25 Apr Top 5 Ways to Help Your Child with Autism with Focus and Attention
The world can be a wild and crazy place. There are so many things happening all at the same time in your home including: phones ringing, conversations, televisions and tablets running in the background, food cooking, music playing, and the list goes on and on. Not everyone is a multi-tasker, yet in terms of focusing on tasks, we tend to ask so much of our children…this just may not be realistic or reasonable.
Try these strategies to help your child focus and pay attention to specific tasks:
- Turn off any distractions around him. Make sure that the television or any music is not playing in the background. Many families find comfort with the TV running all day long. Even if it is muted, the lights and even the slightest white noise can distract your child. If he has sensory challenges (which most kids with autism have), then he may even hear the TV from the other room at the same volume as your voice which is right next to him.
- Get rid of any scented plug-ins, perfumes, or candles. Smells can be very distracting for your child. If he is trying to focus on a task, and there is a smelly plug-in in the same room, he may not be able to think of anything but that scent.
- Be aware of the lighting in the room. Sunlight, and light from lamps and fluorescents can play tricks on your child’s eyes. If your child needs to focus on a task such as homework, do not put him under these lights. Minimize distractions by seating him away from a window.
- Make sure you have your child’s attention before talking to him. Say his name, tap him on the shoulder, and/or get on his eye-level. You can even ask, “Johnny, are you listening to me?” Make sure you get a response before talking to him. Many kids with autism do not respond to their name. It’s possible that he is hearing something else at the same volume as your voice. There are so many distractions around him, so be sure you have his attention before making any demands.
- Incorporate movement and exercise into his day. By encouraging your child to move around, especially before an in-seat task, you are respecting his needs. All children need movement to help them focus, but your child with autism needs it even more. Encourage exercises like jumping jacks, bouncing on a trampoline, running in place, push-ups, sit-ups, and just dancing to music. Then, request that your child sit down to focus on a task.
By trying these 5 strategies, you are setting your child up for success so that he can focus and pay attention to specific tasks.
Please share with us, what does your child have the most difficult time focusing on at home?