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ASD [Level 1]: 15 Simple Strategies for Parents of Newly Diagnosed Kids

There are many things you can do to help your youngster on the autism spectrum better understand the world - and in doing so - make everyone's lives a little easier. Here are the "basics":

  1. Begin early to teach the difference between private and public places and actions, so that they can develop ways of coping with more complex social rules later in life.
  2. Don't always expect them to 'act their age' ...they are usually socially and emotionally immature, and you should make some allowances for this.
  3. Give lots of praise for any achievement - especially when they use a social skill without prompting.
  4. In some kids who appear not to listen, the act of 'singing' your words can have a beneficial effect.
  5. Keep all your speech simple to a level they understand.
  6. Keep instructions simple, and for complicated jobs, use lists or pictures.
  7. Limit any choices to two or three items.
  8. Limit their 'special interest' time to set-amounts of time each day.
  9. Pre-warn them of any changes, and give warning prompts if you want them to finish a task (e.g., 'When you have colored that in, we are going shopping').
  10. Promises and threats you make will have to be kept, so try not to make them too lightly.
  11. Try to build in some flexibility in their routine. If they learn early that things do change and often without warning - it can help.
  12. Try to get confirmation that they understand what you are talking about/or asking. Don't rely on a stock "yes" or "no" that they usually like to answer with.
  13. Try to identify stress triggers - avoid them if possible. Be ready to distract with some alternative 'come and see this...' ...etc.
  14. Use turn taking activities as much as possible - not only in games - but at home too.
  15. Remember, they are kids just like the rest, and they have their own personalities, abilities, likes and dislikes. They just need extra support, patience and understanding from everyone around them.

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