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"The Autistic Brain"
When I was in elementary school during the 1950’s all children were taught basic social skills the same way. When I visited a friend’s house and I made a table manners mistake, I was corrected by my friend’s mother. The methods and rules were the same at home, at the neighbors, and at school. All corrections were calm. There was no screaming or yelling.
1. Use Teachable Moments – When a mistake in social manners is made, never scream “NO, stop it, quit it or cut it out.” Instead give the instruction on a calm voice. Some examples are:
2. Most important skills taught under age 8.
3. Excessive praise is bad - When I was very young, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) methods were used to teach me to talk and lots of praise was used. This was required to get my speech started. By age four I had learned to talk and ABA methods were phased out. After I learned to talk, constant praise was stopped. Praise was reserved for something really special such as a really fabulous art project or singing at a concert. The following activities and behaviors were not praised. In the 1950’s, children were expected to do the following. This may not work for a nonverbal child.
Saying please when making a request and thanking another person for doing something I requested was always emphasized. In many situations, saying thank you was a form of praise. At the dining room table, my sister would ask me to pass the serving dish of green beans. When I passed it, she said thank you. To effectively teach children the parents also have to practice good manners and say please and thank you.
4. Temper Tantrums- When I had a temper tantrum at home or at school the penalty was no TV for one night. Mother and my elementary school teachers worked as a team. If I had a temper tantrum at home, she put me in my room and let me scream it out. Thirty minutes later when I was calm, she invited me back to join the family, but there was no TV tonight. Mother always handled it calmly.
4. Oppositional Behavior - Provide choices to help prevent oppositional behavior where a child always says No. Below are some examples:
Autism and Sensory Issues often go hand-in-hand. It is common to have sensory issues that affect both behavior and perception. However, Sensory Processing disorders are not necessarily affected by Autism.
Many experts feel that the focus on sensory issues today is where the focus on autism was in the 90's. As the interest on autism has exploded since then, they believe that sensory challenges will become the primary focus in the future . . . even more emphasized than autism. Go to www.sensoryworld.com for more information.
There was a question submitted to Dr. Temple Grandin this past month from an individual researching to prove Sensory Therapies are crucial elements to improve the quality of life for children with ASD.
Below are the opinions of Temple in regards to Sensory Therapies.
Why is it important to consider sensory therapies?
For some individuals with autism, sensory therapies are very beneficial. Autism is highly variable and a sensory therapy that works well for one child may have no effect on another. Some of the most common sensory therapies are the use of deep pressure for calming, slow swinging, heavy work activities, and the brushing method. Sensory therapies performed by an occupational therapist can help some children to be calmer, more attentive and may aid in speech development.
How do you assess the sensory therapy a child needs?
Children who seek deep pressure by rolling up in blankets or who get under mattresses are the ones most likely to benefit from deep pressure. In small children, deep pressure can be easily applied by rolling a child in heavy mats or getting under bean bag chairs. In many individuals, the squeeze machine or other devices that apply pressure are calming. Deep pressure is most effective when it is applied for 20 minutes and then removed for 20 minutes. Kids that like to swing may benefit from it. Some children may be able to speak more easily while they are doing slow swinging or sitting balancing on an exercise ball. Weighted vests help some children and do not work for others.
A sensory diet simply means that at certain intervals, a child may need a break to calm his nervous system down. Sensory problems are on a continuum from mild to severe. Children with more severe sensory problems will need more frequent breaks to calm down an over aroused nervous system. During these breaks, the child can engage in sensory activities that are calming. It is often best to have the breaks at scheduled times to prevent accidentally rewarding a child for throwing a tantrum. If the child gets sensory breaks after he/she behaves badly, he/she may behave badly to obtain more breaks.
What are the most common sensory therapies?