myHana Blog

Original and curated information about autism and related conditions.

myHana Blog

Helping your child tell their story

A story’s value Id like to start with a quote: All of these stories make me who I am. But to insist on only the negative stories is to flatten my experience and to overlook the many other stories that formed me. The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that […]

Engaging in early intervention

Early Intervention For many parents, realizing that your child may receive an autism diagnosis can be difficult and or surprising, but it doesn’t have to be. Substantial efforts have been made to frame a roadmap for parents as they begin to navigate the possibility that their child may be Neurodiverse. What to look out for […]

Recent ASD Breakthrough

Announcing: Clarifi ASD Clarifi ASD, an emerging biotech firm, discovered that children with autism have a unique epigenetic signature; similar to those who are considered Neurotypical. This testing method works by analyzing the saliva of children who are suspected of having autism. What they’ve discovered: The average age of an autism diagnosis comes between the […]

All the good in this world

In light of this pandemic, financial woes and other struggles, 2 thoughts come to mind: 1) Self-care needs to be a priority. and 2) There is still a lot of good in this world. Self-care is about doing something you love, something to help you decompress from the stress of work and life. Next time […]

Understanding our challenges

Tough news This past Friday, I learned that a good friend of mine tested positive for the Corona Virus and was put in the hospital. Yesterday, I learned he is not doing well, and his prognosis is not looking good… As I worried about my friend, I also worried about how the horrors of Covid-19 […]

Caring as a family

Growing up When I was younger, my family cared for a boy with severe non-verbal autism. He was a sweet boy. I consider myself very fortunate to have grown up with a brother like him. It wasn’t always easy though. Caring for him was no solo effort on my parents’ part, it was a family […]

Conversations with a friend

Discussing the autism diagnosis with others I recall having a conversation with a friend of mine about how he felt when or if we discussed his autism. For some reason, this was the first time we had such an open conversation about his diagnosis. My friend let me know about some personal experiences he had […]

Hope for an independent future

Looking to the future Parents, how would you respond If your son or daughter surprised you with this question, “I know this sounds really dark, but do you think I have a future?” Personally, I was caught off guard by this question; at the same time, I was curious what my friend meant by it […]

Communication, Communication, Communication

Let’s talk about communication: With COVID-19 continuing to be an issue, schools are under constant pressure to reassess whether students will return to meet face to face in the fall. Regardless, there are things that parents and caregivers can be doing while our children are at home with us. The Journal of Behavior Analysis in […]

Let’s talk about communication:

With COVID-19 continuing to be an issue, schools are under constant pressure to reassess whether students will return to meet face to face in the fall.

Regardless, there are things that parents and caregivers can be doing while our children are at home with us.

The Journal of Behavior Analysis in Practice 1 recently released an article discussing the importance of functional communication:

“Functional communication skills are essential for all learners and must be promoted within all environments, including the home. During this time of home confinement, many families will need to look at opportunities for their children to use existing functional communication skills or even to acquire new skills. This article describes a set of 9 critical communication skills and provides a variety of examples of how families can improve the use of these important skills. Some of these involve speaker (expressive) skills, whereas others involve listener (receptive) skills.”

How to communicate better with your child:

Within the article you will find the 9 different skills and examples of situations when each skill should be used.

For example, teaching and reinforcing how to say “no” or reject. When your child does not want something, be that food or involvement in some sort of activity, they may struggle with how to appropriately articulate that they don’t want anything to do with it.

This may look like screaming, becoming physical and/or swatting etc. At a time when tensions are not so high, speak with your child about shaking their head no, or saying “no, thanks.” You can also associate the need to reject or say no with some sort of card or item that your child can use to signify they want to reject.

Something to keep in mind:

When teaching your child, keep the scaffolding approach in mind. Scaffolding consists of building up to more intense skills, or in this case, helping your child learn to reject items or events that only cause mild discomfort before working on those that cause deep fear.

This may be learning how to say no to oranges at first. With time, you can build up to more difficult situations that your child struggles with such as, saying no to spaghetti sauce that has onions in it.

Remember, scaffolding should be a win-win for both child and parent. Don’t rush the process.

One for the road:

So, while you’re at home with the kiddos, take this opportunity to help your children hone some of these important functional communication skills. Doing so will put them a few steps ahead of the game when it comes time to get back to school. Plus, it will help you avoid a lot of blowups at home too.

Source:
https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s40617-020-00439-6.pdf

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