Saturday, February 20, 2016

Teaching Personal Information to our Kids with Autism

Parents often drill into their children’s heads all the pertinent information a child would need if he or she got lost or separated from them: name, parents’ names, phone number, etc. Since many children with Autism aren’t able to articulate that information well, we parents need to get creative when teaching personal information to kids with Autism.
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My daughter is verbal. Usually. She’s gotta be comfortable and secure to use her voice. Last year, some of the school staff was shocked when in April, they finally started hearing the words I swore all year long that she had. Meanwhile, at home, there are days when she just won’t stop talking! Still, even when she does feel comfortable enough to speak, her articulation isn’t great. Of course we can understand her, but a stranger would really struggle.
Before she could speak much, I bought an I.D. bracelet for her that read, “I’m cute but I can’t speak well” and listed her name and my phone number. She wore it for about a year until she inevitably lost it. Frankly, I’m impressed it took her a whole year to lose it!
At 9 years old, she knows her name, her parents’ names and our home address. In order to teach her the numbers of our address, we made that the password on her iPad. Is that brilliant, or what?! As much as I’d like to take credit for that one, it was all Ben’s idea. We take walks in our neighborhood and we always talk about the name of our street when we reach the street sign. We take advantage of the fact that she likes to read signs. I also like to introduce her to neighbors so that they know her and know where she lives should they ever find her unsupervised.
Even children who are nonverbal or limited in their verbal abilities can learn their personal information and find ways to express it. I found a great resource and a great idea for teaching this information to kids on the “Autism Tank” blog. The author even created worksheets that are available online for just $3. Thought it seemed like a great idea, so I wanted to share it with all of you!
How have you successfully taught your child important personal information?
-Dani (http://blog.birdhousehq.com/)

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