Secrets of Autism

In this page you will learn some helpful tips about autism that you may not know of.

Sometimes for autism, it's best to teach him when he's at a low stress level, that way he is able to focus more better on the task that he is doing/working on.

Sometimes autism are bothered by visual distractions and florescent lights. He can see the flicker of the 60-cycle electricity. 

Some non-verbal autism can't process visual and auditory input at the same time. They are mono-channel, they can't see and hear at the same time. He should not be asked to look and listen at the same time. He should be given either a visual task or an auditory task. I think that's why Adam sometimes touches lips so that he can understand what is being said to him.

Sensor issues can often be mistaken for behavioural problems. ex. he may have some difficulty sitting in a chair upright from time to time, to avoid embarrassment he might fidget  to better process his body, or get out of his seat often or lean back on the chair. He in turn will present as a boy who "won't" stay seated properly.

Play is an open door into engaging him the start of teaching relationships with him.

Benefits to swimming with him are increase in swim skills, attention, muscle strength, balance, tolerating touch, initiating/maintaining eye contact. The pool is a good location to work on,

 -transitional stress

- social interactions

- body awareness 

- tactile processing

- vestibular processing

- visual processing

Water activities can provide him with the opportunity to embrace change.

In the pool he may find a "safe spot", it's a good idea to work in the "safe spot" and the leave the "safe spot"for a while, the return back to it.

A good game that can be used is simon says. It's used to assess and encourage proprioceptive awareness. Make use of the game to teach better body control or make use of wet items such as towels.

Sometimes when he's non-verbal and may seem like he's not paying attention, he is still taking in everything that is going on around him.  He is listening to you even if he is not looking at you. Not being able to talk does not mean he doesn't understand you or that he has nothing to communicate. 

Teaching generalization is often a problem with autism. To teach generalize, ex. not to run across the street, it must be taught in many different locations, that way he will lear that it's just not in that one spot. 

Remember that behaviour is communication, and he may communicate with inappropriate behaviours. Some people may forget to use his alternative system, ex. like his ipad proloquo. 

Sometimes it's good to not always use his name at the beginning of each instructional cue. Gain his attention, pause and the give instructional cue. If you begin each instructional cue with his name, he might only attend to his name and no content of the instructional cue.

It's helpful if you show him what you mean

Autism does not naturally know how to ask for help, it's a social skill that needs to be taught.

To help him with eye contact is to be consistent in asking him to look at you whenever he want wants something, You may not get it every time. 

When he asks for something what you can do is hold the item directly in front of you face and request eye contact. When he looks to get the item use affect to reward his glance and make it into a game, consistency is the key with autism

You can make use of his stims. While stimming is typically preformed to gain a sensory or satisfy a physical need, if you join in during these periods you may gain a quick glance or other feedback and have communication to build on.

When he is having an autistic meltdown please remember to try to remain calm, and not panicky or frustrated. This calm help him pick up on your calm energy and can help him to calm down.

If he is getting to hyper and out of control, don't be tempted to react by shouting to get him to stop, in an overcrowded or noisy.busy location, it is likely  that the environment is overstimulating him to begin with, and shouting at him will make things worse. To calm him down get him regulated and remove him from the location and use a soothing activity, always remember to counterbalance his loss of control with calm words and gestures, and help him reorganize and regain focus and attention.

Sometimes he may need you to be completely quite.

Sometimes you may see him chewing on his shirt or objects, or putting things on his mouth. The reason for him doing that is he's trying to help himself stay regulated and calm.  You may sometimes have to give him something appropriate to chew on or put on his mouth. 

Sleep time ~! ? We've all herd that sleep is important...wich is it, it's like recharging ur iphone when battery is low :P Sleep can be difficult for autism. It's difficult for him because he doesn't have a regular sleep routine so when a routine is put into play, it's hard for him to adjust it. 

He may not be able to sleep because of a change in routine, something that he's obsessing/fixated on, may have to use the washroom etc. It's not always easy knowing what the reason is. 

You can't just say ok it's time for bed, the time process related to preparing him for bed can be extensive  due to the number of prompts required to take all the steps. He might not respond to you or may try to put up a fight to not go to bed, remember to stay calm but be firm with your tone of voice, not angry firm, just calm firm to constantly help him move forward. 

If he's in a bunk bed he likes to sleep on top, this helps him feel safer from the ground. He may try to get up and out of bed, a technique you can do is if when tries to get up u can place your had over his chest to prevent him from getting up, this will help  him understand that he can't get up and has to respect your actions that you are doing to him. He may try to push your hand away but just remind him that it's bedtime and that he needs to stay lying down in bed, and keep you hand above his chest. He may sometimes test you until he realizes that you won't give up. 

Using his weighted blanket helps him feel secure of his space in bed. Melatonin can help him sleep. It works best for him if he swallows it rather to placing it under the tongue.

As said earlier emotions are hard for him to understand, a strategy that could help him learn about emotions is to label them. ex. if he's having a tantrum, giving him a description of how he's feeling will help him understand, learn and manage his feelings, but just remember to work on the feeling after he's calmed down. You can use his proloque or pecs to describe the emotions

Just because he has autism is no reason to steer clear of consequences for unwanted behaviours. He will be able to sense weakness and may even take advantage if you let him get away with unwanted behaviours.

Don't count to 3 or 10, he will learn that he always has that long and you didn't mean it the first time. He needs to know his boundaries. 

Use positive discipline methods that works. Many people may use time outs or take away privileges as there top 3 discipline options, If those methods aren't working for you it can be frustrating and can lead to more arguments if your not feeling successful. 

He may show signs of aggression either to himself or towards other's or to items. One of the best things to do is to remove him from the environment he's in. If he is hitting or biting or kicking, try to stay as calm as possible, but let him know in a calm yet firm voice that what he;'s doing is not ok, and use you name, ex "you are hurting dad" instead of saying "you are hurting me", he isn't always able to understand the word me when in that state of mind, it's easier for him to picture dad, because he knows what dad looks like, it's hard for him to picture "me" because he doesn't know wut me looks like from another person. If there's more than one person, and he's biting one of them and the other person says "you are hurting him" again he can't picture that, it has to be "you are hurting dad"

It may be best to remove other people who don't know about autism, don't know how to work with autism that well, or has the wrong type of energy for that moment, he needs calm energy around him to prevent from unwanted attacks.

You can give him choices that you are comfortable with.

The calmer you are the safer he will fell, wich can help prevent tantrums from escalating more.

You may use a quite space for him to be at so he can retreat when he needs a break.

It can be difficult to understand what triggered the tantrum, it could be ex. a scent that he picked up that isn't fond of, crowds, noise, sight, it could be anything, and I mean anything, so don't feel like you did something wrong. Sometimes it could be something that happend a few days before and he started to fixate on the old problem and may have a tantrum, it's not always easy knowing what's going on.

Usually an autistic tantrum or meltdown is actually a call for help, a please to notice that the stress level has overflowed.

Sometimes you may be able to prevent a meltdown if you have learned his signs. Never try to teach during a meltdown, it won't work, he's in the wrong state of mind. If you are sensing a tantrum about to happen you can help redirect his focus, you can distract him with other things that may catch his attention or prevent him from being in a specific place. You can change the subject, just basically anything to help him focus on something else. Sometimes it may not work but it doesn't hurt to try.

Autistic tantrums may scare you in his intensity, but they are typically a cry for help or understanding or even pain. It's a communication issue and he is afraid as you.