“Take a seat”
“Find you chair”
“Please be seated”
All of these phrases mean the same thing, and for those of us who are flexible and whose minds are easily able to globalize concepts, it doesn’t really matter which of these is said to us, we understand. But when you are a child with autism, whose mind is less flexible and whose neurological interconnectivity is much more limited, processing all these different commands complicates life, and slows down response time.
When we can be more consistent with the words, requests and commands we give our kids with ASD across all environments, it simplifies the processing of the ideas for the child and frees up bandwidth that can now be be applied to other learning. That means that to best support our children, we need to be in sync with the school, with grandparents or other caregivers, and with therapists, etc. about the concepts we are teaching, and the words we are using to teach them.
One way to do that is create a notebook that travels with the child from one venue to the next as a method of communicating with the adults in other environments what has been happening, what concepts are being taught and what words and phrases the child is responding to. This simple strategy can be used not only to share the language that is being used, but the strategies that are working in different environments. This level of consistency will both help simplify your child’s confusing world and increase the results you are seeing.