Therapy Strategies

Maximise Your Child’s Learning With Visuals

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Often when I chat to families about using visuals with their child they think about photos and visual scheduling to explain what is happening in their child’s day. Also families tend to think that visuals are a tool to help ‘low functioning’ children with autism.

However this is not true…

Let me explain why.

There are three primary learning styles;
Auditory, Visual and Kinesthetic (learning through ‘doing’).
Most people have one learning style that is more dominant than the others and prefer to use this when learning new things.

To illustrate this, the following image shows a very simple version of the differences between Auditory and Visual learning. Read more …

Nutty therapy idea that worked! Help improve the attention span of your child with autism

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Hey all,

Welcome again to our new readers out there!

Apologies that I wasn’t able to send out my regular weekly tip last week. I was fortunate to have a few days off with my family which was a very nice break.

This week I thought I would share with you a new and slightly ‘nutty’ therapy idea that I only trialed for the very first time this week. Because each of the children I treat are so unique, I’m constantly testing and trialing new therapy strategies to find out what works and what doesn’t in order to get the breakthroughs and results that families are desperate to see.

So I really wanted to share this one with you because it worked wonders for this client of mine, Sam.

It still blows me away how incredible it is that such a small change in therapy can make such a huge difference.

Read more …

Is there a ‘Magic Formula’ for Autism?

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Since you are reading this I’m guessing that the subject line may have grabbed your attention ;)

which is great because….

What I have to tell you today is very important. In fact it may change the way you think about just about every aspect of your child’s treatment.

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I often get asked to give families strategies to help deal with specific behaviours such as ‘toilet training’ or ‘picky eating’ or ‘poor sleeping patterns’.

It would certainly make my job MUCH easier if I could tell each one of you that ONE particular strategy would be the ‘Magic Formula‘ for solving each of these issues.

But the truth is…

because every child with autism (like any child) is so incredibly different and so unique, there simply isn’t a ‘magic formula’ or one strategy in particular to remedy these individual behaviours.

But there is a solution… so please read on. Read more …

Dealing with your child’s challenging emotions

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I was reading back over the questions that you posted me and there was a common theme emerging…

“What is the best way to deal with  my child when they are feeling upset, frustrated, annoyed, disappointed?”

I am pleased that this topic was raised because it is an area of treatment that I get quite passionate about and I would like to share my thoughts with you…

So often we are happy to engage with children (not just special needs kids!) when they are happy and joyous, but we tend to disconnect with them when they are experiencing more challenging emotions.

But why do we do this?

Feelings of frustration, sadness annoyance etc are all basic (and completely normal) human emotions that we all encounter on a regular basis. But when this happens to our own child we are naturally driven to find a way of making them feel ‘happy’ again by saying things like “Stop crying”, “You’re okay”, “Where’s your happy face?”, “It’s ok, how about we have something to eat”.

But all this actually does is disconnects us from what they are really experiencing and feeling, and we miss an important opportunity to ‘connect’ with our child and to help them learn and grow from the experience. Read more …

One Habit to Avoid for Better Communication

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Welcome again to our new subscribers out there.

I’m slowly but surely answering the emails that many of you have requested some help with…

Today’s topic…

How Avoiding this one little habit will help improve your child’s social and communication skills

Often children with autism can be very passive communicators and may only talk when they are spoken to or when they are very motivated to communicate something.

Sometimes when I’m carrying out assessments, parents tell me that their child is capable of stringing a few words together into a sentence, yet often the child will not utter a single word for the entire session which is very sad! This is because the child does not know how to share their wonderful thoughts with others yet.

One way that you can dramatically improve your child’s ability to actively share their thoughts and ideas with you is by reducing the amount of questions that you ask them. Sounds simple I know. But sometimes we have such a natural desire to constantly ask our child questions because we know that they understand many things and we want to try and ‘squeeze’ as much information out of them as possible!

Here are 3 reasons why you should avoid doing this… Read more …

The Key to Socialising with Peers – the next step

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In my last post I spoke about improving your child’s social skills, and how preparing your child with autism for successful play interactions with other kids is a step by step process.

As mentioned, your child will need to become competent at playing and interacting with YOU (their primary caregiver) before they have the necessary skills to be able to do this successfully with their peers. This is mainly because ‘typically’ developing children are not very patient and will not wait around if your child does not have the skills to participate in the game or activity that they want to play.

Step 1

Therefore, step one is to make sure that you equip your child with these necessary skills by teaching them how to interact well with YOU first. You can get more help learning these skills with the ‘7 steps to Unlocking Your Child’s Social Skills‘ audio which I use regularly with all of my clients.

Step 2

Once your child has mastered the skills from step one you can move onto step two, and begin increasing the amount that you expose them to peer interactions.

Please remember that to begin with your child’s abilities with their peers will not be as advanced as they are with you. It is important that you learn how to support your child through their play with peers so that you give them every chance of success by ensuring that they have a positive experience.

Here are 5 key strategies I use with my clients on a daily basis to help them build successful interactions with peers… Read more …

“My child wants to socialise with other kids but doesn’t know how”

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Hi all,

Thanks to those of you that sent me through your questions and comments in response to my last message. It gives me more ideas of the knowledge that you would like me to share with you. As mentioned, unfortunately I won’t be able to answer them all immediately, but over time I will certainly try to answer everyone’s questions.. so stay tuned!

A number of you were interested in knowing more about how to help your child socialise with other children. I may have touched on this topic before, but since most of these issues can be quite complex and in-depth, it can be quite valuable to revisit them from another angle.

So in relation to the topic of Socialisation with Peers it is important that you understand a few key things.

1. Signs that your child is ready to begin Socialising with Peers

A child’s ability to socialise effectively with other children comes very naturally once the child is interacting well with his or her parents/caregivers first. When your child is playing with you they must be showing the following skills: Read more …

Sharing vs Requesting Language

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Hello everyone,

Welcome again to our new readers!

Today we’re going to delve further into something I touched on a couple of weeks ago. The importance of using language to ‘Share’ vs simply ‘Requesting’.

I’ve also created a special audio sample for you to listen to so please read on…

Often children with autism will use their language to ‘Request’ for needs and wants like:

  • What they want to eat
  • Wanting a push on the swing
  • Wanting help to join the train pieces together

but they can find it very hard to ‘share’ their thoughts and ideas with us.

Such as sharing…

  • That they can see an aeroplane in the sky
  • What they did at school, preschool or day care
  • How they feel when their baby brother draws on their picture
  • Their favourite flavour of ice cream
  • Why they don’t want to go and play with their friend today

If children are only using their language to ‘request’ things and not to ‘share’ thoughts and feelings then it often means they are not using their language very much at all because they don’t need to request for many things in their day.

This can become an even bigger issue as the child gets older Read more …

7 tips for disciplining children with autism

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Recently some of you have asked for my opinions on the subject of disciplining children with autism.

Just a quick note. If you ever have any questions, comments or opinions to share, you can leave them at the bottom of the post.

This topic is very detailed and I handle this area of development very individually with each of my clients. As you can imagine there are numerous ways of dealing with situations. This depends on the age, severity level and personality of the child, etc.

I think the best way of getting this conversation started is to look at an email I received requesting some advice… Read more …

Help! My child finds it hard to concentrate

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Firstly, welcome to our new readers out there!

I thought I would share with you an email that I received from one of my clients. This topic is something that I am dealing with on a day to day basis in my work so I thought that it would be very relevant for many of you.

How many of you would love your child to be able to sit down and concentrate on a game, activity or piece of work for longer than minute or perhaps even a few seconds!???

Then Henry’s mum’s story will probably sound familiar to you…

“Thank you for putting together the Autism Essentials pack it has indeed helped us with our son Henry. We are going ok implementing the sensory diet but Henry is very physical and seeks movement activities all the time. So when we want to do something “low key” (eg: a puzzle) he really lacks interest and the balance between the two is hard to establish”

So what is a Sensory Diet and what can you do in these situations to help your child? Read more …