Why is Independence Important?
Children typically have a desire to be independent and will take steps to reach this goal. Youngsters gain a huge feeling of pride and self-assurance from finishing tasks on their own with not much adult assistance or direction. The urge for autonomy is greatly seen in children who have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Achieving the most autonomy possible has been difficult to accomplish. Achieving autonomy is essential for every youngster, yet when handling kids with ASD, autonomy is the most essential element for successful incorporation into the community and for future job prospects.
Different members of the autism community are raising alarms about independent living matters. The National Research Council’s book Educating Children with Autism (2001) suggests eight areas of interest that should be taken into account when teaching children with autism.
Essential educational objectives were emphasized as the ability to carry out jobs independently and follow directions without adult help within a team environment. Gregory Olley, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina, conveyed in an article that the purpose of curriculums and techniques concerning students with ASD is to enable the students to work on their own, to control their behavior, and to be encouraged to learn based on the results of their learning instead of extrinsic rewards (1999).
John Kregel, a writer in The Forgotten Generation, mentioned that people with mild cognitive disabilities faced an unemployment rate ranging from 70-80%, and he linked the lack of competence to work independently as a key contributing factor (2001).
Why is Independence Challenging for Students with ASD?
Gaining autonomy should be a key educational objective, and it is equally important to acknowledge the potential obstacles to autonomy that people with ASD might face. Gary Mesibov, the leader of TEACCH®, which is a program focused on treating and teaching autistic and communication-impaired kids, notes that students with autism can often face specific difficulties when they are studying. The following difficulties may be an obstacle to the development of independent skills:
It can be tough for students to stay organized and it can be difficult to process demands and figure out what to do. This can be especially difficult for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), often leading to feelings of being overwhelmed or blocked from taking any action. Gathering the necessary components for finishing a project can be a difficult organizational request to fulfill for someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Distractibility caused by internal or external factors may also hamper a student’s ability to complete work on his/her own. Students with ASD may have difficulty prioritizing the visual and auditory information in their environment, which may interfere with their independence.
- Sequencing can hinder a student’s ability to become independent, as the relationships between tasks or steps may not be meaningful and may be disregarded by a student with autism. Remembering the exact order of tasks, or steps within a task, may be challenging for students.
- Generalization difficulties are also discussed by Mesibov as a potential impediment to independence. Students with ASD may perform a task independently in one situation or setting, yet may not apply what they have learned in a novel situation. Students may miss the central principles of an activity, instead focusing on the specific details.
- Independent initiation is also difficult for students with ASD, especially during lengthy sequences of activities. A student may have learned to complete the routine in the cafeteria, yet still require prompts to initiate each part of the routine (i.e. get the tray, select the drink, pick up utensils). Individuals with ASD often learn to wait for others to prompt their every move, which results in a lack of independence.
It is important when teaching people with ASD to pay attention to how much individual instruction and helping they are receiving, as it is possible for them to become too dependent. Research suggests that when not closely monitored by an adult, pupils with ASD are unable to maintain appropriate and effective behaviour (Dunlap & Johnson, 1985; Dunlap, Koegel, & Johnson, 1987; Stahmer & Shreibman, 1992). It has been found in further studies that young people with ASD have difficulty maintaining independent and engaged behavior without reinforcements and punishments administered by grown-ups (Dunlap & Johnson, 1985; Dunlap, Koegel, & Johnson, 1987).
Work Systems to Increase Independence
A plan that considers autonomy as a crucial result for people with ASD is a work system. A work system, an element of structured teaching, is defined by Division TEACCH® as a systematic and organized presentation of tasks and materials that visually communicates at least four pieces of information to the student (Schopler, Mesibov, & Hearsey, 1995):
- The tasks/steps the student is supposed to do. What is the nature of the task? Does it involve sorting by shape, writing an address, making popcorn, or recycling cans?
- How many tasks/steps there are to be completed. Visually represent how much work is to be done. If a student is to cut 10 coupons, give only 10 coupons so he/she can visualize completion. Steps may be represented by more abstract cues such as numbers, shapes, poker chips, or pictures of high interest items, such as Thomas the Train cars.
- How the student knows he/she is finished. The student should independently recognize the end of the activity through the structure within the task, use of a finished box, timer, or other visual cue such as a stop sign.
- What to do when he/she is finished. Indicate next scheduled activity. May need to use a highly desired item/activity to increase motivation, though often being “finished” is motivating enough.
While a picture schedule displays to a student the place they need to go, a work system details the tasks they are expected to complete when they get there. In our own lives, our daily planner can help us remember to go to the grocery store (our schedule), and our grocery list tells us what to purchase while we are there (our work system). A work system furnishes all of the essential data without having to ask a grown-up and instructs the pupil to focus on visual signals (in place of verbal instructions) when finishing a task. A work system aids in arranging tasks for a person with an Autism Spectrum Disorder by allowing them to abide by an organized routine—completing work from left to right or top to bottom. Learners do not need to figure out the starting point or what the next step should be. Employment systems can be utilized in affiliation with any endeavor or action (for instance, scholastic, self-improvement, relaxation), in an assortment of settings (for example, independent study area, cafeteria, place of work), and for people of all competency levels (for instance, frameworks can range from concrete to hypothetical).
Why Is It Important For Your Child To Be Able To Play And Learn Independently?
It is critical for the mental health of mothers and fathers to be able to work, yet there are more advantages as well.
Your offspring will increase their confidence in themselves and their ability to do things as they become familiar with resolving matters independently.
As your kid’s school performance advances, time organization is another ability they will accrue as they discern that they can supervise the speed of their own education.
If your youngster is already helping with daily responsibilities around the house (which is always recommended), letting them partake in independent learning will positively contribute to their understanding of obligation. This is beneficial when your kid moves into becoming an adult and the job market.
As your child develops, their ability to express themselves verbally will increase, enabling them to explain issues, seek assistance, and learn how to address matters independently.
Clarify Your Expectations For Your Child’s Independent Learning
When you have a young child, you will have to keep things straightforward. The expectations you have for your youngster’s behavior and performance will differ depending on the age of the kid and their innate character traits or whatever encourages them from within.
You’ll have to work with your child’s attention span. If you rush things too much, you and your kid will just end up feeling irritated, missing out on the goal entirely.
Other Factors That May Influence Your Child’s Ability To Learn And Concentrate
Studies have shown that what you eat has a large effect on your mental, physical, emotional well-being, and growth. Think about your family’s eating habits for a second: do you typically incorporate vegetables in your diet? Is it fairly balanced? Do your children have food allergies or intolerances? Many children are prone to having negative reactions from eating foods that contain excess amounts of dyes and additives.
It is advisable to have a family discussion and come up with a plan to eat healthier with the support of everyone. Take small steps if you can. Create a teaching activity about nutrition for your kids. Show them how the foods they consume can have an effect on their mental and physical health. Have a great time and attempt to find uncomplicated approaches to include your kids in the kitchen; this way you will obtain more assistance.
Sugar plays a role in nutrition, but if you are dependent on it, it can be quite harmful, so it warrants a mention. The consumption of sugars disrupts one’s metabolism and impairs the brain’s capacity to interpret information, in addition to bringing in other health hazards. I’m not going to criticize you and I’m not suggesting that you should become a vegan. I will encourage you
Going through trauma, grieving a loss, or having to adjust to a drastic change can be tough for everyone, so it’s important to be understanding and give yourself and others some grace and understanding during such a challenging time. Studies have demonstrated that the brain of a young person may be substantially altered by trauma, and the effects can be deep and long-lasting.
Stick to essentials and go slower. It is impossible for a youngster to remain focused for long when their life has been completely disarranged. In a situation like this, it is important to take a gentle approach and assist your youngster in managing the difficulty in positive ways. Provide a lot of caring and support and provide them with frequent rest periods.
Research has demonstrated that an excessive amount of exposure to television and screens during early childhood is counterproductive to cognitive advancement. It’s true. Certain individuals and groups might look into the matter and decide to get rid of their screens entirely (I would personally enjoy that), while others may pick a different direction.
The choice you make will be affected by your present situation, housing, and the resources available to you. Consider the difference between living on a farm and inhabiting an apartment in the city.
Screens and technology can be a great aid in learning, expanding the range of resources available, however it can also easily become too much. It’s essential to decide on the purpose of using digital devices, when it is allowed, for how long, and if it is used as a reward when certain tasks are done.
As a parent, it is essential that you manage the way your offspring uses digital technology and their access to the net. There are many apps to help you do this.
If someone in your home has a long-term medical condition or disability, there is a likely effect on the scheduling and emotions of everyone in the family. Depending on how serious the issue is, there are various options for addressing it, though don’t be too forceful.
Having chronic health issues teaches valuable lessons, even though one may have wished the circumstances to be different. Kids can be taught kindness, understanding, altruism, tolerance, perseverance, bravery, stick-to-it-iveness, strength of character, and the ability to think of new solutions to problems through these experiences. Having strong emotional intelligence is critical for having a successful and happy grown-up life and mutual connections.
The primary focus in relationships should be the child’s wellbeing, taking priority over any curriculum. A feeling of safety and steadiness contributes to smoother education. Set aside some time to have a good time, to spend being jolly with, confirming and being supportive of your kid. Demonstrate to them that you enjoy and are thankful for their existence.
Tools For Teaching Your Child To Play And Learn On Their Own
Assemble your materials and strategize based on the tools at your disposal. The core elements are necessary, but you may incorporate other resources as you go along.
- Quiet boxes
You can take ideas from approaches such as morning baskets or the tactics employed by Sue Patrick. The crux of the matter is that you create a plan that is straightforward and easy to adhere to. Make sure you have all the necessary items at hand prior to commencing the task so that you are not frantically searching for them.