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Seven Techniques to Use When Teaching Your Child How to Wait


Teaching a child with autism how to wait can be a challenging task. Children with autism often struggle with patience and may struggle to control their impulses. However, with the right approach and techniques, it is possible to help them learn how to wait and develop this important life skill.


Before diving into the techniques, it's essential to understand why waiting can be particularly difficult for children with autism. Children with autism often have trouble understanding the concept of time and may find it challenging to predict when a waiting period will end. They may also have difficulty with impulse control, making it hard to resist the urge to act on their desires immediately.


The first step in teaching a child with autism how to wait is to make sure they clearly understand what it means to wait. Start by explaining what waiting is and why it's important. Use concrete examples your child can relate to, such as waiting in line at the store or waiting for their turn to play a game.


Once your child understands the concept of waiting, you can begin to teach them specific strategies for waiting patiently. Here are a few techniques that may be helpful:


  1. Use visual aids: Children with autism often respond well to visual aids. Consider using a visual timer or a picture schedule to help your child understand how long they must wait. You can also use visual cues, such as a stop sign, to remind them to stop and wait.

  2. Practice waiting in small increments: Start by asking your child to wait for a short period, such as 30 seconds, and gradually increase the time as they become more comfortable with waiting.

  3. Provide positive reinforcement: When your child can wait patiently, be sure to provide lots of positive reinforcement. Praise them for their patience and offer a reward, such as a small treat or extra screen time.

  4. Use social stories: Social stories can effectively teach children with autism how to wait. Create a story that explains the concept of waiting and provides examples of situations where waiting is necessary.

  5. Model patience: Children often learn by example. Make a point of modeling patience in your own behavior. This could include waiting patiently in line or taking deep breaths when you feel impatient.

  6. Make waiting fun: Waiting doesn't have to be boring. Find ways to make waiting more enjoyable for your child. This could include playing a game or singing a song while waiting in line.

  7. Set clear expectations: Make sure your child understands what is expected of them during a waiting period. For example, if you're waiting in line at the store, tell them they need to stay with you and not wander off.


It's important to remember that teaching a child with autism how to wait is a process that takes time and patience. It's important to be consistent with your approach and to celebrate small successes along the way. If your child is struggling with waiting, don't hesitate to contact Leap Autism Therapy for additional support.

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