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How to Help Children with Autism Deal with Transitions

March 7, 2014 in Information


I read the following interesting article that appeared in that provides a great insight on how to help children transition from one activity to another. In my practice, oftentimes parents share their concerns on children’s problem behaviors whenever a preferred activity needs to be interrupted in order to complete a less preferred activity/demand.

 I have found that the strategies described in the article are very useful and decrease problem behaviors during transitions. You may click the following link How to Help Children with Autism Deal with Transitions to read the full article.

1.       Provide choices – empower your child for making his own decisions.

2.       Acknowledge their frustration, be empathic but firm.

3.       Praise for good transitions and use others as role models.

4.       Incorporate a visual schedule for the little ones or a written schedule for older kids so they know what to expect during their daily routine.

5.       Provide a warning before transitioning, instead of interrupting activity at hand. Timers may be used at this point.

6.       Apply FIRST- THEN principle, pictures are recommended for those that have difficulty with spoken language, so your child can visualize what he/she will get after he/she finishes with demand (first).

7.       Rewards are a great element to increase desirable behaviors and should be adapted to kids functioning level.

I hope you find the article useful.

Teaching and increasing on task behavior

October 2, 2012 in Information

Repeatedly, caregivers come to me pointing out that that their kids have difficulty sitting down, listening or playing nicely with toys, or in other words, tend to lose focus easily and not finish task at hand.

In order to teach or increase on task behavior, I recommend the following:

1) Establish a working table for your child (a small table with 2 chairs)  so that you and your child  discriminate when he/she needs to sit and finish demands and when it’s free play time. By working/playing at a table you may also prevent your child from walking away when you place a demand.

2)  Have available appropriate toys:

  • Toys should be age/skill appropriate
  • Toys  should allow structured play and should have a clear end. It should be clear for you and your child when he/she is finishes with the task at hand.  For examples of more structured toys, click here

3) Set realistic goals for your child.  Start with a goal that is below or at your child’s skill level. Do not start teaching on task behavior by jumping to fast into setting bigger goals. This may trigger problem behaviors.

4) Have available strong and various reinforcers/prizes. They can be edibles, preferred toys or activities. Provide strictly small quantities (I.e. one mini m&m, one gummy,  a few cheerios)  in order to keep your child’s motivation on-going. You want your child to work/finish activity in order to access more of his prize (reinforcer).

5) Follow the principle First – Then. Your child should complete task at hand (First) and get access to reinforcer/prize (Then). As needed, you may want to visually show and remind your child what will he/she get when he/she completes activities.

6) As soon as your child finishes task praise him/her for the good job by telling him/her “good job”, “you did awesome” or gesturing “thumb up”, “smile”, “pat on the back”. Allow him/her to have a break and then repeat the sequence with a different task.


Lowering the Risks of Autism – From Preconception to Infancy

May 15, 2012 in Information

I recently read an interesting article written by a Holistic Pediatrician named David Berger regarding lowering the incidence of autism before conception. Below is the link to the article.

From Preconception to Infancy: Environmental and Nutritional Strategies for Lowering the Risk of Autism

The article was also discussed on CBS10 News on May 3rd, 2012. It can be view here CBS10 News.

Blowing Bubbles – A teaching Opportunity

April 29, 2012 in Information

Preschoolers  love to blow bubbles. Oftentimes, we use easy automatic bubble machines/guns that provide our children with hundreds of bubbles per minute. Our kids will enthusiastically engage in the bubble blowing but will probably learn little from this activity.

I want to suggest in this article that we go back to the traditional way for blowing bubbles, and I’ll briefly explain the benefits it has for our children, especially those that have difficulty asking for things they want and those children who are not verbal and do no emit sufficient sounds. If you are concerned about your children spilling bubbles, you can get spill-proof bubbles! for this fun activity.

The action of blowing does not come naturally to all children. Some children with language delays actually can’t blow bubbles. Below I have listed  the benefits of practicing blowing bubbles and the varied teaching opportunities it provides.

Use bubbles to teach requesting (“bubbles” & “Open”): if children have a strong motivation to “do” bubbles you can use bubbles to teach the child to request “bubbles”. When blowing bubbles pair “blow bubbles” or “bubbles” with the actual action of blowing bubbles. If your child can already request “bubbles” you can teach him/her to request “open” and provide a tightly sealed container. For non verbal children, this will also be a great opportunity to teach them to request with signs.

Use bubbles to improve eye contact:  for children who make poor eye contact, wait until your child looks at you before blowing bubbles. As soon as they make eye contact, blow bubbles.

 Use bubbles to strengthen mouth muscles:  the action of blowing positions and strengthens the tongue and lips, which later on facilitate the emission of sounds. Alternatively, blowing  will also help your child to round their lips (facilitates sounds w/o/oo). Try the saxoflute.

 Use bubbles to increase sound production: be as creative as you want! Use bubbles to teach different sounds i.e. pop. Combine sounds with actions such as popping bubbles and pairing it with the word “pop”. Make it a fun activity so your child will be motivated to imitate your actions and sounds.

Use bubbles to teach turn taking: bubbles can be blown jointly, taking turns. This is an important skill that can be taught when blowing bubbles and that will help your child to engage in more sophisticated turn taking activities; i.e. board games and conversations. In addition, it can be used to teach the pronouns “my/your” by practicing appropriate use of “my/your turn” statements.

Motiva Learning Launches Website

March 6, 2012 in Information

We are excited to announce that we have launched our new website.

Stay tuned for future posts in our blog with recent news, interesting articles, and latest’s tools for teaching children with autism/ pervasive development disorder and communication delays.

We  hope you find future post’s useful and feel free to email us with any questions and suggestions.