Helping your Child who has Autism

Helping your Child who has Autism

February 7, 2023

It is a complete myth that autistic children don’t feel things. On the contrary, they can be acutely aware of their emotions and feelings.  They may not be able to express themselves or show how they are feeling but they are definitely feeling it. Her eldest child Bass is a perfect example of this.

Katie from Katie’s Classroom shares ways to help your child’s social communication:

1 Using Carol Gray’s Social Stories 

To help Bass’s social communication they suggest we use an approach called social stories or comic strip conversation, which can both help develop social understanding.  Look at Carol Gray Social Stories:

Social stories include information we take for granted that we mistakenly assume that everyone knows. Gray’s social stories protect and build self-esteem because 50% of the story highlights personal qualities, achievements and talents and do not contain anything that would give the ‘audience’ anxiety. The stories include all the wh questions: who, what, when, where, why and how and help explain all sorts of things.  I showed an example of ‘What is a tragedy?’ in my video this morning.

You can also read more about Social Stories here:

2 Role Playing

Techniques such as role playing or practising new situations before they occur in reality can help your child’s social communication too.  Bass has a LAMDA Grade 2 drama exam on Thursday (didn’t even know this until this weekend!) and we have been doing exactly this.  Bass knocking on the door to come into the ‘exam room’ and pretending I’m the examiner.

Ways to help your child manage transitions

Bass finds managing transitions really difficult.  He hates anything out of the blue, not in his routine and he also hates change.  This was often most noticeable when we would go and visit my parents in Yorkshire (before we moved here) and the day would arrive to go back home to London and Bass would be in tears.  So how can we help?

1 Visual timetables and/or lists

Visual timetables and lists can help your child predict where they are going and what is going to happen and these three websites will help with this:

Orkid Ideas have ‘Tom Tags’, which is an incredible visual tool.  You get a button holder and blank buttons and can insert your visual timetable in them.  Please have a look here:

Routine Factory is basically a glorified visual timetable on a screen.  It is £9.95 per month and perhaps we will use this for Bass when he is older.  Please have a look here:

Brain in Hand is something similar but possibly for older children.  Please have a look here:

Sensory preferences and emotional regulation

‘Energy Accounting’:  My favourite thing to do with Bass to help his emotional regulation is something the lady, who diagnosed Bass suggested to us, which is ‘Energy Accounting’.  It is a tool co-created by Toudal and Attwood and it is the idea of a ‘Social Battery’ to help manage the day to day stress experienced by a person with autism.

Think of your child’s energy levels like a rechargeable battery.  Energy accounting is a useful framework for making sense of the balance between activities that drain and recharge your child’s battery.  Please have a look here:

A good starting point is to sit with your child and list all the things that ‘drain’ them and all the things they do that ‘recharges’ them.

Colour Coded Emotional Thermometers: Use colour coded emotional thermometers, which can help them learn about their emotions.  Please have a look here:

Thank you very much for reading through these resources.  I really hope they help your child with their social communication, managing transitions and their sensory preferences and emotional regulation.