With great current emphasis on before-time intensive intervention recovery, parents and caretakers of an autistic child do not spend ample time talking about deficits in self-help skills. Mostly, they are worried about the child’s growth in functional communication cognitive skills. It is usually easier to dress the child, rather than teaching the child to dress her or himself. However, development of basic self-help skills are essential for the success of a child in school and at work, and for living independently and making new friends. When a child starts improving his self-help skills, his potential to work independently across different environments also develops, and it has a great impact on the level of support a child will need.
Ways to Teach Self-Help Skills
Encouragment: There are 3 primary ways to encourage your child which includes:
- Verbal guidance
- Model guidance
- Physical guidance
Stimulus guide procedure: One of the first questions to think about before starting with instructions is: “What kind of behavior will change the child’s behavior?” As an example of instructions, we can assume a verbal instruction for a preschool child from a teacher or a parent on washing hands before eating.
Chaining and task examination: A behavior chain is a segment of distinct behaviors that construct more complex behaviors. This chain allows the interpretation of complex behavior into different steps for learning.
How can Parents Help Out Their Child?
These are the different ways that parents can adopt to assist their child with improving in self-help skills:
Personal care: This includes daily hygiene, nutrition, taking care of illness, controlling levels of stress, and practicing and creating relaxation routines, etc.
Functioning skills: These are organizational skills that are required to schedule the day, make a to-do list, and create plans for outings, chores, etc. This is something which is a bit challenging for individuals with autism diagnoses.
Safety: Most of the children may be able to memorize safety rules, but tend not to follow them at the time implementation is required. Some individuals lose their ability to speak when in stress. It is advisable to carry a card with a few lines on it for those stressful moments, when it can be hard to collect one’s thoughts.
Self-advocacy: Children should be educated on how to have their needs met effectively. They need to know the exact time to ask questions, to whom you should go for help, when to give suggestions, and when to say no.
Social skills: Teamwork should be encouraged, as should socializing with friends, building up good family relationships and learning how to communicate on the phone. Basic manners and etiquettes should also be taught.
The Importance of Self-Help Skills
The procurement of self-help skills can prove crucial for an autistic child. It has been researched that these children of determination mostly experience moderate to noteworthy deficits in these areas. That is why we at Small Steps Big Dreams in Dubai, UAE emphasize on enhancing self-help skills of autistic individuals.