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 🙂

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.

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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.

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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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Using a Visual Schedule

How to use a Visual Schedule through PECS

Visual schedule through PECS (Picture Exchange System)  is the next step once you have established eye contact with your autistic child.

PECS  is a system where you can utilise pictures to provide information which allows your child to communicate by exchanging pictures of an item that they need or a certain activity that they want to accomplish.

A visual schedule or a picture schedule is a method of utilising pictures to guide your child in his whole day routine, an activity routine or to offer your child with a choice of activities. Some activities may coincide with his activities in school.

The visual schedule can be followed from top to bottom, or from left to right. The direction will depend on where the visual schedule is going to be placed, or if it needs to be moved around or if one format works better for your child.

I utilised the horizontal schedule, which is from left to right for my son, John because this has helped him to understand better the next thing that he will do a certain activity.

The guide below is an example of a visual routine activity that I made for John to follow.


visual schedule


The example above taught John how to wash his hands properly. You can utilise this to your child by posting one as a guide near the tap in your bathroom and the other one as a PECS activity that your child can learn with you.

As you begin the activity, direct your child’s attention to the picture. It will also be helpful to show the object or take your child to the pictured item to help him understand what the picture represents.

This is what I did for John.  As he completes an activity, I encouraged him to pull off the activity picture and post it in a “finished” box. I then used an envelope for this. This has helped him understand when a single activity is finished and prompts him to look for what will happen next. I point out the next activity and encourage him to tell me what is next. I also use a prompt to guide John to his schedule. In this instance, I utilise his name with his photo on it.

I was able to successfully implement PECS to John because it has decreased his challenging behaviours, which have helped him increase his attention and concentration to a number of different activities. He has become more independent in his routine and has helped him understand his environment and routine. On my next post, I will discuss how to improve your child’s concentration.

Listed below are some useful websites for symbols and pictures that you could use as resources:

www.widgit.com

www.pecs.org.uk

www.keefamily.org/pec/pecs.htm

Hope you find this topic about utilising visual schedules through PECS useful. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to comment below and I will try to answer it as soon as I can. 

Sincerely,

Adel 🙂

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