*Encouragement is the best medicine to give someone. If I were to pick any gift to have in helping others, that would be the one*

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Teaching Children with Asperger’s about Personal Space


I'm really having a tough time getting my 8yr old w/ Aspergers to keep his hands OFF everyone. I explain and remind a zillion times a day. Ideas?

My thoughts:

Well, I'll give you an idea that works for others but didn't work for my son all the time. I explained that we should keep an arms length apart. To imagine that everyone has a bubble around them and we don't want to pop that bubble. So then he would walk around with his arms in front up him "popping people's bubble". I laugh every time I picture him doing it. BUT, it might help your child if you want to try since it's worked for others. 

If you'd like to join in the discussion on Facebook you can leave a comment THERE or you are welcome to comment here in the comments below. 

I also did some research and found this from Prospering with Aspergers and it mentions in the book , shown on the left Teaching Children With Aspergers About Personal Space: Heres How,  Dr. Jed E. Baker provides a helpful exercise called:

“Don’t Be a Space Invader.”
The concept itself is pretty easy to teach. Draw a picture of two stick figures. The rule is, “Stand at least an arm’s length away.”
The second statement is, “Don’t Get Too Close.”
Here are some suggested activities to help teach this activity:
1. Role-play with the student a situation in which s/he must change her/his personal space.
You may want to enlist the help of another student or a sibling as an outside observer. The observer’s task is to say when the two actors (yourself and the child with aspergers) get too close, and when they are the right distance from each other.
People can switch roles. Here are some other situations to role play the proper personal space distance:
a) Greeting others the first time you see them, and saying goodbye when you leave.
b) Standing in line at school or in public (for example, at a movie, or at a store).
c) Interrupting someone to ask a question about what was said, or to ask permission to do something.
d) Riding public transportation (for example, not sitting too or standing too close to others)
e) Requesting something from someone (asking for a snack someone else is holding, or asking to play with someone’s game or toy).
f) Using a public restroom (for example, not using the urinal right next to another person if there are others available further away)..
2. Give the student incentives to practice the skill.
Tell the student you are going to test his/her ability to stay at least an arm’s length away. Then, at random times, get too close to him/her at different times, and see if s/he catches on.
3. Correct inappropriate distance when it happens.
Tell the student, “Don’t be a space invader because it will make others uncomfortable, and then they won’t want to play with you. Keep an arm’s length away.”
4. Provide rewards for when the children get it right, keeping appropriate distance:
a) Give verbal praise for correct or partially correct distance.
b) Consider giving tokens, pennies, or points for times during the day in which the child maintained an appropriate distance from others. When the child builds up a certain number of points (5 tokens, for example), give a special reward, such as snack, stickers, or privileges to play a special game.
A child with Aspergers can be given ‘homework’ of maintaining appropriate distance. Here are some good homework questions:
Who will I try this with?
What happened?
How did I do?

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