Tag Archives: emotion

The Power of Choice.

I could have stayed under the warm blankets and thought more about this blog, or I could have turned my thoughts elsewhere, or I could get out of the bed and come and dump my thoughts. You guessed it. I chose to get up. Choices are a part of our every day routine. We may not always feel like we have a choice, but when it comes right down to it we do… in every situation.

People with developmental disabilities … namely autism, should no, they deserve choices. Some would think that these kids don’t know what they want half the time. But who are we not to try and give them a choice? “Would you like water or juice?” “Would you like to swing or ride the bike or just sit out in the fresh air?” Even a simple yes or no to a question gives us insight in to what the child might want or need.

One thing that I have learned is that these kids are far from stupid and have wants and needs just like the rest of us. Oh I know… it isn’t easy to figure out what those wants and needs are, but with some time and effort on the part of the therapist/teacher/parent/caregiver/ and the kid themselves, it can be done.

The puzzle (to me) is the best part. Trying to find what works for these kids and piecing it together is a challenge that I am up for. Giving these kids choices only helps to unlock their world. Letting them in on what is going on with them and having them help guide us will only make it a bit easier on everyone.

Start simple. Find two items that you know are preferred. You know that the child likes them both equally. Put them in front of him/her and ask. Let them choose. Or even show them Yes/No icons and ask if they want this item. Teaching them that they have power in choice also teaches them that they have power in communication. It goes hand in hand.

When working with these kids, I have learned that the choices offered are sometimes not what the child wants. However, they still have a choice. Watch to see what they do. They may surprise you. They may throw a holy terror temper tantrum. But we all know that sometimes the choices we are faced with are not always rainbows and butterflies… and we have to learn from that as well. So do these kids.

Yeah, this is what kept me from falling asleep. I am glad I made the choice to get up and write. I always feel a little bit better and a little more excited about what I am doing when I get to share it with others. If you have any questions, or if some of my sleepy time writing confused you, please feel free to comment below. I am always happy to help.

~Kari

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Filed under Lessons

Parachute Smiles

Each day we pick a theme and try to do some activities in the afternoon that encompass that theme. Yesterday was Parachute day. Apparently a long time ago (in March) someone got the idea to jump out of a perfectly good airplane with just some cloth strapped to their back (why they would do that ON PURPOSE is beyond me).

I digress… ANYWAY…

For our theme yesterday, I chose parachutes based on the March holiday. First, we watched a YouTube video about skydiving. As the video played, we explained how the parachute is packed on someones back, an airplane takes them way up in the sky, and how they will jump out and pull open the parachute. Second, I had drawn, on our smartboard, a picture of a bear with a parachute opening and we discussed where the bear was (on the ground or in the sky). Third, we colored printed pages of parachutes (one with a cartoon boy, one with a cartoon penguin, and the last was of a man with a parachute). And lastly, we went outside to our play area with a giant parachute!

I have never seen all the boys smiling and laughing as much as they did yesterday during this activity. We were laughing and running and making the parachute do all kinds of fun things.

It is neat to see them full of joy when they are at school. As we all know, school can be tough even on the smartest and most typical children. When school is fun, it causes learning. Remember when you are working with your child with Autism to have fun! Those activities will remain the best forever!

~Kari

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Filed under Autism Coolness!, Lessons

Emotions…

We all know that a lot of kids with Autism find it very hard to express a correct emotion/facial expression (by our world’s standards) to any given situation.

But isn’t it cool when they do??

My boys can be rough and tumble when they are upset, but when you can capture a sweet moment.. when you know that moment is genuine… it can sure make anyone melt into an ooey gooey puddle.

A genuine smile when you say hello.

A touch to your shoulder when they are feeling insecure.

A belly laugh when you tease them.

An outstretched hand when they are scared.

And… even a hug when they ask.

For these boys to unlock those emotions is a huge step. To have them join us on a level we understand is an amazing feeling. We don’t always understand these kids and how they are feeling. We want them to be able to express these emotions way more often than we get, but to know that every once in a while, they will reach out to us for comfort or affection, is to know a child that is feeling safe in our care…. and that is what makes working with these amazing kids so worthwhile.

~Kari

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Filed under Autism Coolness!, Behaviors