Hudson Valley Parent

HVP March 2018

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14 Hudson Valley Parent n March 2018 By K. RIELLY F lexibility is the most important skill we have as parents of children on the Autism Spectrum. Sometimes it seems that just as we get into the swing of a routine, something suddenly changes and we have to modify the rules in an instant. I get it, most days it feels like we're just hanging by a thread, planning and adjusting everything from mealtimes to bedtime. It's exhausting, but our ability to be flexible allows our children to learn and grow. Throughout my son's early education therapies and even now in preschool, I am constantly reminded that I need to remain flexible based on his needs. As new challenges arise there have been two lessons I have learned that continue to play an important role in how I parent; understanding the difference between routine versus rigidity and positive versus negative reinforcement. Necessary routine Although the terms routine and rigidity may be closely related, for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) there is a distinct difference which requires special planning and attention for parents. Children on the spectrum rely on routines. Knowing what is to be expected of themselves and their environments helps them to cope with change. Routines allows for a period of mental adjustment prior to transitioning to a new activity or place. Even for minor changes Learning as we go Lessons I learned as a mother of a child on the spectrum Rielly claims that flexibility is one of the best mommy super-powers.

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