About Me

A couple of years ago, I found my autistic child locked in a small cold cement cell at his school. The cell had no windows, no furniture, and was slate gray with low lighting. The cell was also sound proofed so parents and teachers outside wouldn’t hear him crying. I am writing this blog as a campaign to change the way these children are perceived and treated in our society.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

#28 101 Ways a Teacher Could Help a Child with Autism

Category:  General guidelines when dealing with autistic children

Suggestion #28:  A young autistic child will strongly associate their feelings about you with what you do with them and for them. 

We all do this to some degree, don’t we?  Both my sister and I love to plan things.  I believe that because of this, when they were little, my niece’s and nephew were always sooooo excited to see me!  And, why wouldn’t they be?  We always meet up with my sister at amusement parks, play grounds, swimming pools, pony rides, you name it!  Because of what we did together, it was easy to be the “fun” adult!
I believe that this connection between what you do with someone and how much you like them is even stronger for a young child with autism.   Please give me a moment, and I believe that I can explain why.  When you were a child, and your mother introduced you to someone she respected, you noticed how she treated that person, how she defered to that person.  Think of when she introduced you to your kindergarten teacher; you just knew that it was important for you to do what this teacher wanted.
Now, imagine that you are oblivious to social cues, and imagine the same meeting.  Imagine that you had no clue that your parent wanted you to respect this person, this teacher.  Now imagine that this person starts asking you to do this, to do that.  What has this person ever done for you?  Why should you stop playing to come inside, because they said so?  Why should you stop playing with these fascinating blocks and sit quietly and listen to the story?  Really, who does this person think they are?!?  I want to go home!!!

So, remember, there is always a connection between what you do with a person and what they think of you.  The younger the child is, and the less they understand social cues, and the less time that they have to know and respect you for other things, the more important it is going to be for you to establish a relationship with them through fun activities.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

#26 101 Ways a Teacher Could Help a Child with Autism

Category:  General guidelines when dealing with autistic children
Suggestion #26 If it is a new experience, do not expect them to be verbally responsive. Try to eliminate all unnecessary questions during the experience. Ask the questions after.

This isn’t only true of new experience, but also any situation in which that requires their concentration.  When they are focused on something, it is difficult for them to process what you are saying.  So, before they go into a new situation, give them directions and ask them if they have any questions.  It will be hard for them to ask once the activity has been started.

Friday, November 4, 2011

#27 101 Ways a Teacher Could Help a Child with Autism

Category:  General guidelines when dealing with autistic children

Suggestion #27:  They are not motivated to try to please people that they have just met.  Trying to coax or talk them into something they do not want to do may frustrate them.

My son is very shy when meeting new people, he doesn’t want to look them in the eye or carry on a conversation with them.  This is also true when he meets new adults or care givers that are supposed to be in charge.  Immediately, many adults who are placed in charge of children start to give them directions, even before the child becomes familiar with them.  If the autistic child doesn’t know you, they don’t understand why they should do what you say.  They may find you asking them to do something that is distasteful to them, and they will wonder why they should, or even if they have to listen to you at all.

Think of it from their perspective, if you went into a place and someone you didn’t know started telling you to do something that you didn’t want to, wouldn’t you be irritated?

In other words, try to make the first couple of times that you are in charge of the child as fun as possible, focus on what it is that they like to do.  Have the mother, or a care giver that they are familiar with, let them know the rules and tell them about the less preferred activities.