How to improve your autistic child’s concentration
Improving your autistic child’s concentration is the next step after you have established his visual schedule.
Concentration is the intense attention used in learning a task, and the ability to ignore other distractions in the environment.
To improve your autistic child’s concentration, you need to follow these simple steps:
- Eliminate distractions. I make sure that I put away anything that will distract my son’s attention before we start an activity.
- Ensure eye contact when giving instructions. I always maintain eye contact to John to enable him to simulate what I’m doing. This should be consistent for him to continue maintaining his eye contact.
- Break instructions into simple steps and don’t give too many at one given time. I always give brief instructions to John when we are doing an activity so he could understand what I am saying. I use a visual aid for support.
- Talk to your child in a soft, calm voice. John doesn’t want loud noises, so when I talk to him I make sure that my voice is not loud for him to hear and doesn’t sound restricted and firm.
- Make the activity as motivating as possible. I’m trying to encourage John all the time when we are doing an activity by breaking it into achievable steps then allowing John to have a short rest period between each step. I use a reward sticker for every step he has accomplished. This will further encourage him to concentrate and complete the whole tasks.
- Alternate active activities with sitting and concentration skills. If John and I have a playtime activity in the park, I alternate this with an activity that requires concentration at home. I used PECS in our home activity.
- Once we established an activity, we moved alternately between difficult and easy tasks. I utilised a visual schedule to keep John on task. It is a reminder for what steps of the task are required and for how long he needs to concentrate.
- Use verbal prompts or touch prompts to gain attention. I always do this to John so he won’t lose focus.
- Find activities that your child will really enjoy and mixed these with the not so enjoyable. Enjoyment of a task will lead to motivation to stick with it longer. John enjoys playing lego and playdough. These are also good in improving his fine motor skill development.
- Have a series of tasks set out and move in an orderly fashion from one to the next. Be prepared to quickly move from one task onto the next if behaviour problems arise from the task being too difficult or easy. I make sure that John doesn’t get bored with any activity that we are doing.
- Involve yourself with your child’s game or task at hand and keep him at this activity as long as you can without him becoming negative or losing concentration. I always go for an activity that will help John to further develop his concentration. I used lego and floor puzzles for this play activity.
- Poor attention may be related to difficulty in completing a task. I always try to make sure to start an activity that is easy to follow before going to the hard ones which John will need more help in concentrating.
By following these simple steps your child’s concentration on a task will improve thus allowing him to do a task, which he will enjoy doing independently.
Using a reward program by giving tangible rewards and utilising positive reinforcements through giving lots of praises to a particular task done is a helpful way of motivating your child to concentrate on a particular task at hand. I will be discussing this further in my next post.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave your comments below and will try to come back to you as soon as I can.