(1) Create Predictable Schedules:
Create a structured, predictable daily schedule simple enough to be
adapted to any situation or setting.
Then commit to ALWAYS following that routine, no matter where you are or
who you’re with. Remember that any
sudden change to the schedule, even for “fun” activities, will create stress
(2) Structure Everything:
Break down every activity into small, simple steps. Approach every activity one step at a
time. Practice every new activity or
skill privately before trying it in a social setting.
(3) Preparation is Key:
Don’t plan any change in schedule or new activity without allowing at
least one full week for preparation time.
Make sure you have pictures of anyone or anyplace you’re going to
visit. Get floor plans of any buildings,
maps of any amusement parks or zoos, samples of any sights, sounds, and scents
you might encounter. Leave nothing to
chance, let nothing be a surprise.
(4) Make Action Plans: Plan for every possibility. Make emergency action plans and PRACTICE them until they are part of your child’s rote memory. Stress will erase logical responses; you have to make sure your child’s safety responses are adequately programmed for ‘auto pilot.’
(5) Simplify Your Speech:
Give logical, concrete explanations and directions, and reduce the
amount of information you are providing to your child indirectly to any
increases in stimulation from the environment.
(6) Pay Attention: Be aware of sensory input from the environment: noise, temperature, smell, lighting, textures,
people, animals, etc., etc..
(7) Coping Strategies:
Teach specific coping strategies to your child for each anxiety
provoking event or thought and every possible instance of sensory overload. Practice those coping skills every day.
(8) Black and White:
Be logical, organized, clear, concise and concrete in all communication
with your child. State every direction
and expectation clearly and precisely, and follow them up with visual cues and
timed verbal reminders.
(9) Cause and Effect: Teach your child specific cause and effect relationships to help them cope with the unpredictability of social interaction. Learn about social competence and how to teach it.
Teach your child specific organizational and time management skills for
specific tasks at school and at home.
(11) Use Strengths: Make use of your child’s strengths to help with weaknesses. Verbal explanations can clarify visual material just as well as visual demonstrations can enhance verbal instructions.
(12) Reflect on This: Teach your child how to recognize and use non-verbal communication and show them how to practice in the mirror. Teach your child to recognize specific physical and facial reactions from their audience to determine whether they are communicating effectively. Practice and role play social interaction in group activities