Friday, August 12, 2011

Autism Care Around The Home

Autism care as it relates to being around and in the home differs from the care strategies of school and excursions. Through appropriate care tactics designed with the autistic individual in mind, it is possible to make being home more comfortable for everyone. Parents who have autistic children should start implementing strategies around the home early so that their children learn valuable life skills.

Reinforcing Learning:
Someone with autism might learn skills in a therapist's office that seem to get lost by the time you reach home. This is due to inconsistencies in the environment between the office setting and the home. The only way to adapt skills an autistic child learns out of the home to the house setting is through reinforcement and consistency. After learning a skill with a therapist or teacher, such as sign language or making a bed, parents should use the same skill at home. This not only helps reinforce the skills so they are not lost later, but it also makes the task consistent between different environments.

Making a Schedule:
Scheduling the entire day is a key to success in autism, particularly in the home environment where schedules are often more relaxed than school or therapy settings. Make a schedule for the day from the time the autistic individual gets up to the time he or she goes to bed. Once the schedule is completed, always strictly follow the schedule. For example, meal times or play time should always fall at the same time each day. The keys to the schedule should not change for the weekends, holidays or summer break, though days without school should have a schedule that suits the family. Scheduling helps keep disruptive behaviour to a minimum.

Learn Non-verbal Cues:
Autistic individuals use non-verbal cues as often as or more often than verbal cues to show what they want or need. Watch for the signals like hand gestures or facial expressions that show common needs like hunger or drowsiness. Learning the common cues an autistic child makes to communicate needs requires observation.

Pay Attention to Sensory Sensitivities:
Sensory sensitivities are among the most common reasons for misbehaviour in the autistic child. Around the house, parents can minimise the sensitivities that result in irritation, misbehaviour or stress while maximizing the sensory stimulus that results in a calming effect. Each child is different, so you will need to watch for the triggers to tantrums and poor behaviour such as loud noises, specific colours, tastes or smells. Also pay attention to the stimulus that soothes or calms. Incorporate more of the soothing stimulus like soothing colours and comforting smells into your home decor.

Safety Proofing the Home:
Since autism often results in tantrums or self-injurious behaviour, parents and family members should take action to provide a safe environment in the home. If possible, move all breakable objects to an inaccessible area and use child safety locks on all cabinets. Minimising the furniture that has sharp edges will also help.

Taking steps to provide a safe, calm and well-scheduled environment at home will result in better success from autistic individuals.

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