How to keep autistic kids productive during the Covid-19 pandemic time

Activities to Help Calm Your Autistic Child

The pandemic has caused everyone to go a little crazy with its random timing and its abrupt change in schedules. Parents are home more. Siblings have no alone time with friends and pets are trying to figure out why you all are around more now than ever! You could say the pandemic came through like a storm and uprooted everything we knew to be solid in our lives. Some of the most vulnerable people during this time is our children. They have just started to figure out life. Some just getting adapt to a routine all together and others not really sure why they need a routine at all. Parents are trying to help them adjust well with what little knowledge they have in all of this chaos. Those especially hurt by this time, children with autism spectrum disorder.

These fun loving, routine dependent, predictable little people are counting on the grown-ups to have the answers. So, what do you do when you don’t have any? You’re sitting home and realizing that you don’t have the answers for anything right now and you are barely keeping up with what you’ve been given charge of lately. Let us lay out a few things you can do in your home to help.

Create a new schedule:

Using visuals, create a new routine the children can grow used to. Give them something to look forward to next. Provide them with a picture schedule, options, and allow them the opportunity to predict what their day will look like according to the new normal. Here is a list of schedule ideas.

what is a visual schedule for an autistic student
Example: Next Now Schedule

Preventing Meltdowns:

Turn the television off, gather some online resources, and ask about their feelings and thoughts. Give them your knowledge allowing them the opportunity to process on their own. Try a journaling activity. Allow some creative time while talking maybe with some coloring books. Here are a few activities you can do to calm your tantruming child.

  • Calm down bottles: this activity is good for meditation and changing a negative situation into a positive one.
  • Introduce books: provide books with relatable topics i.e. anger, sadness, frustration.
  • Sing songs: music therapy is a good outlet for releasing built up tension and anxiety. Allow some form of dance, instrumental, or music related activities for calming.
  • Give hugs: sometimes all it takes is a simple hug to give off positive vibes. Giving a hug can change the attitude of your child. Keep in mind you should ask first! Sometimes children may feel more crowded from the hug than the original point that upset him.

Sensory Activities:

Sensory activities are a great way to calm children, engage them, as well as promote fun learning! Here is a list of sensory activities to try at home with your little ones.

A. Yoga ball exploration: there are a variety of yoga ball exercises you can pull off for relaxation and stretching. They are also good for large body play, cooperative play and outdoor exploration.

B. Swing: swings can be large blankets, jersey bed sheets, or therapeutic grade from a specialty store. They are used to create a secure sense of comfort and support for the young mind. Allowing them to freely swing back and forth can calm their nerves and provide under stimulated children with the right tools to focus once again.

C. Stepping stones: great for large motor play, stepping stones help with balance. They are also good for focus, hand, foot, and eye coordination, as well as physical therapy.

D. Fidget Toys: great for keeping little hands and bodies busy during times where we need it the most. They are intriguing and adult proof as well! Grab a few options from just about any superstore these days and walk your children through calming down with these as assistance.

E. Sensory bins: there literally a ton of sensory bin ideas across the internet. They keep children engaged and they are great tools for learning new ideas and experiencing old ones.

F. Weighted blankets: weighted blankets have surfaced all over the world now and are available to just about anyone. These weighted tools help stimulate the body causing it to have a calming experience. There are a variety of options for children including a vest and a lap pad. Another great thing, it helps with bedtime too.

Special Corner: Allow your little ones to have an escape. Sometimes we all need a quiet area in the midst of chaos. Carve out a reading nook, place an indoor tent, or some other form of hideout for moments that are stressful and they may need to get away. There are tons of options out there!

Treasure Chest: Who doesn’t love a good treasure chest to rummage through? Given the opportunity to encourage some positive behavior I’m sure most of you will do so with little hesitation. Try out a cool treasure chest purchased or designed by your family to hold all of these positive reinforcers. When children are doing AWESOME at any activity you can give them the options to pull from the treasure chest. This can be stickers, sensory toys, DIY tickets that allow additional screen time for good behavior. Get creative and do what you know motivates your child(ren).

There are a ton of ways to outlets for helping your family during this time. Sometimes they forget about your kids that need more structure and more supportive hugs. Happy planning and positive vibes ONLY.

Teaching Resources:

  • https://www.waterford.org/education/15-activities-teaching-strategies-and-resources-for-teaching-children-with-autism/
  • The National Institute for Mental Health. A Parent’s Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder. Retrieved from autism-watch.org: https://www.autism-watch.org/general/nimh.pd
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Data & Statistics on Autism Spectrum Disorder. Retrieved from cdc.gov: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html

How do you restrain a child who is out of control?

My autistic son is out of control

My autistic son is out of control. What do I do

“I need some advice. My autistic son, is entirely out of control, no matter what we do, we cant get him to stop knocking his own teeth out, kicking his grandmother, whom has a lot of health issues, making himself throw up, hurting himself, hurting his brother and fighting with parents. My head is spinning, we have tried community mental health with no success, I have him enrolled with Easter seals but not for another 3 days.

My autistic son is out of control

Does anyone have any experiences with taking your child to an emergency room? If so, can you tell me, what all happens? Thanks in advance for any help and support.”

You have to get to the heart of the problem. Is your son in need of more stimulation than is currently in his environment? Some kids on the spectrum crave MORE stimulation and will do hurtful things to themselves and others to get that sense of pain or pressure. The opposite is also true–Gavin may need less stimulation than what is currently in his environment. Reduce noise, reduce visual stimulation (blank walls, no decorations, no color except maybe green, which has shown to be very calming even to people who are neurotypicals), reduce smells (does Grandma wear too much perfume?), etc.

Taking him to the E.R. will result in two things–either the doctors will ask to place your son on a 72-hour observation hold and then send him back home with you, or the police and CPS will be called to undermine your parental authority because a doctor thinks you can’t handle your kid and you don’t know what you are doing. Neither of these options resolves what is actually going on with your son, and you have to figure it out by either reducing or increasing his stimulation. It’s often best to reduce stim first, because increasing stim in an already overstimmed child could result in some very dangerous situations. Only after you have attempted to create a “padded, quiet room” at home should you attempt to increase stimulation, slowly, to see if that helps instead.

How to make an autistic child respond to his name

How to make an autistic child respond to his name

My autistic child is not responding to his name. What do I do?

This strikes me as a very strange request, but only because it sounds more like somebody’s asking for dog or cat training. Your autistic child may not respond when you say or call his or her name for any number of reasons, but attempting to “train” him or her to respond is disrespectful and it ignores all of the possible reasons why your child doesn’t even blink when you call. That said, if you really want him or her to pay attention when you speak, here are some helpful tips.

  1. Get all the way down to his or her level. If he or she looked you in the eye, your eyes would have to be right in front of his/hers. Think about it—do you not look at other people when you address them? How do you get their attention? By looking right in their eyes and saying their names.
  2. Say your child’s name. Touch his or her hand when you say your child’s name, if he or she is not tactile defensive. It is a physical cue that connects with saying his/her name and will connect with his/her brain faster.
  3. Repeat this process a couple of times. Practice this process for several consecutive days. Once you get a visual recognition or a verbal one, you know he or she knows his/her name, even if he/she chooses not to respond to it the rest of the time.

Now, if you want to know why your child still does not respond to his or her name, get familiar with the reasons.

  1. He or she has a hearing problem. Get it checked out, as it could be anything from an ear infection to lost ability to hear.
  2. Your child has discovered “selective listening” and is being defiant. This is especially true of children on the spectrum who are high-functioning and can communicate when they want to.
  3. Your child is so lost in his or her own little world or so completely focused on something that he or she really doesn’t hear you when you call. Don’t fault them for it—even adults do this.

Remember, just keep trying and don’t yell or scream your child’s name. Even if your child is deaf and you don’t know it, yelling his or her name won’t make any difference. In a child with autism, you will either jumpstart a meltdown or you will cause your kid to tune you out, and neither of those is any good.

How to prepare an autistic child for a new baby”
Why does my autistic child scream?

How to prepare an autistic child for a new baby

New Baby on the Way: Your Autistic Child and Baby Preparations

This is not an easy thing to do, even with children that are not on the spectrum. Some kids are excited and great when they hear they will have a little brother or sister. Others, not so much. Children on the spectrum are the same way, whether they can verbalize it or not. Here are some helpful hints to aid your ASD child with the coming of the sibling.

How to prepare an autistic child for a new baby

If your ASD child is high-functioning and/or affectionate, tell him or her as soon as possible. Spend more time with him or her. Let your child snuggle up to your belly and talk to your belly. Sometimes if you can get your ASD child to formulate a bond with the yet unseen baby, he or she will be less likely to try and hurt the baby when you bring the baby home from the hospital.

If your child is on the other end of the spectrum, you could try to encourage him or her to touch your belly late in your pregnancy, when the baby is moving or kicking. The movement and sensations might be fascinating to him or her and then you can quietly talk about what is going on with Mommy’s tummy. If your child attempts to strike your belly or climb all over you, remove him or her and tell your child that that is not allowed now and will not be allowed when the baby comes.

Other things you can do to prepare your child with autism for a new baby is to engage him or her with the baby preparations. This would include decorating the baby’s room, making up the crib, showing your child how to wind the mobile to make music, etc. Also, give your child a pretend baby doll and his or her own baby doll crib or cradle. Show him or her how to hold a baby, rock a baby, feed a baby, change a baby, dress a baby and in all other ways practice taking care of the baby doll so it looks completely normal when you do it with the new baby. If you make it all routine, then your child on the spectrum will expect all of these behaviors in the house when the new sibling comes home.

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Can I give my autistic child up for adoption

The Difficult Autistic Child and Delayed Adoption: Can You Do It?

My friends have an autistic child they cannot handle. She asked me, “Can I give my autistic child up for adoption?” There isn’t a parent on this earth that doesn’t think to themselves, “Is it too late to give my child up for adoption?”, especially when they have just gone through a really horrible day with their kids. Although it may be a fantasy for some, for a few parents who have children on the spectrum, it seems like the best idea ever. Unfortunately, there are some legal barriers to adoption once your child is way past the five-day-old mark. There are alternatives instead, but none of them may be what you would consider responsible or compassionate, so be careful about what you decide to do.

Can I give my autistic child up for adoption

Option number one is probably the least favored of all, because it makes you look like an unfit parent and because the county in which you live will try to get you to surrender custody of your other children as well. In this option, you contact your local Human Services Department and inform them you want to surrender all parental rights to your child with autism. They will want to know why, try to schedule a home visit, and go out of their way to help you keep your child at home. If you are absolutely adamant that you need to give him or her up, then you have to go through a lengthy court process that severs all ties you have with your autistic child. You will never be allowed to see him or her again, but you will also never have to worry about how to manage him or her or take care of him/her. It is not a pretty way to handle your situation, and it is one you would eventually and deeply regret.

Option number two allows you to retain your parental rights to your child, but your child is then placed in a group home with other children like him or her. The majority of challenges you presently face you leave with better trained staff and nurses, while affording you the ability to have your son or daughter come home to visit once in a while or you can visit him/her at the group home. It relieves a lot of the emotional and physical burdens you presently feel while placing your child in what you know is a very safe environment for him or her.

Option number three is to ask a close, trusted friend or another family member to take full guardianship of your child. This is like adoption in that this friend or family member legally agrees to take over for you and takes full parental responsibility. This is done more often when a parent is a recovering alcoholic or drug addict and knows he/she cannot take care of a child on the spectrum until long after he/she has been through detox and rehab. However, extenuating circumstances can and do allow for perfectly healthy parents to grant full legal custody of their children to another family member.

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How much melatonin can I give for my autistic child to sleep?

How much melatonin can I give my autistic child

Melatonin and the Autistic Child: What Is Safe?

If you have a child with autism and he or she can’t simply settle down and go to bed at night, you might be wondering what you can give your child to make him or her more calm and eventually go to sleep. First things first—consult with your pediatrician, especially if your child is already on some form of medication for hyperactivity, seizures or attention deficit disorder. Giving your child an OTC without consulting with your pediatrician first could seriously backfire.

How much melatonin can I give to my autistic child

Secondly, if your pediatrician cannot tweak the meds your child is on, then he or she would give you permission for the dosage of melatonin you can use. With neuro-typical children, a single dose of gummy melatonin chews consists of a single piece. For adults and children on the spectrum, it is two pieces, or 5mg. Any more than that and you could damage the body’s own hormonal regulation system, which produces its own natural melatonin. In rare cases where a child with autism cannot settle down or has trouble falling asleep because he or she is on a twelve-hour dose of Ritalin or some other stimulant, then a pediatrician might grant you permission to give your child a dose and a half of the adult dose, or 7.5mg. However, DO NOT give your child this much without first consulting your pediatrician.

Thirdly, and finally, do not expect melatonin to be the cure. Just as kids on the spectrum are all different, they will all react to melatonin differently. Simply put, some kids on melatonin get hyped up by it rather than calmed down. If, after three nights of dosing your child he or she is more hyper than before or has an even more difficult time falling asleep or staying asleep, discontinue its use. It is safe to discontinue melatonin on your own because it is an OTC and not a prescribed medication.

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Do immunizations cause autism?

Can vaccines cause autism

Immunizations, necessary for young children to avoid potential life threatening diseases later on in life, have been linked to all manner of issues. Kids have been deafened, blinded and some believe that autism is a cause. Though there are some direct links between blindness and deafness in some children due to immunizations, there is no link between these and autism. Autism is more likely a disease that is caused at an earlier time during the fetal growth process and is not directly affected by outside during birth or after. The health of the mother and what she does may have an effect though.

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Does television cause autism

Can TV cause autism

Recently there have been cases of children watching certain TV shows and having seizures and suffering from other abnormalities. The issue here is that TV has been seen by some as increasing the symptoms that autistic children have. Thus, people are quick to jump up and say that they believe that autism can be a result of too much TV watching in early childhood. This thought has been soundly debunked. Though TV can cause a child’s brain to rot through inactivity, it cannot cause anyone to have an increased risk of autism. Another possible cause that has been blown out of proportion.

Does pitocin cause autism?

Does pitocin cause autism?

There are always rumors that there is a link between some drug and autism. Pitocin (oxytocin) is one of the new breed of possibilities. This drug has been used by doctors to induce labor in women for many years. It is believed that when the mother is given the drug the baby has a greater risk of contracting autism. The main study that shows this though does not reach any solid conclusions. It says that there needs to be further study before this can be said with any definitiveness. So, researchers need to make sure that this drug is not a danger to mothers in this way.

Can autism cause death?

 

Can autism cause death?

The answer to this question is easy. No, autism by itself cannot cause death. The disease does cause many sufferers to have mental disabilities though and this can be a cause of accidental death. In some therapy classes people with autism are taught to swim or avoid dangers that they may not understand so that they remain safer in the long run. Deaths attributed to autism are always from another cause though. There have been no cases where a direct link could be drawn between the disease and a shortened life. That is one comforting thing for parents of children who have autism.

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