Helpful tips

General Tips

  • Consistency, consistency, consistency: do things the same way with your child each time, and do things the same way with other people. Without consistency your child may become confused or discover opportunities for manipulation.
  • Catch ‘em being good: whenever the opportunity presents itself, use a lot of positive reinforcement. Some children thrive on positive attention. Let them know when they are acting appropriately. If we praise good behavior we can hopefully decrease the need for inappropriate behavior.
  • Remain neutral and calm: be sure not to raise your voice or show emotional reaction when your child uses inappropriate behaviors. 
  • Use few words when addressing an inappropriate behavior: using too many words provides unneeded attention. Keep requests simple. Tell your child what TO do rather than what not to do. Avoid using "stop" or "don't" statements and always use a firm, calm respectful tone of voice.

Home Environment Tips

  • Physical Structure
    • Keep home well organized and free of clutter 
    • Move precious items and breakables to an inaccessible room or locked in a cabinet
    • Make sure home is free of hazards 
    • Keep one room or area free of visual and auditory stimulation
  • Schedules/Visual Supports
    • Create and use Daily picture schedule for activities 
    • Consistent schedule for daily living activities that support developmentally appropriate levels of independence 
    • Use transition cards - First This/Then That, Now/Later 
  • Sensory
    • Maintain a temperature that is appropriate for child's comfort level (not too hot or too cold)
    • Prevent as much as possible extended loud noises, buzzes, etc.
    • Check for flickering lights and significant lighting changes between areas in the home
    • Reduce glares from windows, computer screens, etc. when possible
    • Use soothing colors when possible - light blues, light greens and yellows
    • Choose comfortable clothing, soft fabric, no tags, no smell (perfumed laundry soaps
  • Hygiene/Bathing
    • Keep bath toys out of sight until bathing/hair washing is complete 
    • Use unscented products: soaps, shampoos 
    • Use visual schedules to assist with hair washing, hand washing, toileting, teeth brushing, etc. 
    • Be consistent with hygiene routine 
  • Safety/Childproofing
    • Safety gates to limit access to stairwells and doorways if developmentally appropriate 
    • Locks on doors to prevent child from leaving, consider adding sliding locks toward the top of the door, double locking deadbolts can be used but key must be accessible to adults 
    • Locks on child's bedroom door to prevent wandering at night (fire safety must be addressed) 
    • Safeguard windows by locking, using alarms, and/or replacing glass with plexiglass
    • Electrical outlets covered, extension cords secured or hidden 
    • Childproof locks on cabinets, refrigerators, ovens, toilets, stove knob covers, etc. 
    • Adjust water heater to safe and comfortable temperature 
    • Furniture is heavy and difficult for child to move 
    • Secure tall and heavy objects to the wall to prevent tipping 
    • Move furniture away from shelves and other places that the child may climb 
    • Visual labels placed on items for word recognition and understanding of use (i.e., picture of child sleeping on bed to illustrate that it’s not a trampoline) 
    • Child wears an identification bracelet/necklace, shoe tag, or is taught to carry identification 
  • Communication Tips 
    • Helping your child communicate more effectively:
      • Teach communication skills that are functional and meaningful
      • Teach communication in the context of everyday activities
      • Provide multiple opportunities for communication practice throughout the day
      • Arrange the environment as necessary to create the need to communicate
      • Reduce stressful speaking situations by avoiding: 
      • Competition for speaking opportunity
      • Frequent interruptions
      • Demand for display speech
      • Loss of listener attention
      • Frequent questions
      • Excitement when speaking 
    • Communicating more effectively with your child:
  • Slow down when speaking with your child
    • Replace long, complex sentences with short simple sentences
    • Stress key words
    • Use other modalities to enhance meaning
    • When using spoken commands, make them simple
    • Use visual supports
    • Use object supports
    • Be consistent