10 Strategies for Autism

1. Set the environment up for success

2. Be calm, attentive, and ready to help the child!

  • Your attitude and beliefs with the child are important!

3. Move SLOW and add PAUSES

  • Be curious
  • Wait for attention
  • Have calm and slow reactions
  • Promotes: attention, patience, eye contact, reciprocity

4. Add one step into a known daily routine… and then another!

  • If your child already grabs your hand and walks to the bath, give them a bath toy/soap/towel to bring
  • If your child gives you a cup for juice, have them hold the cup as you pour the juice in

5. **Build upon, and introduce, ‘together’ activities (co-regulating)

  • Tickling and chasing
  • Moving together (running together, dancing together, crashing together, jumping together)
  • Singing together (We sing together, I sing this part you sing that part, finger play, instruments)
  • Joint toy play (ball rolling, balloon toss, bubble blowing, puppet eats, play cooking, toy crashing, sensory bin scoop/catch)
  • Joint creating (cooking together, art together)

6. Model what you want to teach (with your child’s physical presence and attention)

  • Hold your child’s hand or keep them near you as you model saying ‘hello’, and ‘goodbye’.
  • Model making requests (Pictures, signs, words, pointing)
  • Model how you wait! Share your strategies (I like to count to 10… I like to march in place and sing a song
  •  80%/20% rule; you model at least 80% of the time and encourage your child to join or copy your model only 20% of the time.

7. Use your child’s motivations!

  • Make learning goals fun!
  • It is not the same as reinforcement
  • Incorporate favorite items, actions, and sensations
  • Build into the imaginative play

8. Understand and target the big picture goals

  • Cognitive development vs academic development goals
  • Dynamic vs static goals
  • Social skills vs compliance
  • Growth seeking mindset vs fixed mindset
  • Learn how to: use self dialogue, set up educational activities, spotlight a goal.

9. Use a mindful and empathetic behavioral approach

  • Restate the child’s concerns, demonstrate empathy, come up with a solution that is mutually beneficial.
  • ‘Limits’ instead of ‘controlling’

10. Appropriately balance the daily schedule

  • QUALITY one on one time is key
  • Time for mental breaks
  • The tablet may be a self-creating stim
  • Transitions are tiring
  • School’s role
  • Home life’s role

What NOT to do?? 

  1. Don’t over-focus on academic goals! Instead…
    1. Pick goals that are cognitive and social in nature
  1. Don’t over-give instructions or over-ask questions! Instead…
    1. Use teamwork! Focus on co-regulation and complete tasks together
    2. Add comments and share your perspective instead
      1. For language development, comments are better for expanding vocabulary
      2. Instead of ‘what do you want to play?’, model, ‘I’m ready to play a game’.
      3. Instead of ‘get the ball’, say, “we need to get the ball!”.
  1. Don’t oversimplify or avoid change! Instead…
    1. Methodologically add just noticeable differences
      1. Start with small activities before transition and large changes. But need to build to get there!
    2. Vary voice, vocabulary, and expand concepts.
  1. DON’T use ‘reinforcement’ and ‘consequence’ to motivate learning! Instead…
    1. Use motivations
    2. Inspire intrinsic motivation
    3. Set predictable routines