Autism specialists can help parents restructure the home environment to create learning opportunities. For example, many children with autism have trouble using speech to make requests. An autism expert might advise a parent to place certain objects, such as preferred snacks, within view of the child, yet out of reach. This may encourage the child to get into the habit of requesting items. Initially, the child may only point at the item. Over time, he or she may learn to say the item’s name and later, to phrase the request in a complete sentence.
Parents can use similar tricks to help their children learn new vocabulary words. Many children with autism are visual learners. Parents can introduce new words and reinforce old words by narrating their own actions. For example, when parents pick up a child, they can say, “Up!” When they hand a child a juice bottle or snack, they can name the item out loud. This technique even works with flashcards. A parent might hold up a flashcard with the word, “Jump,” while saying the word and jumping up and down.
The Behavior Exchange offers behavior classes based on the evidence-based practices of Applied Behavior Analysis. Families in the Dallas area can call (214) 556-3947 for more information.
It’s often difficult for parents to ensure that their children eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet. Many children are picky eaters and would much rather eat ice cream than spinach. Unfortunately, children with autism are often exceptionally picky eaters. Some children with autism may only have a few foods that they willingly eat. At The Behavior Exchange, our autism therapists have extensive experience helping children with autism expand their mealtime repertoires.
With persistence and patience, it is indeed possible to convince a child with autism to try new foods. Our autism therapists will slowly introduce new foods to children, letting them explore their smells, textures, and tastes. This allows children to become more comfortable with new foods and eventually, to eat them. Our autism therapists also help children with autism develop stronger communication skills, which enables them to request the foods they want. Better communication and an expanded menu can greatly ease family stress.
Is your family struggling to help a child with autism learn desirable behaviors? Call (214) 556-3947 to schedule a consultation with an autism specialist at The Behavior Exchange, which is conveniently located near Dallas.
Raising a child with autism involves special challenges for families. Parents must devote a significant portion of their time to addressing the needs of the child with autism. Often, this has a detrimental effect on the relationship between the child with autism and his or her siblings. Siblings can also be adversely affected by the child’s autism-related behavior. When your family meets with an autism specialist , you may wish to discuss ways of strengthening sibling bonds.
Identifying Stressors for Siblings
Each of your children is unique. However, siblings of children with autism do share some common stressors. Many siblings experience anxiety about their parents’ stress related to caregiving. Some siblings may try to become perfectionists in an attempt to compensate for the child’s deficits. It’s also common for siblings to feel embarrassment about autism issues, particularly when they are around their friends. They may be jealous about the amount of attention the child is getting and they may become frustrated over failed attempts to interact with the child.
Helping Siblings Understand Autism
One way to ease siblings’ stress and promote family harmony is to help them better understand autism. Use age-appropriate language to explain autism-related challenges. For very young children, you might say, “Billy has trouble speaking.” Increase the sophistication of the discussion in accordance with the sibling’s age. Expect to have frequent discussions about autism as the siblings grow older.
Teaching Skills for Interactions
Fostering strong relationships often begins with teaching siblings how to interact with the child with autism. Siblings may wish to participate in an autism therapy session. Parents can also help siblings learn how to capture the attention of the child, provide simple directions, and use positive reinforcement for appropriate responses.
The Behavior Exchange encourages a family centered approach to addressing the challenges associated with autism. We offer training for parents and we encourage siblings to participate in our program. To inquire about our behavior classes for children with autism, call our office near Dallas at (214) 556-3947.
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