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How to Motivate My Child with Autism

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  • Children with autism are not typically socially motivated.
  • We must then find any physical item, food, or activity that motivates them.
  • Finding that item will make it easier to teach your child new skills.
  • Avoid thinking that your child will become too dependent on these items. If it helps them learn, then let’s use it to teach new skills.
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Two ways to find items your child likes include:

  1. Watch them during their free time. During free time, put your child in a spot that has all their favorite things. If needed, you can add extra stuff your child likes in the room.
  • Write down what they did during their free time.
  • Write down how long they did that activity for.
  • Watch out for behaviors your child engages in- this can include staring at a fan, hand flapping, rubbing their hands together, looking at the wheels of cars.
  1. Grab all the items and activities your child enjoys.
  • You will present two items at a time as a choice. Ask your child to “pick one.”
  • You will then rotate which items you present together.
  • Present each item equal amount of times.
  • Write down which item your child chooses most often.
  • The item your child chooses the most is his/her most preferred item.


Learning new skills can help any kid get through their day to day life.

Getting Through the Wait List

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If you suspect your child might need a diagnosis to receive extra support and services, it is important to receive proper therapies ASAP. You will soon find yourself stalled by waiting-lists upon waiting-lists.

Getting through the wait list as quickly as possible is your goal!

Tips on obtaining a quick diagnosis:

  • Call your insurance provider to obtain a list of locations that provide diagnosis.
  • Ask your insurance provider to give you diagnostic centers up to an hour away from your home. Provide them with a remote area (less likely to have a wait list).
  • Call all of these diagnostic centers and tell them to place you on the waiting list (if they have one).
  • Ask how long the wait list is.
  • Intermittently call the diagnostic centers to see if they had any cancellations. This increases your chances of obtaining a quicker appointment.
    • “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”


Another method on getting through the wait list:

  • Research what type of therapies your child will benefit from once they obtain the diagnosis you suspect.
  • Call local agencies that provide those services.
  • Ask them if they refer any diagnostic centers with a short wait list- mention you are willing to drive up to an hour or two away (if possible).

If you would like to find out more about the services that EAS offers, please visit our website at or call  (312) 965-2997.

Going to the Doctor: A guide for children with autism and other sensory needs

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Going to the Doctor: Getting my child with a disability through the office successfully

No one likes doctor visits! It can be a scary place for children, especially those with a disability, or those that cannot understand verbal language quite well.

Before going to the doctor’s office:

  • Buy play doctor instruments. Pretend play with your child how the doctor will utilize these different materials.
    • Use a stethoscope to listen to the heart
    • Use a pretend doctor stick to look at the mouth
    • Use a pretend toy to look at the eyes
    • Use a pretend otoscope to look at ears
  • If your child has a hard time pretend playing with the play instruments, you can utilize something your child likes to get them to be more likely to pretend play.
  • For example, if your child loves to watch videos, tell your child “first listen to the heart then watch the video.” Once your child lets you pretend listen to his/her heart, give him the video for 30 seconds or so. Repeat with all the other pretend materials.
  • If your child prefers videos, find a video of a child going to the doctor. Show it to your child and tell them they will be going to the doctor soon. Show them the video every day, up to 7 days before the appointment.
  • If your child prefers pictures, find a book of a child going to the doctor. Read it to your child!

At the doctor’s office:

  • Before going to the doctors, have a special toy, or food ready for your child. Tell them if we do good at the doctors, he/she can have it.
  • When it is time to go to the doctor’s room, have the doctor or nurse give your child a small food item or toy your child likes. You might have to bring something from home.

Make sure the doctor or nurse physically gives it to the child. This can start a great child-doctor relationship! Your child will learn the doctor is a pretty cool person.

  • Bring whatever materials you used at home to practice to the doctor’s office.
    • Tell your child the doctor will listen to their heart. You can listen to your child’s heart (like you practiced at home), and then the doctor can do it! Remember to give your child the item he/she likes (just like at home).
    • If you used a book, show your child the picture of what the doctor will do. Then your doctor can do it!
    • If you used a video, show your child the step on the video. After they watch the step, have the doctor do it.
    • After each step, don’t forget to give your child something they like!



“Time-Out” & “Time-In”

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behavior planning for autism

Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions that often bring challenges related to: social skills, speech, and behavior. For many parents, trying to understand and manage their child’s behaviors can be difficult. One of the biggest challenges is trying to create a consistent structure for handling situations when their child is acting out. Additionally, having a consistent way to reinforce positive behaviors is often overlooked.

Below is an example of a method parents can use effectively when trying to address certain behaviors of their child, both positive and negative.

Time-Out & Time-In.


What is Time-Out?

When a child is told to go somewhere – like a chair or facing a wall, alone for a determined amount of time.

How to effectively implement Time-Out.

  • Use a calm voice and avoid making choices based on emotions.
  • Set specific rules and criteria and ensure a consistent implementation.
  • Use brief statements of the behavior you want to see next/again.
    • “When you are calm, you can tell me what you need.”
    • With an inside voice, let em know what you want when you are ready.”
    • The video games are not available, you can have a book or your race car. Let me know when you are ready to pick with an inside voice.
      • Avoid offering to many options.
      • Avoid offering options after the behavior occurred.

When NOT to use Time-Out

  • With children who use behavior to avoid or escape situations, tasks, or activities.
  • With children who engage in self injurious behavior and could cause harm to themselves.

What is Time-In?

Reinforcing positive behaviors through praise or attention.

Ho to use Time-In

  • Provide lots of attention for the behaviors you want to see again.
  • Labeling the things you like. (Descriptive praise.)
    • “I love how you are sharing your blocks with your sister!”
    • “You are sitting waiting so nicely!”
    • “Thank you for helping clean up!”
  • Identify what your child likes.
    • Verbal praise, hugs, tickles, squeezes, high fives, tokens, toys.
    • Use these paired with descriptive praise.
  • Use high energy and incorporate them with activities your child likes.


At EAS, we build individualized Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy programs which help address behavior planning, as well as: social skills, fine motor skills, language and communication, play skills, self help, and more. If you would like to speak with a clinician to set up a time to see discuss building a personalized program for your child, please click on the link below.