DAIVA FOUNDATION has been set up with a philanthropic outlook to support and serve children with any concern and help parents to journey through difficult times.
The motto of the initiative is to see that these children are properly nurtured with compassion, love, and cooperation from one and all. It is our endeavour to facilitate and generate enough awareness so that these children whoever are capable enough for a smooth transition to mainstream education and also lead a better life. It is hoped that the initiative will end up in fruition with the sincere efforts from our end.
The Key to Remediation
The key to starting points for remediation is understanding how to foster one crucial psycho-social trait; resiliency. Resilience is a social skill that is honed over time, but in a child with Autism and other special needs, this can take a while to learn and when learned, can be demonstrated inconsistently. Environmental “triggers” and contributing factors can hamper rate and consistency of progress and performance, contributing to the child’s disorientation of person/place/time and reduced episodic memory. In layman’s terms, the opposite of resiliency is the previously discussed transitioning difficulty.
The Socially Speaking™ Roadmap for Resiliency: What To Teach When?
1. Teach Causality: The, If, this…Then Contingen
A neurotypical child begins to understand the basics of Causality and the concept of action/reaction early in their developmental lives. But it isn’t really until 18 months or so that you can begin to reason with a child and scaffold time by structuring the day in a series of before/after or now/later teachable moments and activities.
Causality is a building block for later social-emotional competency, resiliency, sequencing, and the ability to problem solve. It is one of the first skills to be addressed in Early Intervention. If done right, a child begins to learn to experience the passage of time and learn delayed gratification skills as well.
The child also learns that the adult in their “inner circle” keeps his/her word, facilitating Emotional Attunement and rapport. This increases one’s psychological sense of well being and ability to stay receptive to learning new things and being challenged; two areas where resiliency really counts!
2. Teach Humor
Developing a sense of humor is one of the most important byproducts of being resilient. It is a natural progression of correctly and methodically implementing my Socially Speaking™ Techniques in treatment.
A child with autism can struggle with humor, and may frequently need help developing a sense of humor and an understanding the joke. That’s because developing humor hinges on several pre-requisite skills such as Body Awareness, varying intonation, and maintaining eye contact (physical humor, deadpan humor, slapstick humor) and building/accessing episodic memory for decoding the joke (linguistic humor, puns, knock-knock jokes).
To teach humor, the child has to be:
3. Teach Play
Play skills development is a crucial, fundamental readiness indicator for a child to learn social skills, particular one with Autism. Why? Play helps with stress management and resiliency by allowing the child to decompress and freely associate gleaned memories and perceptions from the five senses.
Play also allows the child to recreate (as many times as needed) and internalize the rules and roles he/she sees in the immediate environment. It thus fosters Self Concept, emotional engagement with others, and the ability to self regulate.
Play facilitates the child’s understanding of the environment (i.e. the structure and routine, rules, and expectations of said environment). It provides social referencing through empathy (i.e. it integrates emotional and cognitive development through perspective, Also known as Theory of Mind-TOM).
An effective, developmental , multi-sensory, and child-centric social skills plan of action utilizes play based learning techniques to teach specific goals and concepts needed for later transitioning from a “Me” to a “We” as needed.
4. Teach Categorization Skills
Structured language development intervention is crucial for the child with special needs who may have challenging behaviors and gaps in their lexicon, interfering with their ability to demonstrate social communication competency .
The child needs to learn pre-literacy skills such as categorization to help him/her make sense of the world, and become prepared for later academics and learning experiences. However, even if the child is not yet ready to learn literacy skills, we still advocate teaching pre-literacy skills! Why? To develop better episodic memory to counteract disorientation to person/place/time which can be “triggered” at any moment, given fluctuating neuropsychological and emotional status. To that end, we spend as much time as it takes on developing a visual and cognitive working vocabulary by teaching vocabulary in this order: matching, object function, association, and exclusion skills.
Categorization is NOT just about grouping like items together and calling it a day! To achieve authentic, generalized, and cognitive social communication proficiency, a child with special needs MUST learn to identify and explain “which item doesn’t belong with the others”.This is the gateway to later inferencing, verbal reasoning, the ability to answer why? questions without contextual cues and perceptual support, and resiliency.
A child who understands how to categorize vocabulary and events in life can better “bounce back” and adapt when routines change, familiar patterns get rearranged, and new, challenging concepts and teachable moments are introduced.