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Teaching caring and kindness to children with autism is an important part of social-emotional development. Having empathy and kindness towards others improves the quality of everyone's life. It also allows us to understand how others are feeling and develop greater empathy for others. This helps us better understand how to respond appropriately when others are in need. These important social skills allow children to connect socially and emotionally with others and develop stronger relationships and friendships.
Building with blocks is a favorite pastime for many young children. They’re available in different sizes, colors, textures, and types, making it suitable for children of any age and ability level! Building blocks can also be used in a variety of educational and fun ways. This article explains how to use blocks to support gross and fine motor skills, cognitive development, social and emotional development, and math and science skills. Blocks also provide a good avenue for helping children learn to play and play while learning!
Online gaming has been shown to improve social skills in teenagers with autism. It is estimated that more than 41% of adolescents with autism spend the majority of their leisure time playing video games, versus 18% of neurotypical peers. Social interactions don’t always come easy for teenagers with autism. They may lack social initiation, experience challenges connecting socially, and difficulty reading common social cues. Struggles in navigating social situations can lead to a lack of confidence, bullying, and isolation. “Theory of mind” is the ability to infer others’ thoughts and feelings in social settings. Teenagers with autism can use online gaming as a way to: practice communication, build meaningful relationships, and boost their theory of mind. Gaming offers fun, low-stress environments for teens to build their social skills!
Topics: Teen (13-17)
There can be many benefits to having a service or therapy dog, such as an autism assistance dog, for children with autism. The following article provides information to help you decide if a dog is right for your child with autism.
Children with autism frequently have delayed language development. For children with autism who have developed language, understanding or using parts of speech correctly may be difficult. While many children develop language skills incidentally, parts of speech such as prepositions, opposites, pronouns or verb tenses may be more difficult and require explicit instruction. Understanding parts of speech are important because it shows how words relate to one another in a meaningful way and allows for clear communication.
For children with autism, language skills can be taught using 2-D and 3-D matching skills. Matching is the ability to see two things and recognize that they are the same. Matching skills improve concentration, train visual and short term memory, attention to detail, classification skills, and improve vocabulary. For children with autism, developing these matching skills helps them physically identify and describe relationships between objects which leads to the development of learning language skills. Matching games offer a clear end goal, which is comforting to learners and helpful for teachers and parents.
Teaching children with Autism to follow simple directions is an important skill for them to learn. The ability to follow simple directions allows opportunities for your child to gain independence, regulation skills, communication skills, productivity in daily routine tasks, and practice gross motor and fine motor skills. Having these skills are important in school environments, home, and other natural settings. Children can gain the ability to follow simple directions to:
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced schools, offices, stores, care centers, and other businesses to close suddenly. While these closures are important to ensure the health and safety of all families, the disruption in routine and navigating unforeseen circumstances can leave families of children with autism stressed and anxious.
With schools and learning centers staying closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus, families and students are finding themselves having to adapt to learning from home.
Topics: Early Childhood Education, Inclusive Education, Advice for Parents and Caregivers, COVID-19 Emergency Response, Infant/Toddler (0-3), Elementary (4-12), Teen (13-17), Young Adult (18-21), Parents, Adult (22+), Articles
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is currently causing concern around the world. The CDC has declared a Public Health Emergency for the U.S. The situation and number of cases are changing daily. Many have noted the lack of hand soaps, sanitizers, and disinfecting cleansers in stores as people are stocking up. For families of children with Autism, staying germ-free can especially be a concern for children who have not developed proper handwashing skills or hygiene skills, in addition to everyday germs that children encounter at schools, care centers, and other activities.
For children with autism, making healthy eating choices can be difficult. Children with ASD are five times more likely to have challenges with meals than their peers. It is common for them to have repetitive, ritualistic habits, which can affect eating. Children with ASD may have especially strong likes and dislikes to certain foods, relating to taste, smell, color, and texture of the item. Some children do not eat enough, due to extreme food selectivity or difficulty focusing during eating. For some children, because of their limited food choices, they experience frequent constipation or stomach pain. Medication can also affect a child’s eating habits. For example, some common stimulant medications may reduce appetite.
Preparing your child with Autism for classroom routines is important. Whether it’s the start of the school year, transitioning back to classes from school breaks, or a refresher, common classroom routines can be easily adapted to suit your child’s needs and practiced in and outside the classroom. It is helpful to meet with the teachers and therapists working with your child to understand what their daily schedule in school is like to make a plan for how your child can be supported and successful.
Children’s books featuring children with autism are an easy and entertaining way to introduce the topic of autism to your children, family members, friends, and your child’s peers. Children’s books offer simple, accessible explanations and illustrations that can help children and others better understand autism and some of its symptoms in a lighthearted manner. These children’s books emphasize messages about friendship, community, and understanding.
Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscle movements. Fine motor skills are the ability to make movements in our eyes, wrists, hands, and fingers. Many everyday tasks require strength, dexterity, and fine motor skills. Fine motor skills need to be learned and developed as children get older.
Acupuncture treatment may help your child’s autism symptoms. Acupuncture is a treatment where needles are inserted into the skin to target certain nerve or pressure points. Research has shown acupuncture to be an effective treatment for children with ASD in areas of verbal communication, social skills, behavioral concerns, food sensitivity, and noise sensitivity.
Safety and preparation for emergency situations is a concern for any child, but especially for children with autism, who may be unable to communicate or respond correctly in emergency situations.
Sports are a unifying, fun way for individuals and communities to connect. For individuals with autism, participation in athletic events may be difficult due to the loud, chaotic environments or exclusion from participating. The Special Olympics and Unified Sports are programs specifically created to be inclusive of athletes of all ages and abilities in participating in team sports.