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I just got some great advice from a "veteran"!

Posted by on May. 7, 2007 at 4:35 PM
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My mother-in-law has taken care of foster children and, therefore, has had the priviledge of taking a lot of parenting classes and special needs classes.  She is also the mother of a child who, in our day, would be diagnosed with Aspergers (he would have been diagnosed as Autistic when he was a child since they didn't even consider a spectrum back then!). 

We were talking about Evan and I was voicing some of my frustrations.  We were talking about  how you can get an Autistic child to do something longer (or do it at all) simply by saying it out loud- So, if you want them to sit and quietly color longer, you get them started and then at intervals you say "Evan is quietly coloring.  Evan's hands are working hard at coloring, etc." 

She emailed me today with another really great idea!  I wanted to share part of that email.
"Yesterday I forgot an important part of the class I was telling you about.     I remember the teacher telling everyone in the class to picture in their minds ...  a man NOT painting a house.  He then quickly asked the class questions before they had a chance to process what he had said.  He asked, "What is the man doing?"  And many in the class stumbled over their answers. Some had him doing other things, but most had him painting a house. The teacher then went over how many brain steps it takes to picture not doing something, and how if the doing part isn't clear then your brain has to make something up to fit the picture.     Some children simply cannot (yet) shift their brains, to the make up something part. This brain function fits into the same category of sarcasm and  inuendo.     Instead of telling Evan "We don't hit!"  I should have said "Evan's hands are patient!"  or "Evan's hands wait! "  Even in the moment when you see that a child intends to hit. I have seen a prompting of  "nice patience" stop the action. (That was from a child with full blown Autism, who was an avid biter and hitter.) "

I plan on using "Evan's hands wait" from now on to see if it helps our raging hitting problem!  I think we forget that kids in general but especially Autistic children DO NOT understand sarcasm and inuendo and that this makes it difficult for them when we discipline like we would with other kids (i.e. Don't hit, stop that, etc)  I am going to try telling Evan what I WANT him to DO from now on (i.e. Use a whisper, Evan's hands wait, etc).  I'll let you know if it helps!
by on May. 7, 2007 at 4:35 PM
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Replies (1-3):
teeteescraps
by on May. 7, 2007 at 4:45 PM
What great advice!

We had some similar advice with our son.  We could never get him to not do something.  But, it was the way we were asking him.  A lot of people just tell him "no", but he doesn't know what that means.  If we say "no touch" or "no run", he stops doing it.  It didn't take long for us to teach him that no followed by a word meant not to do that! 

Also, we learned to keep it simple.  No more than 3 words in a sentence.  After that, he lost interest and ability to keep up.  It takes awhile to get used to talking like that, but once you do, you'll see remarkable improvements.
danajane
by on May. 8, 2007 at 3:17 PM
Wow that was informative... but what about an older child like 8 or older how could you phrase that a little bit for older children?


Thanks   Dana
Mom_2_Boyz
by on May. 8, 2007 at 7:00 PM
I would do the same thing with more grown up phrasing.  Instead of saying "Evan's hands are quiet", I'd say, "Evan's hands are at his side".  Remember that "Evan is keeping his hands to himself," may not be literal enough.  Tell them exactly what you want them to do!  The shorter, the better. They often refer to themselves in the third person, so even though it seems strange to us, it is more familiar to them then, "you " and it leaves no room for them to misunderstand who "you" is.  Ahhhhh!  So many rules!  It is taking some getting used to and A LOT of practice, but I am already seeing results!
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