Organizing the Very Young Autistic Mind Part III-A
Part I I talked about the characteristics of
the right and left sides of the brain and how they do not dance together in people with autism/ASD. I gave you twenty signs
that I see that indicate how Mr. Left Brain and Mrs. Right Brain dance alone.
Part II I was on a kick
about strategies that SLPs bring to the table to assist high-functioning children
and adults with autism that can help mesh Mr. Left Brain and Mrs. Right Brain.
Part III-A I want to give
you some fun strategies for organizing the very young autistic mind. The first
two are humor/laughter and attention/focus.
Part III-B will be next
week and will include categorizing and sequencing.
in private practice and I go into homes to conduct therapy. I have many goals
when I go into any home, but Kathie's Rule is that I never leave a home without
the child and I sharing a moment of laughter. Shared
laughter is paramount and it tells me so much about a child's ability to
understand language. It also "ties" the sides of the brain together in rhythm
If I have learned anything in the hundred or so years I have been an SLP, it is this: There is nothing that a parent wants to hear more than their child's laughter.
are strategies I use with the "hardest" of kiddos to help them learn how to share
laughter. Animation on the part of the SLP is important at all times. Proximity
to the child takes awareness by the SLP, because some children with ASD do not
want to be close and others do. Some children are afraid of surprise and get startled.
Always share and demonstrate with parents when you have the opportunity.
ways to share a laugh:
- Balls - up/down, rolling
(usually the child will not catch a ball)
- Giggle sticks
- Hide and seek with self or
- Finger plays
- iPad songs (one child loves
"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star")
- Water and sand games
- Jumping on a trampoline or
- Playing with a balloon
you do, get shared laughter. Don't leave the home without it!
of my past blogs pertain to attending. Review my blogs dated May
19, and June
2. Each of these offers great ideas for attention/focus that will help mesh
the brain. My favorite for the little guys with ASD is making a Hand Sandwich,
as described in the blog dated July 7.
will work best with two adults to begin. I have also found the following to
work well in order to gain attention with these "hardest" to gain attention
- Hand clickers
- Slap my hand on the table
then right back to the activity (startle)
- Giggle stick
- iPad (use appropriately and
not for too long at a time)
- Bead drum
- Toy instrument
- Shaking marbles or items in a
of these activities may facilitate a hand-over-hand by the SLP. Always remember
my Golden Rule: Anything the adult can hold in one hand goes up by the
One big Hand
"Speech pathologists make good things happen."