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These tips have all been sent in by other parents, carers and professionals in the learning disability community. We hope they will give you plenty of ideas to try, but please remember Netbuddy is not responsible for the information provided or any of the activities suggested.
My son is obsessed with dinosaurs so I've written a social story about meeting a polite dinosaur, and I've built into the story the behaviours I want him to stop in public. Has worked a treat! Trying a story about over eating next.
Last night I went to the theatre with my teenage daughter, who has ASD. She loves live singing & dancing but hates crowds. During the interval we found a table in the bar & I noticed she chose to sit facing the wall with her back to everyone. She'd found her own way of 'minimising' sensory input.
Don't make a person with learning disabilities feel bad for self talk, or attempt to get them to stop. It can be an important coping or preparation mechanism. Instead, talk about it and encourage appropriate/ socially acceptable places and times for it.
Calming massageFor a calming deep pressure massage to bring arousal levels down especially following transitions times, such as after school or just before bed time, lie the person on the floor face down with their arms and legs stretched out and roll a gym ball over the full length of their body with firm downward pressure.
I have found a number of ways to say NO without saying the word NO. I find this really useful for my son who has ADHD and Aspergers and gets angry quickly.
To stop my five year old shaking her head or hitting her sister we give her a job ie to empty washing machine or help sort socks. It helps her calm down and learn at the same time!
To help my son work through his frustrations at swimming practice, we came up with a signal I could give him from the stands. I’d form a ‘C’ with my hand, which stood for ‘compose yourself.’ Every time I saw him getting frustrated, I’d give him the sign
Who's your friend?
I know a father of a woman with Down Syndrome that says 'Who is your friend?' to her if he feels that she using too much self-talk in public. This makes her laugh and reminds her to stop self-talking
Carly's cafe is a great website offering insight into what it actually feels like to have autism. Experience autism through Carly's eyes: http://carlyscafe.com/
If you care for somebody who shows rather too much affection and oversteps personal boundaries, try getting them to hug a cushion or a soft toy instead. Hugglebuddies or pillow pets are great for this
We use pictures of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends to teach our son about emotions: Thomas emotions game. Another good website for emotions is www.symbolworld.org, and here is a short film teaching emotions which our son loves
Happy & sad boxesMy son has two boxes. One with a happy face and one with a sad face on. In the happy box he puts things or pictures of things that makes him happy and in the sad box things which makes him sad. If he has made someone sad or happy we use a picture of that person and he has to post it in the correct box.
Archie takes more notice of his teacher than of us. So we asked his teacher for 2 photos of himself (one smiling, one not). On the non-smiling the teacher wrote “Mr Smith is disappointed ……. On the smiling one, the teacher wrote “Mr Smith is pleased – well done!!” . Good for a try.
It's OK to be different!Always choose your battles. Be sure you are doing things that will help your child rather than simply make them 'fit in' - sometimes it's ok to be different!
My son likes it when I join him in his ‘autistic activities’ like lying on the floor and just staring at the ceiling. Once he notices that I am there he asks for blanket and we just relax like that!
Rather than telling your child ‘STOP shouting’, try offering positive praise when not eg ‘well done for using small voice’
Do it for the puppetWe use puppets to maneuvere our daughter through stuck moments, like getting dressed/brushing teeth/eating dinner. What she refuses to do for us, she will often do for a puppet, especially when accompanied by a funny voice! I now have a little case of finger puppets that I carry around with me.
Tom is a visual learner and the use of laminated instructions about the house have been a great help in enforcing rules such as "no hitting" "no kicking" etc
Keep your clothes on!
My son won't keep his clothes on in the house which can be difficult when people visit. He loves tigers so I attached a tigers tail (from a stuffed toy) to his pants which he will wear quite happily. We get the tigers tail when people come over and he keeps covered up. It's a start !
For difficult transitions we found the 'count down' routine very helpful. '5 minutes of play' and then 'home time' (putting up fingers); then 4 minutes etc. Mike now almost does it himself and when given 5 minutes will ask for 10! Big help though.
Games are winners
When we want Jodie to do something we make a game of it e.g. 'I bet I can get dressed faster than you! / get to the car faster than you!' Or 'I can get to the car in ten giant steps. Jodie has to win, so she would get up and GO! I always let her win (naturally!) and no 'bribe' was needed. Beating us was the best prize of all! And it was fun!
Mary Poppins bag
I have filled a drawstring bag with small sensory items such as a small light up spinning top, magnets, squishy mesh balls, chewy tube etc. This little pouch comes with us where John has to be more quiet than usual! It helps him when he finds a situation difficult. It has been to the doctors, weddings, shops, coach journeys .......
Time to stop
When we want Rafi to finish playing on his computer / ipod (something that he loves and gets very annoyed about having to finish), we give him a timer and say when the timer stops - its time to stop. This takes all the anger out of the situation.
This is what we want.....
When we are trying to stop Anna from hitting, kicking or scratching we tell her what she needs to start doing rather than stop doing. For example "Stop kicking" is rephrased to "Put your feet down" or "Stop hitting" becomes "Put your hands down". This clearly communicates to Anna exactly how we want her to behave.
My Victor Vac
Damion was scared of vacuum cleaners so I bought him a miniature vacuum cleaner. It is battery operated and makes a noise just a bit quieter than a real one. Today, he stood in the hallway greeting our cleaner "Cleaner, look, I got vacuum cleaner, he's called Victor Vac, I have to clean the carpets". Then every time she switched her vacuum on, he switched his on too (in another room).
We make every effort to give Jade advance warning about any changes in planned activities which gives her the chance to prepare herself .
Stick to 'no'.....
Do not change your mind, if you have said ‘no’ stick to it otherwise ‘no’ loses it’s meaning.
When EVERYTHING seemed impossible, I made a list of all problem behaviours & prioritised those that made Nathan unliveable-with. I then checked with his teachers/carers whether they’re having the same problems and agreed to tackle them consistently
What about you?
Wendy is very sensitive and picks up on my moods. If I am stressed or feeling down her behaviour gets worse. I really recommend you do what you can to take care of yourself as well. If you put just a little bit of energy and time in to yourself it will help both of you.
Tissue or hankie?
Julia refuses to use a tissue, instead choosing to use her sleeves or fingers/hands. We have discovered that she is happy to use old fashioned cotton hankies! Try it!
Shut that door
We use magnet locks. Janice tries to tap the cupboard door with the magnet but she does not understand how to be gentle and slow with it so she never gets a response.
Modulate your voice
I find that if I lower and modulate my voice then John listens better to what I'm saying.
Move on quickly
When Milly behaves inappropriately, I don’t highlight it in front of others so that she has a chance to move on.
We all need boundaries
Don’t accept the unacceptable – people with learning disabilities need and respond really positively to boundaries.
Bella has Downs Syndrome: we tap her tongue and it automatically goes in. I did this while saying ‘tongue in’. Unless she’s ill I tell her " tongue in" and she puts it back, no tapping needed.
When Joey has calmed down, I always shake his hand and congratulate him on his self-control.
Alternative medicinal remedies
We have used - Avena Sativa drops (oats) (bioforce) for Hyperactivity and Rescue remedy drops or spray for stressful situations or anxious times.
Who cares about perfection!We like Jay to do things for himself even if it is not actually as perfect as it should be.
Confidence in stairsMy friend's daughter became anxious about climbing stairs. Her mother encouraged her to sing and dance to music, gradually moving throughout the house. She then encouraged her to dance on a cushion, then a folded rug so starting the process of stepping up and down. The next move was stepping onto a low wooden box or table. This was a slow process but allowed her daughter to gain in confidence to tackle the stairs again.
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