The good news is… you CAN HELP!
I use a strategy that I called guided observation and the principles of applied behaviour analysis (ABA) to support my clients. When I mentioned that to Eric, he said he wished someone had helped him the same way when he was a child.
Basically, when you ask a child with ASD (i.e., Autism, PDD-NOS, Asperger) to perform a task, point out the relevant environmental information that you really want the child to pay attention to.
When Eric’s mother spilled the water, she wanted Eric to dry the wet spot. The relevant environmental cue is the wet spot. Simply guided the child to pay attention to the wet spot and use appropriate level of prompting to assist the child to respond appropriately.
- With children who are earlier learners, you may say, “Look! The table is wet. (Have the child feel the water to help them what wet means.) Let’s dry it with a towel.” Assist the child to get the towel to dry the table. Provide lots of praise paired with other reinforcers.
- With children who are more advance learner, you may say, “Look, what happened?” Child says, “The table is wet.” You say, “mm… So what should we do?” Guide the child through the thinking process. That way, the child will not only pay attention to the relevant cue, but also learn problem-solving skills to deal with the situation. Use praise and other reinforcers to encourage the child to try. Provide more guidance when needed. Over time, fade out your guidance and encourage the child to solve similar problems more independently.
We use ABA to teach learner to become independent learners, not just the numbers and letters. I will share more strategies with you in the near future. Please feel free to post questions.