National Association of Parents of Autistic People
I am attaching an example of 'visual aid' designed by the parents of an autistic child for their child.
There are many different types for all levels and ages.
I have heard of one mother who successfully taught her son to do up his shoelaces, by fragmenting the procedure into dozens of steps, each one of which is symbolized by a drawing. Many, though not all, autistic subjects need 'visual instructions' of this kind in order to learn and remember all they have learnt.
Generally speaking, such instructions need to be 'customized', i.e. they must take into account the autistic individual's experience and skills relating to her or his lifestyle.
To give one example, will need to be changed if the child is used to a different type of toilet flush. In other cases, the picture will need to represent the act of lowering or pulling up one's pants, etc....
I feel that a very wide range of examples would prove useful as suggestions for all parents.
Dear Luciana Bressan,
I wish to thank you, also on behalf of ANGSA Lombardia, and make two suggestions in response to your request for feedback:
I am aware of situations arising when autistic, or generally disabled subjects, despite their seemingly promising potential, are constantly helped by parents who hover over them and relieve them of any responsibilities, no matter how basic, like disposing of empty wrappers, taking down a jacket from a coat-hanger, opening a car door etc. even when no assistance has been requested. I may be wrong, but I cannot help thinking at times 'what is the use for these young people to know how to write, or use a computer, if they cannot perform everyday actions, especially those which we find embarrassing whenever our privacy is infringed?' What is tragic is that some parents don't face up to this problem at all, even if they are asked to talk about it.
I hope that many members will send in material towards a special column on this website, as my goal has always been to create an Internet site geared to the needs of parents. In fact, sites often contain generic or well-established information which can be found elsewhere or else (worse still!) our space is taken up with pointless debate or sensational reports (often unfortunately true), which can only poison our minds and deprive us of the hope that our children may look forward to a better future. This site is perhaps not immune to such risks, however...why not try to improve it together? Please use the e-mail address at the bottom of each page.
A heartfelt thankyou to all our visitors.