Social Work and Autism

Social Work and Autism

I am a Social Work professional whose expertise is working with the Intellectually Disabled and Autistic Population. I love my job. My sole job is to provide resources, education, and advocacy for this steady growing population. Autism affects one in 68 births(CDC, 2014).

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Working with the Autistic Populations has taught me:

It is not about me

What I want for my clients is very different from what they want for themselves. Many times in the field, professionals who work with clients look at the result versus looking at the hear and now. I have learned to listen what is said and sometimes what is not said.

Making Choices

Providing opportunities. It is important to exercise the ability to choose. Providing options are the best way for people to find out what they like and do not like and it also helps create more conversation about many other things.Choice making is a skill I feel is not exercised enough with this population. http://www.pinterest.com/autismclassroom/visual-supports-for-an-autism-classroom/

Are proper supports in Place

What is needed for this Autistic individual to maintain a ” normal” life is the question asked and how do we as a professionally supportive community help create this world for this person? Will the individual need Vocational Rehabilitation because their goal is to earn competitive wages? Whether the person’s goal is to live alone, will this person need the assistance of a Supported Living Coach? Will this need appropriate guidance for activities of daily living such as medication management, making the doctor appointment, meal preparation, and grocery shopping? What about socialization and community-based outings? Will the individual need someone to help integrate them into the community?

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I help coordinate and maintain services for the individual, who likes making the lives of Autistic Individuals a little better.

Back to school

As the new school year approaches, I am reminded of a saying my mother used to say; “You ain’t  got to leave, but you ain’t staying here.”  Now, I know some parents are  relieved their little ankle biters will have some meaningful daily activity, but for some parents, there is an uneasiness which festers.

For some parents, especially those who have children with special needs, this can be a very anxiety- filled time. Wondering if  the school will meet all of their child’s needs.Will their child be safe?  How will their child learn? How will these learning objectives be measured?  These are all very good questions.

Children who have special needs often have a difficulty adjusting to the new change, especially children with autism and anxiety challenges.  Changes in routine can lead to maladaptive behaviors such as non- compliance, and tantrums. I have some tips which may make going back to school easy as

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  1. Attend  an Open House  When the school  has scheduled a open house, go to it and take the prospective student too. This helps parents meet the teacher(s)  who will  be  teaching their children. He/ She can see where their classroom will be located and get acclimated to the environment.
  2. Create a  Social Story. Social Stories are a good visual and written description of  the events that will happen. This will help him / her know what t will happen the day before and for the rest of the week depending on the child’s need. This is also helpful to include a schedule. Be consistent with this.
  3. Communication. I cannot stress this enough.  Communicate, Communicate COMMUNICATE. It makes a world of difference. Teachers and parents play an intricate role in the child’s life. Deciding how the  two parties will communicate is also a huge part. Whether this will be  communication will  via E-mail / telephone .It also needs to be decided  if this will be on a daily or weekly basis. Or whether they communicate via the child(ren) academic planner where both parties need to initial it  each day. Whatever system will be used needs to be consistent.

Here is to a productive academic year.

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