Finding The Silver Lining
It can be difficult to find the positives in our current situation. After all, none of us planned for or expected this to happen. However, there are some ways to use the extra time we have with our children to connect and engage, and maybe even work on learning a few new skills.
Using motivation and interests
Using a child’s motivation and interests creates opportunities to engage
and also to help your child learn new skills. For example, is your child likes dinosaurs, you can read books with your child and work on skills such sounding out new words, identifying objects in the pictures, or answering comprehension questions (Who, what when, where, and why). If your child enjoys certain toys or activities, join them. If your child initially prefers to play alone, just watch and observe while making an occasional comment about what they are doing. As your child becomes more comfortable with you being part of the activity, you can ask questions, model new ways of playing with the toy/activity, and work on other skills based on your child’s current abilities (eg: turn taking, pointing or using words to request, answering questions, tolerating a new way of playing, etc).
Watch videos or use some of the virtual tour options to share your child’s interests
. A few options include:
Taking time to get outside, or get some exercise indoors. Exercise is a great way for all of us to reset, especially when we start to get restless and anxious from extended time at home. Research shows that exercise can help decrease self-stimulatory behaviors, hyperactivity, and aggression. Add some movement time into your daily routine for the benefit of everyone in the house.
The extended time at home could also be an opportunity to work on adaptive and life skills that are difficult to fit in to our otherwise busy schedules. Think about your child’s current skill level and one area where you could maybe focus during these next few weeks. Ideas include:
- Increased independence with self-care (dressing, brushing teeth, bathing)
- Help with chores (picking up their room, putting up the silverware when it is clean, vacuuming, doing laundry)
- Expanding life skills (making a simple meal or getting a snack independently, planning a shopping list, counting money)
We will work to continue sending information about resources for you and your family during this time at home. Parents can also be in touch with their child’s therapist and teacher for ideas and supports specific to their child.
Stay safe and healthy!
The Oklahoma Autism Network Team