Posts Tagged ‘social skills’

My child’s repetitive play is driving me nuts – Three things you can do

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By Monique Simpson | Speech Pathologist and Autism Specialist
As featured in Issue 02 of Autism World Magazine

 

I clearly remember watching my 3 year old daughter Siena playing with her dolls house. Back then she would put each of her little people precisely into bed with their blankets neatly folded before taking them all out to repeat the idea again and again.

Siena does not have ASD but she used to be quite an anxious child. Her need for repetitive play and predictably was merely a reflection on her internal world and needing to control her outside world. She felt comfortable, safe and motivated by playing in this way especially since so many other aspects of her day were not as black and white.

Take this example and then multiply it by hundreds for children diagnosed on the autism spectrum. There is SOOO much about life that does not make sense to them and this will certainly be reflected in their play on lots of different levels.

Many of the families that I treat understandably can be ‘driven nuts’ by the repetitiveness of their children’s play because at times it can be an ‘in your face’ reminder of your child’s challenges and basically because it can get boring!

There are so many things to consider when building the variety in play of children diagnosed on the autism spectrum. I have tried to simplify this into three key steps:
Read more …

Part 1 – Why ‘Play’ is SO Important for Children with Autism

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One thing that you need to understand is how important PLAY is for the thinking, language, emotional, problem solving and creative skills development of children with autism. So many people underestimate the importance of PLAY.

Ok. So how does play develop and what should your child be able to do in play?

Stage 1

From birth to 18 months of life, much of your child’s play will revolve around Sensory Play.

This means feeling different textures, learning about how their body feels when it is moved in different ways, listening to interesting noises like birds tweeting, the clock ticking and how different people’s voices sound different and can make interesting noises etc, etc. Their sensory play will continue to develop and become more complex during the first 18 months. Read more …

If you want more language you need to expand your child’s world

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One of the main autism symptoms or characteristics of children with autism is their language delays and slower speech development.

The ability of a child with autism to talk well is not just dependent upon having the motor skills to be able to shape sounds into words and words into sentences. But more importantly the child needs to have thoughts, ideas and feelings that they want to ‘share’ and communicate with others.

The reason that I want to talk to you about this today is because I had a session with a little girl named Sasha on the weekend. She is a delightful little girl who has many of the pre-verbal skills necessary to be able to talk and in fact she has already started to appropriately use some important words in her life e.g. more, go, biscuit… which is a wonderful start.

However it is very obvious that the area of development that is going to get in the way of Sasha’s language and speech development is going to be her ‘limited interests’ in her life. 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 …

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 …

What makes your child tick?

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People are often curious what is the ‘secret to my success’ when working with children with autism and I reply by saying… “I always work with the strengths and motivations of the children I treat.”

Working in this way is a ‘no brainer’ to me and it puzzles me why more professionals do not work in this way.

It doesn’t matter what your child is motivated by, you can always use this to build other areas of development. Let me give you an example… Read more …

Full Marks for Fabulous Teachers

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Today I experienced something at a client’s preschool which certainly added an extra spring to my step for the rest of the day…

It gives me such a buzz when I attend goal setting meetings at preschools and schools and the teachers truly celebrate the positive contribution that the child, diagnosed with autism, makes to the classroom.

This got me thinking…

‘Why are particular schools and preschools SO much better than others, for kids with ASD?’

Here are some of my initial thoughts that became very evident from my meeting today.

Read more …