How to Motivate Your Child With ASD – 5 OT secrets

Autism Spectrum Disorder

5 Ways to Understand what Motivates a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Today we have a guest post from Occupational Therapist Hope Caracci.  Hope specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Sensory Processing Dysfunction.  She is a well-known speaker who often presents on the topic of Autism Spectrum Disorder. (See below for more information on her next conference in November).

 


Are you having difficulty motivating your clients or your child to participate in learning activities?

Learning a new skill requires the internal drive to do so.  Unfortunately, children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) often lack intrinsic motivation.

As an experienced OT who has presented and written extensively about Autism Spectrum Disorder, I have some secrets to share!

These are my 5 tried and true techniques to identify what is interesting and meaningful to a child with ASD.  

They really work, and can help you to improve the child’s participation significantly!

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express emotions

One genius way to teach your child how to express emotions

Have you ever seen a kid burst out crying for no reason? I know I have. The thing is, there is always a reason. Whether it’s because they are scared, tired, disappointed, or anything else, there is ALWAYS a reason.

No matter how silly it may seem to us, something is bothering them and it’s important enough to cause a physical effect for that child.

In my opinion, it’s the WORST when a child can’t tell you how they are feeling. Many times this is because they simply don’t know. Children rarely spend time learning about emotions and feelings.  There are children’s books and stories that may help. But most kids  learn by picking up simple social cues and digesting the actions of their parents and peers.

For some kids, that’s just not enough. Some kids need practice with figuring out how they feel and what that means.

express emotions

You know how horrible it is when you are terribly embarrassed? When you feel mortified and want to crawl under a table? Now imagine if you couldn’t understand why you even felt that way – uggh. Continue reading

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Play and attention

Using Play to Increase Attention

#FunctionalSkillsForKids

“Using Play to Increase Attention”  is part of a year-long blog hop called Functional Skills for Kids.  Each month, I will be working with other pediatric OTs and PTs to post on different developmental topics that impact functional skills for kids. I’m so honored to be working with some amazing pediatric bloggers to bring you a well-rounded blog hop that will ultimately result in a BOOK!

*This post contains affiliate links

This series will be a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, and therapists to learn about all the different activities a child performs each day.  Every month, each therapist will discuss different aspects of functional skills.  Each childhood function will be broken down into developmental timelines, fine motor considerations, gross motor considerations, sensory considerations, visual perceptual considerations, accommodations and modifications, activity ideas, and more.

This month’s topic in the  “Functional Skills for Kids” blog hop is PLAY, so check out the landing page for the rest of our posts and information on all things related to play skills!

what is play?

Play is defined as an activity that a person engages in for recreation and enjoyment.   For children, play is crucial to their development and learning. A child’s primary occupation is to play, learn, and socialize  (AOTA, 2015).     As a child plays, they develop the ability to problem solve, learn new skills, and use coordination and motor skills.   (AOTA, 2011).    It is important to remember that children learn best when they play with toys that are geared towards their developmental level  (raisingchildren.net).   Encouraging play with toys that are above your child’s developmental levels can lead to frustration and distraction.   You can check out my list of favorite developmental toys for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in the links below presented with Dinosaur PT here…

 Best-Infant-Toys-6 Best-Toddler-Toys  Best-Preschool-Toys

 

why is PLAY important for children to learn?

Play is an important component of childhood learning.  It fosters the development of motor skills, teaches children how to use their bodies, and helps children learn about the world around them.    When a child “plays”, it can be a structured game with rules such as kickball, free play (building with blocks), or engaging with a toy or another person.   Although play is perceived as “fun”, it is also a vital part of childhood development.

For example, an infant may “play” by cooing and giggling with mommy.  That baby is developing the ability to make eye contact, socialize, and form a relationship.   A toddler may play with blocks or toy trains.  He is developing the ability to use his two hands together to connect the blocks, visual skills to line them up properly, and imagination to decide what he wants to build.  As he plays on the floor with his train, he is crawling on all fours, using his body to bear weight,  and using eye-hand coordination to keep his train on the track.  A school age child plays a board game with a friend.  Although socializing and forming a friendship with a peer, he is also learning to follow rules, take turns, and cope with losing/ or learning to be a good sport.

As children grow older, the activities they participate in as “Play” activities change.  So do the benefits and acquired skills of the activity  they are engaging in.

When a child’s attention limits his ability to play for extended periods of time, it also interferes with his ability to develop the skills that naturally emerge from playtime.   So, as you can see, PLAY IS VERY IMPORTANT!

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potty training, #functinalskillsforkids

Toileting and Sensory Processing

“Toileting and Sensory Processing”  is part of a year-long blog hop called Functional Skills for Kids.  Each month, I will be working with other pediatric OTs and PTs to post on different developmental topics that impact functional skills for kids. I’m so honored to be working with some amazing pediatric bloggers to bring you a well-rounded blog hop that will ultimately result in a BOOK!

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Weighted fidget

How to Make a Weighted Fidget

How to Make a Do-It-Yourself Weighted Fidget

I’ve been blogging a lot lately about fidgets and fidgety kids.  Parents and teachers are always looking for a way to keep fidgety kids quiet and focused.  Weighted items like vests or lap pads are commonly used by teachers to help kids who are fidgety, restless, and unfocused.  Fidgets are another common request – they are great for keeping busy fingers quiet while the rest of a child’s body is attending to the lesson at hand.

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