Photos are a fantastic tool for helping autistic kids learn and communicate - as conversation prompts and in schedules, social stories and picture exchange systems - so they should be an important part of whatever type of early intervention therapy you’ve chosen.
Think about the last time you left the house... what did you say?
We're going to the supermarket.
I'm going to work.
You're going to school.
Do you know what's missing? ... and we'll be coming home again.
Autistic kids often interpret language literally and miss the implied or assumed bits - if you don’t say it then it isn’t happening. So it's completely understandable that they might feel anxious about leaving the house (or letting you do it) for the simple reason that they don't know if they'll ever be coming back. Simply adding 'and then we come home' every time you talk about going somewhere can really help to reduce that anxiety, and help autistic kids cope better with the transitions that come with leaving the house.
Looking for a way to engage kids who spend a lot of time lining up toys? Get them to help you with jobs that involve sorting or order, like putting cutlery away in the drawer, sorting laundry into different baskets or stacking DVD covers.
It’s easy to run into problems with kids who are literal...
You: No cookies.
Him: Um, yes cookies...
You: No more cookies!
Him: Yes there are, look there’s a whole bag of them...
You: No, you can’t have any more cookies!
Him: Yes I can, look I can take the whole bag...
What looks like defiance might just be misunderstanding, so try this instead:
You are not allowed to have a cookie
It makes your meaning clear - he’s not getting a cookie because there’s a rule about cookies. He still won’t like it but at least you’ll both be on the same page.
Got hypersensitive kids who hate having their hair washed? Try one of these.
It's a foam-rubber ring that sits on top of the head, pulled down to forehead level where it acts like a balcony to stop water running down their face. It takes the anxiety out of shampoo time (and it's fun, like being in the rain without getting wet).
They're not expensive and you can find them on ebay and some pharmacies (just Google ‘shampoo hat’).
The world can be a pretty overwhelming place for kids with hypersensitive sensory systems. Lights, sound, colours, smells, the touch of clothes against their skin, the flickering of the TV screen... it all gets in and can be hard to shut off.
When things get to be too much they need an escape from all the stimulation. That's not always easy to manage though, especially when bedrooms are shared with siblings or you're visiting at someone else's house.
So here's a quick solution using something everyone has lying around at home!