How to help your child express himself verbally during online classes
Created by Jill Sanghvi Updated on Sep 22, 2020
The COVID pandemic and the ensuing lockdown has brought about online learning for children at home. For children with autism who are school going, it has been comforting to stay at home and study , at the same time there have been certain challenges as well, like staying in one place during the duration of the session, paying attention and responding appropriately. Since most children on the autism spectrum also rely on body language, facial expression and gestures apart from the verbal instructions, it can be tough for them to adjust themselves with online learning. According to Jill Sanghvi, a Mental health Therapist from UMMEED, Mumbai, there migh be instances where the child wants to express and knows what to express, but when it comes to unmuting and speaking, he may feel anxious. Jill suggests that as a parent, you need to understand the feeling he is undergoing when it comes to unmuting. Since many children on the spectrum communicate in different ways, Jill recommends art and drawing to help the child express his feelings. You can ask the child to draw clouds and write feelings inside them and ask some concrete questions to understand his feelings and for him to express it. Once you are able to identify what he is experiencing, it is easier for you to allay his fears. A child may be plagued by thoughts such as ' what if I am laughed at?" or " What if I am wrong". In case he cannot express his thoughts you can try identifying physiological changes in the child by asking him leading question such as "Is your heart beating faster?" or " Are you feeling restless?". By identifying these changes in physiology or display of change in behavior can help you pinpoint his worry and use calming techniques. You can use whichever calming technique that works best for your child, like playing music, hugging, helping him to talk to himself about what he is going through. Another method could be doing a role play at another time and practice simple resposnes that he can use during online classes. This will reassure him and make him more confident.
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