Ways to Help Children with Autism Build Independence

Original Publishing date: 09-02-2018
Publisher: Autism Speaks
Author: Emily Mulligan (team member of Autism Speaks Autism Response Team).

“By introducing these skills early and building block by block, you can help your loved one with autism gain the tools that will allow him or her to be more independent throughout his or her life.”

Emily from Autism Speaks, provides information on how caregivers can help children with autism increase their independence in different aspects of their lives which will provide lifelong benefits.
Strengthening communication is a critical step for increasing the child’s independence as it helps them express their feelings and build important skills. If the child struggles with spoken languages, visual supports can be added to help them further with communication.

Emily discusses the benefits of having a visual schedule that incorporates self-care skills and household chores. A visual schedule helps the child transition from one activity to another with minimal prompting. Moreover, adding self-care and household chores in the child’s routine helps them master the skills and teach them responsibility.

She also talks about the importance of having a way for the child to ‘ask for a break’ and identifying a way they can regulate their sensory input when they are feeling overwhelmed.

“Although it may seem like a simple thing, knowing how to ask for a break can allow your child to regain control over him or herself and his or her environment.”

Since safety is a concern for many caregivers especially as children become more independent, Emily provides techniques for the caregiver to teach the child community safety skills. Learning to use money helps them become more independent and encouraging an activity or hobby is something that will help them in their life.

Lastly, Emily emphasizes on the importance of vocational skills for the child, especially in the long run.

To read the full article click here https://www.autismspeaks.org/tool-kit-excerpt/ten-ways-build-independence

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