From my last blog, we discuss about ways and ideas as Dance Therapist how we can cope with the current situation of Covid19.
Just last week, I had a parent asking me, how do I teach my son with Autism Spectrum Disorder to distance himself from others? Especially with Covid19 happening, he have no idea. Due to his sensory needs, he would try and touch, smell, taste everything he can.
I had a thought about this and came up with a few ideas in which parents could try practicing with their child at home.
One option is to show our children and educate them in understanding what virus is in general.
And why we are practicing "Physical" distancing. Personally, I would not use the term "Social" distancing but "physical" as it is more straightforward to understand for special needs children.
Here is a a good video resources.
As Dance Therapist, one of our goals that we would usually work with children is to increase spatial awareness and help children to identify the polarity of "near" and "far". Of cause, near and far concept is easy to grasp for some, but a bit more challenging with special needs children.
Consistency is the key. I would suggest developing a "Social Story" especially in the topic of near and far. Going through this and reading it with our children when he/she has the highest attention span. This could be early in the morning, or even before bed. This is to allow some time for child to process theoretically what does near and far means. Be creative with your Social story. It could include pictures of your child, an object that he/she loves to engage them.
Social story can also include steps to maintain hygiene such as remind our children to
1. Wash your hands
2. Sneeze in elbow
3. Avoid touching your face.
You can use this comic strip for our children
Practice at home. Find opportunities to apply "near" and "far". Use tangibles objects, or visual prompts, to help child to associate certain real life situation with the term. Get familiar with terms and reinforce each success through praises and compliments.
Use of Hula Hoops. Spend 15 minutes playing a short game with our children. Utilize dance props like Hula Hoops, to create activities such as bumper car. slowly introduce the polarity by standing across each other facing each other as you walking closer and closer. While doing that, use the term "near" and "far". In creative arts, we would try including temperature, associating near as warmer, far as colder.
The Magnetic Game. You know how when you put + signs together, they repel? And when you put two opposite together "+" -" they stick? This is a good and creative way to teach distancing and the "near" and "far" concept.
Lastly, empathize with our children. Covid19 has bring certain impact to everyone, and it can be challenging for adults so let's imagine how it would impact our children. Acknowledgement is crucial. It is okay to feel anxious as parent as well as recognize that it can transfer to our children.
Other useful resources
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