Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How To Help Your Autistic Child Develop Social Skills

In this article I am going to tell you how to help your autistic child develop social skills. The reason I am going to tell you how to teach your child this is because with the right tools and strategies, you can help your autistic child reach their full potential when it comes to communicating meaningfully with others.
In this article I am going to teach you
  • How to turn normal every day activities into fun, learning events
  • How to make interactions with your child more meaningful
  • How to engage with your child and keep conversations going and
  • How to teach them something without appearing to be in teaching mode
Every day events such as meal times, bed time, bath time and travel time can be turned into a fun time where you can interact in a meaningful and productive way with your autistic child.
For example at meal times you can talk to your child about where different foods come from and encourage them to plant and tend to some seeds.
Face your child if possible and ask open-ended questions that encourage your child to answer. Stress certain words, speak slowly, say less so your child does not have to process too many pieces of information
If your child appears stuck or fixated on one topic, talk to them about what they are interested in but then introduce a new idea such as "I wonder what the dinosaurs' favourite food was?
Then give them time to answer and follow with something like "mine is ravioli" and change topic to something about different foods to buy for dinner etc.
This way your child does not notice you have switched topic and almost by distraction you will engage them on other subjects.
Keep bringing the child back to the topic you want to talk about unless it becomes very clear they simply are not interested at that time. If this is the case try later!
Books can also be used for teaching social skills especially ones that are visual, imaginative or have a clear story or lesson to be learned.
Get your child to follow along with what is happening with each character and help them with understanding why some character is saying, what they mean or are thinking and what is really happening in the picture between the different characters.
Using visual aids such as pictures or drawings or even writing words will help explain to your child what you mean when you seem to be at a stalemate.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How To Determine The Best Autism Treatment For Your Special Needs Child

In this article I am going to tell you how to determine the best autism treatment for your special needs child. The reason I am going to tell you this is because each autistic child is unique and has different strengths and weaknesses so there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to determining the best autism treatment for your special needs child.
In this article I am going to teach you the questions you need to ask first to determine the best autistic treatment for your child the types of autism treatment for special needs children, and how to determine the most appropriate autism treatment tailored to meeting your child's needs.
When considering an autism treatment, it is important to ask yourself the following questions which will help point you in the right direction.
1. What are my child's strengths and weaknesses?
2. What is the main concern I have that I want to address for my child?
3. What is the main skill I want my child to have, that they are lacking at present?
4. What activity does my child like that could possibly be incorporated into a treatment?
When you can answer all these questions you will then be in a better position to look at an autism treatment that best suits your child.
The types of autism treatment available include Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), verbal behavior intervention, Gluten Free (GF), Casein Free Diet (CF), occupational therapy (OT), Sensory Integration Therapy, Relationship Development Intervention, Speech therapy, PECS, TEACCH, and Floortime.
Some of the above therapies address behavioural issues, developing social skills and communication. Other therapies are for sensory issues, motor skills development, emotional problems and dealing with food intolerances/sensitivities.
To select the best autism treatment for your child, you need to do your research and ask questions of the specialists working in this field. The program you select needs to address what is covered in the numbered bullet points above.
Try to observe a therapy taking place even if it's a video presentation, talk to other parents of special needs children, and ask how the treatment is structured and how progress is measured.
See if this program meets the needs identified for your child and ask for an estimated timescale for achievable targets and objectives. You need to be confident that the therapy selected will fit in with your child's needs and abilities work with their strengths and develop areas in which they are week.
Do not be afraid to ask for feedback and regular progress reports so you can gauge how your child is responding to the autism treatment. This way you can assess whether a different treatment needs to be sourced.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How To Implement Teaching Strategies And Training For Autistic Kids

In this article I am going to tell you about implementing teaching strategies and training for autistic children. The reason I am going to tell you about this is because autistic children often have a limited learning style and struggle to adapt to new ways of learning information such as in a classroom setting.
In this article I am going to teach you
  • how to recognise the learning style of your child, and
  • how to help your autistic child adapt to a new learning style
Learning to recognise the learning style of your autistic child is the first thing you need to identify before you try to introduce any more new concepts for training your child.
For example your child may process information visually so looking at pictures, reading books and looking at how something is done will help them learn new information.
If they respond by learning using their auditory senses, then listening to someone teach, listening to a recording or to music will stimulate them to learn.
Alternatively if they are kinaesthetic learners then they respond to touch and will need movement breaks and a certain amount of "practical demonstration" for information to sink in.
Most people use at least two of the above to process information where as autistic kids seem to focus mainly on one learning style to the exclusion of the other two.
These are the areas that need to be developed and how they are developed will depend on the learning style to be worked on.
For example if your child is a visual learner, try talking about what is happening as it is happening and check periodically for comprehension. This will encourage them to develop their auditory skills where they will learn how both are related and used to learn.
If you child learns more through physical stimulation, try to incorporate visual and or auditory elements into the training so that they learn to respond to different stimuli.
If your autistic child fixates on something; to break the deadlock incorporate their interest into a story by starting off talking about what they are interested in and then deviating slightly by introducing a new twist such as "that train looks the fastest I have ever seen, I wonder would that train take us to the Zoo?" (and then talk about the Zoo).
Be persistent in trying to introduce new ideas to your child to open their minds to new things.
The above provides a general guide to implementing teaching strategies and training for autistic children, use this information to help your child learn to the very best of their ability.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Other Health Impairment: When Does Your Child With a Medical Diagnosis Need an IEP Instead of a 504?

Other Health Impairment is a disability category under the United States federal law, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Many parents are unaware that their children with chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome are eligible for an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Just having one or more of these diagnoses does not make a child eligible for special education; the disability must also adversely affect your child's educational performance.
Many children have one or more of these diagnoses and function quite well at school and have no need for a specialized plan. In general, school personnel have worked hard to learn how to accommodate the needs of children with health impairments. Many children with health impairments are put on a Section 504 plan based on the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This is not the same thing as an IEP. A 504 plan usually offers the child accommodations to help them be more successful in the general education setting. 504 plans may be adequate for many children with health impairments. However, there are three conditions that often markedly affect children's educational performance; attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Tourette syndrome.
Many schools will put children with these three disorders on 504 plans first, rather than assessing them for special education. If your child only needs accommodations, then a 504 plan is great way to assist your child, with a health impairment, to be more successful and to not be discriminated against. If the 504 plan is working then there is no reason to look for alternative solutions. However, if your child is on a 504 plan and their behavior is not improving and you believe their educational performance is being significantly affected by their disability you may want to request a special education evaluation.
IEPs are much more comprehensive than 504 Plans. Accommodations are only one part of an IEP. IEPs also include annual goals and objectives tied to the core content standards and specific service delivery from special education teachers and/or related services personnel (such as Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists and Behavior Specialists). Although they are both based on United States federal laws with similar procedural safeguards, students who exhibit significant behaviors related to these disabilities are usually better served with an IEP. If your child does not qualify for an IEP, then a 504 Plan would be the next best thing. If you decide to request a special education evaluation, put it in writing. Each state has laws in effect pertaining to how long after the school district receives the request that they need to meet with you to have you sign permission for an evaluation to begin.