Category Archives: Blog

Transitioning Back to School: Tips for Parents

Transitioning Back to School: Tips for Parents

Transitioning Back to School: Tips for Parents

Transitioning Back to School: Tips for Parents

It’s that time of year again, that transition back to school. Every year, most parents are happy to have their kids go back to school. But for parents of autistic and other neurodiverse children, transitioning back to school isn’t often easy. Many kids on the spectrum enjoy having a routine, and although they might enjoy school once they’re there, making the change can be hard on everyone. In this article, we’ll go over transitioning back to school, including some back to school tips for parents

How Do I Prepare My Child for Back to School?

First, talk to your child often about what the new routine will look like and feel like. Talking with your child will help to ease the anxiety that a change in routine will bring. Transitioning back to school is rarely an easy task. You may want to create a calendar together so that your child knows exactly when school starts. Put the calendar in a prominent place so that your kid can see it. Another tip is to practice the new routine a few days before school begins. Set a clock for the actual time they will get up, and have them dress, brush their teeth, get their lunch, and prepare for the bus or car ride to school. Make your child feel like the new routine is in his control as much as possible so that surprises are minimized. High school in particular will be filled with big, scary new routines for kids going to high school for the first time. Visit the school ahead of time, meet with teachers, and find students who are a year or two ahead of them to help ease the anxiety. 

How to Prepare Your Child for the School Day

If you’re able to meet with your child’s teacher or teachers, ask about the schedule for breaks, PE, and lunch. Your child will enjoy knowing the schedule for successfully transitioning back to school. Your child will also need to know what to do during each time of the school day. For instance, how does he or she change clothes for PE? You may want to rehearse each step with your child: putting on shoes and socks, pants, and shirts, as well as any athletic gear they may need.  Your child also needs to know what to do at lunchtime, and how to handle breaks. Maybe she never has eaten lunch from a lunchbox. How does she do that? These steps can be practiced as well. Get as detailed as possible so your child feels really comfortable. What is easy for you might seem daunting to your child.

How to Help Your Child Enjoy School

Your autistic child will enjoy school more if there is a highly-structured routine. Most schools have routine built into their schedules, with set times for recess, lunch, and classes. In addition, set up specific times for your child to do homework and prepare for the next day of school. It’s important to have visual reminders for everything. Pictures and photos can be used to schedule your child’s day. Neurodiverse children make the adjustment to a new school or change in routine if they know ahead of time what is expected of them. As your child ages, you can replace the previous year’s pictures, calendar, and routines with updated ones. You’ll be learning along with your autistic child what best works for them. 

How to Help Your Child Adjust to a New School

Transitioning back to school, especially if your child is going to a new school, is a significant change for your child. You will need to spend more time going over schedule changes, and what is expected at the new school. Not only will all activities and expectations change for your child, they’ll have different social activities and goals as well. Your neurodiverse child may well have a lot of anxiety because there will be so many changes. 

Back-to-School Tips and Tricks

One of your best resources will be teachers at your child’s school. Other parents will also be a goldmine of information, especially if your child is transitioning to a new school. You will not be familiar with the routine enough to explain it to your child unless you understand it yourself. Be sure to go to any open house events at your child’s school to familiarize yourself with the teachers, layout, and nuances of the school. 

Check Out Identifor’s Tools for Back-to-School Success

Identifor has a career tool parents can use to aid with transitioning back to school. Then parents can discuss the results with the child’s study team/teacher, etc. We strongly recommend downloading Identifor’s Companion app and becoming familiar with Abby for support before, during, and after the school day.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also find Transition Planning For Students With Autism: Achieving Success on the Spectrum interesting.

 

 

Use Person-Centered Planning for People with Disabilities

Use Person-Centered Planning for People with Disabilities

Use Person-Centered Planning for People with Disabilities

Use Person-Centered Planning for People with Disabilities

Person-centered planning is a process to help those with disabilities plan for the future. The ultimate goal is to get to an endpoint of a “meaningful life” for that person. Like it sounds, person-centered planning is focused on the person. Once the goal is set, you can work backwards to plan how to get the person as close to the goal as possible.

Person-centered planning is a customized problem-solving process so that the person can develop personal skills and find some measure of control over their own lives. Since the person-centered planning looks at the person in an individualized way, no two plans are ever alike.

In the person-centered planning model, the emphasis is on giving the young person the tools he or she needs, rather than on fixing the person. It is a strengths-based model (based on skills, abilities, interests, maximum capacity in work and life skills, etc) and NOT a medical model. Since there is nothing broken, there is nothing to fix.

A contrast to person-based planning is the concept of service-based planning. Put simply, service-based planning tries to have people fit into services. In this article, we’ll talk about how to use person-centered planning in special education, and some person-centered practices, along with some examples.

Person-Centered Planning in Special Education

Teenagers and young people with disabilities need a support system that recognizes their strengths, interests, and fears, which allows them to take control of their own future. Person-centered planning helps the young student figure out what their goals are, what steps they need to take to get there, as well as classes they need to take in the future. It’s critical that person-centered planning address many details of a young person’s career planning as they transition into becoming adults. Furthermore, the plan is usually written in everyday language (without medical or professional jargon/rhetoric) so everyone working with the person is on the same page.

Person-Centered Practices

Some person-centered practices can range from choosing the right facilitator for the young person to developing the student’s personal life story.

Here are some other examples of person-centered practices:

  • Identify events that may have an impact on the young person’s health or career path
  • Brainstorm ways that the student may reach his or her goal
  • Find a comfortable location for meetings suitable to the student
  • Document a list of concrete steps for the young person to take
  • Celebrate successes along the way

A Person-Centered Approach

One important component of person-centered planning is that each step be completely customized to the individual. A person-centered approach should ensure that people critical to the young person’s success listen to his or her voice. The young student should feel completely supported along the path to their success. A young person ought to feel included every step of the way with a person-centered approach.

Person-Centered Treatment Plan

The “discovery process” is often difficult for kids with cognitive disabilities. Identifor was designed with this in mind–to uncover the skills, abilities and interests a person has by playing bias-free games so that realistic goals and thus a treatment plan can be set. Both Autism Speaks and McCloskey Surveys at identifor.com are powerful tools for aggregated situational analysis to help fine tune a person-centered treatment plan.

Person-Centered Planning Tools

There are many person-centered planning tools available. Here are a few:

MAPS is a way for young people to move creatively into the future. Check out the excellent MAP template on this list of PCP Tools. An outstanding way to customize a document for a young person is to answer a series of questions. The questions can be a set of prompts for future actions. For example, asking who are all the people in the young person’s life can yield the network which will be used to support the teenager in the future. Asking for details about a young person’s health can determine physical strengths and weaknesses. And listing things that work and don’t work can help create a strong roadmap for the future.

Plan for Success

Once a young person has a customized person-centered plan in place, they will be more likely to achieve success in their lives and the transitions they will encounter. For more information about transition planning, see Transition Planning For Students With Autism: Achieving Success on the Spectrum.

 

Autism’s Hidden Curriculum: A Genuine Lifelong Challenge

Autism's Hidden Curriculum: A Genuine Lifelong Challenge

Autism’s Hidden Curriculum: A Genuine Lifelong Challenge

While the autism hidden curriculum may sound like a complicated phrase, understanding it is not complex at all. It simply means those unwritten social rules that people seem to pick up instinctively. There are many of these unwritten rules that everyone seems to know, and yet hardly anyone talks about. In this article, we’ll go over some hidden curriculum examples so you’ll get the gist of why this is a lifelong challenge. After all, social rules are difficult enough without having to understand all the complex unwritten rules.

Societal Expectations

One of the dangers of the autism hidden curriculum is that although they are never taught we’re all expected to magically know what they are. We are also supposed to know what impact our words and actions will have on others, even though at times we have never been in the exact same situation before. For example, most people know that hugging a stranger without knowing them first could make that stranger uncomfortable. But how do we know that? Another example is talking a lot without noticing that the person you’re talking to is bored or not paying attention. How do we learn to notice these social cues when they’re not usually taught or talked about?

Different Behavior Depending upon the Circumstances

Different circumstances call for different behavior. So if your environment changes, so too will how you’re expected to behave. There’s a spectrum of environments that range from casual to more formal, with different rules for each. So on the more casual end would be your home. Your community would be a little more formal, and the community would be towards the formal end of the spectrum. And if you were at a concert or in a restaurant, your behavior would be more formal still. The autism hidden curriculum would change depending upon the age of the person you’re interacting with, too. People who are older tend to be more formal in the way they speak and younger people tend to use more slang. If you’re talking to someone of a different gender, you might be a little more formal and courteous. Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule.

Dos and Don’t of the Autism Hidden Curriculum

Just as there are some things we shouldn’t do, there are also some things we should do to fit in and stay in other’s good graces. For instance, saying please when making a request is a good idea. And to say thank you after someone does you a favor is also a very good idea. Maybe that’s why please and thank you are considered “magic words.” One don’t would be to not insult someone when they have given you a present, but to thank that person. Sometimes that can be very difficult–because you’re saying one thing, but you’re thinking something else. For instance, if you receive a book as a birthday gift, but you already have a copy of that book, you might be thinking “I don’t want this!” But if you said that, you’d risk insulting the person giving you the gift. That could be both unkind and impolite. It might be better to instead thank the person. After all, they had good intentions when they chose the book for you.  

Pros and Cons of the Autism Hidden Curriculum

You might be secretly pleased when you understand the autism hidden curriculum. So one pro would be that you feel that you’re in an exclusive club when you understand what everyone expects. But the downside is that you might feel that you’re guessing whether you’re doing or saying the right thing. And that can lead to stress, which is usually a negative thing. One of the characteristics of hidden curriculum is that they can be positive and negative at the same time.

Some of the Autism Hidden Curriculum is Straightforward

There are some rules that are easy to implement, and putting those into play may give an autistic person a sense of mastery. For instance, greetings are important to most people. Saying “hello, nice to meet you” when you first meet someone is a good social practice because it signals the beginning of a conversation. Likewise, saying goodbye when you or someone else leaves is another positive and easy-to-understand social practice. If you see someone struggling because they fell down, you might say “do you need help?” That one is fairly straightforward. Another straightforward example is asking personal questions of strangers. That could be considered rude.

Others Parts of the Autism Hidden Curriculum are More Difficult

Some people think you should always be smiling or looking at people in the eyes when speaking to them, and that may take more practice. There are different rules for different social situations. When you’re speaking directly to one person, most people think you should maintain eye contact. But for an autistic person, eye contact can sometimes be difficult. And the rule about smiling? That is also difficult if you aren’t talking about something pleasant. It’s difficult to always have to consider what effect your words might have on other people. This hidden curriculum is not always easy! You could also call hidden curriculum implicit curriculum because it’s implied, but never spelled out in black and white.

In Summary

As part of the autism hidden curriculum, being kind and polite are very important. If you’re unclear about whether something you have said might be either kind or impolite, perhaps asking a trusted friend could help. And then that friend could explain why something is unkind or impolite, and what you might have said instead. The autism hidden curriculum is related to soft skills. If you’d like to learn how to improve soft skills, see How to Improve Soft Skills in Your Autistic Teen.

 

The Importance of Starting Career Planning for Students Five Years in Advance

The Importance of Starting Career Planning for Students Five Years in Advance

The Importance of Starting Career Planning for Students Five Years in Advance

Everyone has heard about the importance of career planning for students. In particular, it’s critical to begin planning farther in advance than you would probably believe. Although some parents would like to begin planning when a child is in kindergarten, that might be a little extreme. Would you believe that the best time to begin student career planning is five years in advance? At Identifor, we believe that the perfect time for career planning for students is five years ahead of time. In this article, we’ll go over career guidance for students, careers advice for students, and cover a career exploration tool to help you and your student prepare for college.

Importance of Career Planning for Students

At Identifor, we believe that any career planning for students should begin with an assessment of a student’s strengths. Think about what your student does best, and how those strengths can be applied to a career or career path. A strength-based approach in career planning for students can inform the choices a student makes when choosing a career path. By the way, if you or your young adult still don’t know what his or her strength is, you may want to use Identifor’s games to help figure that out. It’s an easy and fun way to highlight the skills your teenage student may have. Not only that, but you can sign up for free. You may also want to discover what “soft skills” and adaptive behaviors that young person will need for that career. Working backwards, the child’s school team and family can assure they work on the building blocks to help them ultimately reach the endpoint before graduation so they are fully prepared.

Student Career Planning

Many kids can tell you what they would like to do for a career, but that doesn’t mean that what they’d like to do is necessarily a reflection of their actual skills. That’s why career planning for students ahead of time is so important: if a student can begin to explore the opportunities that they may actually encounter, they will have more realistic expectations. That’s not to say they should settle for a job that they don’t enjoy. A student may not realize what his or her own strengths are, so focusing on the careers that use those strengths can help them follow the right path. And that first job may be a stepping stone to the right career path. Identifor’s dashboard lists specific suggested careers that make sense for the user to explore further. And any suggested careers are directly linked to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Onet website which gives a granular view of what the job entails: skills and abilities needed, etc. The Onet website also shows which careers have a “bright outlook” and which are dead-end jobs.

Career Guidance for Students

Career guidance for students can, of course, come from career counselors. There are plenty of other people that may also help with career planning for students. Teachers, principals, friends, parents, grandparents, and others can all help narrow the choices. Once the young adult has some ideas, then they may want to test their choice or choices by taking internships, going to summer camps, or volunteering for short stints so that they can see what their options are, and understand what the daily activities of their choice might entail. Sometimes young adults romanticize a career and seeing the daily chores they might have to do could open their eyes and change their direction. By allowing enough time to change direction, the career planning for students process is really worth the investment.

Career Advice for Students

Just as with career guidance, career advice for students can come from a variety of sources. In fact, students may not realize the types of careers that are available. There are many new career paths available, so it’s critical to have career advice from someone who’s up on the latest types of careers. They may have heard about stereotypical careers, but not about unusual career choices. For instance, autistic teens may have heard about careers in computer programming, but might not realize that they could also pursue their dream of becoming a graphic designer or working behind-the-scenes in Hollywood. And there are many careers that did not exist until recently, such as data scientists. Hence beginning the career planning for students process with plenty of time will allow you and your young adult the luxury to fully explore all the options. Identifor also has an article about Transition Planning for Students on the Spectrum: Achieving Success on the Spectrum: https://www.identifor.com/blog/?p=216

Career Exploration Tool

Did you know there’s a tool to help your teenager explore possible career choices? The Holland Occupational Themes is a theory of personality that focuses on career and vocational choice. There are six different categories of occupations, based on your suitability for the occupations. These six types sum up the RIASEC acronym (realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional. RIASEC is also known as John Holland’s Six Types of Personality. John L. Holland developed the RIASEC theory during the 1950s. Be sure to investigate these six types of occupations during your career planning for students. For more information about the career exploration tool: https://www.identifor.com/about/riasec.

In Summary

Hopefully, you and your young teenager have a few ideas about the importance of starting career planning for students at least five years in advance. Once you have a clear direction, this information can be used in the goals and objectives of the transition part of IEP or career plan. Although that idea might seem daunting, the results will be well worth it in the end. For more information about RIASEC: https://www.identifor.com/blog/?p=293

 

Job Readiness and Your Teen

Job Readiness and Your Teen

Job Readiness and Your Teen

While you might not have been obsessing over your teen’s job readiness, it has probably been at the back of your mind for a while. Although no one is ever completely prepared to face the job market, it’s critical that your teen have appropriate employment readiness skills so that he or she feels confident to talk to a potential employer. In this article, we’ll go over a few items that can help your young adult with their job readiness. And that will help both of you have more peace of mind!

What is Job Readiness?

Job readiness not only means that your teen should be ready to talk to the person who can hire them, it also means that your adolescent can keep that job once hired. Your young adult needs to have the job skills that the person who is hiring needs. There should be a match between your teen’s skills and those that the company is looking for. A job readiness skills assessment can help your adolescent prepare for the process. A job readiness skills assessment usually includes the traits that your young person has, along with their score, and what the meaning of that score is. Or, a simpler form of a readiness skills assessment might simply have a list of the skills needed. These skills may be divided into soft skills versus hard skills, as in our previous article.

Employers require a wide range of skills from those seeking employment. The Human Resources person your adolescent will talk to is carefully looking at your teen’s resume as well as how your teen might fit in with the rest of their future co-workers. That’s why it’s so important that your young adult has a job readiness skills assessment before ever setting foot in their desired job location.

Job Readiness and Interactive Games

To help with employment readiness for youth, Identifor has interactive games that can help parents figure out what your teenager’s strengths are. Your young adult may not have a realistic idea of what his or her own strengths are, and that’s where the games can help. For instance, one young lady did not believe she liked computers, but the scores from Identifor’s games showed that her computer skills would be a strength. Her job readiness significantly changed as a result of the interactive games!

Your teenagers are probably already playing interactive games, so why not use those games to ready them for a possible job? Having a meaningful job will help to ensure that your young adult stays employed longer. Chances are, this holds true for anyone: having meaningful work is key to staying employed.

Job Readiness Activities for Youth

Once your teen or young adult has played some of Identifor’s games, you may begin to compile a list of their strengths. They’ll need to play enough games so that their strengths come through on Identifor’s dashboard. This may require some patience from both the teenager and the parent if the teen wants to rush ahead and find a job immediately.

You or your teen may also want to compile a list of companies nearby who are interesting, who need the skills that your teen possesses, and who may be hiring. You may also want to think about transportation. How will your young adult get to that job if it’s offered to her? How long will such a commute take? That may seem like a tall order, but it can be done a little at a time.

Role Playing

In terms of employment readiness, role playing can really help bolster a young person’s confidence. If he is prepared for the possible questions that may be asked during an interview, for example, he will probably feel much less anxiety about the interviewing process. After all, a job interview is difficult for anyone.

Some of the topics that may be covered during an interview include:

  • What the company does
  • Clarification of any details on a resume
  • Asking if the teen has any questions

Preparing a few questions to ask the interviewer can shift the balance a bit. Your teen can really shine when she asks intelligent questions about the company and what her role and job responsibilities would be. The ultimate goal is to find a good match between the teen’s skills and the job opening.  

In Summary

We hope that you and your young adult now have some ideas for job readiness. Moving from living at home and being dependent to becoming independent and more self-sufficient can seem like a big undertaking. Knowing what a child’s strengths are is a huge hurdle that will give both the parent and the young person more confidence. Ultimately, having that list of strengths will help to land that young person the right employment. We strongly believed that our strength-based approach gives young people an advantage so they can be matched with not just a mere job, but meaningful employment. We’ll be covering that topic in more depth in the future.

Since we’re on the subject of strengths, why not try out Identifor’s free games? The games are a fun and easy way to determine where a teen’s talents lie. You and your child may be surprised at what the dashboard shows you about their multiple intelligences and executive strengths. Identifor’s games can not only help with career direction, the games can pinpoint meaningful employment for your young person. And the games are available 24/7!

Further Resources: A Three-Step Process to Decreasing Prompt Dependency.

riasec assessment

RIASEC Assessment: Identify the Ideal Career Choices for Your Child

A RIASEC assessment is one of the starting points for helping students develop an educational plan for high school and college. RIASEC stands for:

  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Artistic
  • Social
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional

RIASEC test results can be used to match students up with appropriate career choices, which are determined by their abilities, interests, and traits. Educators can assist with RIASEC test interpretation and put the student on a path toward a career they’re best suited for.

A RIASEC assessment is unlike any other standardized test a student will take throughout their academic life. There are no right or wrong answers, and students can take as long as they need to complete it. The only requirement is that students are as honest as they can be with their answers. This is incredibly important, as being anything less than truthful can lead a student down the wrong career path.

Results from a RIASEC assessment can help identify the ideal types of careers for the individual student, based on John Holland’s six personality types.

  • A ‘realistic’ personality means the student may excel in jobs that require physical labor.  
  • An ‘investigative’ personality means the student may be suited for jobs that require them to analyze and solve problems.
  • An ‘artistic’ personality means the student may excel in a job that allows them to be creative.
  • A ‘social’ personality means the student will likely excel at working as part of a team.
  • An ‘enterprising’ personality means the student may be suited for jobs where they’re the boss.
  • A ‘conventional’ personality indicates the student is detail-oriented, well organized, and enjoys working with data.

Conducting a RIASEC Assessment

A RIASEC assessment doesn’t necessarily have to be conducted at school, or under the supervision of an educator. With the right tools, a RIASEC assessment can be completed from the comfort of the student’s own home.

Identifor has created a unique way to conduct a RIASEC assessment which, believe it or not, involves playing computer games. Identifor‘ s games have been designed to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder identify their RIASEC profile without a typical pencil-and-paper test.

When playing Identifor’s games, players are first presented with images of different types of activities and asked to select which one is more desirable. Based on their choices, and how they interact with the games, Identifor’s analytics engine will generate a RIASEC profile.

In most cases, we find that students with autism spectrum disorder are more likely to stay engaged with Identifor’s games than a pencil-and-paper test. That’s why we encourage you to introduce them to our games, as they can identify your child’s skills and abilities in a way that can’t be accomplished by simply writing a test.

Not sure if this is the right approach for your child? You’ll be happy to know Identifor games are always free to play, so you can see first-hand how they’ll keep your child engaged as you gain valuable insight into their traits and abilities.

Sign up for free, and your child can start playing right away on their computer or mobile device.

interactive learning games

Interactive Learning Games Online for College Students and Adults

A commonly held belief is that online games are a waste of a student’s time. Many believe online games don’t provide any value to a high school student, college student, or adult’s life and only distract from things that are more important. To them, we say you haven’t found the right games.

Not all games are designed purely for entertainment purposes. On the contrary, there are interactive learning games that are designed to complement a student’s education and improve cognitive function. What are also known as brain training games, interactive learning games online are the mental equivalent of regular gym workouts. The brain isn’t exactly a muscle, but it can still be exercised in a similar fashion.

Interactive learning games can improve cognitive functions such as problem-solving, visual discrimination, and working memory. They can also be a means of assessing learning strengths that might apply to future goals.

Just like working out the body can improve physical performance, working out the mind with interactive learning games can improve cognitive performance over time. In this article, we’re going to focus on recommending some of the most accessible interactive educational games for students— the kind they can play on their phones! Turnkey igaming solution provider grants access to gameplay via mobile devices.

In order to get students to play these games regularly, they have to be designed in a way that easily fits into their lifestyle. Since they’re on their phones throughout the day anyway, it takes nothing to open an app and play some interactive learning games for 5-10 minutes a day. Here are 4 of the top apps for learning games that students can play on their iPhones or iPads. These are all “freemium” games— which means they are free to play on a limited basis, but full access requires a paid subscription.

Top 4 Interactive Learning Games for College Students

1. Lumosity

With over 85 million users, Lumosity is the biggest name in interactive learning games for adults and college students. It features over 30 games that are designed to challenge a student’s memory, attention span, problem-solving ability, reaction time, and more. Results are measured on the ‘Lumosity Performance Index’ scale, which provides insight into the student’s abilities and progression over time.

2. Elevate

Elevate focuses on what the individual student wants to get out of using it. For example– maybe the student is already strong in reading and writing but needs to improve their abilities in math and problem-solving. Elevate has a vast selection of games that are geared toward all subjects, and students are provided with a post-test report with insights into their results.

3. Memorado

Memorado is perhaps one of the most relaxing learning games out there. It’s designed with a pretty palette of pastel colors, which is accompanied by a pleasant soundtrack if played with the sound on. Memorado doesn’t offer anything drastically different compared to Lumosity or Elevate, though students may find it more enjoyable to use due to its unique attention to good design.

4. Identifor

We would be remiss not to mention our own mobile app, which can be downloaded for free on both iOS and Android. Unlike other apps on this list, Identifor has been designed specifically for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Identifor assists individuals with identifying their strengths and abilities. Insights provided by the Identifor app can be used to help develop educational and vocational plans. Identifor has proven to be a valuable tool for students, as well as parents, educators, and clinicians.

Follow these links to download Identifor for iPhone or Android.

activities for autistic teens

Activities for Autistic Teens

Activities for autistic teens are necessary for fostering an environment that will help them nurture and grow specific abilities. Autistic teens learn best through activities that are designed to teach them something specific.

Lessons in a classroom are not enough for autistic teens to learn and develop new abilities. Classroom teachings should be augmented with outside activities in order to help autistic teens learn through practical experience. This will help teens with activities like following their passions, finding like-minded people in social activities, attending clubs and conventions such as Comic-Con, and navigating social media with guidance.

In this article, we will present you with a variety of engaging activities for autistic teens, which can be both fun and educational.

5 Different Activities for Autistic Teens

Computer Games

Contrary to popular belief, not all computer games are bad for teenagers. Carefully chosen games can teach your teen a lot about developing different abilities. For example, studies show that online games for autistic teenagers can help enhance their problem-solving skills.

We recommend choosing educational games that encourage your teen to use logic, such as those found here at Identifor. If your teen prefers to use their phone over a computer, then you can download our companion app to their phone so they can play on the go. All games are designed to develop an autistic teen’s multiple intelligences, and parents can receive an ongoing assessment of their child’s progression.

Puzzles

Puzzles are not just for children. With puzzles designed for all age groups, they can help enhance the cognitive abilities of any individual. Autistic teens, in particular, are visually skilled and tend to enjoy working on puzzles. In addition, the hyper-focus of an autistic teen gives them a natural aptitude for solving puzzles.  Putting together puzzles could either be done as a solo activity or as a social activity with a friend or family member. Encourage your teen to discuss what they’re doing and thinking as they work through the puzzle. Completing puzzles as part of a team effort will help improve your teen’s speech and communication abilities.

Team Activities

Solo activities for an autistic teen should be balanced with team activities because interaction is necessary for developing social abilities. In order to help your teen live a fulfilling social life, they should be encouraged to participate in team activities whenever possible. Be careful not to force them into something they’re not comfortable with, and don’t overwhelm them with too many team activities at once.

Household Chores

It’s important to reinforce concepts like responsibility and sharing with autistic teenagers. One of the best ways for teens to develop a practical understanding of these ideas is by helping out around the house. Developing a sense of responsibility for where one lives is something that will help your teen well into their adult life.

Creative Activities

Autistic teens are wired to think logically, but there’s an imagination deep down that can be developed with creative activities. One of the best ways to break your teen’s pattern of logical thinking is getting them to create something out of nothing. This could include activities like art, crafts, building models, writing stories, playing music, and so on.

Activities for Autistic Teens: In Summary

When it comes to choosing activities for autistic teens, first think about the abilities your teen needs to develop. Pick activities that are geared toward nurturing those abilities. Also consider any possible challenges you may face, such as your teen not taking particularly well to a chosen activity.

Above all, we recommend choosing games and activities that match your teen’s interests. They’ll be much more eager to participate in an activity if it’s in line with what they already like.  As we mentioned, they’ll be able to use these skills to do things like following their passions, finding like-minded people in social activities, and attend clubs and conventions.

We encourage you to start by introducing your son or daughter to Identifor’s unique selection of games, which can provide greater insight into your teen’s cognitive development. For more information about assessing your teen’s abilities, please see our article about the RIASEC test.

how to improve soft skills

How to Improve Soft Skills in Your Autistic Teen

Soft skills are a set of intangible qualities that can determine one’s character, their attitude towards life, and their development of personal relationships with others. Unlike hard skills that can be measured through standardized testing, there is no way to measure soft skills.

However, that doesn’t mean they go unnoticed. When it comes to the workplace, look at it like this: hard skills will get you in the door, but soft skills are the real qualities employers look for. That’s why it’s important for parents to learn how to improve soft skills in their autistic teen

Like hard skills, soft skills can be learned, practiced, and improved upon. This is especially important for individuals with autism, as soft skills are more difficult for them to grasp. They may be able to make sense of the most complicated math problems, but struggle when it comes to workplace etiquette.

In this article, we will go over some tips for how to improve soft skills, which will help ensure your child is ready for the social challenges of the workplace.

Communication Skills

When communicating with others, a lot can be said through non-verbal communication. Show your child how to start interactions off on a positive note by teaching them about eye contact, tone of voice, body proximity, and gestures. It also helps to know how to detect sarcasm. It’s important for autistic teens to be given these communication cues expressively, while also being trained to read them from others in the workplace to get the full communication message

While communicating with your child, pay attention to where their eyes are looking. Remind them eye contact is important, and veering off in another direction can come off as rude. Making eye contact is the first step, the next step is to be an active listener.

The challenge of how to improve listening skills can be met with listening skills games. Try practicing with your child by quizzing them on things you talked about throughout the day. See how well they really listened to what you were saying. Have a reward system in place for getting all the answers right.

Interpersonal Relationships

Since a workplace consists of people all working together to achieve similar goals, the ability to build relationships with other co-workers is key. Collaboration activities and teamwork activities can help improve these skills.

Interpersonal skills can be practiced early on. Encourage your child to arrange study groups with classmates to improve their teamwork abilities. Suggest collaborating with friends on a group activity, such as planning a graduation party.

The challenge of how to improve soft skills can also be met with one-on-one coaching. Create some example scenarios and try role playing so you can see how your child would behave in different social situations. This can include simple scenarios, such as greeting coworkers in the morning and making small talk during lunch, to more complicated interactions such as resolving conflicts.

How to Improve Soft Skills in the Workplace

One of the greatest social challenges your child may face is interacting with potential employers during a job interview. Again, soft skills for a job interview can be improved with one-on-one coaching. Practice with your child by role-playing job interviews. Get career advice from an accomplished expert, who elaborated specialized coaching plans designed to help you achieve objectives quickly.

Critique their responses honestly. This will give them the opportunity to learn another workplace soft skill— accepting feedback. Giving and receiving feedback is a part of day-to-day life in the workplace. The ability to accept feedback and learn from it is a valuable skill for any employee to have.

Self-directed behavior is also highly valued in the workplace. This involves understanding what is expected of them, taking initiative, going the extra mile, and finishing work without having to be reminded. This can also be practiced early on with time management activities. Try assigning tasks to your child for work that needs to be done around the house, along with deadlines for completing the tasks. Bonus points if they take initiative by going above and beyond the assignments.

In Summary

By now you should have plenty of ideas for how to improve soft skills with your child. Believe it or not, another way they can receive soft skills training is through fun activities like computer games. We encourage you to introduce your son or daughter to Identifor’s unique selection of games, which can help improve soft skills such as problem-solving and creative thinking.

life skills for teens

Life Skills for Teens: What Your Child Should Know Before Graduating High School

Life moves fast — it won’t be long before your child is reading the gamsat prep guide on their way to get in a reputed medical university. That can be an alarming feeling for both parents and children, but preparing your child with the essential life skills for teens is one way to make sure they can handle the challenges of adulthood. There’s only so much that children can learn in school, which is geared more toward educating them in various academic subjects than it is about improving life skills for teens with autism. High school can help teens develop study skills for college, but it’s not so effective at helping teens develop skills for everyday life.

Resultado de imagen para high school student

Unfortunately, you’re not likely to find any courses for life skills in high school. That means it’s up to the parents to help their children learn how to take care of themselves as they get older as it is so important for young people to be ready for their college experience to have a good educational line, so they can manage to be professionals in every career they desire. Many don’t go to college as they don’t have the financing for it, but nowadays there are so many options for this, such as scholarship applications, they are so common and to be a good student is to have a good grade rate for you to apply in any school you like, there are scholarships for every career you can imagine, is just a thing to go to the school you are interested and look information, for example in the ucla financial aid office they can introduce you on what does it takes to get one, what do you need to do, how can you manage to keep it and so many other things, even courses to prepare you for the introduction essays and more.

In this article, we will go over examples of life skills that all teens should acquire before graduating high school.

Examples of Life Skills for Teens

Self Care Skills

Self care skills include everything from hygiene, to personal grooming, to picking out appropriate clothes to wear in the morning. These may be the most important set of skills to learn as they are paramount to living a healthy life. Some of the basic self care skills a teen should have include:

  • – Healthy daily habits such as brushing teeth, showering, washing one’s hair, and so on
  • – How to keep their environment clean and organized
  • – Picking out clothes and matching outfits together
  • – Choosing appropriate clothes for different occasions
  • – Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • – Knowing how to take care of themselves in the event of common illnesses, such as colds or the flu
  • – What to do in medical emergencies
  • – Knowing which over-the-counter medication to take in non-emergency situations

Domestic Skills

Domestic skills include everything involved in maintaining a proper home life. These basic home management skills are something every teen should learn early on:

  • – Knowing the steps involved to getting their own house or apartment
  • – How to take care of their own place and keep it clean — vacuuming, dusting, washing dishes, doing laundry, taking out the garbage, etc.
  • – Paying bills on time
  • – Simple repairs
  • – Doing groceries
  • – Preparing meals

Money Management Skills

Money management skills are vital in so many aspects of life. Being financially literate can help your child live comfortably as they get older, while staying out of debt and keeping up with various payments. You can improve your child’s money management skills by helping them learn how to:

  • – Make a budget and stick to it
  • – Open a bank account and apply for a credit card
  • – Use a credit card responsibly, which involves learning how interest works and how to stay debt-free
  • – Save money for emergencies
  • – Plan for retirement
  • – Maintain accurate financial records

Interpersonal Skills

Communication skills in the workplace, and in personal life, are key to getting along with others. Making your child aware of appropriate manners for different social situations will help ensure they’re not singled out for being rude or disrespectful. Examples of interpersonal skills include:

  • – Developing and maintaining friendships
  • – Valuing and nurturing personal relationships
  • – Maintaining a healthy relationship with family members
  • – Basic etiquette
  • – Showing respect to people who share different views or beliefs
  • – Understanding non-verbal cues
  • – Empathizing with others
  • – Actively listening to others when they talk, rather than waiting for a turn to speak
  • – How to apologize and take responsibility
  • – Knowing when to ask for help

More Information

For more information about essential life skills every autistic teen should learn, please see our article on keys to independent living for autistic adults.