Best 10 Strategies for Dealing with Augsburg & Autism
Every parent needs to have a set of “autistic coping tools” for toddlers to older children with autism. Here are 10 highly effective strategies for helping to reset autistic children:
1. Let Your Child Know What to Expect
For example, after finishing dinner, tell him it will be time to switch off the computer within ten minutes and begin writing his essay. So in this example you would set the timer for 10 minutes. Some children need an extra nudge and providing additional reminders as the time is winding down helps to keep them on track.
If your child struggles to understand the idea of time, a visual timer can be very helpful when the child sees how many minutes or seconds are left.
2. Set Expectations, Be Consistent, & Follow Through
For example, if you communicate that you will play a fun board game with him only if he plays nicely while you speak on the telephone, ensure that you keep your end of the deal. Or, you can offer him a choice of what activity to engage in during that time when you are busy talking on the telephone. If your child cannot tell time, set a timer near him, get off the telephone precisely 5 minutes, and play the board game. If you do this all the time consistently, your child will learn what is expected and will believe in what you say. In addition, as his behavior improves, reward him by increasing his play time. Once he demonstrates that he can play independently and nicely as you chat on the telephone, you can now phase out that rigid set-up; but it’s a highly effective starting point to teach how to behave while you talk on the telephone.
Beware: if you do not implement expectations via consistency and follow through on your promises, your child will not know what to expect, and this may lead to challenging behavior and needless anxiety.
Young people with ASD thrive on predictability. Thus, do your best to make everything as predictable as possible. A good example of predictability is having a set routine every evening. Bear in mind that problematic behaviors usually unfold when circumstances or situations are not predictable.
3. Acknowledge Your Child for Obeying Your Requests
For example, if your child is talking very loudly in a movie theater and you ask him to whisper instead, praise him with a remark like “great job whispering.” This praise will further help reinforce positive and cooperative behavior, and also teach about being considerate about other people in the movie theater.
4. Communicate to Your Child Exactly What to Expect and Let Him Earn Privileges for Fulfilling Your Expectations
For example, if your child usually explodes into tantrums in department stores because he cannot visit the toy section, tell him precisely what you expect of him prior to him going to the store, and reward him with a privilege for complying with that expectation. You can say: “We are going to Walmart to shop for school supplies, and then we will pay and return home.” You can offer reminders once in the store and praise him if he’s behaving. “You’re doing such a great job following the rules.”
Tell him if he may earn a privilege for complying with rules such as receiving a sticker, playing a video game at home, watching a favorite TV show, using the computer, or staying up 20 minutes longer past his bedtime. When he earns the privilege, praise him with positive language. In the above example you can say: “You followed nicely the rules at Walmart. We bought the pens and paper, paid, and went home. Great job! Now you may enjoy 30 minutes of computer time.” Ensure that the privilege is something your child really wants. You can allow him to choose what he would like to earn next time.
Children not fully grasping language, often respond much better to visual cues, physical prompting, or demonstrations than verbal instructions. Some autistic kids walked nicely in the hallways after someone demonstrated how, instead of saying “walk nicely.”
5. Offer Choices
All children, including those with developmental and neurological disabilities, want to feel some sense of control over their world. Most children benefit from having options limited to only two to four choices, for they can easily become overwhelmed with a sea of endless choices and can’t decide. For instance, choices can be: “Do you wish to play a game or watch TV?”, “Do you want jelly or butter on your toast?”, “Do you prefer to wear a black or yellow t-shirt?”
6. Use a Schedule So Your Child Will Know How His Day Will Go
A schedule for after school can include working on homework, eating a snack, watching TV, playing a game with friends, reading a favorite book, showering, and turning in for the night.
7. Distract and redirect Problematic Behavior
For example, if your child is running at Walmart, remind him or demonstrate how to walk nicely instead of saying “stop” or “no.” If possible, spot something very interesting in the store and draw his attention to it, rather than focusing on the negative behavior.
8. If the Child is Over-stimulated from Sensory Overload, Take Him to a More Peaceful Place to Destress
Be aware of circumstances when your child may feel overwhelmed prior to taking him there such as a crowded festival or park.
9. Make Directions Concrete, Short, and Clear
For example, if your child is tossing food at the dinner table, say “Eat your food” instead of “Please behave yourself at the table.”
Or show the child a picture of the conduct you want to see, if he has trouble understanding language.
10. When Assigning Chores & Tasks, Most Children Do Better Knowing When the Task Will End
Examples of activities with an obvious ending are puzzles, a certain number of math problems, ten pages to read, or a timed event. Or you can specify a task by saying: “Place 15 toys in the bin. Or “spray the windows two times and clean them with the paper towel.”