Skip to main content

Reaching the Autistic Child

04/01/2007 11:24AM ● Published by Brandi Barnett

Work & Play

April 2007
By Jenna Ball

April is Autism Awareness Month. So, what is Autism? The Autism Society of America defines autism as a neurological disorder that impairs the development of a person’s ability to communicate with others. autism is a spectrum disorder—meaning the symptoms can occur in any combination and with varying degrees of severity. There is no known cause of autism, however it is accepted by the medical community that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Researchers are investigating a number of theories, including the belief that some children are born with a higher susceptibility to develop autism, but have not identified a "trigger" that causes autism to develop.

i am the resource director for the autism Society of Northern California, a socialization instructor, and respite care provider for individuals on the autism spectrum. you hear about autism more and more in the news and the rate at which autism seems to be growing is exponential. In America today, one in every 150 children is diagnosed with autism. it is four times more common in boys than in girls and occurs evenly throughout all ethnicities and backgrounds.

People with autism have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.my job is to help children, teens and adults with their social skills and leisure activities. i do this through structured play groups for the children, and social field trips for the teens and adults.

One of my favorite jobs is working with a 16-year-old boy on the spectrum.When he was younger, he couldn’t communicate well and had behavior issues.His mom started him on intensive intervention including speech therapy, behavioral intervention, and sensory integration. Now my 16-year-old buddy has his driver’s license and can drive.He is currently fully included in his classes with an aide to help him with organization.He is trying to prove he can do it himself and is hoping that next year he will be on his own. This kid is one of the funniest people i know; he cracks jokes, quotes the funniest movies and can always make me smile.

One of the most devastating myths about individuals on the spectrum is that they cannot show affection.While sensory stimulation is processed differently in some people, they can and do give affection. it may require patience to accept and give love in the child's terms. another young boy i work with is the epitome of this myth. to some, he may seem like he shows no signs of interest in anything, he cannot speak and usually communicates with a variety of angry grunts and slaps. after getting to know him, i feel i have figured out what makes him tick. i can always get a smile out of him.The first time i saw him smile, my heart melted—i thought to myself, there is a kid in there dying to get out. Since that day, i have created “giggle games” where the goal of the interaction is to get him to respond with a giggle or smile. These are helpful in decreasing undesirable behavior, and teaching him to initiate play, which is a very difficult thing for a child with autism to do.

Some children with autism have an “inappropriate” attachment to or fascination with objects; a young boy i know loves electronics. anything with buttons that makes sounds and has flashing lights can keep him entertained for hours. although it’s wonderful to see him happy and interested in things, part of my job is to get him interested in activities with social interaction. He has recently learned to play board games. This requires a little help waiting for his turn.He repeats rules out loud (also known as echolalia). When he knows he is doing something that i will correct, like when he reaches for a card out of turn, he will say “Wait your turn” when he picks up the card because he knows that is what i will say. One simple phrase that helps him is “First this, then that.” a child is given a sequence, and the opportunity to do what they want after they complete a task that the instructor wants. Most children with autism are willing to do just about anything in order to get that specific reward, in his case, a talking V-tech computer.

my job is not always smiles and progress; there are days when i go home with bite marks, scratches and bruises; one child even broke my sternum. it is, however, the smiles, the progress, the little steps forward and the attachment i feel towards these children that keep me coming back for more. although there is no known cure for autism, it is believed that with a combination of treatments and therapy a child can become more efficient in social interactions, communication and live a more self fulfilling life.

In Print, Life+Leisure
  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/25/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/25/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/28/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/28/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • The Pastor as PR Director

    09/28/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Tozer Seminary, Redding, invites pastors and nonprofit directors to a free, no-registration works...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Honored Elders Dinner

    09/28/2017
    05:30PM — 08:30PM

    Join us September 28, 2017 at 5:30 at Win River Resort in the Event Center for the Princess Brav...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Fundraiser

    09/28/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Grape Escape is hosting a fund raiser for Riverfront Playhouse. September 28 from 6–9 pm.Join...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/29/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/29/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Hayfork Farmers' Market

    09/29/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Come listen to live music, shop for local goods and produce and cultivate community! The Farmers'...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    09/29/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/29/2017
    07:30PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/30/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Ono Grange Community Yard Sale

    09/30/2017
    08:00AM — 01:00PM

    Community Yard Sale at the Ono Grange. Find your next treasure and more at the sale. Horse tack, ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/30/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • A Royal Tea Party

    09/30/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Magically encounter your favorite storybook characters, delight in a show fit for a King and snac...


  • Historic Hawes Farms

    09/30/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    It’s a whole new season of Fall Harvest Festival fun on the farm, with hayrides, pumpkin patch, l...


  • Recovery Happens

    09/30/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    Free BBQ, live music and family fun


  • Tent Peg Village

    09/30/2017
    12:00PM — 05:00PM

    Free carnival-type event for kids of all ages. We will have free face painting, puppet shows, ga...


  • 2017 SUNRISE ROTARY MUD MASH

    09/30/2017
    01:00PM — 11:00PM

    COME JOIN THE FUN AT THE ANNUAL REDDING SUNRISE ROTARY MUD MASH ON THE NASH RANCH AT 10925 OLD OR...


  • Come enjoy all the sights and sounds of our farm while taking a stand against domestic abuse. 100...


  • Mud Mash

    09/30/2017
    02:00PM

    Be sure to bring your buddies and family to watch as you are challenged by the creeks, hills, fie...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    09/30/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Whisperin' Bill Anderson

    09/30/2017
    07:00PM

    There’s an old saying, “If you want someone’s attention, whisper” Bill Anderson has been using...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/30/2017
    07:30PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • The Stone Hearts rock Gallery After Dark!

    09/30/2017
    09:00PM — 11:30PM

    Join us for our Gallery after Dark series with THE STONE HEARTS , as they play some Awesome music...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/25/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/25/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/26/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/26/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • The Red Bluff-Tehama County Chamber Certified Farmers' Markets open June 3rd! All farmers and ve...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/27/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/27/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    09/27/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesdays and get $3 off a growler fill! Come by the brewery a...


  • Weaverville Farmers' Market

    09/27/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Weaverville Farmers' Market is held on Wednesdays from 4-7 pm from May through October! tr...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/28/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/28/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • The Pastor as PR Director

    09/28/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Tozer Seminary, Redding, invites pastors and nonprofit directors to a free, no-registration works...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Honored Elders Dinner

    09/28/2017
    05:30PM — 08:30PM

    Join us September 28, 2017 at 5:30 at Win River Resort in the Event Center for the Princess Brav...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Fundraiser

    09/28/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Grape Escape is hosting a fund raiser for Riverfront Playhouse. September 28 from 6–9 pm.Join...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/29/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/29/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Hayfork Farmers' Market

    09/29/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Come listen to live music, shop for local goods and produce and cultivate community! The Farmers'...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    09/29/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/29/2017
    07:30PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/30/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Ono Grange Community Yard Sale

    09/30/2017
    08:00AM — 01:00PM

    Community Yard Sale at the Ono Grange. Find your next treasure and more at the sale. Horse tack, ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/30/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • A Royal Tea Party

    09/30/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Magically encounter your favorite storybook characters, delight in a show fit for a King and snac...


  • Historic Hawes Farms

    09/30/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    It’s a whole new season of Fall Harvest Festival fun on the farm, with hayrides, pumpkin patch, l...


  • Recovery Happens

    09/30/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    Free BBQ, live music and family fun


  • Tent Peg Village

    09/30/2017
    12:00PM — 05:00PM

    Free carnival-type event for kids of all ages. We will have free face painting, puppet shows, ga...


  • 2017 SUNRISE ROTARY MUD MASH

    09/30/2017
    01:00PM — 11:00PM

    COME JOIN THE FUN AT THE ANNUAL REDDING SUNRISE ROTARY MUD MASH ON THE NASH RANCH AT 10925 OLD OR...


  • Come enjoy all the sights and sounds of our farm while taking a stand against domestic abuse. 100...


  • Mud Mash

    09/30/2017
    02:00PM

    Be sure to bring your buddies and family to watch as you are challenged by the creeks, hills, fie...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    09/30/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Whisperin' Bill Anderson

    09/30/2017
    07:00PM

    There’s an old saying, “If you want someone’s attention, whisper” Bill Anderson has been using...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/30/2017
    07:30PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • The Stone Hearts rock Gallery After Dark!

    09/30/2017
    09:00PM — 11:30PM

    Join us for our Gallery after Dark series with THE STONE HEARTS , as they play some Awesome music...


  • Whitmore Trail and Poker Ride

    10/01/2017
    08:00AM — 03:00PM

    The Whitmore Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. is sponsoring their annual WHITMORE TRAIL AND POKER RID...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/01/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • A Royal Tea Party

    10/01/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Magically encounter your favorite storybook characters, delight in a show fit for a King and snac...


  • Jewelry Making Classes for All Levels

    10/01/2017
    12:30PM — 03:30PM

    The Siskiyou Arts Museum in Dunsmuir will once again offer a jewelry making class with Mt. Shasta...


  • B--Monthly Free Concert & Open Mic

    10/01/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Redding - California State Old Time Fiddles Association, District 6 Free Old Time Fiddle, Bluegra...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    10/01/2017
    02:00PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • Music by the Mountain 2017 Fall Festival

    10/01/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Music by the Mountain is thrilled to once again host the St. Petersburg based Rimsky-Korsakov Str...


  • SAM Welcomes Redding's Charles Valona Trio

    10/01/2017
    04:00PM — 06:00AM

    The Siskiyou Arts Museum in Dunsmuir is very excited to participate in Dunsmuir California’s 6th ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/02/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/03/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/04/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    10/04/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesdays and get $3 off a growler fill! Come by the brewery a...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/05/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Open Mic Event

    10/05/2017
    03:00PM — 04:00PM

    Fall 2017 Open Mic Afternoons Calling all poets and spoken words artists! Students, faculty, ...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Vinyl Night

    10/05/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Vinyl Night! Join us downtown the first and third Thursday of every month. We are going to ditch ...


  • Michael Carbonaro LIVE

    10/05/2017
    07:30PM

    Ever wondered what it feels like to be on the other side of magician Michael Carbonaro as he work...


Enter to Win!

 
Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living
Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors