Safety tools parents can teach children with autism
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Children with autism face various challenges such as social interaction, repetitive behaviours, speech and non-verbal communication.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly half of those with autism wander or bolt from safety.
To ensure that autistic children do not end up in danger, parents must teach them safety skills, so that they can respond accordingly in various situations.
Autism Speaks has highlighted a few tools to help teach autistic children to practice safety whether at home or school:
Visual prompts: Use images to set limits and clear boundaries around locations or activities. You can use images like a STOP or a WAIT sign. Give praise to reinforce following this rule.
Social stories: Social stories are stories with pictures and text that can be used to help explain a situation and expected behaviour by providing step-by-step instructions. You can use pictures that your child can remember and teach them to stay safe in a lot of situations.
Safely giving personal information: Teach them how to recite an emergency phone number when asked, how to show their ID card or safety identity armband, and how to ask for help if they get lost or unfamiliar with their surroundings.
Identifying safe boundaries: Alerting the teacher when they need to leave the classroom or activity. Not leaving the home or the school yard without an adult. Asking for help if lost or when unfamiliar with their surroundings.
Other safety skills include learning to respond to their name, using a cellphone and learning water safety and swimming skills.