Archive | Following Directions

08 August 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Daily Chores

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of daily life, it is certainly easier to just take care of every detail of the lives of our friends with autism. In reality, all children and teens, whether they have autism or not, benefit from having the responsibility of daily chores. Listen Now:


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24 September 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Creative Writing

Teachers, therapists, and families are always looking for creative ways to help individuals with autism learn and practice new skills such as composing and writing sentences and paragraphs. Some students with autism find it difficult to focus on repetitive drills under the best of circumstances, so traditional teaching methods simply do not capture and hold […]

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13 September 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Real Life Skills

A new teacher in a junior high life skills classroom asked for some input into the types of skills her students with autism will need when they graduate from high school at age 18 or 22. The specific list must, of course, be individualized to each teen, but there are some general skills that everyone […]

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02 September 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Be Quiet

What exactly do we mean when we tell someone to be quiet? Do we mean that they must be totally silent, making not a tiny sound? When we say, “be quiet,” do we mean to talk softly so they don’t interrupt a conversation? Or do we say “be quiet” just when we get irritated or […]

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27 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Transition to New School

Even if youngsters with autism get along pretty well in school, the transition to a new school can be challenging. For example, when moving from elementary to middle school, students are expected to listen to and remember about various procedures and rules given to an assembly of the whole student body on the first day […]

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26 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

School Glitches

Many of my friends with autism are a bit lost during the first few weeks in a new school. Sometimes we assume that all students are soaking in the flood of information – school traditions, procedures, rules, and routines – presented to youngsters in an assembly on the first day of school. Listen Now:


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24 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Pre-School Chaos

More and more pre-school teachers are encountering youngsters diagnosed with autism in their classrooms. From the perspective of a child with autism, the group pre-school experience can seem chaotic, even under the leadership of the most extraordinary teacher. The youngster is having to process all the sounds, songs, colorful decorations, activities, people, and events swirling […]

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23 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Ready for Pre-School

At the tender young age of three, youngsters with autism often embark on an exciting and challenging adventure: pre-school. By its very nature, pre-school requires youngsters to function in three different spheres – group time, free time, and transition from one to another. Each sphere requires different skills, many of which are foreign to little […]

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16 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Cooking Over a Campfire

Over the years, many of my friends of all ages with autism have been intrigued with the process of cooking over a fire. Even people who have never shown much interest in eating have taken bites of food they have helped prepare over the colorful glowing embers and dancing flames. Listen Now:


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13 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Summer Campfire

Gathering around a campfire is a traditional summertime experience that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and interests. There are few experiences more enjoyable than watching the flames of a campfire leap up from the logs, cooking s’mores with family and friends, singing some silly songs, then watching the embers glow and fade. […]

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12 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Swimming Pools, Part 2

In part 1 of our discussions about swimming pools, we looked at one example of water safety rules a family implements every time their youngster with autism goes swimming. Safety is, of course, the first consideration when it comes to our friends with autism and water. In part 2 of this discussion, we will take […]

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11 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Swimming Pools, part 1

Just as with more typical kids, some youngsters with autism love the water. Let’s take a look at some creative ideas and some serious factors related to autism and water. First and foremost, we must consider water safety. Listen Now:


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05 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Come Join Us

For a variety of reasons, children with autism are often reluctant to participate in group activities, and may resist joining “circle time” in an early childhood classroom, a play group, Sunday School class, or other setting. Short of picking them up and physically moving them to the circle, how can we encourage a youngster to […]

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04 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Constant Nagging

Although we may have the best intentions, we can certainly fall into the trap of constantly nagging our family members or students with autism. It can be helpful to take an inventory of the words we speak every day and to move toward gentle nudging rather than constant nagging. Listen Now:


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27 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Touching Strangers

For whatever reason, many of my friends with autism impulsively touch other people, including strangers. For example, the dad of a teenager with autism was horrified recently when his son reached out to straighten the bottom of the jacket of a stranger in the grocery store. When the gentleman felt someone’s hand in an inappropriate […]

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26 July 2010 ~ 3 Comments

Processing Delay

Sometimes youngsters with autism are slow to follow directions, even when told to do something they enjoy. We can certainly expect nearly every kid to respond reluctantly when we ask them to finish an unpopular chore or to go to bed early. But, some of our friends with autism are very slow to respond even […]

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20 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Unwilling or Unable?

“My daughter rarely follow directions,” commented the dad of a pre-teen diagnosed with autism. “She doesn’t have functional speech, but she is able to communicate her needs and seems to understand much of what we say to her. We don’t know if she is unwilling to follow directions or if she is unable to do […]

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13 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Say What you Mean

“Our son seems to always do the opposite of what we ask him to do,” said parents of an 11-year-old diagnosed with autism. “This is becoming quite a problem at home and at school. Last week, both of us told him very clearly not to go out the door, and out he went, right into […]

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24 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Unwritten Group Rules

Because most of us just join into group activities naturally, we are not aware of the vast array of prerequisite skills necessary to do so. In addition to dealing with issues surrounding transition, compliance, peer interaction, and sensory overload, individuals with autism must be aware of and follow commonly understood unwritten group rules. Listen Now: […]

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21 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Selecting A Piano

An elementary teacher commented that several youngsters diagnosed with autism in her classroom seemed to be very interested in music, especially the piano. “I would like to have an electronic piano in my classroom,” said the teacher. Now that electronic pianos are less expensive and more readily accessible, more people are interested in having keyboards […]

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