5 things I took away from Dr. Grandin’s visit to Jackson MS.
1. Turn your child’s obsession into a career. No matter what it is find a way to channel and change it into something they can do. We have to find a way for kids with ASD to support themselves. I immediately felt energized and began brainstorming what I could do with my own children’s obsessions. Addison loves to paint. I think with practice we can teach Addison how to paint and help Leah with the crafts and other art pieces she creates and sells. We could teach her how to sew, how to take photos, or how to build things. Right now Addison loves hotels. She talks about them. She looks for pictures of them. Maybe we can take her to a hotel for a tour and see if there was something she could do there. McKade has an amazing memory. He can build things he sees out of legos just by looking at a picture. He also has a crazy memory in regards to numbers. Many times we have walked into his room and found what later were his teacher’s debit card numbers written on the chalkboard in his room. ( We told them he could do that…Guess they didn’t believe me) McKade would make an excellent code writer and or programmer. I have already started using programs like Scratch and Tynker to help him begin to learn what coding is and how to do it. Dr. Grandin says, “Parents and teachers have to get creative, think outside the box, and get kids out of their rooms!
2. Kids need experiences. We have to get our kids out of their rooms and off the computers and screens. She said kids should have those things but only in moderation. We have to take kids out in the public and let them see and experience different things. Letting them try new and sometimes unusual things will help us find areas where they can excel. Get kids out in public with typical peers. Take them to church. Try and get them involved in scouts. They like legos? Start a lego club with other moms and kids.
3. Schools have narrowed their focus and limited experiences. Extra classes like shop, home ec, and art are gone. These are the classes where kids with ASD sometimes excel and gain valuable experiences. Schools tend to focus on building up kids deficits and overlook what kids are already good at.
4. Stop saying NO and start instructing. Too often when a child with ASD does something “Wrong” we tend to shout no and pull them away. Kids with ASD don’t learn that way. We have to spend time consistently instructing them instead of constantly scolding.
5. Teach kids how to take turns. Play traditional board games with them. Play games that require them to wait. Teachers
can do this in class with iPads and smart boards. Model how to play and integrate taking turns with all the kids. She also stressed the importance of kids with ASD playing computer games with someone not in isolation. Project them on a tv or screen when possible and take turns.
I LOVED the entire day! Dr. Grandin was amazing. I left there feeling energized and motivated to try new things with kids!
RANDOM THOUGHTS from Dr. Grandin
Get kids making things. Cutting, sawing, painting, gluing and building are better activities than sitting.
Teach nonverbal kids to type on a tablet as opposed to a computer. Their attention can be focused just on the device instead of back and forth like a traditional keyboard and monitor.
A lot of what she mentioned applies to typical kids too!
May the Force Be With You