Celebrating Achievements.

Posted on: February 21, 2012

I’ve been reading through my blog posts and I’ve seen that a lot of things I write about are about the ‘bad’ sides of Autism – to raise awareness to those who don’t understand what its like to live with someone who has an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

For this post I want to celebrate the good times.

Often we are so overcome & distracted by our constant fights to give our children the education they deserve, or the ignorance of people who judge our children or the meltdowns and the daily struggles we go through, whether it be breakfast times, or getting dressed, bath time and just general play time that we sometimes forget to mention the wonderful, sometimes breathtaking achievements our children make.

In the past week A has had his haircut – which to some people is nothing, its just what it is – a haircut. But because of hyper-sensitivity to sounds and because of fear A is terrified of having his hair cut/shaved and last week although he was distressed, crying & had to be held down he sat there and hardly put up a fight, often pointing to the part of his head he wanted to be done next, with tears rolling down his face but I was so proud of him.

He’s also been copying more words that we say. As all of you will know A, is non-verbal and has very little spontaneous speech but these past few weeks he has been copying lots of different words we say and at nursery his 1-1 support said that he said ‘Sausage’ whilst rolling some dough in his hands.

He’s also been interacting more with us & family members, albeit through watching Mario mostly – he will make better eye contact and try his best to get our attention which often results in us copying gestures or sounds he makes – this is a massive achievement for A, especially for his social communication, even though we can’t recognise what he is saying he doesn’t give up or be quiet he carries on & smiles throughout.

We’ve also been doing baking with him as some of my twitter & facebook followers will know. Its been lovely being able to do something ‘new’ with A and see him enjoying it so much.

Not forgetting he asked for a drink (jink)

Its so important that we ignore the bad behaviour (please don’t be mistaken at these being meltdowns as a meltdown always will have an underlying cause which cannot be helped only over time hopefully be controlled) and over-praise the good moments, however small. There’s no greater motivation than praise – and we are making the most of that now as A is really recognising when we he has done something good.

Praise is great for instilling confidence in your child and making them feel good about themselves.

Some parents I know use reward charts, where a list of things you want your child to do be it, 1, 2, 3 or more things are clearly labelled with a space for a sticker if its completed, maybe with a reward at the end of the week..
The things you may want your children to do can vary, from..

Using the Potty
Good sharing
Listening to Mum/Dad
Being good at school everyday
Washing yourself in the bath

Rewards don’t need to be expensive, if your child enjoys bedtime stories, promise an extra one. Buy your child a magazine or a book or simply take them to the park.

Never promise a reward you may not be able to carry out.

Also make your rewards appropriate to the achievement, for example one sticker for one time sitting on the potty – not 3 new toys for sitting on the potty – because don’t forget once you begin rewarding you will have to carry it on.

Symbols can be used for those children who are non-verbal to show them their reward or for them to choose a reward.

Stickers are cheap & easy to use, they are visual, but all Autistic Childrens visual needs will vary, some may need a reward straight away, whereas others can withstand the wait until the end of the week once they have collected the desired amount of stickers.
– A loves stickers but we aren’t quite at the reward stage yet as he doesn’t quite understand if he does something good he will be rewarded, so we just stick with a thumbs-up or a high-five.

Other rewards that can be used are foods/sweets/chocolate especially for those who will need their reward straightaway – I think most of you will agree food is a great reward, a fantastic motivator.

I asked my twitter followers to hashtag #ProudASDMoments last week & tweet me with their childs achievements, and I had a great response.

Please feel free to celebrate your childs achievements and/or reward systems you use (or don’t use & why?) by writing them in a comment below.

Remember what may be ‘nothing’ to one person, means the world to another.

L x


5 Responses to "Celebrating Achievements."

Reward charts are great at motivating postive behavious, especially when your ASD child is very visual. We used a “behaviour” chart for my son when he was at school. It incorpared a “good sleeping” section too. The more smiley faces he got during the course of the week added up to a certain amount of time on a Sunday when he could choose what he wanted to do for “golden time”, the less smiley faces, the less time (sorry if that sounds a little bit complicated!) but it worked wonders for him, he used it for years. With my asd toddler, we are like you, she doesn’t understand reward charts etc, but does respond to a lot of praise, and like you, lots of high fives! She looks so pleased and happy when we praise her (although it might look like we are acting over the top lol!). Celebrating our asd childrens’ achievements is so important 🙂 xx

Thanks again for including me in the loop for reading the blog – I find them all massively informative and interesting. This one is no exception 🙂

Great idea, listing the positives. I remember the first time my son hugged me back, he was about five, and when he said, “I love you, Mom.” I have a little miracle in my midst — learning and loving through his journey. With Joe, I had to switch reward ideas every few weeks, as he quickly got bored. I’m happy for you that your were proud of your son and the haircut. I understand how much those seemingly “little” events make a difference.

My son now 13 has aspergers and from the age of 4 I made up photos of him doing things ie getting dressed,cleaning his teeth which was always a battle ground, tidying toys ect this worked well for us as he got older I used his pictures on a White board to show him what was expected of him and in which order he needed to do things ie get dressed before put on a coat and shoes. We also gave a reward for this and after a 2 year fight with his school to get help to get him diagnosed at which point he was 8 years old and labelled as naughty by the school I managed to talk the school into supporting him for a term to show them how I done things at home thus make life easier for him to understand and for the school to understand what was needed of them like if he made it to break time without talking out of class he would get a magnet put on the board and so on the some for up to lunch and after lunch to home time this on good days would add up to three magnets at school and a possible two more at home if he got all five in a day he would get a hot wheels car his obsession at the time and if he did not get all five we would start a fresh the next day. I done this off of my own back as I had no help or information about aspergers or pecs or anything to do with asd I had to find my own way though all I have talked about not to mention the statement process which took me 2 years of long hard frighting to get my son the educational help he needed and still needs. But because of my fight he now is and has had a full statement with one to one in every lesson and has developed from the naughty boy that he was labeled to a child with aspergers getting gcse grades of D + at his age and expretted

To get A stars by the time he leaves school he is my angel sent from heaven I love him just the way he is xxx

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