April 2019 - Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month

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How To Organize Toys When Your Child Has Autism

World Autism Day was April 2nd and it kicked off an entire month dedicated to spreading awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder.  My name is Sidney Young and I’ve been a Professional Organizer for 20 years, I wanted to share my organizational tips to help families with children on the spectrum.

Creating an organized structure is important for children.  They thrive on the predictability that routines bring. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (“ASD”) can especially benefit from living in a well-arranged home.  Knowing what to expect in an unpredictable world can bring life-changing comfort and calm to children with ASD.

Putting a predictable system in place at home can truly help promote focus and concentration for children with ASD.  Playrooms, teaching areas and general living spaces should be organized to help alleviate stress and anxiety.

These tips will help establish a starting point.

  • Put a system in place for school, work, toys, crafts and books.  This is the most important step of the entire process.

  • Systems allow you to have set locations for easy access.  Your child will find great comfort knowing where everything belongs, and where he can expect to find them the next time he wants to play with them.

  • Use clear plastic storage bins or fabric baskets with windows.  The object is for your child to be able to see what is inside, and for easy labeling.

  • Separate items into groups or categories (for instance, board games, learning tools, books etc.)

  • Label corresponding containers with a written label as well as a photograph of the content.

  • Color coding bins can also give helpful reminders of where things go.  Remember the clear visibility is important.

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Clean up requires more predictability and routine to ensure success and cooperation:

  • A great way is to play a 10 minute clean up game.

  • Set a timer to help motivate and get your child involved in the process of putting things back in their designated areas.

  • This will help them not only learn where the toys belongs, and he will practice accomplishing task with follow-through, as you execute the newly established routine.

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Creating structure can be daunting in the beginning.  But remember, these are goals you can achieve step-by-step.  A little organization goes a long way and all it takes is a commitment to create a system that works for your family.  Ask for help from friends and relatives. If truly takes a village- especially to organize a child’s room! These tips are just to get you started! Modify and adjust based on your child’s needs, age and ability-and enjoy the organization.

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