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Most children can negotiate transitions without much difficulty. If a child does protest, it is usually because they are being asked to move from a desirable activity to a less desirable activity. However, for children on the spectrum, transitions (of all types) can be quite challenging. Even relatively straightforward directions such as "Get your shoes on.
Anxiety in autism can wreak havoc on functioning. It can be challenging under the best of circumstances, but downright nightmarish for someone who cannot use language. Although we still have a long way to go, the role of anxiety in autism is increasingly being recognized and therapies have been developed or adapted to meet this need. I offer six steps to address anxiety for nonverbal people with autism. Modify the specifics to match the age, developmental level, and preferences of the person you are supporting.
As a speech/language pathologist, I became aware of the many opportunities to enhance a child’s speech/language skills through the practice of yoga. Children can actively learn directional terms such as “in front/in back, next to, top/back, middle, right and left”. Social language skills are enhanced by introductions/comments during icebreaker activities and partner poses. Mindful listening games promote auditory awareness, discrimination and joint attention. Children improve body awareness and imitation skills while moving into different postures. They also increase awareness of the different parts of their body.
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Let’s compare “getting to know you” steps of working with neuro-typical students versus students with special challenges. What are the “isms” which make this dynamic different?