Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

4 Tips for Balancing Interests with Socially Appropriate Activities

Posted by on Jun 6, 2014 in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Liz Pagedas and Libby Gilchrist-Thompson contribute information related to working and playing with adults who have autism and other developmental delays. Balancing interests with socially appropriate activities is a challenge for all professionals providing services to individuals with special needs. In fact, it’s discussed in the ABA literature in one of my favorite articles — Balancing the right to habilitation with the right to personal liberties: the rights of people with developmental disabilities to eat too many doughnuts and take a nap. Below, Liz and Libby share a few of their tips for striking that balance.   Incorporate their interests into a more socially acceptable action or use as a reward. For example, we’ve worked with an individual who only wanted to stand in the corner and listen to the radio by himself.  While listening to the radio is not socially inappropriate, this was socially isolating for this individual and interfered with his involvement in program activities.  One of his goals was to increase his participation in other activities outside of this interest and also interact with peers in his group room and throughout program.  An iPad was introduced into his daily routine at program.  The “I heart radio” app was installed and initially used as a reward for participating in...

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Balancing Age Appropriate Activities with Skill Level 0

Balancing Age Appropriate Activities with Skill Level

Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Liz Pagedas and Libby Gilchrist-Thompson contribute information related to working and playing with adults who have autism and other developmental delays. One challenge they face is finding age appropriate materials for the people they work with, as well as providing opportunities for their clients to engage in highly motivating activities that the public may look down upon as inappropriate for their age. Below they offer some tips for addressing these challenges.  If we use a simple app for lower skill levels we try to take an adult twist and have a more in depth discussion. When using basic apps (i.e. Petting Zoo), we try to use the activity as a spring board for discussion – an individual began talking about his trip to the zoo and other interests that he has. This not only fosters age appropriate social interactions but also provides more information on other interests. We use several very basic cooking “game” apps (“Cooking Academy”) to prep individuals for up-coming cooking activities.   This can be applied to other functional activities. We re-frame some student directed self-regulation activities (i.e. “Brain Gym” and “Yoga for Classrooms”) as exercise. As mentioned in our previous post, many commercial activities for individuals with developmental disabilities are marketed towards a younger population so...

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