How do I help my child with autism to enjoy the learning process?

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My child doesn’t like to come to study. Sometimes, when it gets difficult, he will start stimming and do all sorts of things, and he doesn’t pay attention anymore. What can I do?

– QUESTION FROM A PARENT DURING OUR ONLINE SEMINAR Q&A SESSION IN MAY 2020


Parents and caregivers of children with ASD often find it challenging to get their children to sit and engage in activities and tasks. Some common challenges shared by parents include: “My child refuses to come and sit to do the activity.” or “My child engages in inappropriate behaviours or self-stimulatory behaviours when the task becomes difficult.”

These challenges may be due to a lack of readiness or learning-how-to-learn skills. Learning-how-to-learn is teaching children the process of learning. Good learning-how-to-learn skills will enable them to be able to learn from any teacher, as well as in different environments. Essentially, this is a foundation skill to acquire before your child can learn other skills.

In this article, our Behaviour Consultant, Ms Nurhayati Ismail, shares steps to increase your child’s learning-how-to-learn skills, specifically co-operation and desire to come and sit to do an activity as well as tips on helping your child stay motivated.

Before your child is required to learn or engage in various tasks, he or she needs to be able to come to sit with you or his or her teacher willingly!

Tips on increasing a child’s co-operation and desire to come and sit to do an activity

Step 1: Letting your child know your expectation by showing him or her the reward system

First, you have to set an expectation or establish a contingency. An expectation means that your child needs to know that they will get a reward by coming to sit and do the activity and task, making it a positive experience.

Initially, we have to make the task very easy, which can be something your child already knows and can do very easily. By getting your child to complete a task successfully, you will teach him or her how to earn the reward.

Step 2: Notice your child’s increased motivation

As your child experiences the rewards, you should notice an increased willingness to come to sit down and engage in the task provided.

Step 3: Reward your child for his or her attempt at trying (trying behaviour)

When you choose to reward your child’s attempt at trying (trying behaviour) instead of only correct behaviour, your child will develop more willingness to attend and try, even when the task may be difficult for him or her.

One common mistake is rewarding only correct behaviours or upon completion of the task. You should always reward your child for his or her attempt at trying (trying behaviour).

Trying means your child is attending and putting in his best effort to execute the task.


Tips to help your child stay motivated and willing to learn as they progress to more complex tasks:

Tip #1: Ensure that all tasks taught are broken down into smaller parts and taught one at a time.

In situations where your child typically listens to you quite well but becomes disruptively or starts behaving inappropriately when given a new task, it could indicate that he or she finds it too difficult.

You may need to break it down into smaller parts or give him more assistance or make sure that the prompts that you give him are helping him.

Tip #2: Another way to help your child stay motivated is to teach them how to cope with the situation.

An excellent way to do this is to teach them to communicate their difficulties.

By teaching them replacement language such as “I don’t know”, “It’s too difficult”, or “help me” to communicate their difficulties will minimize chances of them resorting to disruptive behaviors.

This language serves as a replacement behavior instead of engaging in self-stimulatory or disruptive behaviors.


Eventually, your child will need to learn how to deal with challenges by developing more perseverance when things are difficult. You can achieve this by posing different challenges and encouraging your child to keep trying and not giving up.

As mentioned in Step 3, we should focus on your child’s attempt at trying (trying behaviour) and not the end product or correctness. By doing so, it would make your child more resilient. Intermittent success at their trying attempts would also encourage your child to try and not give up. Resilence is one aspect of a multitude of learning-how-to-learn skills.

When you focus on learning-how-to-learn skills, you will better equip your child at learning more independently. They will also enjoy the learning process.

Original article:
https://www.autismpartnershipsg.com/articles/parenting-tips-how-do-i-help-my-child-with-autism-to-enjoy-the-learning-process/


Information provided by:

Nurhayati Ismail (Behavior Consultant, Autism Partnership Singapore)

Nurhayati M Ismail is a Board Certified Behavior Analysis (BCBA) with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology from University of Southern Queensland and a Masters of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Before joining Autism Partnership Singapore, she worked with both children and adults in a mental health facility, providing psycho-education and counseling as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Since 2003, Yati has been working with children with autism using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in one-on-one as well as school settings. After completing her supervisory training in our Hong Kong office under the direction of Mr. Toby Mountjoy in 2006, she has conducted staff training, intensive parent education groups as well as various workshops for teachers and professionals, parent consultation, and public talks. She also oversees the Little Learners school program and social skills group for children of various ages. Presently, she is a Behavior Consultant at AP Singapore, providing clinical support and case management to children in Singapore and overseas. She also conducts training, lectures, and workshops for parents, schools, and professionals in Singapore and internationally.


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我的孩子不喜歡學習。有時,遇到困難的時候,他就會開始出現自我刺激行為或做其他各種事情,不再專心。我該怎麼辦?

– 一位家長在2020年5月的線上研討會問答環節中提出的問題


讓自閉症兒童坐下來參與活動或是做任務對家長和照顧者來說時常充滿挑戰。家長們常遇到的一些困難包括孩子拒絕過來坐下參加活動,或在任務變得困難的時候,他們會做一些不適當的行為或是自我刺激的行為。

出現這些問題可能是因為孩子還沒有準備好或是缺乏學習怎樣學習的技巧。學習技巧就是教孩子學習的過程。好的學習技巧能夠讓他們從任何老師和環境中學習。從根本上來說,這個技巧是孩子學習其他技巧的基礎。

在這篇文章中,我們的應用行為分析治療顧問Nurhayati Ismail女士會與大家分享提升孩子學習技巧的步驟,會具體說明如何讓孩子合作、產生過來坐下參加活動的渴望以及幫助孩子保持學習動力的一些小貼士。

在要求孩子學習或是做各種任務前,他/她需要能夠自願過來與你或是老師坐在一起!

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小貼士:增加孩子坐下來做活動時的配合度和意欲

第一步:向孩子展示獎勵制度,讓他們了解家長的期望

首先,你需要設定一個期望或是建立一個學習制度。

在一開始,我們要讓任務變得非常簡單,這個任務可以是孩子已經知道或是能輕易完成的事情。通過讓孩子成功完成任務,你可以教會他們如何賺取獎勵。

第二步:注意孩子增強的動機

孩子有了被獎勵的體驗後,你應該注意到他們有更強的意願過來坐下參與任務。

第三步:孩子努力嘗試(有嘗試的行為)時給予獎勵

在孩子有努力嘗試(有嘗試的行為)時給予他們獎勵而不是一味的糾正他們的行為,那麼即使出現對他們來說較難的任務,他們也更願意參與和嘗試。

一種常見的錯誤做法是,只在孩子做出正確的行為或是完成任務時才給予獎勵。其實只要孩子有努力嘗試(有嘗試行為)都應獲得獎勵。

有嘗試意味著你的孩子有在參與任務,並盡他最大的努力去完成任務。


幫助孩子在進展到複雜任務時保持學習動機和學習意願的貼士:

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貼士1:確保所有教授的任務都拆分為更小的部分,每次只教一個部分

如果孩子通常都很聽話,但是在讓做新任務的時候會出現干擾性行為或其他不恰當的行為,這種情況表明孩子覺得任務對他們來說太難了。

你可能需要將任務拆分為更小的部分,或給予更多的協助,確保你提供的輔助有幫到他們。

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貼士2:另一個幫助孩子保持學習動機的方法是教他們處理困境

教他們表達自己的難處是一個非常棒的方法。

通過教他們一些替代話語,像是「我不知道」、「太難了」或「幫幫我」來表達自己的難處,可以最大限度地降低他們採取干擾性行為的可能。

這種話語可以起到替代行為的功能,替代孩子去做出自我刺激或是干擾性行為。


最後,孩子需要通過培養意志力來學習如何應對挑戰。你可以通過向孩子展示不同的挑戰並鼓勵他們一直嘗試和不要放棄來實現這一點。

正如在第三步中提到的,我們應該關注在孩子努力嘗試(有嘗試行為)上面,而不是最終結果是否正確。這種做法能培養孩子的韌性。努力嘗試過程中不時成功的情況也會鼓勵孩子繼續嘗試,不要放棄。韌性是學習能力諸多方面中的一項。

當集中於學習技巧時,你應能夠讓孩子更加獨立地學習,他們也會享受學習過程。

文章來源:
https://www.autismpartnershipsg.com/articles/parenting-tips-how-do-i-help-my-child-with-autism-to-enjoy-the-learning-process/


資訊提供:

Nurhayati Ismail (應用行為分析治療顧問, Autism Partnership Singapore)

Nurhayati M Ismail is a Board Certified Behavior Analysis (BCBA) with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology from University of Southern Queensland and a Masters of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Before joining Autism Partnership Singapore, she worked with both children and adults in a mental health facility, providing psycho-education and counseling as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Since 2003, Yati has been working with children with autism using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in one-on-one as well as school settings. After completing her supervisory training in our Hong Kong office under the direction of Mr. Toby Mountjoy in 2006, she has conducted staff training, intensive parent education groups as well as various workshops for teachers and professionals, parent consultation, and public talks. She also oversees the Little Learners school program and social skills group for children of various ages. Presently, she is a Behavior Consultant at AP Singapore, providing clinical support and case management to children in Singapore and overseas. She also conducts training, lectures, and workshops for parents, schools, and professionals in Singapore and internationally.


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