Distractions! What are they and can they be useful? The answer is YES! I use distractions as a tool to help me work with my children--to help them get their mind off of what they might be fixated upon to something else. A good distraction can interrupt a tantrum, a power struggle, or a fixation. How? It is simple. It is a flash of something "shiny" to pull their mind off the current issue.
As parents, educators, or professionals, have you ever "lost" your skills? I mean as a professional teacher and consultant with children on the Autism Spectrum, I have thousands of hours of training and practice in evidence based practices--I have skills. When I consult with teachers and at conferences, we talk about collecting the data, making the observations, and using our skills ALL THE TIME to help children. However, on this day with my daughter--I forgot my skills! I was the one FIXATED on the fact that we needed to get out of the car and lost my skills in the process. Has that ever happened to you?
In the video, Rosie and I have been in the van for a long time. It was summer in Texas and it was HOT! She did NOT want to get out of the car. She grabbed the emergency stash of cereal and was fixated on it, and she did not want to get out of the car. I was also fixated on the safety fact that we NEEDED to get out of the car, so I plunged in to make this happen with out Rosie throwing a fit: I gave instructions, I gave time to process, I did all of the things that I could think of ....and the heat was getting to me. Then suddenly, I REMEMBERED my skills!
Watch the video for the distraction and see how in a matter of seconds we solved the problem of getting out of the hot car. The Power of Distractions saved us. Let me know when it has saved you!