Are you struggling with Zoom calls with your child with autism? These calls can be overwhelming and stressful for autistic children, so it’s best to have your toolkit at the ready and prepare in advance. If you are struggling to make the most of online learning and therapy sessions, these zoom tips for parents of autistic children will help. If you are a professional wanting to set up online learning sessions successfully, make sure you check out my E-Learning for Autism Professionals Quick Start Guide.
How parents can prepare their children for video calls (12 Zoom tips for parents)
Leave enough time to get ready before the meeting
Few things are more stressful for your child (and for yourself) than scrambling to get ready right before a meeting. Make sure you leave enough time before any online meeting for your child to be prepared and seated before the meeting starts.
Make sure your child is fed in advance
You also want to make sure that your child has eaten prior to starting the Zoom call. The therapy session or online class meeting will go much more smoothly if your child is comfortable full. (You could even have a snack nearby in case it is needed during your session.)
Make sure the space around the table and computer is free of distractions
A clear space around the computer, on the table in front of the child and around your child’s seat, will make for a better Zoom session experience. Clutter, toys and miscellaneous items will just be distracting during Zoom calls.
Use a social story to explain to your child what a video chat is
I love using social stories with autistic children. They are such a fabulous tool to explain a situation in advance, prepare your child for what is to come and to present information in an easily digestible and visual way.
Practice the situation in advance alone or with friends or family members
Why not pair printable social stories with an actual trial run of the situation? The more practice your child has being part of a Zoom call, the easier it will be for he or she to participate. Schedule some online chats with friends of family members in advance to give your child practice being part of online Zoom calls.
Have chew toys and reinforcers on hand as needed
Lots of children on the autism spectrum engage in chewing behavior, particularly if they are feeling anxious. A new or different situation, like learning online, can produce anxiety, particularly in the beginning. Having autism chew toys on hand or a selection of sensory toys for autistic children, could make it easier for your child to stay seated and remain engaged for online learning.
Headphones are a fabulous tool for blocking out unnecessary noice and keeping your child focused on online learning and the tasks at hand.
Plan out coping strategies in advance
In case things go awry during online sessions, it is a good idea to have a plan in advance.
This could include scheduling in sensory breaks, using an asd visual schedule during online learning Zoom calls so that your child knows exactly what to expect next and/or pausing for snacks. Make a plan that works for you and your child and stick to it.
Take frequent breaks during the call
The key to having successful Zoom sessions with your child may be taking frequent breaks away from the table. The goal is to make sure that your child is not getting overwhelmed by his or her online Zoom sessions. Breaks can help!
Stay close by to support your child
In my coaching sessions, I coach parents to work directly with their children, therefore, staying close to your little one is implied. However, if your child is participating in an online class maybe you don’t need to be present for the entire meeting, but at least make sure that you are close enough to check in frequently and make sure everything is going well and that your child doesn’t need additional support.
Use a visual schedule to prepare your child for online meetings well in advance
I already mentioned using a visual schedule during your child’s Zoom sessions, but you can also use a visual schedule to prepare your child for online learning in advance.
Make Zoom sessions as fun as possible
Everything is better when you’re having fun! This goes for your child and for you too. If you can find ways to make online learning fun for your child (and for you as well), things will go much more smoothly during Zoom learning.
A few ways to make Zoom learning more fun?
- Have an autism sensory box on hand
- Use adapted autism workbooks to help your child thrive
- Use fun and engaging autism worksheets during your online sessions
- This post shares more free autism resources you help you get things in place
More Autism Learning Resources
- The Successful Interaction with a Child with Autism Course – learn to better understand your autistic child or students with this complete course.
- Autism Activities Workbook Bundle – build communication skills, fine motor skills, sensory play skills and daily living skills, while helping your child or students to successfully manage any difficult behaviors, with these fun, educational, printable activities.
- Sensory Communication Workbook – Build communication skills with simple sensory activities.
- How to Make a Communication Binder Guide & Workbook – Learn how to create a Communication Binder for your child or student with autism using real photos. Follow my expert guide to learn how to use it to increase communication skills.
- Zoo Animals Play Dough Mats Bundle – use these printable play dough mat to work on the names of the animals, build language skills, and increase fine motor strength and precision in a fun, sensory way!
Zoom Tips for Parents
I hope these tips help your child’s Zoom sessions go along happily and easily!
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