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Autism news: How to Give Encouraging Instruction
June 04, 2019

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve mentioned that our kids often have a low view of themselves, and that we need to find ways to encourage and build them up.

But we may find it hard to know how to give constructive criticism without making them feel that they can’t do anything right. The fact is, however, that we sometimes have to correct them.

How then can we give instruction without discouraging them?

To get around this dilemma, I would recommend two things:

1. Try to limit constructive criticism only to what you must correct.

For example, helping him learn to brush his teeth is important to maintain good oral health. You might need to correct the way he performs that task.

But if you realize that your correction is just you being picky, then it might be best to let it slide. For example, if he’s trying to feed himself and it gets a bit messy, consider withholding constructive criticism for now or following the advice in #2.

2. Try to find the positive instead of the negative when you do give instruction. Or, praise first and then correct.

See what you can find that she has done right, and praise her for that before offering correction.

For example, if she takes her shoes off after coming home but forgets to put them away, you could say, “Suzie, you did a great job taking your shoes off in the house! I’m so proud of you! Now, could you put them in the closet like this? Great job!”

Of course, the exception to this would be if the child is being obviously mischievous or clearly and willfully disobedient. In that case, a more direct approach with firm but gentle correction would likely be the best solution.

But when the child is having a hard time while trying to do the right thing, we need to tread more carefully. Many kids with autism are quite sensitive because they are so used to failure.

Speaking of failure, next week I’ll explain how it can actually be a good thing and how we can use those negative experiences to encourage our kids.

Warm Regards,

Kay Donato

Discover Autism Help, LLC

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