Me and my kiddo

Me and my kiddo

Monday, November 1, 2010

Autism Conference: Generalizable Tid Bits

I had the pleasure to attend a full day conference entitled: Supporting Children with High Functioning Autism and Aspergers Syndrome in the Elementary Setting (K-5th).

It was so cool to go to a conference center and sit down in front of a TV and join 18 other sites from across the state calling in to listen to this material.  All the sites could interact with the presenter too, asking questions directly which the other sites could here.  It was very cool!  

The screen showed presenter / slides / books and it showed whomever was  asking a question.  I had this nice room to myself except for a few hours in the middle.

I figured I would share the generalizable tid-bits from my notes:

• Kids will often say "I don't want to" when "I don't know how to start" is the problem.

• Consequences: 
-Don't think punishment, think of a better way for them to communicate the need and offer that alternative.
 - All behavior is communication.  When dealing with an undesirable behavior, add the word "need".  "Why does (child) NEED to do (challenging behavior) to get "their" way?"
•Thought filter-  The idea that any thought is OK, but it is filtered by thinking before action.  You can do a neat activity by showing kids making coffee in a pot with and without a filter.

• Develop a personalized 5 point scale for your child.
- One axis: 1(calm) to 5(meltdown)
- Columns for each topic:
It looks like
It feels like
"I can try to calm down by"
I need the adults near me to"
(This can be a great activity for parents/teachers to do too.)

Finally, I took away a slew of useful tips for my kiddo's recess challenges and this great way of describing one of his key challenges with adults:
-High functioning kids with Autism LOOK typical, but it is vital to understand the neurological disorder and to work at root causes when dealing with their behavior.  They are often *deceptively verbal* because they have a huge gap in their ability to take perspectives.  This manifests in numerous ways, but is particularly problematic in classrooms where, if they think something, they automatically think that you know what they are thinking.

My kiddo has made so much progress in these areas, but he still struggles and it was great to have the forum for asking questions, discovering resources, and... enjoying the bonus of save myself 5 hours of driving because of this awesome technology!
(Taken last week) My kiddo developed pretend play two years late (typical for kids on the Autism spectrum), but he's doing pretty darn well now!   I just love his enthusiasm  :)

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