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In comparison to children of the same age, A is really behind with self care skills which makes our daily routine with him quite difficult & sometimes very frustrating.

A cannot brush his teeth (although he tries) he cannot dress, wash, bathe or dry himself. He also cannot go to the toilet – he’s still in nappies.

While we take getting dressed for granted, putting on a t-shirt is actually a long sequence of complicated movements for any young child.

A hates anything touching his head, he will push you away or moan, sometimes cry or become very anxious so to dress him can be really stressful – he will run off or try and pull the clothes off him as I’m trying to put them on – he’s not a small baby anymore so when he’s putting up a fight as to not get dressed it can hurt.

Certain materials can really irritate him, anything with a collar usually ends up being chewed & some clothes come straight back off seconds after putting them on.

When it comes to bathing A, its simple enough to get him into the bath but it takes a lot of negotiation to be able to wash him – we’ve began letting him wash himself – he can’t do it – but he thinks he can & that gives him great self-esteem. Try and wash his hair though and your in trouble, he will scream/cry even tries to climb out of the bath – he cannot stand anything touching his head, he becomes anxious & upset – its all sensory related & I’ve been told that I could actually be causing him pain through touching his head.

Changing his bum is also a problem – we went through a very long phase of literally having to hold A down whilst changing him & then doing it as fast we could, he would kick out and scream at even the most gentle touch – we had to put youtube videos on our mobiles for him to watch whilst we changed him – at nursery he still has to hold something or watch running water from the tap so they can change him.

Brushing his teeth is also an ordeal, we will brush them as fast as possible – as A gets so distressed, as though we are hurting him – sometimes he clamps his mouth shut or fights us to stay away.

All of these situations happen on a daily basis & in Autistic children its not uncommon.

Its so tiring caring for a disabled child – because that’s what A is – that’s what all Autistic children are. You can’t see their disability but its there and it will be there throughout their lives & what I’ve just explained is just a small part of living with Autism & the daily struggles that most people take for granted.

L x

In yesterdays post I wrote about limited interests and the effect it can have on both parent & child.
A, really struggles with the concept of sharing and taking turns, what’s his is his & what’s mine is his also.

One of the main impairments of Autism social interaction – which will always be with A but it can improve. A doesn’t play with other children properly, he will approach them spontaneously but usually ‘hugs’ them for sensory integration or acts inappropriately or to others ‘oddly’ If they approach them he either doesn’t notice or pushes them when they get to close to him – he can’t socialise appropriately as he doesn’t know how to & such situations can cause him to have a sensory overload.

We have tried many times to aid his social interaction by teaching him to share & take turns, needless to say we’ve had very little success. He gets frustrated, often aggressive & at times very upset – that’s why he prefers to play alone, its on his terms, its uncomplicated & less overwhelming.

Every ASD person share problems related to social skills, some more severe than others;

Conversational skills (Greeting somebody, joining a conversation, verbal turn-taking, listening skills, talking about a particular topic, awareness of personal space, ending a conversation.)

Play skills (observational skills, joining play, turn-taking, sharing, compromising, coping with ‘no’, coping with losing, reciprocal play, ending play.)

Understanding emotions (reading facial expressions, reading body language, voice quality – intonation, pitch, speed, awareness of own body language, having a large emotional vocabulary, anger management and self-regulation skills)

Friendship skills (Just like many of the above but also things like knowing what a friend is, and being able to choose appropriate friends, recognise true friends from false friends, develop the ability to share a friend, deal with peer pressure.)

All of the above are vital skills when developing relationships, most of them come natural to you and me but to a person with Autism they take longer to develop as they have to be taught & it can be very isolating for them.

So I thought I would share with you another method I was taught at Early Bird, People Games.

A people game is an interaction routine which involves adult & child taking turns, communicating and enjoying themselves.

The game should be SHORT. (A song or tickling)

Get your childs ATTENTION – try to look & sound interesting, be on their level.

Play the game REGULARLY, always in the same way so rules are easily learnt.

ENCOURAGEMENT to join in, begin taking turns – this could take a while to grasp but stick with it. (Stop if your child is getting to distressed)

HELP them to understand when its their turn by slowing down waiting, and exaggerating your voice or actions at that part of the routine.

TRY making up your own song that relates to the child, replacing a word in a nursery rhyme with their name for example.

Choice of people game will depend on your childs awareness of other people, his/her interests and where they are development wise.

IDEAS FOR GAMES

For a child who has a short attention span who is reluctant to sit still…

Rough & tumble
Running up and down the room

For a child who can respond non-verbally…

A song with actions

For a child with some words…

Again a song, but stop and wait for them to fill in the missing word, don’t wait to long but give them a chance to respond.

A child with more language

Songs – Old MacDonald, Wheels on the bus – Songs that give your child opportunity to join in or use their own words on request, example: the animal or the horn. Give your child enough time to process and wait for them to join in on request – if they don’t respond after you’ve joined in – just carry on & try again

Games should be

Short
Fun
Repetitive
Small steps
Turn taking opportunities
Motivating

The aim is to encourage social interaction & communication & taking turns but its important not to expect too much to soon, it could take a while before your child grasps the idea.

Any other suggestions for games or any comments please share as always.

L x


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