Understanding Sensory Processing Issues In Children With Autism

What are Sensory Processing Issues?

sensory processing issuesSensory Processing Issues are one of the issues experienced by children on the autistic spectrum. They find it difficult to process details in their brain. They might be over-sensitive or under-sensitive in receiving information in their brain that even a single task seems difficult for them to accomplish.

What are the Causes of Sensory Processing Issues?

The precise causes of sensory processing issues are yet to be established but recent studies show that genetics might be one of the possible causes. On a 2006 study of twins, they found that hypersensitivity to light and sound may have a strong genetic influence. They respond strongly to stimuli like a stroke on the hand or a loud sound. With the use of brain-imaging techniques, they detected that there are certain areas of the brain that may affect how sensory information is processed.

What are the Symptoms of Sensory Processing Issues?

The symptoms of Sensory Processing Issues could be categorised into either hypersensitivity (over- sensitive) or hypersensitive (under-sensitive).

Hypersensitive children have a strong response to loud noises or sounds. They don’t want to be touched even if they know the person who touched them. They are afraid of crowds and don’t want to play on playground equipment because of the constant fear that they might fall or bump into things. These could cause them extreme anxiety when they grow old if not treated early.

Hyposensitive children are not sensitive to their surroundings. They have an increased tolerance to pain. They are sensory seeking and have a strong urge to touch people or things even when it is not necessary.

Some children with sensory processing issues may manifest both signs of hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity. My son is a typical child who experienced both hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity reactions to certain stimuli. Meltdowns, for instance, may occur if a child goes to an unfamiliar environment. These meltdowns could be quite overwhelming to both parent and child because it might cause a problem in controlling behaviour once it started.

Children who are hypersensitive on the other hand may find themselves constantly running away from the environment that is too stimulating to them. They find pleasure by “Stimming” which is a self-stimulating behaviour or a form of repetitive behaviour that they do in order to provide themselves sensory input.

Examples of these behaviours are jumping, running, tiptoeing, hand flapping, scratching, spinning objects, listening to the same song or noise, sniffing objects or people, chewing on things, repeating words or “echolalia”.

How can you help your child deal with their Sensory Processing Issues?

You can help your child deal with their Sensory Processing Issues by consulting your child’s Paediatrician, for a comprehensive assessment. She might then refer your child to a Specialist for developmental screening. In order to expedite the process, you must ensure that you are ready by taking notes of your child’s behavioural problems, when it all started and what measures you have undertaken at home to help calm your child.

An Occupational Therapist could provide sensory integration therapy to your child through play sessions where both you and your child could participate in.

Ways on How You Can Help Your Child with their Sensory Processing Issues at Home

Hypersensitivity

Reduce Sound Overload

Loud unexpected noises, overlapping voices and high-pitched frequency sounds may cause auditory issues. Speak softly if you have a loud voice. Buy headphones designed to remove background noise. The one below could be extremely helpful in calming your child thus helping him to engage with you.

Reduce Visual Overload

Bright and Fluorescent light, particular colours, patterns and contrasts or a combination of these things can all cause various overload. This is known as Irlen Syndrome. Coloured lens or filters can help some ASD children to process problematic visual experience. Ask your local Optometrist to conduct a Colorimetric test to your child for your child to be tested and fitted with a coloured lens. To help you have a rough assessment of how different coloured light affects behaviour, try buying a LED colour changing light bulb like the one below.

Provide Plenty of Rest

Children should have enough sleep at night and plenty of rest during the day in a quiet and darkened room to lessen their hypersensitivity issues because of tiredness.

Hyposensitivity

Children who experience hyposensitivity should experience deep sensory input at regular intervals during the day to help them feel good about themselves and to prevent them experiencing loss of their sense of self when they grow up to become an adult. Squeeze vests and regular short sessions on a trampoline several times a day would help them experience deep sensory sensations. Some ASD children find the sensation of water very helpful. Having regular baths provide light pressure on their bodies thus help them to feel relax. Swimming provides them with the benefit of a physical exercise because their bodies are in constant motion. This also has a calming effect that would help them with their hyposensitivity issues.

Summary

Understanding Sensory Processing Issues are vital for children with Autism. Hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity are the two sensory issues that needed to be addressed and treated early so that the child won’t suffer from extreme anxiety until they reached adulthood.

Useful Links and Resources:

https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/sensory-processing-issues/understanding-sensory-processing-issues

http://www.webmd.com/children/sensory-processing-disorder#2-3

https://aspectsofaspergers.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/strategies-for-dealing-with-sensory-overload/

www.autism.org.uk/sensory

Hope you find this article useful.  I love to hear from you.  If you have any questions or perhaps suggestions on your child’s sensory processing experience, please do share them by leaving your comments below.

Adel 🙂

How Photography Captures My Son’s Interest

Photography is one area of art that I wanted to learn.

We have a DSLR camera that we always carry with us during our family holiday trips. I love taking snapshots of places and people. The beautiful sceneries, the historical and architectural landmarks amaze me.

Recently, I noticed my son’s excitement in taking photos whenever we go out on a family trip. Photography has captured my son’s interest. I think I have influenced him in a way every time he sees me taking photographs during our family holidays.

He likes taking photographs on his mobile phone to capture every image that fascinates him. Whether it’s the sea, the sand across the seashore, the crowd, the tall buildings and things that are full of colorful and bright lights or just plain historical landmarks are beautiful images that he sees around him.

These images bring him joy, love and make him calm. It has the same benefit as having an Art Therapy. He finds meaning in every image and reflects the beauty of life around him.

A camera can capture emotion in ways which the naked eye could not see. According to a Chinese proverb, “ A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words” in itself. This is true to my son because he finds it hard to express himself well in words. He could express himself clearly through images because this is the way I taught him when he was little.

Although he could communicate with me verbally now there are still times that he could not express himself clearly especially when he finds it hard to understand the words being said to him. I have to find another word or perhaps show him an image of the word that would best describe it so that he would fully understand the word.

So you see, images make more sense to him than words. Every image that he captures through the camera of his mobile phone has a deep connection to the emotions that he feels at that very moment. You can tell if he is happy or not, just by looking through every photo that he captures. It transcends the realm of his imagination and could vividly see every detail in every image that he shoots.

These random photos are photos that he had taken during our family day trips. I have modified it a bit to capture its essence.

 

 

 

How about you? Does your child like taking photos? What do you do to encourage him?

Please leave your comments and suggestions below. I would love to hear from you. 

Adel 🙂

What Does It Feel Like Being Autistic ?

This is a question which every parent would want to know about his child. What does it feel like being autistic?

My son, John did not speak until the age of 3. He only knew the words, Mama, and autistic son and groom-453953_640Dada. When he wanted something, he will take my hand and point to the thing that he wanted me to get. It’s a bit frustrating to see that my beautiful little boy cannot speak a word except Mama and Dada. When he wanted our attention, he will bang his head on the wall out of frustration. He could not maintain an eye contact whenever I talked to him and seems pre-occupied on his own play.

When John turned 7 years old, he became focused and has a great attention to detail. I remember that he used to ask questions about the direction of the clouds. He will then tell me if it was moving or not and in what particular direction. He could see unusual street signs and if there was a possibility that it might rain just by looking at the clouds. He is very observant. Mental Maths is his strength. He could add three digit numbers by another three digit numbers with speed and accuracy. He likes converting hours to minutes and minutes to seconds. We could talk about these topics all day without him getting bored not unless it was not his area of interest. He likes routine and gets angry when there is a break in his routine. He always flaps his hand whenever he gets excited or happy and always repeat words for constant reassurance. He always giggles on his own when he remembered something funny that he had watched before. He takes things literally most of the time and does not know how to see social cues and gestures. He makes screeching and sometimes loud noises whenever he gets frustrated.

All these things were manifested when John was still little but mostly have disappeared now, that he is 17 years old. The only thing that he does until now is to giggle whenever he sees and remembers something funny. He still takes things literally at times.

As a parent, we need to understand why they are behaving in such a way so that we could better understand them. We have to put our world into their world. Sensory issues are their greatest enemies and they are trying to tell us that their senses are overloaded with what they see, hear and feel. It will be hard for them to cope unless we will give them our love and support. If you need some more information to better understand our role, please click this


Watch Temple Grandin talks about her experience being autistic, from not being able to speak when she was little until she became a renowned author and professor.

I sincerely hope these insights have helped in some way, and welcome your questions should there be any.
Adel 🙂

Teaching Emotions

Teaching emotions to an autistic child

Teaching emotions to an autistic child may be a hard task because he or she has teaching emotionsproblems understanding facial expressions and body language.

My son, John finds it hard to control his emotions and also has difficulty interpreting emotions.

The ability to understand emotions starts to develop from birth. Around two months, most babies will laugh and show signs of fear. At 12 months, they can read your face to understand how you feel and even use words to express feelings.

John’s development seems normal when he was 2 months old. He learned how to smile at 2 months but began to manifest problems expressing his emotions by the age of 3. He has severe temper tantrums and always hits his head on the floor whenever he gets frustrated. He did not know at that time how to express his wishes. I find it indescribably painful to see him like this and felt that his behavior is different compared to other children of his age. I felt the need for him to be seen by a doctor and have him diagnosed.

When he was diagnosed at the age of 5, John’s teacher in primary school together with his speech and language therapist provided me with strategies on how he could improve his behavior through teaching him emotions.

The following are the strategies that I utilized to my son:

  • Label my own facial expressions by letting him see and telling him what it means. teaching emotionsExample: I smile when I am happy. I cry when I am sad. I frown when I am angry.
  • Respond to his emotions by acknowledging it. Example: “You are flapping your hands (hand gestures), you must be happy and excited.”
  • Play up with my own emotional responses. Example: “I am so happy! Give me a hug.”
  • Call his attention by encouraging him to play with me. Example: “Come on, John! Let us play ‘peek-a-boo’.”

Note: You must exaggerate your feelings by demonstrating what a ‘peek-a-boo’ means by utilizing hand gestures.

  • Encourage eye contact by joining in whatever his doing. If he asks for something, I wait until he looks at me and then give him what he wants. I need to exaggerate my expression to get his attention.
  • Ask someone to tell my son what I said to draw his attention to that person. This will encourage him to use his eye contact which will help him towards learning people’s emotions through facial expressions. I will explain further how to encourage eye contact on my next post.

Facial Perception

A child with autism tends to have problems understanding people’s emotions because of the way he or she perceive people’s faces.

John focuses his attention more on my mouth than my eyes whenever I am talking to him. This means that the information he is getting from me does not impact him on how I feel.

Utilizing the strategies on teaching emotions helped my son to develop his emotions. I also found these important tools that might aid your child to develop his emotions.

Affiliate Disclaimer:


Language Builder Photo Emotion Cards – $34.99

from: National Autism Resources Corp

 

The emotion cards together with teaching social stories to your child will aid your child’s emotional development thus improving his behavior. This was proven effective to my son, John. If you want to learn about social stories, please click on this link.

I sincerely hope these insights have helped in some way and welcome your questions should there be any.

Adel 🙂


Recreational Activities

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recreational activities

Creating recreational activities for your autistic child will help minimise his sensory problems as well as help him improve his fine and gross motor skills.

Every autistic child has different needs and it is up to us, as parents to find the right recreational activities that our child would love and enjoy doing.

Having a variety of fun leisure activities will help him reduce his anxiety, inappropriate behaviour and develop his fine and motor coordination. This will also enhance communication, social interaction, and creative thinking.

My son, John loves a variety of recreational activities that involves his senses, fine and gross motor coordination. He loves a variety of toys to touch and to play with as well as toys that will allow him to exert his energy.

Here are just some of the recreational activities that John enjoyed doing in which you and your child could also enjoy doing together inside and outside your home. I listed it according to its function and its benefits.

Gross Motor Activities

These activities are a good way of helping your child to get active. It involves exercise that is good for their physical, mental and emotional well-being. The repetitive movements that it allows,  decreases your child inappropriate behaviour and improves his motor coordination.

Since a lot of children enjoy walking, running, jumping,  bouncing, and swimming, the following equipment, may be useful at home especially if you have a back garden where your child could happily play.

You could also find some of these at a nearby park where your child could play alongside with other children.  This will allow him the opportunity to be with other children and will help him to socially interact in the long run.

Please click the following images for further information.

Sensory Motor Activities

These activities allow your autistic child to play using his sense of touch, sight, smell, and hearing.  It allows exploratory play helping your child to know the cause and effect of things.

It also allows creativity by teaching him how to create things using different media. The following toys will enhance his sensory-motor coordination.

Please click the following images for further information.

Board Games and Card Games

These are games that you and your child could enjoy playing together. It is a good way for your child to know how to take turns and to socially communicate and interact with others. Below are some of the board games that you could play together.

Please click the following images for further information.

Books and Musical Activities

Book reading could be fun for your autistic child if it has images or pictures on it. It helps your child to read and at the same time to communicate with you.

Musical activities allow your child not only to play musical instruments but to sing along with you. Nursery rhymes that are accompanied by music or action songs are fun and enjoyable. It helps your child to socially communicate with ease.

Please click the following images further information.

Technology

Television, notebooks, and Ipad applications are helpful devices that will teach your child how to communicate. If your child is non-verbal, there are Ipad applications which are free to download that would teach him how to communicate.

There is also an Ipad game applications that you could also download for free. Your child will find this enjoyable and as part of his daily routine recreational activities.

Spending a lot of time in computer and Ipad game apps will only isolate him instead of helping him to communicate so, you need to provide a time for his Ipad play activities.

Please click the following images for further information.

These are all the recreational activities that I found useful for my son, John. They are not only fun and enjoyable but it has helped him with his sensory, communication and fine and gross motor development.

If you have any questions or suggestions about recreational activities, please feel free to leave your comments below and I will come back to you as soon as I can.

Sincerely,

Adel 🙂

iPad Applications Help My Autistic Child Talk

iPad Applications Help My Autistic Child Talk

Since its introduction in 2010, many parents with autistic children overcome their struggles in helping their child to talk.

An Ipad is easy to use. Besides being compact, it is handy and has a touch screen keyboard which I found beneficial to my son who has speech and fine motor problems.

Autistic children are visual learners and the iPad is an excellent way of helping them to learn visually.  There are Autism iPad applications which you can download for free in iTunes. These could help your child develop his speech and language, social communication and lessen his behavioral and sensory issues.

The first thing I taught my son was to teach him different emotions of people. I downloaded this free iPad application, Autism iHelp – Emotions by John Talavera from ITunes. He enjoyed this application so much because it did not only taught him to differentiate different emotions through a variety of facial expressions but it was fun and interactive as well. He was able to learn easily all the different emotions and was able to apply what he learned in a real life social setting. This application is highly recommended for non-verbal autistic children.

When he was able to concentrate and learn the different emotions, I taught him how to develop his speech and language through this free IPad application from Tom Taps Speak – AAC for Kids by Seer Technologies, Inc.  He found this easy to use because it helped him chose the words that he wanted to say through pictures. He was able to express what he wanted to say without resorting to meltdown.

He developed his speech gradually and by the time he learned how to communicate, I taught him how to understand words and instructions through this free application from Autism iHelp – Comprehension by John Talavera.  The combined images and words helped my son understand simple instructions. He found this fun and enjoyable.

Another iPad application that my son enjoyed in order to build his language concept was Autism iHelp – Language Concepts by John Talavera   The images and words made it easy for my son to understand the questions being asked. It was interactive and easy to use. 

Whenever my son has a meltdown because of sensory overload, I always give him Sensory Magma by Sensory Apps Ltd. This IPad application used magma images that have a slow moving lava effects that change its color.  My son found this soothing and relaxing combined with music that he loved to listen to. There are free music apps that you can download from iTunes like Free Music – Unlimited Music Player & Songs Album by Weihe Mo  Try it! 

If you want to try some more  Autism iPad  Applications, I highly recommended these resources. You have to pay for some of them but if you think it could benefit your child, you can also download them.

So, there you are! I gave you all the essential Autism IPad applications that my son used when he was little and also some of the additional applications that I think would be handy for your child as well.

Just a reminder that some of these IPad applications could be addictive to your child so it is best to have a scheduled time for you and your child for learning activities. This should be fun and enjoyable for both you and your child.

What are you waiting for? If your child doesn’t have an iPad yet, I recommend you to buy him one.
Come on, please click this to buy him one, NOW! 

I hope you find this topic beneficial to your child. If you have any questions, clarifications or suggestions, please leave it in the comments section below and I will come back to you as soon as I can.

Adel 🙂

Tips To Prepare Your Child With Autism For The Christmas Holidays

The Christmas holidays are on its way. This could be a bit daunting to your child with autism especially when it is his first Christmas holiday with the whole family.

The best way is to prepare your child ahead of time before the Christmas holidays begin. Every child is different so what works for one might not work for the other. As his parent, you know your child best!

Here are some tips to help your child prepare for the Christmas Holidays: 

  • Explain to him the meaning of Christmas by reading him a story about Christmas. A Christmas Nativity Book is the best book to choose. Always remember that children with autism are mostly visual learners. They learn easily and appreciate what you read to them if they can see what is happening at the same time. This is the first thing that I did for my son. I read him a picture book about Nativity so that he knows that Christmas means the birth of Jesus Christ.
  • Buy an Advent Calendar to prepare your child each day before Christmas. The Advent Calendar is an effective way to prepare your child for receiving gifts. It works by giving small gifts that your child would appreciate. Buy the “chocolate-free” ones if possible. We know that chocolate makes them even more hyperactive. We should limit giving them chocolates as small gifts, instead, buy an Advent Calendar that has small toys that they could help them to concentrate i.e. Legos.
  • Buy a DVD about Christmas to familiarize your child with all that is happening around Christmas time. A DVD that shows Santa Claus, family gatherings, gift giving etc. Choose an animation film as possible.
  • If your child likes arts and crafts, you can create a Christmas card out of a colored carton paper. Below is a photo of a Christmas card that my son drew. He used plain pencil and a colored carton paper.
  • Allow your child to help you in decorating your  Christmas tree at home. He might or might not enjoy doing it because of his sensory issues. He might not like seeing the brightly colored and twinkling Christmas lights. If he resorts to tantrums after seeing this, it is best to take him away from the Christmas tree. He might find it too painful for his eyes to see.
  • You may want to take your child for a Christmas shopping to buy gifts. This will allow him to get familiar with Christmas gifts and its purpose. There is a tendency that he might experience a sensory overload if you will buy gifts in a crowded shopping center. It is best to keep him away from the place if this happens. John does not like going to big shopping centers when he was still little because he found  these too overwhelming. He always resorted to meltdown at that time. But he is able to manage his behavior now and found a way to ease his sensory issues.                                                                                                                                                   
  • Take your child to Winter Wonderland or any amusement park during this Christmas holidays.

    Winter Wonderland

You might have to take this as a trial and error. Some children might enjoy going on a ride but some might not enjoy it at all.  A stroll through the park might be too overwhelming already because of the crowd and the noise around him. If this happens, you need to stop and take him away from the crowd. He should be enjoying himself and not be frightened.

This is also a great opportunity to visit Santa’s grotto.

Santa’s Grotto

My son knows what Santa looks like because of the Christmas books that I read to him when he was still little and the DVD film that tells a story about Father Christmas. He was not afraid to see Father Christmas. In fact, he was so happy to see him and was also thankful for the gift that he received from him.

There you are! These are just some tips to prepare your child with autism for the Christmas holidays.

If you want to know more about how you can help prepare your child during the Christmas holidays you may want to click on this

If you have any questions, suggestions or recommendations, please leave your comments below and I will try to reply to you as soon as I possibly can.

Adel 🙂

How Shakespearean Drama Boosted my Son’s Social Skills

What is Shakespearean Drama?

Shakespearean Drama is a drama play written by William Shakespeare. He is an English poet, playwright, and actor noted as one of the greatest writers in the English language.

His drama plays are classified into three genres, namely tragedy, history, and comedy. Most of them appeared in print as a series of quartos, which are smaller, and half the size of a book. They are translated into different languages and continually being performed all around the world.

Among his famous tragedy plays are Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello and King Lear. Some of his famous comedy plays include The First Folio, Merchant of Venice, The Tempest and Twelfth Night. And lastly, his history plays includes Richard III and Henry V.  ( Credits from Wikipedia Shakespeare’s plays )

How does Shakespearean Drama help boost the social skills of children with autism?

Shakespearean Drama helps boost the social skills of autistic children in a variety of ways. It is effective, as any other therapeutic approaches for children with autism. In fact, participating in a drama play like Shakespearean drama is like having a therapy itself.

It is a combination of all of the following therapeutic approaches:

Speech and Language

Autistic verbal children are taught to speak their lines in English for a particular Shakespearean drama play utilizing the rhythm of the iambic pentameter.

Communication and Social Interaction

Verbal and non-verbal autistic children are both taught to communicate and socially express their emotions through imitating and acting out facial expressions of a student actor or mentor in a play. These will help verbal and non-verbal autistic children to identify and understand better the emotions of other people. These will also enable them to react appropriately in certain situations.

Behavioral

 Autistic children who are verbal are taught to concentrate and know their lines through constant repetition and memorization. They are also taught how to take turns through learning their scenes and the particular person whom they have to follow next.

Sensory and Gross Motor

Autistic children are taught proper body space and body language through different body motions including hand gestures and feet movements.

These are the ways on how autistic children can boost their social skills. Some of the techniques are based on Kelly Hunter’s Hunter Heartbeat Method, which helped many autistic children progress socially.

Henry V Drama Performance

felt the excitement inside me the moment I heard that it was time for my son’s school to perform in the Shakespeare School Festival drama play. Their Shakespeare drama play is entitled Henry V.

I was excited and at the same time nervous for it will be the first time for John to perform in front of an audience. The performance was held in Arts Depot, Finchley last  25th of November. I bought three tickets for my husband, my little daughter and myself.

My son has been practicing his performance at home and every Monday afternoons at school for almost a month. He told me that he has to memorize two lines in the script, which was quite easy to remember as long as he won’t feel nervous on the day of his performance.

His role was Montjoy, the French Herald who delivers messages to King Henry V.  I saw him practiced his lines at home without body movements and facial expressions.

But he was totally different on the actual day of his performance. I saw him interact socially with his peers with full body movements, eye contact, and facial expressions. He knew his lines and the time for his turn to speak. He was a totally different person on stage.

I felt his excitement to act and to internalize the character of Montjoy. Although a bit nervous, he managed to deliver the message to King Henry V in a high tone, which was enough for all of us to hear.

The battle scenes were done gracefully in slow motion. John’s body movements were synchronous with the background music.

John did his best and made us all proud. He proved to himself that he could act and blend well with his peers.

He enjoyed every bit of their performance and was looking forward to joining again for another Shakespearean drama play next year.

If you want to boost the social skills of your autistic child, try to enroll him in a Shakespearean drama club. You would be surprised of how fast your child could progress. And if you are looking for a wonderful book that will give you ideas on how to apply  Shakespearean drama by the use of sensory games to help your autistic child, you may want to buy Shakespeare’s Heartbeat.

Hope you find this post on how Shakespearean Drama boosted my son’s social skills useful. If you have any questions, suggestions, and recommendations, please feel free to leave your comments below.

Adel 🙂

 

 

Benefits Of Art Therapy

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Art Therapy

Art Therapy has a lot of benefits for children with autism. It brings joy in expressing their ideas and teaches them how to be creative.  

My son enjoys doing all sorts of art in school from cutting, pasting, coloring, painting, molding, and sketching. These help him develop his fine motors skills by strengthening his hand muscles. It also teaches him to think and organize his ideas through creative thinking.

Art therapy is an effective method of expressing a child’s feeling through images and colors which couldn’t be expressed through words.  It develops communication and interaction through teaching emotions. John loves to draw pictures of children all the time. I asked him why he always likes to draw them and he answered, ” I feel happy when I draw them. They are my classmates.”

The first drawing  below is John’s drawing when their class went to Southend for their school’s summer trip. The children have happy faces which mean that they all enjoyed the trip and enjoyed each other’s company.

Art therapy
Fig. 1 John’s drawing of his school trip to Southend

This second drawing is a drawing that he did in his Playscheme Club. He was asked by his play support worker to draw anything that he likes to draw (freestyle). He drew three erupted volcanoes  surrounded by happy children.  I asked him why he drew it? He said, ” I love to see the colors that come out of a volcano. The bright red and orange. I felt my son’s happiness being with his friends and that he enjoyed their company.

According to Color Psychology, bright red or scarlet indicates enthusiasm and love of life while orange means optimism that radiates warmth and happiness and gives us strength in difficult times. I can see and feel that my son is a friendly, enthusiastic and happy person  who finds strength by being with someone or with the company of his friends.

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Fig.2 John’s freestyle drawing

Art Therapy helps a child with autism to stay calm by refocusing his attention through his drawing. When John is overwhelmed by the things around him, he tends to get nervous. This could be too exhausting for him. He enjoys drawing, coloring and painting because it helps him diverts his attention to the things around him. It is a good therapy for his sensory issues.

Below are some of my son’s artwork that he did in his Art class made from tiles and chalk (Fig.3) and ceramics ( Fig.4).

Art therapy
Fig.3 John’s tiles and chalk artwork
Fig.4 John's ceramic art
Fig.4 John’s ceramic artwork

Art therapy is a form of recreational activity that will keep your child busy for a period of time. It will help him to concentrate on completing a particular task which will help in improving his concentration and attention skills. If you want to know more about the benefits of art therapy to your child with autism, you could click on this

So there you are! These are all the benefits of Art therapy. It is now time for you to help your child to start making his own creations. Try  tracing your hands and color it with different colors to create a pattern.  Use primary colors of red, blue, green and yellow. This will help your child to recognize the primary colors. It is fun, interactive and a great time to bond with your child.

You can also make handprints using primary watercolor paint.  Allow him to touch the colors and create his own hand-printed patterns. Try it and let him enjoy!

If you have any questions or suggestions on the Benefits of Art therapy to your child with autism, please feel free to leave your comments below and I will try my best to respond as  soon as I can. 

Adel 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Stories And Autism

What are Social Stories?

Social Stories are brief descriptions of a particular situation, event or activity that helps social stories -147292_640your child with autism to know what to expect in that particular situation and the reason why it happened. It will help him to understand its cause and effect thus improving the way he communicates and interacts with people around him.

Affiliate Disclaimer “This post contains affiliate links and I’ll earn a small commission if you shop through them. This is how we help to make money so we can continue to bring you amazing content”

You can make your own social stories or buy a book or DVD’s of your choice to help your child develop an understanding of what to expect in certain situations.

There are four types of Social Stories and these are the following:

A. Descriptive Social Story

This is a type of social story that is objective, truthful and states a fact. It tells briefly what the situation is, where the situation occurs, who is involved, how and why things are happening.

My son, John learned a lot from this type of a social story because he was able to tell me what I was trying to ask him and predict what will happen next.

As an example, I asked him by pointing to myself,  I am your mom. I always take care of you, dress you up and feed you (  show pictures or use gestures to illustrate). You need to listen ( point to the ear or show a picture) whenever I am calling your name ( point to him or his picture) because I am your mom (point to self).

As you could notice, I underlined the keywords that my son needs to know for him to predict what I am trying to say. You could change the underlined words with a blank space as your child progress in his learning.

B. Perspective Social Story

This is a type of social story that tells what someone is thinking or feeling. It can include opinions, beliefs, health, motivation, feelings, and thoughts. It used to refer to other people and not the child with ASD.

I utilized people’s emotions when I taught this to John.  

As an example, I told him that if he will not _________ ( point to ear), I, his mom won’t be ___________ (point to sad face) and if he will__________(pointing to ear again),  I, his mom will be_______(point to happy face).

A social story about what his teacher does in school.

Your _________(show a picture of a teacher) is the one_________( show a picture of books and class ) you  (point to him)  in ________ (show picture of school). You need to _________( point to ear) to her or she might get_________( point to angry face).

As you could notice, I utilized a blank space to let John think of what to say in response to my question. Partial sentences encourage a person with ASD to make guesses regarding the next step in a situation, the response of another individual or his own response. You could use this in all types of social stories.

C. Affirmative Social Story

This is a type of social story that expresses a commonly shared value or opinion. Usually follows a descriptive, perspective or directive sentence. You can tell stories all about following rules that are applicable both at home and at school.

I made a social story on taking turns in the playground to John.

As an example, I told him that if he is in the _________(show picture of playground) and would like to play on the __________(show picture of slide or swing), he needs to _________( show a picture of a child waiting for his turn or a stop sign  by using your hand). This emphasizes the importance of taking turns which are the safe thing to do according to playground rules.

D. Control Social Story

This is a type of social story which is written or created by the child himself.  This is used to identify strategies the child will use to recall information.

This is the story that I utilized to ask John to tell me a particular thing that will remind him that it’s time to go to sleep ( hand gesture of sleep or point to bed)  and a thing that will remind him to eat his dinner (hand gesture of eating or point to dinner table). 

He showed me his toy teddy bear as a sign that he wants to sleep and pointed to his tummy as a sign that he is hungry.

Summary

In summary,  Social Stories are processes and products that improve social understanding of children with autistic spectrum disorders and those who work on their behalf (parents and teachers).

As a process, authors must consider information and events through the eyes of the person with ASD.

As a product, a Social story is defined by specific characteristics that transcribe social information into text, pictures, and titles that are significant for children with ASD.

Social stories help my son to understand the cause and effect of a particular situation, event or activity. It helps him improve the way he communicates and interacts with the people around him.

I sincerely hope these insights have helped in some way, and welcome your questions should there be any.

Adel 🙂

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