Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
"Let's go to the library and Friendly's for a vacation lunch," I suggested. That should help keep me sane and the kids happy, I thought. It did. Until each child received a different color balloon. Sure enough, my typical child was unhappy with her color selection. It wasn't a "girl" color. I was beginning to feel myself getting a bit crazed. Didn't we just go to Friendly's? These kids should be happier than ever. As a parent, most of us know the ingenious saying, "you get what you get, and you don't get upset," which was exactly what I told her. Not buying the philosophy completely, she decided that she was going to paint her balloon. I like to give my children creative freedom, so painting the balloon, it is. Have you ever painted a balloon with tempura paint?
As the kids painted, the balloon lost it "lift". The paint weighed it down and the helium couldn't do its job. Aside from the dilemma of the paint drying, my son (with PDD-NOS) believed he had washed his hands after the project. I was still trying to figure out the drying spot so that my whole house wouldn't get paint all over it and I see my son jumping and leaning on our couch pillow....red painted hand prints decorated the complete throw pillow. The next morning, I find the balloons on the ground only to notice that all the paint had chipped completely off and was, now lying on my hard wood and rugs.
After feeling guilty for my inappropriately yelling at my son for the pillow (as he didn't knowingly ruin my pillow and, in his mind, felt his hands were washed) and other moments this past week, I knew I was sure to be dropped from the running for mother of the year award. Then I read this posting from MOM- Not Otherwise Specified (click here to go to post). It provided me with a little validation. Here is an excerpt from the post:
"you are a reasonable person who has been living with unreasonable demands without reasonable support for an unreasonable length of time".
That about sums it up.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Autism - Learning Styles and Life/Educational Skills Attainment
Autism - Learning Styles and Life/Educational Skills Attainment
When ascertaining what may be the best ways to help your child with autism to learn various educational, social, behavioural and emotional (etc.) skills; gaining accurate knowledge of what may be your child’s learning style will greatly enhance and promote a higher success or achievement in your child’s learning of such skills.
Understanding their particular learning style/s is imperative too in respecting the unique individual that they are.
Imagine if someone was trying to teach you a skill in a language you didn’t understand and they expected you to get it? This would place an unnecessary stress on you in trying to understand what you were being asked to ‘get’; you would feel frustrated; possibly even feel inadequate or saddened that you can’t understand the method/s or message and misunderstood as an individual.
Also, the ‘deliverer’ of the skills ‘training’ may become frustrated or perhaps believe that the child may not be capable of being able to learn effectively, in other words the child may be perceived as being ‘low functioning’ when in fact they are not and haven’t been provided with the opportunity to learn a skill according to their particular learning style and needs.
Yet, if the ‘deliverer’ of the skills training understood the particular learning style of the autistic child, they will then tailor the learning method of the skill to be acquired to suit that child, and thus give the greatest potential of a successful outcome.
Some individuals, for example, truly believe that pictorial methods (such as social stories for learning social skills) are the only way to go with autistic children. But some autistic children have difficulty in understanding a visual concept. Some people believe that the only way to deliver skills training is by utilizing words, when perhaps for that child a repertoire of pictures may produce the best results.
What are the predominant learning styles?
Physical (kinesthetic/tactile) – learning by touch, hands, body, movement etc.,
Aural (auditory) – learning with sounds and/or music (rhythm?),
Visual (spatial) – learning via pictures, symbols and spatial awareness,
Verbal (linguistic) – learning by the use of words, written and oral,
Social – learning via group efforts or with another,
Solitary (by self) – learning by doing things alone, by self, for self,
Logical - learning through reasoning, using systems, logic (a mathematical style)
So, depending on an individual’s, or child’s, learning style/s (which could be a combination of two or more), their receptiveness and abilities to process the information being provided in the skills ‘teaching’ or ‘training’ will depend on, e.g. the mode of the information delivery. Retention of the information will depend on many things, such as; quality of the information, appropriate skill level of the information, the teacher/deliverer of the info., the disposition of the child (e.g. health, intellectual abilities, present emotional state, environmental distractions etc.), etc..
Another dynamic which will impact on the autistic child’s learning of various skills, will be their innate temperament. Their temperament will also dictate how they will react to what they are being taught or how they interact with another; and have an effect on how they will respond to others and skill acquisition.
Their temperament will also possibly help determine how receptive they will be to learning a new skill. If, on the day of being offered a new skill, the autistic child is feeling upset by something or someone, they may not be very receptive to listening or ‘joining’ with the person trying to ‘teach’ them a new skill.
So when it comes to helping our autistic children to enjoy learning, (and achieve such successfully), about the world they live in; lessons at school or any other educational, social (etc.) situation, we need to understand how our autistic children ‘tick’, what helps them learn and what works for them.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach for autistic children. Each child is uniquely individual and many different dynamics inherent or acquired, regarding their being, will determine what are the best ways to respectfully help them to acquire or fine tune many life and educational skills and achieve such successfully.
My career involves Professional Counselling (Diploma, A.I.P.C.), majored in Child Development and Effective Parenting, Youth and Career counselling. I am also professionally trained Autism Therapist , author, Integration Aide, Literacy Tutor, children\'s story writer and professional illustrator.
The Heart and Soul of Autism www.heartandsoulofautism.blogspot.com/
Monday, August 23, 2010
Are you familiar with the Silly Bandz craze?
In our home, the obsession has diminished, but I have a feeling the fad will begin again after school starts up. Even though I think they are ridiculous, I am jealous of the person who thought up these things. What do I know?
I admit, it is hard to even imagine where the connection to Autism and Silly Bandz could possibly be. I assure you, I was just as confused until my son came walking in the door last year with a couple of rubber banded animals around his wrist. They were given to him by a little girl admirer from his class. It was really sweet. The thing is, my son is autistic and has a rigidity about textures. His clothes are always examined for any tags, threads, or scratchy feeling. The fact that he will adorn 20 rubber bands in multiple shapes and colors, travelling up his wrist and arm is short of miraculous!
I am perplexed by, not only his tolerance for the Silly Bandz around his wrist, but his extreme interest in buying more and more and more of them. I am learning that my son is acutely aware of what his typical peers are interested in. Additionally, it is this awareness that seems to be a motivator in trumping his natural behaviors. In this case, resistance to certain textures. He wants to be part of the group and do what everyone is doing. I'm thrilled that he can have such focus when he wants or needs to. Though this is not an actual research study, in which there are two groups of children receiving either a trial intervention method or a placebo, it confirms the benefit of mainstream classrooms and the effects of socializing with typical peers. At least for me it does.
Aside from the acknowledgment that he is trying to conform to the group, I will go one step further and venture a thought that the Silly Bandz are helping my son's sensory system. While the teachers limit the bracelets from the class because of distraction, for my son, the bracelets become an item to "play or fidgit" with during rug or work time. This provides the input he needs to concentrate. Who would have thought? Not me. I don't know much about pressure points, but I think the wrist is one area that can help calm a person. I wonder, could the Silly Bandz provide such a benefit?
I must applaud the Silly Bandz company for taking a random thought, manufacturing the product, and building a following of elementary children. Merchandising the product at the checkout lines are a complete thorn in every parents side, still I must thank them for giving my child an outlet to be like his typical peers. For me, you are as good as therapy.
Monday, August 2, 2010