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Promoting Independence with Your Child

Nov 06, 2017 11:10AM ● By Dia

A common goal for parents is to raise their children so they become independent functioning adults. This goal should be the same even for children with autism and other developmental delays. Yes, they may take longer to learn certain skills, but most skills can be systematically taught. Independent living skills, also known as adaptive skills, are necessary for children with autism and developmental delays to learn in order to reduce the amount of assistance they will need as they develop into adults.

Tips to Develop Independence in Children with Autism and other Developmental Delays:

- Have high, yet realistic expectations - Only challenge your child to do things you know they can currently do. If your child has fine motor delays it would be unreasonable to expect them to tie their shoes without any prior training. However, they could start by putting both shoes on by themselves.

- Set attainable goals - The goals can be either short-term (Removing socks independently) or long-term goals (Completing dressing routine independently). Start small - If your child cannot use buttons, start working on strengthening their fine motor skills and hand strength. Then eventually you can work up to using buttons.

- Don't do everything for your child - When you are in a rush it is usually easiest just to do everything for your child, but this is not helping them learn necessary skills. If your child is able to do a skill, make sure they have multiple opportunities to practice. They may involve rearranging your schedule slightly to allow for extra time for them to get dressed, take a bath, etc.

- Do not give in to behaviors which may be exhibited due to difficult tasks - If a particular task is challenging for your child, expect them to exhibit some negative behaviors in an attempt to get out of completing the task. In these types of situations, you will need to ignore all negative behaviors and make sure they complete the task instead of avoiding it.

Reinforce independent skills - When you see your child engaging independent behaviors, reward them so these behaviors continue in the future.

ABC-Pediatrics offers flexible services in Flower Mound and surrounding areas.

If you have questions about your child and implementing these tips, we would love to help! Give us a call at (972) 410-5297 or visit us online at

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