The Opposite Kids

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(Picture by Riley Woodall- enjoy!)


Today in Coffee Chat we talked about different ways to cope with your child beginning to limit his or her food. Children in their 2s and 3s have been coined the “opposite kids”— they want to do everything opposite of what you say. They are a totally different kind of bread. When kids are really young, their taste buds are very sensitive, and they begin to restrict their foods around 3-years-old. When you have a typical 3-year-old PLUS autism, it can be rough. So here’s a few things that Tracy Pierce Bender suggested trying.


1)   Train your child’s palate (rule of 11)

  • It takes 11 tastes before your palate is trained so work towards this goal. This helps the palate get use to something that is different.

2)   Little steps at a time

  • If you’re working on eating a whole muffin, try working on one piece of a muffin at a time.
  • 90% of this process is compliance. Once your child is compliant with eating one bite, begin to increase the amount of bites needed to receive the reinforcer.

3)   Pace yourself

  • Do one trial a day at first. Create a schedule for your child to follow. This shows your child what is expected and that there will be an end to this HORROR. ; )

4)   Make the reinforcer great.

  • You eat the grape, you get the whole box of yogurt covered raisins.

We also talked about doing ABA therapy with your child at home:

“My child is in his own world at home. He is more responsive at his therapeutic center. I want to give him his space, but I just can get him to respond to me at all when doing ABA therapy at home.”

  • Go to the Brent Woodall Foundation’s training sessions and ask the therapists to give you tips. Show the therapists how you work with your child at home and let them train you.
  • Yes, it is important to give your child his space, but if he is always in his own world, that begins to interfere with his learning.

How can I teach my child at home and be successful?

  • Sometimes kids look at you as their parent and not their teacher so it can be hard to give direction at home. Determining what is appropriate to work on at home is very important. Maybe the programs your child is working on at his or her therapeutic center are not right for the home environment. Ask your child’s case manager to help you gather programs and create a schedule for the home environment.
  • Observe your child’s therapy sessions with more than one therapist and ask the therapists to work on the programs your doing at home. Watching different people work with your child will give you a variety of ideas of things you can do yourself.

One parent: “Even in leisurely time, I’m still working with my child. Even when watching TV, I’ll be pointing things out to him, staying engaged and keeping up the conversation.”

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