Mental Health 101: Tips For Effective Teletherapy Sessions For People With Autism

With the continuous advancement of technology, a lot of sectors have tried to maximize its use. One particular area where digital has become beneficial is in mental health, mainly through teletherapy. 

Teletherapy has become huge in this world. More and more people resorted to this approach due to its accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and preference. Even individuals under the autism spectrum tried this service, but many continue to debate whether this is advisable or not.

To ensure that teletherapy’s utmost effectiveness for people with autism, here are some tips you can apply as a parent. 

Limit Distractions

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Keep in mind that those individuals under the autism spectrum are very sensitive when it comes to distractions. Sensory-rich environments easily capture their attention. With this, they instantly lose their focus. 

Therefore, one way to ensure that the teletherapy session goes smoothly is to discuss in a calming and quiet space. Do not put them in a room with people talking and full of play devices. You may also try considering the colors in your area. For instance, bright colors distract those with autism easily, and they tend to stare at it once in a while. 

Do not also put them in an area where they can hear the television or radio. Make sure that they are in a quiet room. If there are different noises,  they are likely to be distracted and unable to take in their sessions fully. 

Include Teletherapy In Their Schedule

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Believe it or not, those with autism want their schedules organized. Their minds get so chaotic if they are faced with the unknown. Therefore, you need to disclose that teletherapy is a part of their schedule at the start of the day. This way, they get to prepare their minds and set aside their expectations. 

Do not forget to remind them of the schedule throughout the day. If the session is in the late afternoon, make sure to run through their schedule again at lunch. 

Brief The Therapist With Your Child’s Likes And Dislikes

As a parent, you must brief your therapist with your child’s likes and dislikes before the session. Through this, it will be easier for them to know what approach to use to their client. It is essential to keep this in mind since children with autism may have a hard time going back to their focus once they get irritated with whom they’re talking. 

For instance, several teletherapy platforms offer stickers as a way to engage their clients. Some even show brief videos of cartoons that will help them gain the child’s trust and get their full participation. Rest assured that therapists have the right knowledge of what is suitable for your child. 

Understand The Game Plan

As a parent, it is your responsibility to do the follow-through after the session. Unlike face-to-face talks, teletherapy might not capture your child’s emotions fully. It might be hard for them to open up in front of the computer.

Therefore, there is only so much the therapist can do. They can only set the foundation, but building the path towards good mental health is in your hands. 

The best way to go about this is to ask your therapist about the direction they want to go. Then, let them instruct you how you can help at home. Make sure to continue collaborating with them to ensure the progress of your child. Some of the things that you should know include the following: 

  • Is there something that you should change in your parenting skills?
  • Should you push with visual or conversational therapy?
  • Are there any special care needs that should be implemented in the household?
  • How will you empower the child?
  • Should you go out of your way when it comes to task-specific praises?
  • How will you go about giving them directions?

These are just some starter questions. Make sure to understand more in-depth on how you can assist your child outside teletherapy. 

Fix The Technicals

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We can’t avoid technical issues when it comes to technology. The only way to reduce the possibility of messing up is to be proactive in these issues.

First of all, determine the best spot in the room for your Wi-Fi connection. If you feel that the connection is a bit erratic, you may opt to connect it to your hotspot or use an ethernet cable. Disconnecting issues will only make your child lose his or her focus. 

Also,  make sure that the monitor is on eye level. Always remember that socialization is critical for people with autism. To establish their trust with the one they’re talking to, they should be able to make eye contact and see their facial expressions. If they don’t fully see their therapist, it would be difficult for them to connect. 

Consider using a computer stand to secure your webcam is at eye level. This will ensure that their socialization skills are at its best. 

This new therapy setup may work wonders, especially with the realities that we have now. However, to make it more effective, the parents’ support is of the utmost importance.

 

Understanding The Role Of The Family In The Development Of A Child With ASD

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Raising a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD may be a challenging task for some families. However, the child’s development growing up will be primarily affected by how the family will show their love while they raise and nurture him. Thus, the role of the parents, siblings, and relatives in the child’s life is indispensable.

Challenges In Raising A Child With ASD

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition in a person that persists and affects interaction, behavior (restricted or repetitive), and communication (speech and nonverbal). Symptoms vary among people, including the severity – therefore, a person with ASD may exhibit different behavioral patterns than others.

The common signs and symptoms of autism are: avoiding eye contact and wants to be left alone, having trouble talking about their own feelings or that of other people, and having difficulty in expressing their needs using words or movement.

It is also common for them to not look at objects when it is pointed at by another, or to have trouble in adapting to changes in their routine, among others.

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With the signs mentioned above and symptoms, indeed, raising a child with ASD might be a daunting undertaking. The child will need special attention, extra love and care from his or her parents and other family members, and proper medical treatment.

Fortunately, early detection of ASD is possible with the right professional intervention. ASD typically appears in childhood, with symptoms manifesting as early as 2 to 3 years old. Quick and timely medical diagnosis and treatment will aid in reducing the symptoms of ASD; hence, greatly influencing the future of the child.

Love, Acceptance, And Support

The family is the foundation of society. Parents should provide the best for their children, and nurture them with their love and care. The quality of family life inside the home significantly affects the development of any person – especially those suffering from any sickness or afflictions.

First, families must be accepting of the child’s situation. Unconditional, whole-hearted acceptance is needed to move forward and prepare for the future of the child. Breaking the stigma on ASD and other disorders must start within the four walls of the house to foster a welcoming atmosphere that extends outside of the home.

Acceptance must also be enduring, even as the child gets older. It means that he or she will most likely have difficulty finding a job to support himself or herself. Even in the future, he or she will need extra love and understanding.

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Parents can make a tremendous impact on the child. Parents must learn how to interact with the child appropriately. In communicating with the child, adults must include comments or actions that will pique the current interest and behavior of the child.

This strategy is necessary to facilitate the child’s focus or attention. It is only one of the recommended courses of action to be taken by parents.

Further, it cannot be stressed enough that love and support are vital in providing the best possible life for a child with autism. As the saying goes, there is power in love. Love can heal. For a child, a mother’s or father’s love and affection – even the lack thereof – will mold him into the person he will be in the future.

Giving What’s Best For The Child

The cognitive and social development of the child must remain the top priority. Hence, parents need to provide equitable access to education for the child with ASD. Finding an excellent learning environment benefits the child with ASD in the long run. 

Parents must choose a school with the right facilities, resources, and teaching methods. Various schools cater to the needs of families with special needs children. In these schools, there are programs offered that fit the specific needs of an individual.

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As much as it is a medical condition, families must support their child in finding proper treatment from professionals. Parents must seek medical guidance from health professionals such as clinical psychologists, therapists, and others, to monitor them.

Therapies and other forms of interventions aim to give the child with ASD a chance at living his or her best possible life. Support – financially, emotionally, even spiritually – will help yield better results. 

Parents, loved ones, even friends, must be advocates of children with autism. As the world is getting more complex and advanced, often the sick, marginalized, and oppressed, tend to get left behind. Therefore, as important as it is to create a warm abode for a child with ASD, it is also necessary to amplify advocacy to erase the stigma in society.

Advocacy may start in the classroom, the community, the church, and beyond. Awareness and acceptance are vital to foster a healing environment for everyone, especially those with disorders.

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, raising a child requires a tremendous amount of effort. Parents must strive to provide the best for them. More so, children with ASD will need the unconditional love, support, and sacrifice of parents – or even more.

Things Not To Say To An ADHD Child

The 2019 parenting seminar emphasizes that there is no right or wrong process for handling a child with ADHD. However, there are specific things that parents should consider. Managing a child with ADHD doesn’t follow a parental norm since it requires a significant amount of tolerance, understanding, and unconditional love. So here are the things parents should entirely try not to say to a child with ADHD.

“You’re Not Doing Anything Right”

There are instances when most parents will suddenly experience an emotional outburst. That is because there are moments that they will breakdown and won’t handle all the exhaustion of life. At times like this, it is vital not to throw any attention on an ADHD child for the fact that parents will soon begin to see several faults.

 

“Why Can’t You Listen?”

Honestly, it is not that an ADHD child intentionally tries not to listen. The thing is, the kid sometimes can’t focus, and parents should always remember that. A child with a mental disability cannot easily comprehend some instructions. That is why the child needs his or her parents to be patient and more understanding.

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“You Will Never Learn”

For most parents who are experiencing negative emotions, they sometimes cannot control their anger will soon lose compassion for their child. In unfortunate instances, these parents begin to lose confidence in everything their child does. With that, they pay less and less attention to the child’s capabilities.

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“You Don’t Need To Try Harder.”

Wrong! The more parents try to make their child feel incapable, the more the kid will suffer from emotional distress. The child will think that he will never be good enough because his parents cannot encourage him. Even a child with ADHD must understand that achieving great things in life requires hard work.

Why Quarantine Isn’t Too Bad For Autism Kids

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“The quarantine is not a walk in the park for adults and children alike.” That’s what the other moms in my circle of friends have been telling me ever since we have all been ordered to stay at home last March.

At first, the children were excited about the prospect of not going to school earlier than expected. They even showed interest in the online classes that the teachers organized for them. However, it eventually sunk in their minds that they could no longer go on play dates, swim with friends, or at least visit the local park. When they could have fun outdoors again, it would depend on when the experts could find a cure or vaccine for the coronavirus.

Of course, this new reality saddens me, too. I can sympathize with those kids and parents whose spring and summer plans have been ruined by the pandemic. Despite that, my son is not as profoundly affected as them.

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Perhaps it is because he is in the autism spectrum, which entails that he perceives situations differently from others. Although we do not leave the house for weeks on end, I don’t hear him complaining about it. My son is happy as long as he can play with toys.

If I can be more honest than that, I must admit that the quarantine may not be too bad for kids with autism.

They Have Little Things To Do At Home

My son transitioned to regular school from SPED last year. My husband and I were glad about it, but my child seemed to have a tough time coping with his new school and classmates. There was also a lot of homework and quizzes, which were dizzying for him.

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Now, because of the quarantine, my son needs to attend classes online. But unlike before, his assignments come far in between. The teachers cannot give group projects to the students, either. Thus, my son no longer feels rushed to handle schoolwork.

They Don’t Need To Get Out Of Comfort Zone All The Time

Most kids with autism have trouble letting people in their lives, and my son is not exempted from it. In truth, that’s how we found out several years ago that he has autism. While the kids were running around or singing along with the class, he would stay in his seat and not pay attention to anyone else.

Since then my little boy has gotten used to getting out of his comfort zone, but I can tell he feels exhausted from it sometimes. Thankfully, he can take a break from that until the next school year.

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They Don’t Get Bombarded With COVID-19 Updates

Furthermore, it is ideal for my autistic child to be at home these days because he cannot get bombarded with COVID-19 updates. That typically happens at school when the teachers and other kids gossip about what’s happening in and out of the country. If the classes continued regularly, it might be too overwhelming for my son.

Meanwhile, since my child gets homeschooled, I can relay information to him little by little. This way, he can understand why the coronavirus exists and how we can all avoid catching it.

Final Thoughts

Although the quarantine seems favorable for my child’s case, it does not mean that I don’t wish for the coronavirus to go away. I merely intend to look for the positive effects of this order to our family, and it turns out that it has done us a few good things. After all, if you keep on being cynical about it, you may not be able to use this opportunity to bond with your loved ones.