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 Need help on handling austistic child in public
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By: Ethan (offline)  Thursday, September 16 2010 @ 06:19 PM CDT (Read 908 times)  

Would like to help my colleague who's feeling very vexed and ashamed of bringing her autistic son out.. Any help would be much appreciated

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By: benlwy (offline)  Thursday, September 16 2010 @ 10:40 PM CDT  

Hi. I study psychology, so here are a few pointers that may help your friend out.

Firstly, your friend needs to be aware that it is inevitable for her son to display idiosyncrasies, as well as echo whatever that was said to him. He may also display repetitive stereotypical patterns of behavior and activities. She will need to consider her son's awkward social interaction style. So, it is of no use to scold him in public, it only adds on to the attention that others give. Instead, just ignore him, and he will stop eventually.

To aid, always bring him out on a specific time, like a timetable. This way, his anxiety of going out will be reduced as he knows that he is going out at that particular time. It may be difficult to follow but research shows that it helps.

Another thing to do is to give explicit instructions. For example, instead of saying "don't run". Autistic children may not be able to comprehend such instructions and so may not follow them. Instead, say "please walk slowly", or simply, "walk".

Your friend can also try to teach him specific rules on how to behave outside.

On a more general note, don't try to punish him so often. Instead, reinforce his positive behavior by rewarding him. It doesn't have to be in terms of items or sweets, just a simple praise like "Thank you for walking". It may seem awkward because little parents do that, but is very useful in helping children in general keep up their good behavior.

Likewise, if your child misbehaves, it is important not to scold him. Instead, put him at a corner for a short period of time (1-5 minutes). If he gets out, put him back again and restart the timing. Of course, after the time, explicitly say the reason for being put away, and then ask him for his apology. Give a praise after that.

These techniques are shown in the show "Super Nanny" every time. It has been proven useful for a very long time, through researches, experiments and practical usage by psychologists and other scientists.

Yep, sorry for the lengthy post, and I sure hope that these tips are useful. Feel free to ask me more questions.

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