Helping Children with Autism Deal with Winter Clothing
As winter progresses, so does the need to bundle up. For many of us, it’s an excuse to dust off those winter coats and throw on a scarf do but for others on the autism spectrum, this can be a difficult task. The seasonal change to heavier clothing commonly poses difficulties for those who are more sensitive to sensory overload. Your child may prefer the lighter touch of summer clothing and may not be comfortable with a new changing routine. But not to fret, Behavioral Health Works is here to help make this winter a breeze.
Select Some Motivators
Select a few things that your child may like and use these items as motivators. You can provide these rewards for each small success or use a token or sticker board to earn “points” towards a reward. You know your child best. Use that understanding to gauge how much or how little of a reinforcement is needed to keep them motivated.
Mastering the Coat
Practice putting on a coat with your loved one. This will help them be comfortable with the coat and gets them into the routine of bundling up. A timer can help you both with the task of keeping the coat on for increasing periods. This can be either an audible timer that beeps or rings or a visual one such as a digital clock. Depending on their level of resistance, you might like to consider as little as 5 seconds with wearing the coat. And using your judgment, try increasing the time increments by 15 to 30 seconds each time.
Introducing the New Routine
The goal is to have your child put on their coat before going outside in cold weather. This may need to become part of their morning routine before leaving from home. As with any other changes in routine, it helps to start the transition with advance “warning” followed by repetition of the new steps involved. Try creating a visual schedule to help with this transition.
We hope that these few tips can help your loved one make the most of winter and stay bundled up at the same time!