Arm Around the Shoulder Approach
The first processing approach that we’d like to share with you is the “arm around the shoulder approach.” For children with autism, some tasks may seem overwhelming. One thing we all should be aware of is that barking orders like a drill sergeant is never going to work with an autistic child (or anyone for that matter). Yelling or aggressively ordering someone with a processing disorder will likely end up filling their funnel and triggering a rigid thinking response.
Here are 5 easy ways to put this approach into practice:
- Soft tones vs. harsh, loud tones
(Don’t yell across the room)
- Approaching your child vs. maintaining a distance
(Establish eye contact)
- Asking vs. ordering
(Remember: Be clear, concise, and concrete)
- Assisting with tasks vs. supervising from afar
(Take advantage of the teaching moment)
- Patience and kindness vs. frustration and irritation
(Watch your tone, children with ASD are incredibly perceptive)
The spirit of this approach is to help your child manage their processing funnels. It prevents the perception of hostility and invites flexible thinking. Pay close attention to yourself next time you have an interaction with your child that doesn’t go as planned. What could have changed the outcome?