Pure Soul Learning Foundation in conjunction with Patrick Speech and Languages Centre held another series of their monthly training programme on Management of Childrenwith Autism Spectrum Disorder; and Other Related Developmental Challenges on 26th of August, 2017.

The topic for the August training was “Teaching Self-Help Skills”. The traininginvolved mind-blowing discussions on how we can address challenging issues on self-help skills. The participants of this programme included Parents, teachers and therapists.

The training started by 10:30 am with a welcome address by Miss Christy Ejenavi, followed by an introduction of the facilitator, Miss Adelola Edema, a Behaviour therapist.

The facilitator introduced the topic of the training by explaining what self-help skills is all about, the reasons why one needs to teach self-help skills and what it entails to carry out the process. These are skills that a person needs on a daily basis to live independently. They include skills like; eating, bathing, grooming, dressing and undressing, using the toilet, etc.When teaching a child to do self-help skills, one need to know what he/she expects of a typical child of the same age, that child’s skill level, and how to provide clear and simple instructions about how to do a task. One needs to also provide encouragement that is positive and specific as that will go a long way to promote the success of teaching self-help skills.Sometimes, we make the mistake of telling children what not to do or what they did wrong, such as, ‘Stop splashing the water’. However, it’s more effective to clearly say, ‘All done washing now it’s time to turn off the water’.

Using different materials to demonstrate, Adelola Edema explained to parents, different skills that should be built in their children and materials that can be used to build the skills, in order to teach them self-help skills. Examples of such skills are fine and gross motor skills, object manipulation, bilateral coordination, etc.

Miss Edema also talked about teaching self-help skills to teenagers and adults with autism or related disorders. Self-help skills for this category includes grooming, shopping, taking the bus, driving and vocational skills.

She explained to parents that it is important to teach their children self-help skills and allow them practice what they are learning, so that they can be independent.

She also gave some helpful tips that parents can imbibe such as, breaking down the routine into simple steps and state each step one at a time with positive and clearly stated directions.She also encouraged parents to further clarify each step; one can take a photo of each step in the routine and post it where the routine takes place. For instance, an activity with hand washing, one can post photos above the sink. As you take one step at a time, show the child the photograph to illustrate what needs to be done.

She advised the participants to have small goals while trying to achieve bigger goals. And they should record as each goal is met. She also advised them to be patient with the child, while they teach self-help skills.

During the interactive session, all the participants joyfully participated, asking questions and sharing their experiences in raising independent children on the autism spectrum.

Refreshments were served and a group photograph was taken. The participants exchanged some ideas and bid themselves farewell.