How To Teach Your Autistic Child Like A Pro… And More
Hello Dear Friend,
I’m going to answer 3 questions that came my way this week.
Question 1: I have a problem with my child’s engagement.
He knows what to do, but I see the glazed look in his eyes. I can tell he’s not interested. He does it for the sake of doing it.
For example: If he’s adding pizza toppings, he adds all of them to one pizza and in one place without realizing there are 3 more pizzas and he should spread it out.
Another example: If he puts shoes away in the shoe rack, he just puts them away anywhere they can fit. He doesn’t put them in properly.
What can I do to help him?
Answer 1: This is a great question about mindfulness.
Start with a demonstration. Demonstrate slowly.
Voice what you are doing. For example: I’m putting capsicum on this pizza.
Then pause: “I’ll put some on the other one too.
Pause: Look at your child is he observing you? If he is, go ahead with the next topping.
Then give him an opportunity to add the toppings on the next pizza.
If he appears to be disinterested, do it with him. Co participate.
Say, “ you add one piece, I’ll add another.”
Do this till he no longer requires any assistance from you.
Be persistent. Do similar activities everyday.
Keep in mind: it’s about the process of learning. Not the final product.
Encode the experience. Enjoy the pizza together. Take pictures. Relive the experience. Invest in your emotions.
Dr Steve Gutstein from RDI Connect uses a metaphor of sailing. “When you sail, you never really expect to be on course, if that means being headed exactly in the direction of your destination. Sailing, like most of life, involves a continual regulatory process.”
The support you provide him as described above, is the regulatory practice. It will make him mindful.
Question 2: My child has a tough time keeping up with others at school.
He seems hyperactive and uninterested. Teachers don’t know how to keep him engaged. He goes to school for 3 hours every day, but he isn’t learning anything.
Can academics be learned the RDI way?
Answer: The answer is a resounding ‘yes.’
We focus on the following tenets while teaching.
a) Slow down
b) Be invitational
c) Regulate. Regulate. Regulate.
d) Pace yourself.
e) Challenge one step at a time.
f) Monitor the child carefully.
Freny Irani, a parent, says, “Since 4 months, I have started RDI in a school setting for Touraz. He has shown remarkable progress. We share a strong emotional bond. Each time he completes an activity, he looks at me with pride in his eyes. This is more precious to me than any school report.”
Your child needs a customized plan, based on his/her style of learning.
Every child can learn successfully.
Question 3: My child has poor fine motor control. He is non vocal. PECS cards and boards, are difficult and bulky to carry around. I need something to work on his communication. He enjoys the ipad. Would an AAC device be useful?
Answer: A resounding ‘yes’ again. Having a means to communicate is of utmost importance. Every child must have a ‘voice.’
I’m reminded of an incident which happened 18 years ago, I was at a class with renowned Behavior Analyst, Dr. Vince Carbone.
Dr. Carbone noted when children played at a park, they did not carry their PECS folders.
Those who used sign language, were at an advantage as their hands were always with them.
This hit home an important point about the ease of communication.
In the past decade, technology use has skyrocketed. Nowadays, the way devices are made, they’re easy to carry around.
A child can always have his AAC device with him. It’s his voice.
I know the AVAZ app has helped many children. It can be customized and has voice output.
Bala Sriram, Senior Speech language pathologist says, “Communication is a two way process and warrants a supportive listener. Child I started with basic apps on Ipad like nursery rhymes, matching, painting etc. AVAZ an AAC developed by an IIT alumni was introduced early on. It made a huge difference. I definitely recommend the use of an AAC device.
I hope these answers have addressed some of your queries too.
Feel free to send your questions my way at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll be happy to answer.