April is Autism Awareness
We believe that our youngest son has Autism. Whatever it is he needs help. We have just received his final statement.
It does not look like he will get into the school of choice unless we have evidence that his main difficulty is in Communication and interaction. As he is going to be assessed for Autism they want to wait until after this decision has been made, to then take the “evidence” to the panel (which is looking at around October). So he shall, hopefully (another complication that should sort itself out) go to the local primary, where his brother is, until then at least.
Underlying Differences with Autism
- Obsessive and repetitive behaviour.
- Tantrums caused for peculiar reasons.
- Resistance to change.
One of the positive things about children with Autism is that they enjoy routines. Independence skills can be built up using consistent routines, which help the child to understand and remember the requirement.
Social praise such as “good boy” or “well done” is less tangible for children on the Autistic Spectrum. More tangible rewards are needed.
We have to take into account our son’s sensory sensitivities. He is funny about the taste and texture of his food. He very rarely will eat things with mixed textures. Realising this has helped a lot with his eating – for example we no longer put milk on his cereal. That he needs it to be dark to sleep, if anyone puts any light on upstairs whilst he is asleep then it will disturb him. Certain sounds he’s started to cover his ears and/or back away from – hand dryers, the toilet flushing. He appears to be sensitive to touch, once whilst having his hair cut a piece of cut hair brushed against his face and he upset himself so much he was physically sick! He doesn’t like to be touched unless on his terms. He can kiss you and still wipe it off his mouth afterwards.
Things that can help:
Keep language simple. Say what we do want not what we don’t.
Use visual aids.
Motivating reinforcers – tap into your child’s obsession to achieve what you want.
Small steps – for example sitting at the table but not eating/using cutlery/manners.
Consistency – the child is going to be resistant to change, so make sure you are ready and continue with your new routine. Ensuring everyone who deals with the child has the same strategy.
In small steps you help the child do the activity – then slowly encourage them to independently do each of the small steps, reducing one at a time that they are helped with.