Autism is a condition that affects people’s ability to communicate and interact with others. These people are often diagnosed with developmental disorders and learning disabilities. Most people with autism have poor cognitive skills, making it difficult for them to sequence and organize a piece of information, stay focused, and start a task. It can also be challenging to generalize acquired skills if you have low executive functioning. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders fail to work independently as a result of these developmental defects.
Developing independence is a gradual process that begins at a young age. The most important thing while working with an autistic child on any skill is that you must think ahead. For instance, while thinking of any task you want to do with an autistic child, you must consider what this looks like and how it will work when you’re 5, 10, or 18? It’s an excellent motivator to teach independence skills to envision what you want this child to be when he grows up. It provides a mechanism for setting objectives.
Parents of autistic children worry that their child might never be independent; however, this is not the case. Though teaching independence to an autistic child might be difficult but not impossible. We have mentioned some tips which you can use to develop independence in your autistic child:
Communication problems are one of the most common signs of autism. You will need to experiment with various communication strategies to retain classroom influence and ensure learning.
While teaching the children, you should remember one thing even seemingly defiant students may not understand your instructions, and some kids might have outbursts if they can’t express themselves or don’t feel understood. Try using tools like Calm Strips to help with sensory overload, stress, and distractions. Keep in mind that autistic children face communication barriers most of the time and that students may not intentionally be intending to disturb the classroom.
Tools to build communication skills
If your child has difficulty communicating verbally, improving their ability to communicate by developing skills and offering opportunities to help convey interests, expectations, and emotions is a vital step toward growing independence. You should use the following tools to build communication skills:
- Speech output devices such as iPad, and DynaVox.
- Picture exchange communication system
Develop Self-care skills
Self-care skills, also known as daily independent skills, are the skills people need to maintain their essential daily chores like hygiene, health, and appearance.
These are some of the essential abilities without any doubt that every person requires in their life. These abilities enable an individual to live independently or with minimal assistance. Many autistic students need additional help to acquire these crucial skills.
How to develop self-care skills?
The excellent way to build independence in your child is to begin incorporating self-care practices into your child’s daily routine.
Combing hair, brushing teeth, and other activities of daily living (ADLs) are vital life skills that should be introduced so that your child can master them later. You should add these tasks to your children’s routine so that he or she becomes used to them as part of their everyday routine.
Money handling skills
Learning to manage money is a crucial skill that will help your child become more self-sufficient while out in the world.
Ways to develop money-handling skills
There are ways for your child to begin learning money skills, regardless of their current ability. You should teach each step of the process one at a time. After that, your child will begin to apply these skills in various societal situations.
- Try including money skills in your child’s IEP at school.
- Encourage your child to hand over money to the cashier while you’re with him or her in a local supermarket.
Help with household chores
Involving your children in household chores would teach them to be responsible. It would be best if you made them involved in the family routine and incorporated valuable skills that can help them in the future.
Use task analysis
You should try using the task analysis method if you believe your child is having difficulty understanding how to complete a whole task. This technique entails breaking down large projects into smaller chunks. You should give your child a task by breaking it down into steps so that they can handle it easily.
Independence needs a high degree of protection. Ensure your child understands the rules of any space they use, as well as the best ways for them to keep themselves safe when out in public.
Using Methods of Transportation That Are Predictable
For most people on the spectrum, it is helpful to have an easy-to-follow schedule, and taking the train to and from work can be a great way to do that. They are almost always on time and run on a very precise schedule which can be helpful for those with autism. For more information on autism and trains and how they can be beneficial, you can find more info at Railfan Depot.
Most people with autism have low cognitive abilities, making it difficult for them to sequence and organize a piece of information, stay focused, and start a task. Through certain techniques and practices, you can develop independence in your child.