Visuals for Autism

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Here are some of Oliver’s new visuals that we started today.
These are used to offer structure, reminders, warnings, and aid in transitions. By giving him visual time warnings, a daily schedule, and a visual of what we’re doing and what comes next, he will be able to operate with more ease. He struggles with transitions and becomes distressed when having to move from one situation to the next and cannot tolerate change of any sort. I’m so happy that we are starting to use these and can’t wait to see how they work for him. I’ll post updates with how they help (or don’t help) him.

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The Past Two Weeks in Early Intervention Land

What we’ve been working on these past two weeks in early intervention:

3 minute timer where I imitate everything he does. This shows him that I am joining him in his world and that I am able to play on his terms, rather than all work. After each 3 minute imitation, I will invite him to play briefly on my terms (when I would introduce new skills- ex.: rolling the ball back and forth).

Rolling ball back and forth with encouraged eye contact.

Taking turns with toys.

Books: (imitation, attending, and increasing your affect)
-Sit across from him
-Keep control over the book
-Encourage him to turn the page
-Model 1-2 words or sounds for him, give him time to imitate
-Animal sounds are great for imitating sounds!
-Model pointing to the pictures –especially if he is grabbing at the page
-You can remind him-Mommy holds the book. Make it a rule for this activity.

Use countdowns for transitions (5 minutes until ___, 1 minute until ___, 3 more seconds until ____, 3, 2, 1– all done! Time for ___).

Offer him choices between two toys, offer him a choice of who cleans up (him or me).

Singing songs with actions. Examples: Open, shut them. Itsy Bitsy Spider. Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. Row, Row, Row Your Boat. If You’re Happy and You Know It. I’m a Little Teapot.

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I will write what we work on this upcoming Thursday. So far, I know that the Speech Language Pathologist will be joining Oliver’s Special Educator that day and we’re introducing PECS visual cards to help Oliver communicate. I’m feeling really good about Oliver’s early intervention program so far!

Successful sharing!

Yesterday Oliver had his 13 month old friend over for a playdate. Oliver has a long, long way to go socially, as he has never shown any interest in another baby, toddler, or child. However, I was able to talk him through his first successful attempt at sharing. He actually played near another baby (this is a first) AND took turns with him, as they stacked rings one at a time. There was no eye contact and it took a few tries, but I couldn’t be more proud of him! I demonstrated how to stack the rings and then held his hand and said, “Now, we let him have a turn, and then you have another turn.” This helped him visualize patience and turn-taking. This gave me such great feelings of hope and inspires me to keep him hard at work. I have to log off now because we have a Tele-Therapy (video chatting) appointment with the Special Educator from his Early Intervention center. More posts coming soon!

“Autism’s Hidden Gifts” by Olga Khazan

There’s a popular misconception that autistic people are either anti-social tech geniuses or Rain Man-like savants. But research is increasingly showing that even “low-functioning” autistic people might be smarter than neurotypical people in certain ways.

Read this article published this morning in The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/09/autism-hidden-advantages/406180/