St. John's Wellbeing team’s autism tip of the month

St. John’s was awarded with Autism Accreditation by the National Autistic Society (NAS) in 2017. St. John’s Wellbeing department includes speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, positive behaviour support, psychology, and nursing. We work closely with our education and residential departments to support our learners’ skills development in the NAS’s four focus areas of:

  • differences in social communication and interaction
  • self-reliance and problem-solving
  • sensory experiences
  • emotional wellbeing.

Each month, the Wellbeing team will be providing an autism tip in relation to one of the above areas. We hope these will be useful for parents and carers, as well as other professionals. Please note that good autism practice applies to all of our learners, whether or not they have a diagnosis of autism.

Autism tip of the month – balancing comments and questions

April 2022

To support social communication and interaction

It can be tempting to ask lots of questions but this can be
demanding for someone with attention difficulties or challenges with
understanding and using language.

Instead, try balancing four comments to one question asked. For example: 

  • I went to the beach at the weekend
  • It was cold and windy
  • I wore my new coat
  • I had a cup of tea
  • I wonder what you did at the weekend?

March 2022

By pushing or pressing our hands together, we create proprioceptive (deep pressure) feedback in our muscles and joints which has a calming effect on our sensory systems.  It creates a greater sense of body awareness and results in feeling more grounded and relaxed.

For someone with sensory processing difficulties, this can be a simple and effective way of reducing anxiety and expelling some energy. We’ve been modelling this with our learners and young people recently. 

The NAS has some great information on differences in autism sensory processing here.

January 2022

Thank you to Karla Brazel (Occupational Therapist) for January’s autism tip which relates to sensory experiences and specifically auditory sensitivity.  

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