autism spectrum seem to prefer to live in their own world, aloof and detached from others.
- Challenges making eye contact.
- Challenges reading social cues such as non-verbal communication. They have a hard time reading facial expressions to pick up on feelings or emotions of others (Ex. smile, frown, shaking of head)
- Challenges understanding when they are standing too close to you when speaking.
- Challenges with social awkwardness
- Challenges expressing their feelings and emotions.
- Challenges understanding or talking about feelings.
- Conversational challenges- It’s hard for them to start a conversation or even continue one once started. They
understand things very literally. They have a very hard time understanding Idioms or sarcasm.
- Challenges with appearing “cold” or robotic-like.
- Challenges Role playing, or imitating others
- Challenges engaging in group related games or activities.
- Challenges using their imagination for play or creative writing.
- Challenges in engaging in shared enjoyment eith others.
- Challenges connecting with others, playing, and/or making friends
- Challenges sharing interests or achievements with others.
- Challenges in changing patterns, routines or schedules, needs to prepare for change, pre planned schedules with reminders. Likes predictability.
- Challenges with surprise unexpected situations, or when things are out of place. Needs things in a special spot. Likes things planned and scheduled with reminders.
- Challenges sharing and taking turns
“MY TURN” “YOUR TURN”
- Challenges in seeming interested or aware of other people or what is going on around them. (Doesn’t seem to hear when others talk to him/her.)
- Challenges being touched, held, or hugged
- Challenges with needing more time to process things
Here are a few ways to help your child with social interaction and development… http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/documents/family-services/improve_social.pdf
This website has a lot of great tools for teaching social skills that you can use… http://autismteachingstrategies.com/free-social-skills-downloads-2/
You can also create social stories that may help prepare your child in advance for specific situations they may be facing.
HOW TO WRITE A SOCIAL STORY
12 Computer Programs, Websites And Apps For Making Social Stories http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2013/02/11/12-computer-programs-websites-and-apps-for-making-social-stories/
OFF WE GO! books prepare children for everyday experiences and improve language and social skills.…
UNUSUAL INTERESTS, INFLEXIBILITIES, OBSESSIVE BEHAVIORS AND ACTIVITIES
- May repeat themselves (when stuck) or you (echolia). Little parrots.
- May play differently with toys, books, etc. (lines them up, stacks, spins, etc.)
- Likes computers (ipads), puzzles, mazes, fact books, stacking or spinning toys
- Limited interests in activities or play
- Unusual focus on pieces, things, or moving objects and for long periods of time
- Preoccupation and obsessive with certain topics
- Memorizes and recites facts about maps, license plates, train schedules, or sports statistics,etc.
- A need to follow rigid routines
- Has difficulty adapting to any changes in schedule or environment
- Preoccupation involving numbers or symbols.
- Repeats the same actions or movements over and over again