ASK ALIX your questions about special needs is a new series starting today!
I am starting a new series today! Every week I will answer questions that you send me about special needs. You can ask me anything about your child, your child’s educational program, autism or other special needs, school, homeschool and anything else you can think of. I will always do my best to provide you the best answer I can based on my 14 years of experience working with special needs families and my own personal research.
You can send me your questions at hello [at] speciallearninghouse [dot] com or by using the contact form below.
Since I started this blog, a lot of you have reached out already. It is such an honor to be in contact with you and to be a part of your family journey. I am really touched by your personal stories and effort for your little ones every day. Since I started my center, I have had the honor of working with hundreds of families with special needs kids in addition to having grown up with my own special needs brother, Nicholas.
It is a joy to be in contact with you, to learn from you, to provide you with information that can hopefully help you progress on your journey and to be creating this wonderful community of support and love together on this blog.
ASK ALIX your questions about special needs
To get this series started, I am answering a question from a French mom of a 3 year old boy with autism who writes :
“My child doesn’t seem to be interested in anything. How do I get him to interact with me and to be interested by the toys I present to him?”
(I translated this question from French to English with this mom’s permission.)
This is a great question and one that applies to a lot of kids with special needs, particularly non-verbal kids. It may seem sometimes that your child is not interested in anything. If your child cannot communicate verbally this is especially true because we are so used to interacting through speech. Most likely, your child is interested in many things, however these things may not seem “normal” to you. You may have the idea that a 3 year old boy should like Legos or cars or trains. Your child may like these types of toys as a 3 year old boy, or may not. He may be interested in watching the same part of a movie over and over or playing with doors. These activities may seem repetitive and non-functional. In some ways that’s true. However, if this is what interests your child at the moment, to get his attention and join him in interaction, you will need to follow his interests. Watch the movie together or play with the door together at first. As soon as possible, you will want to move away from these types of activities to something a little more functional such as playing with a little farmhouse that also has doors you can play with. Soon, you’ll be able to introduce some farm animals and move your child’s attention away from simply playing with the farmhouse doors.
In a behavioral program, we use a program called pairing which serves to increase your child’s motivation to play with you and a variety of toys and learning materials.
There are several steps in this program :
1/ Present a new toy.
2/ Show your child how to use it. (Turn on the music if it’s a musical toy. Tap the toy if it’s a drum. Turn the pages if it’s a book…)
3/ As soon as your child is a bit engaged, remove the item in a funny way.
4/ As soon as your child gestures towards you or looks up at you, give the item back.
5/ Continue 3 – 5 times.
Children with special needs tend to learn through a lot of repetition. This can sometimes feel uncomfortable for parents and educators but is essential for the little ones we are trying to teach. Persist in activities. Do them several times. Feel comfortable with the fact that your child may need to be presented with something several times before he or she is motivated to play with it.
Now it’s your turn!
What are you going to try with your child today? How are you going to interact and share a special moment with your little one right now?
Some ideas :
Teach color sorting with this simple pumpkins + spiders game.
Build matching skills with an easy Farm animals matching activity.
Engage your child in some fun special needs origiami folding.
Make some adorable and educational finger puppets.
Create a sensory bird bin.
I hope that the information in this new series, ASK ALIX your questions about special needs, is helpful to you.
ASK ALIX your questions about special needs! An ASK ALIX post will appear on the blog each Monday. Send me your questions throughout the week by email : hello [at] speciallearninghouse [dot] com, by using the contact form below, on Facebook or on Instagram.
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