*Suggestions

These are some of the various strategies that I did with MJ that I believe really helped him in his overall progression:

*If you are concerned at ALL about your child’s speech or behavior.  DON’T WAIT!  Find a good doctor immediately.

*  Find a doctor that knows about autism.  If you can see a developmental pediatrician then do so.

*Register on a reputable autism website such as http://www.autismspeaks.org. and http://www.autism-society.org  These sites give valuable information.

*If your child is younger than 3 years old, contact the local school system and find out what services are available for your child.  If qualified, your child may be able to get speech, occupational, and physical therapy.

*Use pictures/flash cards and other visuals to communicate with your child.  MJ is verbal but I like to call him semi-verbal.  He can answer “yes/no” questions and “what” questions but still has trouble answering “why” and “how” questions.

*Surround your child’s room with more educational visuals like the alphabet, numbers, and colors.

*Label items around the house.  I constantly did this with MJ.  The bed had a label on it that said “bed” etc.

* Teach your child their address and phone number.  I did something really simple like type up the address and phone number on a sheet of paper and taped it on the wall next to his bed.  I reviewed it with him everyday.

* If/when your child loves the computer, use websites like starfall.com and pbskids.com which are educational ,fun, and free.  The starfall website is awesome for teaching your child to read.

* Use social stories to teach proper behavior.  I found social stories for things such as “going to the grocery store” and “going to a restaurant”.  Review the stories several times with your child before you actually want to go out.  Then review it again as you are actually completing the activity.  You may want to give your child a specific reward for doing a good job.

*Leapfrog video’s were also great in teaching the alphabet using music.

*If your child is extremely hyper like MJ was, try a weighted vest and/or the “brushing” technique.

*Make sure your child has a “visual schedule” while in school.  Most teachers of children with autism will already have this in place.  If they do not, insist that they create a visual schedule of all the daily activities (this really helped MJ).  This will help to keep your child calm and to know what to expect throughout the day.  You may also want to create one for home if you believe it will be beneficial.

*When your child is in school make sure you know the names and email address of all of their therapists.  At least every two months, send an email to these therapists to check on the progress of your child.

*Educate yourself on the process of IEP’s.  Know your rights and ask lots of questions.

* If you are able to do this, get your child additional therapy such as social skills therapy. I have known people who were able to get these services and have seen dramatic improvements in their child’s behavior.

*If your child is sensitive to noise, always have a pair of ear plugs handy to prevent a meltdown.

*When venturing out have a backpack of fidget toys, snacks, and a learning tablet (nabi, iPad) for your child.  You never know when you will need it.

*Make sure the kids of your friends and family understand your child. Be sure that they speak with their own children before interaction with your child.  This will help to prevent questions regarding your child’s speech, the lack there of, and other behaviors.

*PRAY!

*The following is a Sensory Diet that was recommended to me when Mj was younger. This “diet” helped MJ to stay focused and calmer throughout the day.

Before School

Alerting Activities

Choose one of the following:
1. Bouncing on an exercise ball- (10-15 minutes)
2. Jumping on a trampoline – (10-15 minutes)
3. Chew on something crunchy – cereal, trail mix, crackers, pretzels, breadsticks (depending on any dietary restrictions)

Arrival at School

Calming Activities
Choose one of the following:
1. Swinging
2. Wall/Chair push-ups
3. Hand fidget toys
4. Classical/soft music with headphones
5. Dim lighting in room
6. Deep pressure/weighted vests; weighted lap cushions; bean bags
7. Bear hugs
8. Move-n-sit cushion or dycem (non-skid material)
9. Low intensity vibration – use of vibrating pen, toy or massager on arms, legs,
hands, feet, back and shoulders.
10. Do Fragile Egg exercise- on back, hold knees to chest and rock continuously.

Throughout the school day

Organizing Activities
Choose one of the following:
1. Stretching
2. Pulling on therapy band
3. Desk push ups – lean over on hands
4. Erase the chalkboard

Quick movement breaks
1. Jump in place
2. Use a quick movement song

Recess

Heavy work
1. Use playground equipment- jungle gym, slide
2. Wheelbarrow or crab walking
​3. Jumping (with safety precautions)
​4. Tug of war with rope
​5. Play catch or roll weighted ball
6. Push/Pull/Drag – heavy objects, buckets, wagons, etc.
7. Wear weighted backpack (books and other objects) to get deep pressure
8. Scooter board rides – sitting or lying on stomach, can be pulled or propel self.
9. Pull on theraband
​10. Give bear hugs; deep pressure to both shoulders

**Repeat Calming and Alerting Activities of above for approximately 10-15 minutes for each category. Just pick one of the choices.

Alternative seating positions:
1. Use bean bag chair
2. Sit on a therapy ball
3. Move-n-sit cushion
4. Lie on the floor on stomach while writing

Lunch

Organizing- depending on dietary restrictions (eat chewy foods such as bread, pizza, chewy fruits, and gummy bears).

Alerting – depending on dietary restrictions (eat crunchy foods such chips, sour candy, pretzels, crackers, fruits, vegetables, drink cold water).

End of day

Heavy Work Activities
Choose one of the following:
1. Pull and stretch with therapy band
2. Push chairs and other furniture back to their places inside of the classroom.
3. Erase easel board
4. Carry books in backpack

After school

Calming activities
Choose one of the following:
1. Rhythmical rocking- rolling on ball while on stomach back and forth
2. Listening to music with headphones
3. Chair/wall push ups
4. Hand fidgets
5. Swinging

8 thoughts on “*Suggestions

  1. Wow, Nicky, this is great information for those trying to find their way with their very special child. Jonathan had me and other adults to help him out so very much. The school system he is in has been great from preschool to now. I am a bit apprehensive about Middle school, but am still strong for the battle ahead of him to make him independent and responsible. I appreciate all your efforts and I saidit once, your children are beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

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