Hudson Valley Parent

HVP March 2019

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Page 22 of 35 n Hudson Valley Parent 23 Peter. Comparing stories gives me a new way to look at things. 3. Break things into more manageable learning pieces. When Peter was three, he was afraid of the water sprinkler. Both of my daughters would run in and out of it and he would walk around the perimeter looking nervous. I realized that the water was too high. We lowered it to his ankles and Peter got wet. As the summer went on, we kept raising the water level a bit. By the end of the summer, Peter was getting his face wet like his sisters. Whenever I find a challenge is too big for Peter, I try to think of it like the sprinkler, one step at a time. 4. Your child needs extra help to build friendships. Navigating social issues is never easy, but those on the spectrum have an even more difficult time. Be willing to help your child take friendships slowly. Create opportunities in an environment that is not overwhelming and start out with short visits or events. 5. Follow your child's lead. Following your child's lead can often lead to longer periods of communication and socialization. When Peter became fascinated by cartoons, I watched with him. Then I gave him the coloring book or story that matched. It helped build on his interest and expand the way he thought about it. 6. Music provides so many positives. Music is processed in a different part of the brain than spoken language. Often, those on the spectrum can process lyrics and sing even when they are not very verbal. Peter slowly went from communicating through songs to speaking on a more regular basis. 7. Routines are not always possible. With three children, I could not always stick to a strict routine. Changing routines made Peter very anxious. I discovered if I could add a sub-routine into the change it helped. For example, if we always (Continued on Page 24)

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