Adventures With Autism and Adopting a Healthier Lifestyle

Top 5: things that help

People often ask me what helps/has helped Emily the most. I thought I’d go ahead and rank the top five.

05. Aging. Simply “growing up” a bit has changed many of her behaviors. We can’t take the least bit of credit for that one. Ha ha.

04. PECS and visual schedules. This ties in with school, but we do it at home a bit, as well. You can say “potty break” until you’re blue in the face, but if you hand her a little card with an image of a toilet on it while you say it, she takes your hand and walks with you to the bathroom. That stuff is amazing!

*Note: PECS = Picture Exchange Communication System

03. “First… then” language. I don’t fully understand why it works so well, but it’s been a Godsend!

Telling Emily things like, “first bank, then store” has been a giant help and meltdown preventative. She used to get really upset about things like going to the bank (or any place that was a short visit), but if she is told about it in “first…then” language, she’s totally fine.

It’s like magic!!

02. Avoiding artificial colors. This is HUGE!! She stopped self-injury (such as head-banging, slapping her face and biting her arm) and raging almost immediately after we cut out food dyes. I finally realized there was an undeniable connection between Emily ingesting colors and her rage, so I stopped them.

No colors, no rage. Done and done.

I’ve actually listed them as an allergy in her medical records, since like, 90% of meds for kids contain them!

01. Hands down, the biggest help has been school/her teacher. Without a doubt, Emily has grown by leaps and bounds in Kindergarten! Her teacher is “craze amaze,” to quote the girl in the Jack in the Box spots.

In addition to the best teacher ever, the fact that she’s in an ASD-specific class with built-in therapies definitely makes a major difference!

Honorable mention: Probiotics. Healthier gut, happier Emily. 🙂


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