Why do People Say “Autism Spectrum”?

Autism is a condition that still has many unanswered questions, but nowadays the medical term when it comes to it is “autism spectrum disorders.” This term appeared because the many symptoms and behaviors associated with people diagnosed with autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder.

Why the use of “spectrum”?

The symptoms and behaviors can develop at different pace and ages; however, there are some similarities among them. For that reason in 2013, with the publication of the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, all these disorders and conditions were put in one term, “autism spectrum disorders,” divided into three levels of diagnosis.

Inside the spectrum, people can be as different as their symptoms. We can find individuals that are highly intelligent and independent but have problems with social interactions, others that need therapy to be able to exchange even just a few words with strangers, and some that will always need assistance with daily routines.

People within the spectrum will always have problems with social interaction, making it a common symptom among them. But others symptoms and conditions can vary from person to person, hence the need to put them within a spectrum; that way we can identify them inside the condition and allowing them to be treated according to their unique attributes and requirements, without branding them in a specific condition or disorder.

For professionals in the area, a correct diagnosis on a child can take several years. This is because children can develop symptoms while growing up, hence the need to follow a constant observation of their behavior. But being within the spectrum opens an array of options: kids will have lives full of challenges to conquer that will need to be faced in very specific ways, with strategies according to their needs.

Now you have it! Being in the ASD means that every person diagnosed within it will face their own problems, but at the same time, it will be rewarded with the knowledge that they aren’t alone, that there are many with at least one symptom similar to them.

Come to Autism Soccer, where we offer excellent programs for the development of your children and a place for them to be comfortable and happy.

autism spectrum condition

This condition is not something linear; it has certain variations across the people who have it.

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What About Eye Contact in Children with Autism?

One of the most known characteristics of the autism spectrum disorder is lack of eye contact, which presents in the first years of the life of these children, with some professionals suggesting that it can start on the first months. This lack of social interaction is not by any means a sign or rudeness from them, but actually, it’s a way to feel more comfortable among people. Children with ASD can get highly anxious with eye contact, especially if the other person responds to it.

Symptoms

As every characteristic within the spectrum, avoiding eye contact can manifest in multiple ways:

  • Some actively seem to avoid eye contact because they feel uncomfortable with it, as with every social interaction.
  • Others can make eye contact in familiar environments, with well-known people.
  • And others can look at you in strange ways, staring either at you or at a specific object.

Why does this happen?

There are two major reasons that explain why children and adults alike avoid this action. First, they feel indifference toward eye contact; they think that it isn’t important to establish it. Remember, they often don’t have the same instincts about social interactions as neurotypical people, so they cannot fully comprehend why it is necessary to make direct contact. This normally happens during childhood.

However, when they grow up, teenagers and adults with ASD feel eye contact in an uncomfortable way that can trigger anxiety episodes and other adverse reactions or behaviors. Some completely hate it, especially if they are pushed to do it, so never pressure them; instead, you should encourage them to improve their social abilities but never to the point of generating the opposite reaction. Professionals haven’t found the reason behind this change from children to teenagers because children can learn how to make eye contact without rejecting it, but while growing up, they feel it as a burden.

There are still many questions about this, and many ongoing studies exploring possible reasons; but meanwhile, working with these kids to develop their social skills is the best way to change these behaviors, with patience and hard work.

Can lack of eye contact be treated?

With the autism spectrum disorder, there are usually more questions than answers, and that leaving aside the controversy in many studies and therapies. In that regard, eye contact is no the exception; however, therapists now believe that there’s no symptomatic answer, instead, it can depend on every individual and the way they feel towards it. Instead of trying to fix this, we as educators, parents, and facilitators should listen to their own voice in that regard, accept that they don’t like it, and teach them to communicate it by simply saying something like “I’m listening but i won’t look at you directly.” The most important thing we have to do is understand that this preference is totally fine, that making eye contact isn’t essential for communication and that we must accept this preference, instead of trying to force a change.

Remember eye contact isn’t the most important skill when dealing with a person with autism; if they are more comfortable without looking at you, but are still listening and can have a satisfying conversation with you on many different topics, then that’s all that should matter. Come to Autism Soccer, where we offer excellent programs for the development of your children and a place for them to be comfortable and happy.

Why eye contact is a problem for some people with ASD

Eye contact, which is close nonverbal communication, may generate anxiety in people within the spectrum.

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10 Simple Exercises for Language Problems

Language problems can affect many children diagnosed within the autism spectrum disorder. However, some kids suffer those problems and aren’t in the spectrum. This happens because there are many reasons behind language problems besides autism: ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), difficulties in the muscles involved in the speech process, or even emotional distress. Sometimes, there’s no external factor: the most common source for these sort of problem is the way in which children acquire their language skills.  

Speech ability can get better with the appropriate therapy, and activities specially designed for improving language skills, depending on how children develop those. Many of them consist of performing certain movements, where u the main speech organs (cheeks, mouth, lips, tongue and vocal cords) are involved. Here we have ten exercises that therapists use, and that are easy to do at home.

Breathing exercises

These are simple and repetitive movements while producing sounds along with the breathing. Kids can do nasal and vocal inspirations and expirations, retaining the air between the changes is good, too. Another way to do it is to maintain the air inside the mouth and nose alternating progressively between the two. Changing the breathing speed is one of the final exercises to practice, it can be done with inspirations and exhalations; it has to be practiced with both shallow and deep breaths.

Blow exercises

These can be done with different objects, but the main point is to get better lip movement and air control. Among the activities there are:

  • Blowing paper balls across a table: which could be turned into a game like soccer where the kid that put his paper ball inside the goal wins.
  • Blowing out candles: they can be of different sizes.
  • Taking down a paper tower: make one with small papers and have the kid take it down by blowing on the stack.
  • Blowing soap bubbles: you can let your kid have some fun with these; it’s better if children practice the blowing movements while having fun. You can also ask them to try to incorporate sounds which each blow.

Vowel pronunciation

In this exercise, children have to constantly repeat the vowels while exhaling slowly. They ought to do as many repetitions as the therapist wishes, as long as the kid feel good and comfortable. Usually, vowels are the easiest letters to pronounce, hence why a better pronunciation of vowels can be a good starting point to build up language skills.

Rhythm exercise

Using a drum or any surface that has a good enough sound produce different beats, and then have the kid repeat them using his voice and mouth. You have to pay attention to his performance and help him to follow the rhythm with his own sounds, correcting when necessary. Rhythm is essential for children, that way they can learn to articulate words better.

Syllable game

Here therapist will use common consonants with vowels, children have to repeat the syllable with the same vowel several times to catch rhythm and pronunciation, than change the vowel, repeat the process until all the vowels are used with the chosen consonant. Next day the therapist can choose another consonant and continuing the game, their pronunciation will improve with the constant repetition.

Articulate phrases

Here therapists use poetry, tongue twister or short sentences from children’s books, to make kids pronounce and articulate the letters and syllables that they are mastering. With practice they will get a better use of them; it can be accompanied with beats for rhythm.

Tongue exercises

Some issues with the complex phonemes are related to tongue movements, therefore doing exercises with it can help achieve a better pronunciation. These can be: turns in every direction, stretching the tongue to the top palate, eating chewing gum, touching each tooth with the tip of the tongue, and using a pencil or a chopstick under the tongue while speaking to improve pronunciation.

Silent exercises

Both the child and whoever plays the role of the therapist will be in a room entirely silent. Then the therapist will perform a series of sounds, and the kid needs to pay attention to identify and repeat them. One of the benefits of this is that children can recognize sounds and where are they come from.

Lip exercises

There are many movements with which to exercise the lips, just like the tongue. They can be tightened and loosened, separated and put back together quickly, or you can have children repeat a consonant that uses the lips exclusively for its pronunciation. At home, you can look up ways how singers warm-up, and then practice them with your kids. These can be fun to do together because they can bring laughter for both.

Facial movements

Inflate the cheeks, while retaining air for some seconds and then deflate them, and start over doing several repetitions. Finally use water, keeping it on the mouth and then moving it from cheek to cheek.

All these exercises can be done at home. Remember that, for children, approaching them as if they’re just games is always the best. Practice with them and in time you will observe the difference and see how their skills are improving. Come to Autism Soccer, we offer excellent programs for the development of children and a place for them to be comfortable and happy.

Simple exercises for language problems

Several exercises can help to overcome speech problems. They can be practiced in the classroom or even from home.

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Children’s Books about the Autism Spectrum Disorder

Children with autism can learn the different aspects of their diagnosis with a single book. They can also feel related to the characters that appear in the story since there is nothing more appealing than an individual facing the same challenge as you. These kinds of books can be a helpful guide for every person that knows someone within the spectrum, and they can give small tips for daily interactions.

Because 1 in 68 children will be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, it’s very common to meet someone within the spectrum (it could even be your new neighbor). So these books can give a better understatement of their struggles, and it doesn’t matter the age: preschoolers or teens can read these.

Let’s get the books!

All My Stripes by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer (Ages: 4-8)

Zane is the main character of the book, a zebra with autism that is worried because his differences can make him stand out. But his mother helps him learn that autism is just one of his many qualities that make him unique. The book also contents a foreword by Alison Singer, President of the Autism Science Foundation.

The Autism Acceptance Book: Being a Friend to Someone with Autism by Ellen Sabin (Ages: 6-13)

This is an activity book ideal for classrooms and other group settings. It is an educational tool and a great way to engage a conversation between students to learn how to embrace people’s differences and to treat them with kindness. The activities help them know how a child with autism can feel and how they can react.

Ethan’s Story; My Life with Autism by Ethan Rice (Ages: 6-9)

This is a special book because it was written by a kid with autism, something very surprising since he was only seven and his single thought was to help his classmates to understand him and what is like living with autism. Here Ethan explains his challenges and struggles using his way, and how he is always grateful.

My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete (Ages: 7-10)

“Charlie has autism. His brain works in a special way. It’s harder for him to make friends. Or show his true feelings. Or stay safe.” This is one of the amazing lines that the book gives us. Holly is an actress and autism spokesperson whose son Charlie was diagnosed with ASD and, for that reason, this book was created along with her daughter. Ryan shows us what is like to be a big sibling for children with autism, and how proud she is that her brother knows all the American presidents and can play the piano.

Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes by Jennifer Elder (Ages: 8-12)

An eight-year-old boy named Quinn is the main character here, and he takes us to meet his autism heroes: inspirational people that excelled in different fields like math, science, physics, literature, and even philosophy. These heroes are well known historical figures, and it has been rumored for years that they could be within the spectrum because of their behavior. Different Like Me is fully illustrated and can be a great educational tool.

These books can show you that your child is not alone: there are many people with the same challenges and struggles as your family, and also important historical figures lived with ASD. Reading to your child can be a great activity and a way to form bonds, so start the reading time at home! Come to Autism Soccer and check our different programs for your children.

Reading and ASD.


Reading is a fantastic gift for kids, but for children with autism, it can mean a new understanding of their condition.
Screen reader support enabled.

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Fun Indoor Activities for Children with Autism

Some days, whether by weather or simply to sleep in, families want to stay home. But when you are raising a son or daughter with ASD, these days can be a little challenging for you and for them as well. If you want to entertain them without using any tech device, these activities can be a good starting point. Because as most children, your neurotypical child will enjoy the kind of activity that can activate their senses. Besides, these are a great outlet for them and can function as therapy as well.

Check the activities!

Craft day

You can dedicate an indoor day to only play with craft, there would be some people that will feel uncomfortable with the texture, but some of them can be very addictive.

  • Cornstarch science: this is the easier to make, just mix a cup of cornstarch and water until you get a dough, that can become in a soft dough that can adapt to every form that your kid want. If you add food coloring that would increase the child attention.
  • Sensory bottles: find a water bottle, it can be any, but a large will work perfectly, fill three parts of it with warm water and then add an entire bottle of clear glue, that way everything that you put inside the bottle will float instead of sink. The glue will also give a viscous texture, that can be more attractive for the child if you add glitter or food coloring, superglue the top and ready for fun games.

Indoor Olympics

This is a great activity if your child loves sports or practices one. Create different stations around the house (you can decide how many); each one will represent an Olympic event. For discus throw, find a discus and a basket (can be the one used for laundry) and make your child throw it. For each section, you can make a DIY set of medals, and even roleplay the medals ceremony. All the family can participate and have a great time together.

Board games

These games can be tricky because kids tend to be competitive when playing and this kind of games can last a good amount of time; they probably will get bored. The best option is to set your own rules! All the family can gather before the start, and discuss the new rules; there won’t be limits with them, even the loser can be the winner. The goal of this activity is to have fun and enjoy the family time.

Charades

When kids are at home, it is normal to turn on the TV, but sometimes you as parents will feel that this passive activity is wrong. So, after the child’s favorite show finishes, make a game about it. Write down different scenes of the episodes and gather them in a bowl, your son or daughter will pick one, and with the family or only you and their stuffed animals, see them act the scene out for you to guess it.

Hide and seek

Hide their favorite things or toys around the house, try not to hide them too easily, then give them clues for him or her to search for the treasures. The rewards can be simple, like cookies or his favorite dessert, but the important part is to improve their observation skills and how to follow commands.

As you can see, there are many activities that you can make when you want to spend time at home, and these can help you to develop several skills and create strong bonds in the family. Here at Autism Soccer, we just want the best for children. Visit us and check all the programs that we offer.

Fun activities for ASD kids.

Thanks to these fun and recreational activities, kids will find happiness at home.

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Travel with ASD Children: Planification Tips

Traveling with the family is always stressful, but when you have kids with ASD, it can reach a new level of stress. However, with the correct organization, all the family members can have the best trip ever! Helping children with autism to adjust to the new environment and places can make a huge difference in their trips, and all the members have to make an effort while traveling.

Many parents with children within the spectrum can feel scared of venture beyond their cities, towns, and neighborhoods, because of the difficulty in managing the tough behaviors that the little ones can show in public, they also struggle with the shame of the stares, meaning comments and judges by people outside. But truly, traveling with them is not that complicated and can become an amazing experience.

Take these tips!

 

The best destination

When picking the place to go in the family vacation, it would be important to take into consideration what your child likes and how the new place can impact his or her behavior. According to Rebecca Landa, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, a trip to the beach or to the mountains are the best choices to go with children within the spectrum.

Those places can offer flexible schedules and adjusting activities, and they are very vast to accommodate different groups of people, without making the trip stressful for the child and the rest of the family. Children with autism tend to react in unexpected ways to new stimulations, for that reason these relaxed destinations can work better for them, besides try to find the activities that your son or daughter will enjoy; for example, games in the water, whatever in the beach or a lake, can make them feel very relaxed and open to other activities with the family.

Prepare arrangements ahead of time

After setting the destination, the next step will be calling airlines, hotels, and restaurants. With the calling, you will know what kind of procedure they follow when children with special needs are visiting, and with that, you can make all the correct preparations to visit those places.

There have been many rehearsal programs in airports and parks to teach the personnel how to treat and behave with children within the spectrum since many families are now taking the challenge of traveling with them. These practices are making easier for all the people involved to act according to the different situations that can present with those incredible children.

Identification

Safety first, and proper identification for your kid can make the difference with danger. Children with ASD tend to wander by themselves, separating of the group and losing while the family is a little distracted, and it can be worse if the child is nonverbal. You can find a necklace or a medical bracelet with the contact information, if someone finds him or her wander or in the middle of a crisis, they can call you right away.

Some children will feel uncomfortable with jewelry, if that is the case, find tags that can be attached to shoelaces or backpacks, also it would be good to make him wear shirts or a ribbon that can be identified as a child with autism. They can attract attention quite easily for that reason, workers and other visitants can contact you when they are lost.

Pack loveys and distractions

When packing try to check the daily routine of your child, that way you will know exactly what item bring, that can help you to calm down. Tablets, cell phones, DVD players, music, books, and stuffed toys can make them feel like if they were at home. If you forget them, you will face a hard challenge and the trip can be easily forgotten.

Role play scenarios

All the family can try to practice different scenarios that can show up in their trip, this will give your child a starting base to feel at ease in the vacation. Another way can be word/picture scenarios, showing the kid the different places that you will be visiting as a family, can help them to get used to them, and making them familiar. Try not to tell the child about the trip too ahead of time, because it can disrupt his behavior and affect his sleeping time, thanks to the anxiety.

Plan activities according to the child

You know your child better than everybody, for that reason the activities should be set according to their hours, “what time do they get tired and need a rest during the day? How many hours should we spend in the amusement park?” Those are the questions that you need to answer before the trip, planning activities for relaxation can be helpful like swimming, that way they can go to bed without any stress for the day. Try to keep the bedtime hours, never skipped them.

With these tips, your vacation can be a successful trip, just adjust them for your child necessities, because his or her happiness with the rest of the family has to be important. The family trips are there for you to have more time and to enjoy activities together. Here at Autism Soccer, we just want the best for your child and the rest of your loved ones; visit us and check all the programs that we offer.

vacation and autism

Make plans ahead of time, and keep everything in order so you can make that dream vacation come true

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Five Individual Sports for Kids With ASD

Autism can present a series of challenges, but sports can be the way to face it in better condition. However, team sports can be the wrong option for kids that have a hard struggle with social communications and interactions. These five individuals sports can present a lighter way to help them with communication skills because they possess team components but with fewer interactions.

Top five individual sports for kids with autism

Biking

This activity has many benefits. Physically, they can develop legs muscle organization, increase their endurance, can thrive their coordination and balance. As they continuing to practice it, it can prevent future cardiovascular problems and obesity and their associated health complications.

It can help kids with autism in other aspects. Mentally, they will focus all their attention to stay upright and improve their determination to end the task will increase their wills. Emotionally, learn how to ride a bike and keep getting better at it will give them a sense of independence and triumph, and also can push them to learn new things and success in their lives.

Track and field

This sport is particular because it is a team sport, but it can be done by one person at a time; for that reason communication between teammates is reduce to a minimum, and when a child with autism doesn’t feel comfortable with tons of small talk, this option is great. Their social skills can improve with smaller steps, and without too much pressure. Besides, they can be with peers that like the same things like them.

For their health track and field can raise good cholesterol, maintain a good lung function, strengthens the heart and helps build muscles; and helps prevent diabetes and obesity. For kids, it can improve their coordination and muscle mass. The most important benefits for children with ASD are: decreasing self-stimulatory behaviors, hyperactivity, aggression, and destructiveness since they can release all the energy accumulated.

Swimming

This is the preferred sport for calming the anxiety of children with autism. Water soothes and calm them, allows them to feel better and more comfortable with their bodies. Many kids feel good with touching after a session in the pool. Also, in the pool, they can improve their social skills within small groups and a good relationship with their trainers.

Swimming can improve other things; you will be impressed by them. With swimming lessons, kids in the spectrum can learn new things outside the pool, because they will feel relaxed and cool after every session. It can help improve children’s attention span, concentration, impulse control, and ability to follow directions. The lesson will require a lot of energy that will reduce their hyperactivity, allow them to concentrate on other tasks. Thanks to learning how to breathe inside and outside the water, can help them with their ability to speak. Swimming is a great sport!

Horseback riding

Equine Therapy is a great help for ASD children. Riding a horse can improve their lives. Emotionally kids tend to create a bond with the selected horse, that way they can feel secure and comfortable around it and they can take that to the real world and practice their social skills.

With their health, it helps to improve their motor skills, keeping upright in the horse will require a good combination of muscle movements, every time that they are riding their muscles will become stronger, they also work with their balance and coordination. Mastering riding a horse and create a bond with it will improve the life of an autistic child, it will provide them with confidence and above all happiness.

Gymnastics

This option can sound hard, difficult, and stressful for ASD children; but on the contrary, it is a great sport for improving a lot of aspect with their health and social lives. Gymnastics can include a lot of skills, like cognition and motor skill development because this sport needs a lot of movements and physical efforts. It can help with the body: muscles, bones, articulations, and heart.

Social skills, self-esteem, and body confidence can improve thanks to gymnastics, because of the different exercises kids will understand completely how their body works. Also, just like the other sports, it is a team sport but the interactions with the teammates are minimal, however, it can help them with social situations and talking.

These five sports can improve the lives of children within the spectrum in many and different ways, just let them learn and find what they like, we know that at the beginning it won’t be easy but the results after a couple of months are worth it. Come to Autism Soccer and learn the variety of programs that we offer to the little ones, to put a smile on their faces.

sports and autism

Individual sports can be great, but let them have the final decision

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Advice for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Being a parent is difficult, being one of a child with special needs is twice as difficult. These recommendations will help you to face every day with your best effort. Because you are not alone, there are many parents like you that love their kids but know how difficult it is. Keep reading and try to practice these, that way you will be a great time while parenting your kid with special needs.

You are not alone

There are many parents, that as you are dealing and trying to live as best they can. Yes maybe your kid’s diagnosis isn’t like others, but these parents know the difficulties, the struggles, the fears and the hope that their son or daughter can be happy because your kids’ happiness will be the most important thing for you. Find a group of parents that will understand you and will tell you their experiences, for you to make notes.

Let others take care of you

You are constantly taking care of your child safety and health, but what about yours? You also will need time for yourselves, take a break, ask a relative or friends that know and fully understand the kid diagnosis and can help for a couple of hours, let them feed you, too. They can even help with the house chores, but let them help you, trying to to do everything by yourselves won’t let to health problems.

You aren’t perfect, but you’re your child’s superheroes

Yes, we are humans and as one we make mistakes, try not to punish yourselves for them, even the first timers of non ASD children make mistakes, so take a deep breath, and let it go! Because in front of your kid you are superheroes, you are the ones that make their dreams come true, that help them with everything, and you always are going to be there for them. You are doctors, nurses, therapists, teachers, and parents, so you are not regular.

Time for your kids

With busy schedules for your kid’s condition, you are not spending quality time with them, so it would be good to make time for simple but important things like reading for them, plan a picnic, play with them, whatever it makes them happy. Just be with them outside busy schedules and hospital appointments.

Making heart-wrenching decisions

Because of your child’s diagnosis, you will face a lot of tough choices, but the best way to make them it’s kept to one and never rethink it. Also, it will be good to speak about it with other parents, there won’t be anybody that will understand you better than them. We know that it won’t be easy but try it to do it this way, or make your own way, parenting is a long learning journey.

Forgive yourselves

In this long journey you will make mistakes, bad decisions and will face tough situations, but forgive yourselves everytime that you are wrong, everytime that you feel that you made a terrible mistake, and everytime that you think you can’t do it anymore. Forgive yourselves and always ask for help.

Don’t lose your identity

Being a parent of a kid with special needs doesn’t mean you have a new identity. Many things are going to change, but your true self should never change. Show your son or daughter who you are with everything that comes with you. Find things for you, like a hobby, or try to keep your old friends around, go out with them and speak of things outside parenting or family.

Celebrate the small achievements of your son or daughter

Be proud and show around what your child get to know or do. They may seem small in comparison to other kids, but for you and the kids, they are huge achievements. Remember: for some of them, learning and do simple things could extremely complicated, so praised and brag about a first word, a smile, a first step, be in a team, or simply read a single line.

Don’t make comparisons

Every human is different, so try never to compare them with others. Their diagnosis could be in the same spectrum but can have different levels, or they can suffer different conditions, so never try to do that. Your child is unique, and he or she will show their strengths when the time is right.

Marriage time

If you are in a relationship, or are married, and have a kid with special needs, you will need time as a couple, make that time happen period! Your marriage, just like your child, is important to never put them behind because of your kid schedule or medical appointments, just like before asking for help, and enjoy a fancy date with your partner.

Trust your parent’s instinct

Be a parent come with wonderful gifts like instinct, so use them every time that you feel that something is off. Doctors, teachers, specialists, and therapists know their fields and professions, but if you don’t like it follow those instincts; they are usually right and you would make a good call.

Parenting is hard work, but if your child has a special need, is twice as hard. So keep in mind these tips, and be the best parent as you can. Here at Autism Soccer can give you the best advice and programs for your kids, so don’t doubt and visit us!

parenting and special needs

Never be afraid to ask for help, and be sure to enjoy your kid as much as you can.

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Friendship in Autism: Benefits and Advantages

Friendship is an important part in the growth of every child, but for a kid with ASD that can be something very difficult to achieve. However, when they have a good friend that can change their life, and it helps them to develop social skills. As parents, you can’t make friends for them, but your role will be to help them navigate the strange and fantastic world of friendship.

The importance of friendship

Friends can make ASD children feel more secure while interacting with strange people; it also gives them a boost in their self-esteem and confidence. With friends, they can have experience in managing their and others’ emotions, responding to a variety of situation that will involve feelings, negotiating, cooperation and playing.

Problems to have friends

ASD kids tend to presents this restriction when making friends.

  • Start a conversation and keep it during a long time: ASD kids have many difficulties starting a conversation and keeping is almost impossible for them. But when they begin to interact with peers and making friends that will start to change, it won’t be a quick change, but slowly they will improve their communication skills.
  • Thoughts and feelings of others: they have a hard time trying to understand the thoughts and feelings of people. They can even appear cold, and sometimes they will hurt without acknowledging. Friends will teach them how to deal with different thoughts and feelings.
  • Children’s activities: for a kid with ASD participating in regular activities like spent a time in the park will be strange and stressful. Friends will include them in their activities and help them learn the rules and basic behavior.
  • Body language and expressions: for them, facial expressions and body language are like quantum mechanics, they couldn’t completely understand them, but their friends can work with your child the different aspects of that point in social interactions.
  • New situations: ASD implies to live in a routine to make them feel secure, they suffer from a strong sense of loss and fear, when something new appears in their surroundings, friendships can erase their fear and make a try on different things.
  • Social problems: children with ASD can’t comprehend social issues, like solving disagreements between classmates, but building friendships can change that, having friends will give them the skills to try to understand what is happening and how to help.

How parents can help their child to have friends

You can’t make friends for them, but you can lay out all the situations and help them to find one. Learn how to make it happen.

Know what are your child’s favorite activities

For ASD children is tough to find something that can bring them joy, but when they find it, they can start to be happy. In that environment, they can develop friendships because they will see people with the same interest and that is the bond that will put them together.

Invite kids to an activity

You can work this with their teacher, ask her or him who are the children that are more close to your child, or even asking your child who does he or she want to be friend with? Always speak with your child, because he or she knows exactly what will be the best, and in the end, they will be the one experiencing the friendship. This visit can work perfectly if you make a plan with the other parents, to have a schedule of the activities because kids to act more comfortable when everything is prepared since before.

If your child starts to feel insecure because he or she doesn’t want others close to their toys, games or other stuff, you can plan a trip to the park, like a picnic, with different games, or a visit to the aquarium or museum, everything will depend on what the kids will enjoy more, and which one can bring more time and space to reinforce their interactions.

After school activities

Research and find the best activity that your kid will enjoy after school, maybe enrolling him or her in soccer practice will help to make friends more quickly, besides the tons of benefits that sport can give your child. Start to find activities that can give your kid a way out of the stress of school and other difficulties from ASD.

All of this is with one goal in mind: to make your child enjoy the benefits and happiness that a friendship can bring. Remember, friends are the siblings that we choose; for that reason, every ASD kid deserve to know what is like to have a friend an be one. Come to Autism Soccer, and know all the programs we have to help your child to develop a true friendship through sport.

friends with autism

Friendship can give a kid with ASD the right motivation.

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Animal Therapies for People with Autism

Autism doesn’t have a cure, but animals can have a good impact in children and adults alike, let’s go to find out what are the best animal-assisted therapies to increase kids self-confidence and just make them feel happy.

Working with animal therapies can help children within the spectrum, especially if they like animals, to find a group that shared the same interests, forming bonds and creating possible friendships. Plus the animals will give unconditional love, and it’s something that every ASD kid will receive with gratitude.

Types of animal-assisted therapies

Not any kind of animal will work in these therapies; normally mammals are the best option because they can give and receive affection, and interactions are constant. Reptiles, birds, and amphibians aren’t good options for work with ASD people. No matter what kind of mammal you choose for your kid, it must be with one of these therapies.

Service animal

This works perfectly with the most strong aspect of the spectrum, and it’s well known as the preferred therapy for people with visual needs. Dogs are the animal selected, and some breeds over others. These dogs are highly trained, and you can consider them professional animals, for that reason they are not considered as pets. The dog will completely integrate with the child’s life. Practically it becomes his or her shadow. It could be an expensive therapy, but there are many funding resources, just find the right for your kid.

Therapy animals

This one will provide skills to build social interaction, communication, management of emotions, and playing abilities; even can work to interact with their peers that are also in the therapy, to possibly make friends among them. Any animal works great here: dogs, cats, parrots, Guinea pigs, horses, and others. So the cost will depend on the type of animal that is chosen.

Emotional animal therapy

These animals are usually pets, but they will need a clinical certification to let children go with them everywhere, even school! Dogs and cats are the preferred for this therapy; they will be in stressful situations that the ASD kid can’t face alone, like travel to an unknown place, going to school for the first time, medical interventions, and meeting new people.

Pets

Give the opportunity to a child to grow up with a pet and his or her life will change. For ASD kids that is an especial moment because the pet will bring many benefits for them. Pets tend to teach children with autism ‘prosocial’ interactions, such as shared situations and happiness for small things. Also, they provide a type of social bond that is unique and it will be hard to find through another mean.

Hippotherapy (equine therapy)

This is one of the most studied therapy; it has become the complete one because it helps with the emotional part of the spectrum, but also with the ones that suffer from a physical condition. Be surrounded by horses and people in love with them will help kids with social interactions, plus if in the long term they become a skilled horseback rider it’s going to bring benefits in social and physical aspects. However, this is one of the most expensive, for that reason, please make a deep research about it.

Animals are always there to help us, they give their love freely and without asking for anything in return. Teaching your child to be good with them can have emotional and physical benefits, especially for ASD kids, for that reason try to find the correct partner for your little one. Autism Soccer just want the best for your children, so come and find out the best plans for them.

animals and autism

Animals are far more empath than us; they will help kids and adults with ASD.

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15165 NW 77 Ave Suite 1005 Miami Lakes FL 33014

Autismsoccer.org

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