Thursday, July 11, 2013

Reminder Necklaces

Over the next week we will be doing a series of posts on different techniques we use to help our girls self regulate and reduce melt downs when we are out of the house. 
All children (on the spectrum and not) are different, so not every idea will work for your child and family. If not hopefully they may inspire an idea or technique that will.
Please feel free to share any ideas your family has for making daily routines and outings run  smoothly.
This very simple but effective idea is used by our family regularly and has saved a lot of melt downs and diffused a lot of anxiety. Like the majority of Autistic children both of our girls are visual learners, so these 'Reminder Necklaces' come in handy all the time and work much better than any verbal instructions we might give.

A few examples of how we use this system:

* drawing pictures of an end goal (a trip to the park, a sticker, a balloon from the toy shop etc...) and referring to it as a non verbal prompt. For example if we are going to the doctors office and then the play ground I will draw a picture of the play ground and put it inside the necklace as a reminder, "next we go to the park".
* to record a length of time while waiting. Bubble and Squeak both have a lot of trouble waiting their turn so we often use the reminder necklace in conjunction with a timer ("it will be your turn in ten minutes, lets set the timer").
* as a non verbal prompt when learning a new skill. For example when Squeak was transitioning from Pull Ups to using the toilet we used the necklace with a picture of a toilet on it as a reminder every hour. Using visual prompts in place of verbal ones is usually much more effective for children on the spectrum.
* as a count down. We will often use the whiteboard marker to draw or make marks on the necklace which can be rubbed off. For example if one of the girls is waiting in line and there are four people in front we would put four lines on the tag. The girls can then rub off a line each time they move up the queue and the necklace is a visual reminder of how much longer they have to wait.
* to hold small rewards, such as stickers. Our girls both love stickers so I will often cut out stickers and put them inside the necklaces with the backing paper facing out so the sticker inside is a 'surprise'. When a given task is completed they can open the necklace and get their sticker out. For other rewards (like a movie night or getting to choose dinner) I will write and draw a representation on a piece of paper, fold it up and put that inside.  
* as an id system. We often write our name, mobile number and an alert that our child has Autism on the necklaces when we take them out to crowded public places in case we ever become separated.


* an elastic necklace
(the girls chose these ones themselves and love to play with the wooden beads on them)
* key tags
(we bought a pack of 6 for $1 from our local dollar shop)

Making the Reminder Necklaces is a simple process of attaching the key tags using the slip loop.

The key tags can be opened up and pieces of paper inserted inside.
I use small post it notes which fold up to fit perfectly.

We use the necklace system in many different ways, including in conjunction with a timer.

1 comment:

  1. I've just shared your series of posts on my FB page, I think these are awesome and will be so helpful to other parents of children with special needs.