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Things We Do

Michele and I are parents. We are not professionals. We know that no two children are the same. 

Each autistic child has different skills. The stuff we use is customized for Brenden. It has helped him, it may help you and your child.  

Consistency is critical. Make sure you and the school are working on the same issues. Ask the teachers how they handle discipline, see if you can do the same at home. Are you doing something at home that the teachers can use in the classroom?

Brenden's Current Level of Performance

It was not always like this. It took lots of work by Brenden, his teachers and us.

What Brenden does well
Brenden has oral speech capabilities and a large vocabulary. Most of the words he says are to request things, like food, going to the bathroom, going outside to play, etc. Much of his speech is non prompted. Brenden does not have sensory issues. He likes to hug and kiss. He is playful. He knows how to lie. He can say his ABC's and count to 40.
 
Brenden has exceptional gross motor skills and good fine motor skills, he runs, jumps, climbs and can use a mouse and keyboard. He has some problems with a pen or pencil.
Areas that need improvement
Aggressive behavior like kicking, hitting and screaming are a problem. 
 
He will not tell you his name when asked, although he can write his name and recognize it in print.
 
He does some stemming and occasionally spins. It is interesting to note that Brenden learned some of the stemming in the classroom. That is why inclusion is so important.

Our focus is oral speech and behavior.

We encourage oral speech:

Keep small favorite toys in containers on the wall. They are visible, but he must ask for what he wants.
All interior doors have chain locks mounted out of reach. He must ask to go to the bathroom or to go outside.
We gradually make it more difficult. "Want cereal" "I want cereal" "I want Cinnamon Toast Crunch"
We (my wife) takes Brenden to the grocery store always. If he makes a selection he must SAY what he wants. 
We wait. We give Brenden time to talk, we act as if we expect to hear him say something.
We ask lots of questions. "Are you hungry" "Do you want to go to Burger King" etc. 

We try to encourage proper behavior:

We redirect inappropriate behavior immediately. If Brenden makes strange hand movements, we put his hands down and say, "I want a smooch" or anything we think of to change what he is doing.
We try not to permit inappropriate behavior. E.G. If Brenden misbehaves at the grocery store, I come and get him and bring him home.
We heap praise on Brenden. "Good job" doesn't cut it, we clap our hands, stop what we are doing and really get into it. 
We do not sweat the small stuff. Brenden likes riding up front in the car, he can see better. We let him. One of us drives, the other sits in the back.  Big deal, but we do get a few strange looks. (Note: Our two ten year old cars do not have airbags.)
Make sure the behavior as a child will not have consequences as they get older.  E.G. We messed up here. When Brenden was a toddler he climbed and walked on the furniture. What is cute at two is not so cute at six!  It has been tough stopping this habit, it can be embarrassing at someone else's house. Most folks don't like kids walking on their coffee table.

Make it fun!

The best way to describe what we do is to give an example. Brenden loves using the computer. He uses both hands to type and is very good at it. Each night he will say, "I want type" or "Please type."  We negotiated with the school to provide speaking software. Brenden types and it says it back. He loves it.  His unprompted oral speech has increased.
Brenden loves logos, a trait of many autistic children. I did a PowerPoint presentation with his favorites added some animation and sound. He will open the program, play the slide show and manipulate the shapes. It has really increase his fine motor skills. He now does a much better job holding a pen, pencil or Crayolaİ.

Talk to the teacher!

This is so important. So many of our children take buses to and from school that there in not a regular opportunity for the parent to speak face to face with the teachers. If you can try to pick up your child at school so you can spend a minute or two with the teacher.  Please try!

Keep working, never give up and things get better!!