How many of you get ideas while walking or exercising?
There’s a scientific reason for it. Walking promotes neural connectivity and enhances learning.
What works for us, also works for children on the spectrum.
Once your child is regulated, he will be better able to sit at a desk and work with you.
Let your child experience it
Every concept need not be taught via flash cards.
You can actually build a lesson around simple concepts.
For example- you want to teach your child about fruits.
You could begin by sorting fruits.
Peel an apple or orange. Share and eat together. Connect emotionally while enjoying it.
Create an activity of putting the fruits away in the refrigerator or fruit basket. You can hand him the fruits and he can put them away.
Let him learn by experience. Enhance the experience with flashcards. Do not rely solely on flash cards.
Make it authentic.
Slow it down
A couple of decades ago, during my training, I was asked to prompt the child if he didn’t respond within one second.
Over the years, I realized this only led to frustration – in the child and in me.
Time is the best gift you can give your child.
If he averts his gaze to look away from you, don’t touch his chin or cheek to turn it towards you. Just hold space for him- he will turn towards you by himself.
This is the respectful thing to do.
It will create a trusting relationship between you and your child.
Once you give time, you will see behavior issues de escalating.
Include all modalities
Back the actual experience with pictures and words.
Once he sorts items of different colors, voice the colors. Show him how the color name is written. The ipad, used appropriately, is a great teaching tool. Find sorting color games your child may enjoy.
Read a story about colors.
Your job is to provide input in a meaningful way to to your child.
His sophisticated brain will put it together in a way he learns.
Use experience sharing language instead of instructional language.
We get so involved in ‘extracting’ from the child, that we don’t share our own thoughts.
Share your feelings- then pause. Does your child connect with you? Would he like to share something?
While you read a book about colors, comment on your favorite color and look at your child. Will he share his favorite color with you?
Don’t limit emotional sharing to words. Even if your child is non vocal, does he share via pointing or gestures. Do you see his eyes light up?
Invest in your emotions
Be present and joyful while you interact with your child.
Don’t view it as a chore to be completed to make him well.
Rather, enjoy the opportunity to connect with him/her.
If you find your interaction as a task, look deep within and introspect.
How fulfilled are you personally? Do you nurture yourself?