Teaching everyday tasks to children with autism
Autism or ASD- autism spectrum disorder is a group of developmental disorders that affect the social skills, communication, behavior and activities of the children. Preforming simple daily tasks and activities can be challenging for children with autism.As compared to others, children with autism may find it difficult to learn and perform some day to day tasks such as putting on clothes, eating, brushing teeth and more. Children with autism may take a little longer to learn these basic tasks and it does not mean that they cannot perform these activities. With some extra help, guidance and patience, children can slowly become independent and learn to do their stuff without much help.
Here are some simple ideas that can be used to help them learn.
- Divide a task into simple steps and then teach them one by one and not as a whole in one go.
- Set up a goal and then slowly work towards it.
- Explain the steps in easy language and show how to do them. For example explain and show how to put on a shirt in steps.
- Use imitation method as children learn faster by imitating others.
- Help the children when they get stuck trying to do their tasks. This will help them avoid frustration and slowly they will learn.
- Do praise or reward the children when they learn something new. Appreciation can go a long way in motivating them to do better.
- Children with autism may need to be taught the same thing again and again, be patient and affectionate.
I feel imitation method is very effective. If there is an older or younger sibling, children with autism like to copy them and learn. This makes the process easier and fun for them. Caroline Jega, parent of child with autism
Perform the activity yourself in the same steps that you are teaching so that the child can visualize and remember. Make sure the child remains positive and does not feel like giving up. If the child feels tired, take a break and do not push. You can also seek the help of Occupational Therapists as they are professionally qualified to help children learn every days tasks.
Occupational therapy helps promote functional independence and engagement in areas of daily living, leisure, self-care and occupation. In toddlers it's more of social engagement and play while for young kids, we work on posture, balance coordination, academic concerns, and inclusion in mainstream schools. Occupational therapy helps adults in achieving independence in all of their activities of self-care, pre vocation, vocation and leisure. Dr Dhara Desai, Occupational Therapist at Prayatna Early Intervention Program