Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Helping With The Rules Of Board Games

Autism is explained as being a continuum and some autistic children will have some physical, emotional and mental facilities that function normally, whilst other facilities might be compromised and require boosting through practice and refinement. Common areas across the spectrum of autism that need practice and refinement include the areas of communication and social skills.

It goes without saying that one should try to think up games and activities for autistic children that will help build their communication skills and functionality. One of the best ways of improving functionality is through continual practice and repetitive action. Simple board games help an autistic child learn to count and take turns for example, and this in turn will help with social interaction and learning.

Games that focus on cause and effect are also effective and since board games thrive on routine and are often designed to be very visually appealing (think snakes and ladders), it shouldn’t be so hard to convince a child to play these games.

Visual rules can really help a child with autism learn the rules of a game much more quickly and board game visual supports are one way of speeding up the process of understanding. Here you will find a range of templates for some great games including bingo. You may also be able to visualise many of the other board games you wish to play with your child. You can print off the visual templates and start playing games with your child straight away.

Remember that “practice makes perfect”. Remain patient and soon board games will become routine and help expand your child’s social and communication skills.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Holidays – Keep Those Kids Busy

Most children are used to relatively structured days and activities during the school term, at pre-school or school, and can be left a little lost during the holidays. Holidays do tend to set off the “I’m bored” in kids and leave mums frazzled and annoyed.

Avoiding this frustration is as simple as organising a minimum of one structured or semi-structured activity per day. Depending on the age or dependence of your children, will depend on your level of involvement; if you’d like them happily and safely occupied whilst you attend to something you need to, make sure you structure in activities they can do mostly unsupervised as well.

Activities may include:

• Craft - cutting and pasting, painting, drawing, playdough;
• Chalk drawings - either on a footpath, garage floor or the side of the house;
• Building a cubbyhouse using sheets, blankets and the furniture;
• Bug and insect catching;
• Set up a game, challenge or obstacle course (indoor or outdoor); and
• Research - have the kids research a topic or subject they’re interested in.

Other activities that keep the kids busy and wear them out include bike rides along a specific route or excursions – particularly if you can use public transport, as this makes the day just a little more exciting for them. Or how about exploring the neighbourhood on bike or foot?

If it helps, set up a timetable of activities similar to that of a school holiday program. Get the kids involved and help you set up the program. The structure will help lessen the school holiday chaos and the kids will have no reason to be bored.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crafts That ASD Kids Will Love

Little hands like to be kept busy and craft activities are a timeless winner with kids of all ages and stages of development.

Craft projects allow for children to experience and experiment with different textures and colours, to plan and produce something of their choice and to tweak and adjust their masterpieces to suit their own taste and preferences.

If your child is uncomfortable with the sensation of sticky paint or paste try different combinations of gloves. Often soft cotton gloves worn inside of disposable latex ones will be easier to tolerate than latex gloves alone, and this will reduce discomfort of any sensitivities they may have to crafting materials too.

Encourage your child to feel different textures and try a variety of crafting methods, but keep them well within their comfort zone, otherwise their creative juices are likely to dry up before you even get started.

Work in a well ventilated area to minimize the odours of glues, etc, although bear in mind that any breeze will blow paper, glitter and any other light items around which can quickly become very frustrating.

HANDS in Autism have a wonderful range of craft and activity projects specifically designed with ASD kids in mind and each of the steps are easy for both adult and child to follow. They also provide some handy templates for How To Charts and all of their ideas leave room for adjustment to your child’s particular needs.

We stock Squeeze Scissors, Animal Finger Crayons and several other Art and Craft items that make great additions to your child’s craft kit. These items are all easy to use and help to personalise the crafting experience for your child.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dr Sheldon Cooper – Big Bang and Asperger’s

It’s an ongoing question. Is Dr Sheldon Cooper from television's The Big Bang Theory on the Autism spectrum or isn’t he? While the writers and creators of the show say that they didn’t write the character as having Asperger’s Syndrome, Sheldon exhibits lots of classic symptoms of both Asperger’s and OCD.

Just consider his love of routine.

• He sits in the same place and won’t sit anywhere else
• He has a set schedule for toilet and bathroom use
• He has a set schedule for weeknight activities
• He orders the same food every time and won’t accept variations
• He doesn’t understand emotion in others.
• He can only accept logical and fact
• He is socially awkward
• Limited interests
• Brilliant in certain areas

I don’t think the show will ever classify his character in any way. As Sheldon himself says, “My Mother had me tested” and nothing came of it.

What I love about The Big Bang Theory and Sheldon is that it takes away some of the mystery for people who don’t really understand ASD. It shows a real human who is coping in the real world, despite his own set of peculiarities. It shows a man who is capable of loving in his own way and who is willing to try to do things the way others do them if it’s really necessary.

Look at the way he looked after the character of Penny when she hurt her shoulder. He might have struggled with the cuddling but he managed a “there, there.” He also managed to sing his own special song “Soft Kitty” to help her settle to sleep.

Does Dr Sheldon Cooper have Asperger’s Syndrome? Who cares? He’s loyal and he’s lovable and it doesn’t really matter how he’s “classified”, does it?
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