Teaching Skills to Children with Autism

How to Teach Skills for Daily Living

Positive Reinforcement and Patience

 Positive Reinforcement is more than just “being nice” – it is the best method for changing a child’s behavior. 

Patience –  it may take repeated efforts to make progress but you can do it!  

1. Building Blocks of Learning

1. Preparing to Learn

 Covers the basic skills that will increase your chances of success when working with your child. Dr. Camargo explains teaching your child to pay attention, make eye contact, and sit still may take time, but you can do it.  

2. Positive Reinforcement

More than “being nice,” positive reinforcement is a tool that encourages your child to repeat the behaviors that you want. Learn how to understand what motivates your child and how to use that to shape behaviors such as trying new foods or reducing problem behavior.   

3. Positive Association

Positive association, or pairing, ensures that your child will be motivated to interact with you and their items of positive reinforcement. When your child has a positive association with learning, they progress faster and with less resistance.          

4. Preparing the Environment

An environment that is free of distractions is critical, especially for children with autism. Dr. Camargo covers how to create a situation where your child is focused and prepared to learn.

5. Focus on Success

Also called “errorless learning,” it focuses on immediate and positive feedback to help a child shift toward the desired behaviors. Look at each experience, even if not fully successful, as a learning opportunity.    

2. Teach Skills for Daily Living

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is generally the most effective behavior management strategy in dealing with challenging behaviors in children with autism.  It can also be used to help autistic children to learn new behaviors, from life skills to alternatives to repetitive behaviors. 

The difference between reinforcement and bribery is that reinforcement comes after a task is completed whereas bribery is offered before. That is not to say that you can’t show your child the reinforcer he or she is working for during trials. Dr. Werner explains. 

 

Improving Communication

Kids on the autism spectrum often have a hard time getting people to understand what they want or need. Teaching communication skills to children with autism helps them get their point across in a way that’s easier for everybody to understand. 

Autistic children have a range of communication skills and abilities. Some autistic children have very good communication skills, whereas others find it harder to relate to and communicate with other people. Also, some autistic children have difficulties developing language, find it difficult to understand or use spoken language, or have no language at all.

Trying New Foods

Autism often comes with hypersensitivity to foods and textures. Help your child explore a new food by looking at it, touching it and smelling it. When he’s ready for a taste, he can try giving the food “a kiss” or licking it before putting a whole bite into his mouth. Sometimes, mixing new food with a favorite one can help. 

Dr. Werner explains that parents struggling with introducing new foods to their child with autism need to know they’re not alone.  There are several strategies that parents can implement to gently expand the diets of their autistic children.

Dealing with Problem Behavior

Behavioral issues are very common among children with autism. Understanding behavior and responding to it in a positive way can help you overcome some of these challenges. When autistic children can manage their own challenging behavior, they can learn and get along better with others.

It’s common for autistic children to behave in challenging ways. If you understand why autistic children behave in certain ways, you can work out how to change the behavior and help children manage it.

 

3. Healthy Parenting Skills

Behavioral issues are very common among children with autism. Understanding behavior and responding to it in a positive way can help you overcome some of these challenges. When autistic children can manage their own challenging behavior, they can learn and get along better with others.

It’s common for autistic children to behave in challenging ways. If you understand why autistic children behave in certain ways, you can work out how to change the behavior and help children manage it.

 

Behavioral issues are very common among children with autism. Understanding behavior and responding to it in a positive way can help you overcome some of these challenges. When autistic children can manage their own challenging behavior, they can learn and get along better with others.

It’s common for autistic children to behave in challenging ways. If you understand why autistic children behave in certain ways, you can work out how to change the behavior and help children manage it.