2020 has been a challenging year, and one of the highest hurdles for parents helping their children meet the demands of distance learning. Distance learning can be a struggle for any family, but if your child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) it can be even more overwhelming. Don’t worry, you’ve got this! And we’ve got some tips to help you.
- Create a routine. Your school may post a schedule but if not, it’s an important thing for you to do for your student. Children with ASD do best with a structured routine because knowing what comes next can be calming. Create a set start and end time, do the same subjects in the same order, every day. Spend the same amount of time on each subject, with breaks in between classes, and post the schedule near the child’s workspace.
- Diminish distractions. Using the same distraction-free learning area every day will help your child to focus. Try to find a learning area that’s separate from pets and siblings; remove distractions. Make sure all learning materials are close at hand and consider headphones to help improve focus.
- Accommodate sensory needs. At school, kids with ASD often get help managing sensory issues, using things like quiet breaks, active time, or sensory stimulation. Implement these practices at home, utilizing tools like fidget toys and bouncy chairs to help your child cope. Don’t have a bouncy chair? A stack of pillows makes a good substitute.
- Make the schedule visual. Transitions can be hard for kids with ASD, but visual cues can make them easier. Take photos that represent each class and break, creating a visual schedule so your child can clearly see what comes next.
- Incorporate learning into everyday life. This is important for all kids, but especially children with ASD. Use items around the house to practice skills like matching, stacking, and following directions. The more advanced your learner, the more you can assign chores that will teach vital life skills.
- Do some learning of your own. You have a distinct advantage: you know your child better than anyone else. If you don’t have training in special education, though, it may be a good time to get some. Look for parent training resources from places like The UC Davis MIND Instituteor the Autism Research Institute.
- Remember that you can do this. Distance learning is a challenge, but you’re used to overcoming challenges! Take advantage of resources available to you, lean on your community of support, and don’t underestimate your own abilities.
If your child has been diagnosed with ASD, STAR of CA is here to offer support, keeping you informed of opportunities for fun with your kids and providing important support services. Founded in 2006, we provide behavioral and psychological services to people with ASD and related disorders in a nurturing environment that offers support for the entire family. You can contact us through our website or by calling 805.588.8896.
Fall is such a great time of year. Cooler days, nights bordering on brisk, cozy sweaters, and comfort foods are the hallmarks of the season. It’s also the perfect time to have some fun with your kids! We’ve got a few suggestions.
- Go for roll. Rolling down a hill is great fun, and a great way to build large motor coordination and vestibular orientation. If your child seems put-off by the idea, sliding down a grassy hill on a cardboard square is just as fun.
- Make the most of the fall leaves. Grab a couple of rakes and let kids rake them into piles, then jump in the piles to enjoy the satisfying crunch and earthy smell. After they’re worn out from the jumping, they can rake the leaves again and bag them. Raking, bagging, and dragging the bags down the driveway build muscle tone, improve circulation, instill a healthy work ethic, and promote life skills.
- Go exploring. Take a hike, packing a snack and plenty of water. Or take it further into the woods and camp out overnight. Fall is perfect for camping and cooking over a campfire! It’s also a great time to explore fall activities. Hit the pumpkin patch, go apple picking, or take the kids on a hayride. There’s so much to experience this season.
- Have fun in your own back yard. Or front yard, or sidewalk, or driveway- there are plenty of ways to have fall fun at home! Draw with sidewalk chalk, make homemade apple stamps, or create an outdoor obstacle course. Carve pumpkins, giving your kids the sensory experience of digging out the guts. Another fun thing to do is create a treasure hunt for your kids. Give them a list of seasonal items to find: a pinecone, a stick, a red leaf, and so on. When they collect all the treasures, discuss about what makes each item special.
- Taste the season. Roast marshmallows and make s’mores, enjoying the flavors, scents, and ooey-gooey texture. Baking seasonal treats together is a fun and educational activity. Let your kids measure, pour, stir, and perhaps crack an egg! It can get messy, but the treat will be its own reward and your children will have built meaningful skills.
- Make a sensory box. Fall has a wealth of wonderful sensory items. Mini pumpkins, bumpy gourds, dried corn on the cob, corn husks, popping corn kernels, and beans will have your child scooping, pouring, grabbing, and enjoying the textures and colors while developing motor skills.
If your child has been diagnosed with ASD, STAR of CA is here to offer support, not just by keeping you informed of opportunities for fun with your kids, but also with important support services. Founded in 2006, we provide behavioral and psychological services to people with ASD and related disorders in a nurturing environment that offers support for the entire family. You can contact us through our website or by calling 805.588.8896.
- ABA Therapy
- Pivotal Response Treatment
- high functioning autism
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Applied Behavioral Analysis
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- Symptoms of Autism
- ASD behavior
- pool safety
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- positive reinforcement
- Psychological Assessment Services
- oppositional defiant disorder
- self-injurious behaviors
- mental health services
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- classroom integration
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