Here’s a repository of of tips I’ve left on Twitter

Let’s learn together. We all need lots of ideas to try with these little ones. I welcome your comments. Either leave your own comment here or send me your feedback and tips and we’ll get them listed!

Always remember SAFETY FIRST when implementing any of these tips:

  • Praising responsible behavior causes a child to repeat it. The more you appreciate your kids for being responsible, the more kids want to be responsible. ~Dr. Henry Isaksen 
  • “As a parent, you are the expert on your child’s abilities and challenges. Whether you’re dealing with professionals or acquaintences, don’t tolerate anyone who is disrespectful to you or your child. If you don’t like them, they can’t help you. Go with your gut.” ~Adapted from Bobbi Sheahan and Kathy DeOrnell
  • Is your child a chewer? Here are some product names to check out: ChewEase, Kids Companions, Chewelry, Chewy Tubes, Chew Stixx, Chew Noodle, Dr. Bloom’s Chewable Jewels, Retractable Bite Buddies. We’re going to try Chewelry. . .I’ll let you know how it goes.
  • Think your child is too old for pictures? Don’t worry about your child’s age when you use visual supports (schedules, checklists, etc.). Visual tools can benefit any person with autism.
  • Trying to reduce soda? Try flavored sparkling water! It seems almost too easy, but the kids are making the switch and loving it!
  •  Use a hula hoop to teach kids about personal space boundaries. (Idea from book Visual Techniques for Developing Social Skills, Rebecca Moyes)
  • Stick to positive encouragement! “Parents who continually criticize their children can instill a sense of helplessness in them—they feel that nothing they do is ‘right,’ so they stop trying.”
    ~Jed Baker (No More Meltdowns)
  • A good way to teach idioms is to use role play. Act out the situation literally (“Get off my back!”), then follow it by explaining what the phrase really means as an idiom.
  • Teach your child to be more independent by teaching him/her when and how to ask for appropriate help.
  • Love this video by Shaggy. Hope–play it when you’re feeling low. Never give up.
  •  The auto-toilet flush freaks out your kid? Put a hand or something to block the electronic “eye,” and it won’t auto flush.
  • Excellent article about overcoming fear. “Rearing a child with special needs requires a certain amount of inner strength.”
  • No long strings of verbal instructions.  If child reads, write  it down. (#1: Take out the trash, #2: bring in your bike. .)
  • Teaching my son to meditate. He sat for 20 min yesterday! Learn it, do it yourself, teach it as a de-stressing technique.
  • Relieve shopping stress– your child helps you. Cut  labels of items you buy and tape them to index cards. Ready, set, go.
  • If your child likes compression, just sit and cuddle for awhile. Enjoy the quiet time and your child–at least for a minute.
  • Get to know your child. Trouble-shoot and prepare, i.e. “Alex freaks when he’s rushed. We’ll get up earlier tomorrow.”
  • Give people specifics for how to help your child, “Can you please help him stay with the group? Just gently guide him back. Thanks.” Don’t forget to thank those who will help. Let them know that they just made a difference in your child’s life.
  • Offer two choices for things kids don’t want to do. “Would you like to carry your jacket or put it in your backpack today?”
  • Teach kids daily living skills. The ability to take care of yourself (not IQ) predicts a happier, more independent adult.
  • Vary your sources of info and opinions. It’s good to get advice from a range of sources. Stay open-minded and informed.
  • If your child likes pets, use them to soothe him or her. I hand him a cat when he’s mad. I like to call it “cat therapy.”
  • “I will treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming. I can help you become that.”
  • Journal your child’s challenging behaviors. Describe buildup, explosion, and recovery. Try identifying behavior “triggers.” 
  • Take care of yourself, so you can give to others; i.e. secure your own oxygen mask before assisting a child.
  • When dealing with the school, this book is your best friend! You may want a used copy though. . .
  • When appropriate, use your child’s intense interest (dare I say fixation?) as a reward to motivate positive behavior.
  • In the heat of the moment, don’t turn to sarcasm. It won’t fix the behavior, and your child may not understand what you mean.
  • Quote for the day, “Autism is an open-ended disability. There are no upper limits on achievement” –Ellen Notbohm
  • Believe in your heart that you can make a difference in your child’s life. Believe that he or she wants to improve/evolve.
  • Learn more about ASD. Info helps make better choices. Accept, learn, act, share.(No, ALAS is not acronym I’m going for here!)
  • As a parent, you know your child best and have the greatest investment. Diplomatically but strongly advocate for your child.  I like these tips to work wth teachers and school. Be a respectful, squeaky wheel
  • While waiting at the doctor with my son today, I started LIGHTLY pounding on his back. It soothed him–he loved it!
  • You can “train” a sib to play with your ASD child: Sib can give simple instructions and praise appropriate behavior (ASA).
  • Don’t keep repeating yourself over and over. Instead, rephrase the question or instructions in a slightly different way.
  • When stress gets high, try lowering your voice pitch. When you yell, your child processes only the noise, not the words. A gentle touch on the shoulder may get you much more attention from your child than yelling.
  • Assess your surroundings. Warn your child for sensory overload. “Honey, here comes a firetruck. . .you going to be ok?”
  • Most kids with ASD are visual. Example: when showing “up” take a toy airplane and lift it off of the ground. Temple Grandin
  • Be aware of fluorescent lights. ASD kids can hear the hum, and the pulsing light makes objects in the room seem to move. Tell your child that the lights are bothersome. Knowing what’s bugging me helps me self-regulate better.
  • Phrase your requests as actions for clarity . “Please pick up your toys.” is better than “You left a mess on the floor.”
  • Learn to be a “squeaky wheel” even if it isn’t your nature. Sometimes you’re not offered accomodations–You need to ask.
  • Since “Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.” (Lady Bird Johnson). I tell my son he is funny and social!
  • Find a way for your child to tell you that he/she needs a break or is getting overwhelmed. For example, the timeout signal.
  • Your kid says,”Don’t assume. I may have heard the instructions but not understood them. Maybe I can’t retrieve it today.”
  • Give your child choices whenever possible. “Would you like to get dressed first, or brush your teeth?”
  • Write 10 things about your child that you are thankful for. Do it again when you’re discouraged.
  • Nintendo DS Forum–best games for kids with autism: //
  • What does it feel like for a kid with sensory processing disorder? What you feel/see/hear times 1000. Watch for overload.
  • Believe that your child really does want to learn to interact appropriately. Negative behavior may mean he’s overwhelmed.
  • Keep your expectations high and your schedule flexible.
  • Give your child a racquetball to squeeze. It relieves stress and builds hand muscles = writing occupational therapy.
  • Val-day sensory activity. Put fav pudding right on table and let little one get messy. Stand by with towel to help clean.
  • Help kids finish tasks by setting a visual timer. I love Time Timer. It’s worth every penny.
  • Occassionally exaggerate your facial expressions (any emotion)and say something like, “Look at my face, I’m so surprised!”
  • I’ve heard the idea to make a “kid sandwich” using blankets, cushions, and stuff.     
  • If your child likes pressure, try snugly, SAFELY wrapping a blanket around arms/torso while watching TV or other activity.    
  • Heard this song and applied it to my son (changed the gender). What do you think? I love Natalie Merchant, and I’ve always liked this song. 
  •  Introduce a question mark in your visual schedule to show that you don’t always know what you’re going to do during the day
  • Don’t accept eye avoidance as permanent. Explain that it’s polite to look in someone’s eyes when talking. Remind him often.
  • Tell those around you that your child has ASD. Educate, and give them a chance to help. It works, even at a fast-food play land!
  • Go to the store or public place and have your child look at facial expressions. Ask, “How do you think that person feels?
  • Use an oversized, long-sleeved t-shirt. Have child put his/her body in it (pull legs up/head out) and move or roll around.
  • Create a place where your child can go to have alone time. Maybe a quiet sensory area with pillows.   
  • DO use figures of speech, idioms, and jokes. Take time to explain them. Fantastic memories will let them retain the info.
  • Music may calm your child. Keep headphones (CD player, ipod) in the car. Offer when noise or stimulus overwhelms him/her.
  • I also like to point out strengths of ALL sibs. “You know a lot about singing. Billy knows a lot about types of toilet brushes.” JK      
  • “Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.” – Lady Bird Johnson
  • Give transition warnings starting 30 minutes in advance, “We’re leaving in 30 minutes.” Then again in 10 minute intervals.     
  • Provide “fidgets” for your child (squishy balls/texture toys). They help soothe and keep him/her in control of the sensory.
  • Create a schedule for your child. Don’t always stick to it though–talk about change as a part of life.     
  • Slow down. Whatever your hurry is, it isn’t worth causing a transitional melt down.”

16 Responses to “Autism Kid Tips”

  1. Teresa Says:

    Great tips! Not all apply to my kid, of course, but many do, and are good reminders for me. Thank you!

  2. Kristine Says:

    Great tips autism Momma. Love your blog.


  3. wolfie74 Says:

    I tell my youngest that you can release some of the pent up energy by tapping your feet under a table where few people will see it. It’s something I myself learned as a coping mechanism that also helps me to focus better.

  4. Judith Says:

    Wonderful! Where were you so many years ago when I was alone raising an Aspie with no help? Thank you for this. Validates so much of what I learned by trial and error.

    Love tips about schedule. Don’t worry about the monotony. This is safety and sense to my Aspie. Be consistent. Mean what you say and NEVER lie! More confusing to explain the truth and the lie than to just tell the truth, how ever difficult it is. Age appropriate truth, of course.

    Oh, I could think of so many more. My boy is 16 now. Will come back with more if I have a moment.

    1. autismmomma Says:

      Thanks so much. I would love to hear more!

  5. Lisa Says:

    So many excellent tips. Thank you so much!

  6. Jerry Says:

    Live for the smiles. there will be hard bits, but a smile and a laugh can make all the hard times melt away. And smile back!

  7. When you enlist RDI and use “referencing” to your child to the point of nausea, it actually does pay off. Last year we were in a supermarket and my son wanted pineapple juice…I said “find it….it’s there”…he replied….”well why don’t you try referencing it?”

  8. […] I am following this great resource on Twitter – Autism Momma. She is leaving simple and excellent advice on twitter about interaction with children with ASD. And she has a repository of the tips here: Autism Kid Tips « Adventures of Autism Momma. […]

  9. Chanel Says:

    Love the tips. 2 years in and I still struggle with transitions and keeping her abreast of everything.

  10. This is a beautiful list of tips! I can feel your passion and caring through them. As I read it, I thought, these are great tips for ALL children!

    I have been reading a wonderful book by Mark Hyman, MD called The UltraMind Solution. He talks about most brain challenges really being body challenges showing up in the brain. Have you read the book? If so, what are your thoughts?

    Christine Hiebel

  11. Tammi Says:

    *Imitate some of your child’s behaviors. This is a great way to teach him/her how to imitate.

    *Give your child plenty of time to respond. I try to give my dd at least 20 seconds before repeating or giving more instruction. This takes practice but it can pay off.

  12. megan Says:

    Absolutely love this. So glad to have found you!

  13. Donna Wilson Says:

    I just followed you on Twitter…I think you are amazing! I had a son that I have raised as a single Mom (for most of his life), that has had learning “differences” and issues w/behavior throughout his childhood. It wasn’t easy, but we got through it, with God’s grace! 🙂 He is now a young adult, and after 9 mos. in the state mental hospital, has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia w/delusions. He’s doing great now, it’s a miracle, and I am blessed….but what he and I went through to get him the help that he needed was exhausting, & frustrating to say the least. I hope to share my experience in order to help others going through similar situations. I’m thrilled to have found you, as another great resource, & friend! I’m an active member of NAMI, and they’ve been a God-send. Are you familiar w/Equine Therapy? I just met someone over the weekend on a trip to Asheville NC, who is involved w/it, and it sounds like a great way to bring kids through many emotional & other behavioral issues.

    Thanks for all the tips & info that you share. This is a wonderful site…so glad to “meet” you, Julee! Let’s stay in touch!

  14. Ashley Says:

    I follow you on twitter. I have used most of your tips with my son. I also try to continually push him out of his box; participating at some level in kindergarten musical and soccer. Yes, we have meltdowns but I am not content to let anyone, including my son,define his limits. Thanks for the inspiration that some days, I most desperately need!

  15. I simply love these tips, so simple and practical to implement.

    Thankyou for putting this together, even taking 1 or 2 on a regular basis I feel can make a big difference to how someone on the spectrum handles the world and those around them.

    Karen Francis

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