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The purpose of this blog

Children and young people who are on the autism spectrum are likely to find the current disruption to their usual school routine challenging. We are all anxious about the situation we find ourselves in and our children are likely to experience heightened anxiety and stress. Many children and young people will not be attending school and many parents and carers are trying to find ways to help their children to learn whilst at home.Lots of children have been provided with work from school, but may resist doing 'school work' at home, therefore I suggest 'home learning' may be more acceptable to your child. 

The purpose of this blog is to provide suggestions of strategies and resources which you may find useful whilst your child is home learning. As each child is an individual, some ideas may work for your child and others will not. Strategies and resources suggested in this blog will need to be personalised for your child, but hopefully these suggestions will generate idea…

Sensory differences

Many autistic children, young people and adults process sensory information differently and as a result we may see unusual responses to sensory information in their behaviours. 
These differences manifest in different ways for different individuals. Unusual processing includes: 

Hypersensitivity/over-responsive - imagine sensory information entering the brain through a magnifying glass, resulting in too much sensory inputHyposensitivity/under-responsive - in this case sensory information may not be received by the brain, or is dulled, resulting in limited sensory inputSensory-seeking/unusual interests in sensoryaspects of the environment - individuals may be fascinated by certain sensory input and seek out these sensory experiences, for example excessive smelling of objects, visual fascination for lights. These sensory processing differences, and consequent responses/behaviours, can occur in any of the senses as illustrated below:
Senses Examples of hypersensitivity Examples of hyposensi…

Sensory ideas & activities

In this post I will add sensory ideas and activities - I will keep adding, so if this is something that interests you and your child then do keep checking for new information.First of all, my colleague has suggested taking a look at some of these visually stimulating apps that some of your children might like. Note these are all available from the apple app store - I will look out for similar android apps and add later.

Art of glowFree version, or you can pay for a full version.GravitariumFreeDraw with starsFreeSensory lightboxCosts approx. £2.75Sensory soundboxCosts approx. £2.75Sensory magmaFreeSensory just touchFreeSensory iMebaFreeSensory plazmaFree

Transition objects & finished

Autism and learning difficulties and young children.For many children and young people, following a 'first - then' sequence of activities may not be the best way to provide information about their activities. In particular, children in the early years and children and young people who have autism and learning difficulties may not find this 2 step sequence meaningful. In this case you may be more successful by providing information one step at a time. 

Transition objects are objects of giving meaningful information to your child. For example, a toilet roll indicates " toilet", a cup means "snack". Transition objects should be chosen depending on your child's understanding and based upon what is meaningful to them. If this is new to you, or is a strategy you have not used at home before, start by selecting objects for key routines of the day (e.g., toilet, snack, lunch, play, garden and so on). Start by selecting 2 of the objects which you think your child…

Resources to support home learning

There are many resources available which you might be able to use/adapt for your child during home learning. Here is a selection, I will keep adding others as I find them!

First Then Free 'First Then' app (android)

Free - Visual schedules lite allows you to create visual schedules using images - great for children and young people who would prefer access to their schedule on their smartphone or tablet. Find in the app store.

Autism Classroom Resources This is aimed primarily at special education teachers, but if you browse you will find some useful resources to support learning at home and podcasts covering a variety of topics. 

Fun visual timer

Supporting your child to make choices - & freeing up some of your time to get on with chores or to take a break!

An important addition to your home-learning structure is adding choices or free time. If your child is able to choose an activity and spend some time occupying themselves with that chosen activity, this may give you time to get on with a chore or, dare I say, put your feet up with a coffee!

Choose time can be incorporated on your child's schedule.You may need to use different visual information from that used on your child's schedule to ensure they do not confuse scheduled activities with choose. For example, a child who has a written schedule might have symbols or pictures on a choice board, this gives clarity between activities you have to complete and activities you can choose. 'Choose' can be depicted in different ways, depending upon your child's visual understanding. This example shows how you might use images cut out of toy packaging to clearly show what choices are available for a young child:

In this example, 'choose' is a hand-drawn smiley face whi…