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Working with autistic children...

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
I am having a 'taster' day at working with some autistic children, which could lead onto employment...can anyone give me some helpful tips or advice if you have done it before please :)


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I have no idea if any of the following would be of any use to you:

    My brother is autistic. Generally, most autistic people don't talk, but my brother does. However, when he talks, he goes on like people understand what he's on about. (if that makes any sense to you at all?)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I haven't done this line of work but i have a friend who has a mildly autistic son.

    One thing i would say from looking after him is that he likes routine. Anything that messes this up really knocks him off balance and he panics and has huge tantrums.

    He also has trouble with eye contact. When speaking to him it is realluy important to get him to look at you in the eyes, otherwise he doesn't fully concentrate and will forget what you have told him.

    He also sees things very much as black and white, and cannot interpret what you say to well. For example if you was to say to him 'Can you shut the window', he'll say 'yes' but wont do it. Thats because he thinks you're asking him if he's able to do it rather than wanting him to do it.

    These are the main things i've picked up from him, but i'm sure you'll pick things up along the way. He's such a great kid, and i'm sure you'll get great satisfaction from the job, should you go for employment
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    My younger sister is severly autistic - someitmes when you talk to her it helps if you say her name first ?? That way you know she is listening to you.. Another thing that helps is not asking too many questions at once.. for example I wouldn't ask.."Would you like a drink??Orange or summer fruits??" etc.. Another thing is that they tend to take things literally.. like if you said I nearly died when.. then they would think that you HAD actually nearly died.. if you see what i mean

    That sounds great though, it can be v. rewarding..Good Luck! :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey! I worked in a special education class of autistic children and have some idea of what it will be like. As you're probably aware there is a wide autistic spectrum and children can fall anywhere within this from severley to only mildly autistic. The children I worked with were mainly only mildly affected although there were a couple of severley autistic kids as well. If I gave you some of the things I learnt from working with them it would probably be most useful, although as I said there will be no 'set' way of approaching working with autistic cildren as they are all different.

    1. Like heartshapedbox said one typically autistic behaviour can be confusion or misunderstanding of speech. Consequently the fewer words and the simplest ones are often the best approach. Instead of 'will you go and sit down now?' use 'sit. now' It is hard to get used to at first and I hated doing it but I found that with a couple of kids if i didn't take this approach they wouldn't listen to me.

    2. Autistic children can become fixated or obsessed with certain things and this can sometimes cause them to 'space out'. For example one boy i worked with was obsessed with tractors, another with spinning leaves.

    3. Some autistic children are very tactile and will touch/smell you, etc. Others will be the complete opposite and hate physical touching of any kind. So be aware of that on your first day as it can be a bit distracting.

    4. The kids I worked with are very keen on routine. If something is done out of the norm, a visitor or a trip or something it can be distressing to them.

    That's all I can think of for now but all the best with your taster day. It's loads of fun and a great opportunity and I thoroughly enjoyed working in a different kind of environment to normal so go for it!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    My mum is saying:
    An autistic child/adult needs to feel secure and safe.You need to have a set routine and if the routine changes it causes a lot of upsets.sometimes you have to change things , and when this happens you have to give enough warnings and notice.Even then you can still have tempers flying.
    my youngest daughter needs a symboll(picture) timetable to help her through the day.
    the other thing you need is patience 24hr 7 and a stress ball!!!!!!!
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