Better Bedtime Reading for Your Asperger’s Child

The Challenges of Bed Time Stories with an Asperger’s Child

If your child has Asperger’s Syndrome, reading him or her a bed time story may be more challenging than you expected. Instead of listening carefully at story time, your Asperger’s child may fidget, walk away or look inattentive. To have a successful and rewarding reading experience with your Asperger’s child, you’ll want to focus on your child’s needs and foster a relaxing reading environment.

To get started, learn how Asperger’s syndrome impacts your child’s ability to focus and concentrate during family reading time. Next, create the right environment so your Asperger’s child will get the most out of story time. Finally, use story time as a tool to help your Asperger’s child practice his or her social skills.

Consider how Asperger’s Impacts Your Child at Story Time

Before sitting down to read stories to your Asperger’s child, spend some time thinking about his or her particular symptoms. Because Asperger’s can appear in a variety of combinations and degrees of severity, your child may have different behaviors, skills and abilities than other Asperger’s children. Understanding your child’s behaviors is the first step to making reading time more fun.

Create Structure

Many children with Asperger’s syndrome demand rigid routines. If your child thrives on structure, you’ll need to set a precise time for bed time stories and stick to it. Otherwise, a disruption in schedule may derail your child. For example, if you read stories before brushing teeth one night and move it to after the next, your Asperger’s child won’t be able to focus on enjoying the book because he or she will be too upset about the change in schedule.

Remove Distractions

Children with Asperger’s syndrome may also get distracted by background noise, unpleasant textures or harsh lighting to a greater degree than their peers. To help your Asperger’s child benefit from story time, you’ll want to remove distractions. Pick a quiet rom. Turn off the television and radio, and find a comfortable seat. Pay attention to texture. If your child complains that the chair you’ve chosen for story time feels scratchy, find a better spot. Providing a distraction free environment will help your Asperger’s child focus and listen.

Dealing with Fidgeting, Rocking or Wandering

Some children with Asperger’s syndrome can’t sit still. Your Asperger’s child may fidget, rock, or move around the room while you’re reading. If possible, ignore these actions and keep reading. If you can’t ignore the actions, give your child a small squeezable toy or sensory object to touch and feel. Having something to hold may help disperse child’s pent up energy.

Don’t be surprised if your Asperger’s child decides to walk around the room instead of sitting beside you to read. It doesn’t mean your child isn’t listening. Instead, it may mean that your child concentrates better when in motion. If that happens, let it go. Just pause occasionally to see if your child is still listening and then continue with the story.

Curbing Impulsive Behavior

If your Asperger’s child tends to be impulsive, story time is a great opportunity to teach self-control. Explain to your child that he or she must wait until you give a signal before turning the pages in your book. Practice reading slowly and letting your child be the page-turner when the signal is given. This will help your Asperger’s child practice patience and restraint.

Practicing Social Skills

When your child has Asperger’s syndrome, you may have to help him or her learn social interactions that most people develop naturally. Reading time is a great opportunity to review these skills and help your child learn better social manners.

Since children with Asperger’s syndrome tend to be visual learners, you can reinforce socialization by asking your child to interpret pictures in your book. Ask your child to describe what the characters are doing and whether they are happy or sad. Spend time talking about characters and how they interact with each other. This will help your Asperger’s child better understand social interactions.

Just Read

Even though children with Asperger’s syndrome are autistic, in many ways they are very normal. Asperger’s children don’t usually show delay in language development and usually have average or above average intelligence. Sometimes, however, the symptoms associated with Asperger’s can impede your child’s ability to focus.

Reading together is a great way for you to connect with your Asperger’s child. If you understand your child’s needs, provide the right environment, and practice some essential skills, you can make reading time even better.

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