Independence can be difficult to foster in children with Autism, but it is essential. Here are some tips for developing independence:
- Break it down: If you are teaching a complicated task, break it down into small steps. Therapists call this “task analysis” but all you have to do is think through each step for completing a task.
- Finish strong: Let your child learn the last step first. That way he feels a sense of accomplishment and you can praise his success! When he’s mastered that step, then you can let him add the previous step.
- Practice, practice, practice: Brains develop new connections by repetition. So let your child practice the step as often as you can. Don’t move ahead to the next step until has fully mastered the current one.
- Patience, please! Your child may take much longer to do the task than you would like, but if she is going to learn the new skill, you have to let her do it. Be patient with her learning.
- Passionately persist: It might seem that your child will NEVER learn the new skill, but be persistent! You never know when your child will grasp the new skill and she may surprise you one day. But if you find yourself getting impatient or frustrated with your child or if your child is getting frustrated, step back and make sure the new skill isn’t beyond her abilities. If you’re not sure, ask a therapist or another parent. And trust your gut.