- worry that your child will bolt or run off?
- have to chase after your child constantly to keep him safe?
- have a hard time walking through grocery stores or your neighborhood?
Many autism families have these problems. As a result we often find ourselves isolated at home and fearful of going beyond the fenced-in yard.
How nice it would be if our children could walk safely next to us, stop at corners and walk across the street on signal. I taught these skills to my nonverbal son with severe autism. TAGteach (Teaching with Acoustical Guidance) made this possible. You can teach these skills to your child too. Here’s how to do it, literally, one step at a time.
Look before you leap
It’s helpful to assess your child before teaching a new skill. To assess your child’s walking and running behaviors, download the free Child Observation Form or simply make notes on a sheet of paper. Take your child to a safe area, like the fenced-in yard, and spend five minutes observing his walking and running behavior.
Observe the legs and feet. How many steps does your child take in the same direction? Does he alternate walking, running or hopping? Does he alternate running quickly with running slowly? How frequently does he change direction? What are the walking problems you commonly encounter outside on the street or in a store? Describe the physical movements your child makes with legs and feet.