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The Center for Spectrum Services is a recognized leader in our community for educating children with autism… I am pleased that they are taking the initiative to expand their programs to serve the growing number of children on the autistic spectrum. Beverly Allyn, Coordinator
Children with Special Needs, Dutchess County Department of Health
Teaching Independence as a New Year's Resolution

Submitted by Special Educator Christina Johnson, Teacher of our Teal Class

One of the popular New Year’s resolutions for parents will be to take a moment for themselves. In recognizing the importance of laughter, to making time for spouses and exercise, parents should know that they give their best to their children when they are at their best. However, in an effort to avoid and reduce stress, parents should focus on the positive. While concentrating on your children’s strengths and progress, choose to make 2018 a time to learn.

Let’s start the New Year by learning a few different ways to encourage independence and increase language within your home environment. Easier said than done right?

Typically, there’s a whole family to care for, possibly including siblings or elderly family members. There’s also the reality of getting to work on time, getting the kids to school, grocery shopping, having dinner as a family, and most importantly taking the time to relax and be a family. Here are a few ideas to help foster language growth in your child/ren and encourage independence at home:

  • Set up scenarios where items are missing (for activities that your child is familiar with)
    • Move the toothpaste
    • Move his/her shows
    • At dinner leave his/her cup empty or a utensil missing.
    • Keep his/her most preferred snacks out of reach so gaining your attention is needed as well as making the request for the item.
  • When your child gestures towards something but cannot ask for it, don’t just hand it over. Say the name of the item three times slowly and give them the opportunity to repeat you. As soon as they repeat the word, give the item right away. If they do not repeat after the third time, still hand over the item.
  • Although you are often rushed to get out the door or get your child to bed on time. Try to start these activities slightly earlier than usual. This gives the opportunity for independence. Rather than you putting on your child’s shoes and zipping their coat, prompt them where needed, but allow them the time to do it themselves. Yes, this will take more time to begin with, but will be rewarding for both you and your child in the end.