Children with Autism can be easily overwhelmed and overstimulated. This can easily lead to tantrums and behaviors that many would see as oppositional or defiant. I have come up with a couple of suggestions that can help when your child is at that point when they are about to have a meltdown.
- Take 5 deep calming breaths
- Take a walk
- Take a break
- Sit in the bean bag chair
Another great tool to use is "if-then" stories. The example below shows "if" you wash your hands, "then" you can eat a treat. This way your child sees the objective and the reinforcement....they know what task they have to do in order to get what they want. Many times, children with autism just want to know why they have to do things. This gives them the clear why. Like the bottom example, it can show what happens with both positive and negative behavior, giving clear consequences.
Social stories are another great way to show children with autism how their behavior impacts themselves and others. In this example, the boy is using his words to tell how he is feeling instead of just exploding with anger. Social stories can help in many situations. The best thing about these stories is that you can go over them before the situations actually happen and you can go over questions and let your child ask questions if they have any.
What strategies have you used both at home and at school?