A set of ideas aimed at understanding the development of brain and cognitive ability of children. Of every opportunity that arises at every moment of everyday to foster the development of children, increasing their linguistic abilities, motor, sensory and intellectual.

Robotization of human feelings and expressions to help people with ASD

Is this the end of all studies and all methodologies developed over time in the ecology of learning and socialization?

A Robot to teach autistic children to communicate...

Using a robot to teach humans to communicate may seem strange, but experts at the University of Hertfordshire are convinced that it is an asset to the learning of autistic children. The ability to simulate the expression of basic emotions, repeatedly and predictably, can provide good learning opportunities.

Kaspar is a robot with the size and appearance of a child, developed by a group of roboticists at the University of Hertfordshire. The reason for their existence are autistic children, was established to encourage the development of social skills and communication in autism, since these are the main difficulties of the people affected by the disruption of behavior.

The team will cover the doll with artificial skin and developing technology that allows the robot to interpret and respond to tactile stimuli. The aim is to make it able to respond to children in order to encourage behavior "socially appropriate" and discourage others. That is, the new Kaspar will be able to tell if your child is being very aggressive and respond appropriately. 

In my humble opinion
"You can never think of replacing learning with real people because no robot is able to simulate the quality of human interaction."

Structured teaching units for students with autism spectrum disorders


What are Structured Teaching Units

They are not, in any situation, plus a school class. All students have a reference attending class, taking advantage of Structured Teaching Units as a teaching resource of specialized schools or school clusters. These are a response to students with specific educational autism spectrum disorders and can be created at any level.

The teaching is structured in one of the most important aspects of teaching TEACCH model. The TEACCH model was the result of a research project which aimed to teach parents behavioral techniques and methods of special education to respond to the needs of children with autism. The philosophy of this model's main goal is to help the child with ASD to grow and improve their performance and adaptive capacities in order to achieve maximum independence throughout life. This model is flexible enough to suit the way you think and learn from these children / young people and allows the teacher to find the most appropriate strategies to meet the needs of each.
Through structured teaching is possible:
- Provide a clear and objective information of the routines;
- Maintain a calm and predictable;
- Meet the student's sensitivity to sensory stimuli;
- Propose daily tasks that the student is able to perform;
- Promoting autonomy.

Physical Structure
The physical structure is how to organize and present environment of space or teaching / learning. This should be structured so visually clear, with well defined borders and areas, allowing the student to obtain information and organize autonomously as possible, is essential for ensuring stability and foster learning.
The clear delineation of the different areas helps the student with ASD to better understand their environment and the relationship between the events, allowing you to more easily understand what is expected to hold in each of the spaces.

1 - transition area
2 - meeting
3 - learn
4 - work
5 - play
6 - working group
7 - computer

In Structured Teaching Unit can be created different areas. The existing space and the needs of students are at the base of the structure of space and the creation of which is deemed necessary.

Organisation of Time

The time organizes time and simultaneously is an effective support for communication and for the internalization of concepts. It is a way to provide students with the notion of sequence, showing you what will perform throughout the day, helping you in anticipation and prediction.

The time is made ​​on the basis of each student and can be adapted to various levels of functionality. Regardless of the functional level of each child / youth with ASD, the written word must be present at the times.

While the time inform the student about the sequence of activities that will occur throughout the day, the work plan indicates the tasks that has to perform in a given area. Must be adapted to the functional level of each student and presented from top to bottom or left to right, consisting of a reassuring routine which allows to acquire the notion of beginning middle and end.

Organization Area
The Transition Area is the amount where are the individual time that will guide the daily activities of each student. The visual cues provide information about where, when and what to do during the day or part of the day. You can plan a predictable way the many changes that occur throughout the day, helping students to overcome resistance to change or changes in routine, even in situations that may seem minor. Give students the notion of temporal sequence, facilitates the understanding of verbal orders, helps reduce behavior problems and develop autonomy.

The Learning Area is the area of ​​individualized instruction, clean distracter stimuli, which develops attention and concentration, while new skills and tasks are consolidated and worked with the student. Strategies are used demonstration, visual or verbal cues, physical assistance, positive reinforcement and also activities that meet the interests of the student.
The work plan should be visible (in the table) and the symbols that are presented on the boards of the assigned tasks, previously organized.

It is the area in which the student intends to perform activities independently learned. Each student must have their area of ​​work. Again, there is a work plan that transmits visual information to the student about what to do and what the sequence (each tray must correspond to a task with all the material necessary for its realization).

This is an area designed to develop activities, ensuring the planning and structure, promote communication and social interaction. The meeting may take place at various times of day, since all or most students are in the unit.

It is the area in which the entire group can work together to develop. Priority is given to the development of expressive activities such as music, arts and other, group games.

It is the place for:
- learn to relax;
- to short waiting times;
- allow esteriotipia;
- learn to play (in the presence of adult);
- working symbolic play.

This area can be used independently, with help, or in partnership, learning to wait, to give time and run a shared activity.

ASD - Help to connect socially

A growing number of individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are now educated in mainstream settings. The difficulties they have in relation to communication, social interaction and flexibility of thought can create problems for them in a school environment where sometimes their needs are not fully understood. A strong reaction to sensory stimulation can also make school a very stressful place. It is essential therefore that all school staff are aware of these needs in order to alleviate stress and maximize learning potential.

Many children with autism love to run, pick up objects, and move in the outside environment, although they fixate on these objects, reflections of light, shapes, and motions. The therapist or family member can use that interest to help the child connect socially.

First Contact
In phase one, a child with autism may rock back and forth, singing endlessly, chanting rhythms, humming, watching lights, following images and reflections in the outside environment. In order to avoid eye contact and interactions with others, a child with autism may pace around the playground, spin in circles, and collect objects and place them in a row or nearby; he allows no one to touch them. The phase one child lacks the ability to use language to engage and recruit others, produces no language in full sentences to express ideas and emotions, and uses objects to manipulate without the intention of play with others. He cannot sequence ideas to create a narrative form that tells a story in play. He is isolated in a limited, nonsocial world with little access to the world of relationships. 

Strategy 1 : Experience What the Child Experiences 
Join the child in his own experience by listening to and echoing his sounds, as well as those in the environment. Move closer to him in a calm, playful way, making comments about any actions or sounds in the situation. Sometimes have to move right next to the child and offer a toy or an object like a feather. If he seems anxious, sings repetitively, or exhibits negative behaviors like screaming, may have to wait to offer him an object. At other times need to remain more distant and stay silent before attempting to move near the child. In order for him to experience the feeling of being with another person, observe and wait, watching his gestures and sounds, even if he turns away.

Strategy 2 : Move into the Child’s Play Space 
A typical child will create a space where he wants to play, move objects, and interact with a peer. The typical child will move his body so that he faces the other child, places his objects in the center or near the center of his play area, and begins play actions toward the other child, or toward the main object of interest. The play space is the area that surrounds the two children and defines where they’ll play. One child might move a toy horse toward a barn that he places in the center of the space between himself and his peer.
While a typical child creates this play space, a child with autism will have no idea how to define this area, or where it begins or ends to include others. The child with autism may have sensory issues, may overreact to sounds and to visual stimuli, and become confused in a disorganized area. In contrast to the typical child, his play space may consist of one small area surrounding him; it includes no one else. He will protest if anyone gets too close to him or moves his toys; he doesn’t have the concept of how to create a place to play with another child.
One way for this play space to include others is to place a small rug or mat in front of the child, and to set up simple objects that may interest the child. Since children with autism are visual learners, the visual space needs to be clear and not too busy with too many objects only one or two objects of high interest. Another way to introduce a more flexible play area is to enter his limited play space gradually.
Use an object that is identical to the child’s object, playing with actions near the child and slowly moving the object closer to him. This act of moving into a play space is complex and takes time; however, it is the beginning of helping the child join and feel the presence of another person. This technique is more effective than taking a child’s toy away, which usually causes screaming and tantrums. However, in some cases, touching the object or asking for it is another way to engage with an isolated child who refuses to acknowledge another’s presence.

Strategy 3 : Listen to Each Detail of the Parents’Stories
Parents’ descriptions of their child’s behavior often gives opportunity to support them as they begin the long and difficult intervention process.
By listening the description of his son’s behavior:
- screaming when someone comes near him, hoarding his trains -
Hears both his desperate need to relate to his child and child’s efforts to control and preserve his comforting environment in the corner. Understand and openly acknowledge this tension between the father and the son, joining him as he learns how to support the child.
The parents become the most important advocate and teacher for their child, since they are with their child more than any specialist. Parents often become experts on the methods and they know what methods work with their child. They need respect and support in this journey of helping their child. The progress of the child and the development of the relationship motivate parents to keep working. Sometimes the progress is slow and the therapist needs to support them during these times of discouragement. There will be times of frustration and times when a parent doesn’t understand what to do next. The therapist has to be honest about the progress, explain the goals, and support the parents in every session After see that the parents realize that we understand their frustrations and disappointment in their child, work on finding the best way to interrupt the child’s fixations on certain agendas, patterns of play, and particular objects. We do this work together.

Strategy 4 : Interrupt the Child's Fixed Patterns of Play
If a child continues to cry, have tantrums, and refuses to connect, or if he resists any contact, then try to be sensitive to the basic behavioral principles of rewarding the positive behavior and ignoring the negative. When prompting a child with sounds and words to get him to imitate, use a reinforcement such as a smile or gesture of approval to the child only if he is just beginning to whine or point or fuss about not getting an object, or if he doesn’t have the word or the sound in his vocabulary for the particular situation. In this case, engage in sound play with positive gestures and play with the child.
However, in some cases, if the child is about to go into a full tantrum or meltdown, must either leave the child alone or wait and ignore the behavior until he is quiet. Even if the child is only quiet for a few seconds, may reward him with praise or a positive word at that moment. try to find the delicate balance between giving the child a word or some positive sound play when he needs it, and ignoring behaviors that are completely inappropriate. As the parents watch, they learn when to reward the child with praise. Once parents see a tiny successful response from their child, they begin to have hope. They join us and we collaborate. Teach them to observe the child’s gestures (such as moving an object with intention); body language (such as moving closer to someone); or sound production (such as giggling) - so that they know whether their child wants to play.

Strategy 5 : Help the Child to Feel the Presence of Others by Using the Environment


Who is it for? Early Intervention (EI) is intended to pre-school children, showing changes in their psychomotor development or are in situations of high risk to have. A child is at risk when exposed to situations of biological or environmental, that can interfere with normal development.
Examples of biological risk factors are prematurity and growth retardation intrauterine asphyxia or infections that occur especially during childbirth or during the first days of birth. Poverty, low social / cultural and family psychopathology, are examples of environmental situations that put children at risk, are associated with a slower development and therefore require EI.

Why intervene early?  
There are several reasons to intervene as soon as possible:

1. It is known that the development and human behavior can be changed by environmental influences, positive and negative. Genes and environment interact dynamically during development, providing both power and growth potential, as well as risk and dysfunction. Hence the importance of a healthy and stimulating environment.

2. The scientific research suggests a neurobiological basis for EI, related to the so-called "plasticity of the nervous system," in which the brain behaves more "malleable" and is more susceptible to learning when stimulated. The younger a child is most able to respond positively to stimulation.

3. Risk factors and disabilities, have the potential to exacerbate or lead to the onset of secondary disabilities. A hearing not corrected, will lead to a delay in speech and language that can become irreversible even if the deafness is corrected later.

4. Parents of children with or at risk, may need professional support to establish the appropriate parenting skills. No one is truly prepared to have a child with problems and this situation is usually needed help.

What is Early Intervention?

In practice EI is the provision of services directed to children and families, with the aim of reducing the effects of risk factors or developmentally disabled child. The EI can thus be better when a remedy or preventive development problem when prevents or reduces the occurrence effect.

EI services to be provided by interdisciplinary teams with professionals from education, health and social service, in order to meet the range of problems these children and families present.
The type of support that a healthy child, who lives in a family where the mother is illiterate and the father is an alcoholic needs is understandably different from that is suitable for a child with a severe disability, the daughter of parents without socio-economic problems.

Other important aspects to take into account that the EI is provided in accordance with "best practices" are: 

Intervention "family-centered."  
EI services should not be directed solely to the child and its problems. In young children, it only makes sense that the work is done with the family in order to engage and to improve their skills to deal with your child.

Intervention of "community base"
Whenever possible, the EI should be provided by teams working in the community as opposed to EI working in large centers, where parents have to travel to obtain services. This shift may nevertheless be necessary for diagnostic or therapeutic interventions more sophisticated. Make a test or go to a query development or genetics, for example.

EI in "natural settings".
Shall be provided in areas where children are usually (kindergartens, nurseries, childminders or home) and not in Special Education Institutions. Children with special needs have the right to make their learning integrated into non-segregated environments.

The Early Intervention Work?
After years of research, evidence, either quantitative or qualitative, that EI not only accelerates and enhances a child's development but also improves family functioning and reduces the cost of society with special education and other rehabilitative services. The first EI programs, only worried about the child's development and acted perspective medical therapy.
Currently, they have a more social approach. They are now also considered important objectives of the EI, improving the knowledge and the autonomy of families, in order to deal with the problems of their children.

Energy Intense and Aggressive Behaviors?

When parents describe the child as "aggressive" they mean that she hits, bites, scratches, pinches, pulls hair, spit in the face of the people, give clicks, kicks, and generally use physical force. This term is also used if the child bite his own hand, hitting his head and other self-damaging activities.

In the dictionary "Aggressive" is defined as:
'Characterized by or tending to offensive attacks, invasions, etc. without cause or threat militancy: aggressive acts against a neighboring country.'

So when we use this word to describe children's behavior we are saying that she is attacking us. When she is hurting herself believe that she is attacking itself for no reason?

Violent 'is another word used to describe behaviors like those described above. Often, parents had to seek my help that say things like "My son is becoming violent," or professionals who said they were working with "a violent child."
'Violent' is defined as:
"Extremely strong actions intended to harm people or are likely to cause damage, or involve the use of force to injure or attack. "

When we call for violent children, we suggest that they intend to hurt us. For me, the word violent, evoking images of death and war, not something you give to a child with autism.

We believe they are trying to look after themselves in the only way they know. Do not label this behavior as "aggressive" or "violent", call it "intense energy". The label "intense energy" has none of the trials associated with the words "aggressive" or "violent" and more accurately describes the situation that is happening.

Below are two of the most common reasons for your child to have an intense energy. Understanding why will help you to apply the most effective strategies to minimize the intense energy of the child, as well as new thoughts and beliefs that you can take to help himself to feel more comfortable with this aspect of their the child.

Reason # 1 - Sensory Challenges
We know that the sensory system of our children has many challenges. They may have energy that is being created within them and they do not know to release properly. When we have excess energy in our bodies do some exercise to help free her, autistic children do not seem to realize what is happening to your body and therefore create unique and interesting ways to release that energy. They bite, pinch, squeeze people with determination and strength. The action of biting or nipping actually releases this energy, helping them to organize themselves physically.

1. Take an object like a bouncy ball or a towel.
 -> Bite it. Yes, that's right. Crave teeth in it with all your might.
 -> Do 3 times, each time for 20 seconds.

2. Join hands and press them again, not without enthusiasm, but with all his might. 

-> Do 3 times, each time for 20 seconds.

3. Write on paper how you felt while doing this. 

What I feel and what people say is a relief to feel any tension you have. It feels good to do that! It helps our body. Our children do it for the same reasons. Although the energy they need to release its body is larger than ours. The trick is to help the child to use something to release the energy that is not someone else.They can also give themselves a sensory stimulus banging his head, biting the soft part of the thumbs, beating thighs or feet. In this case, we see children who act as if they were their own occupational therapist, trying to help balance its own sensory system. 

What are the signs? 
You may notice that the child of the following behavior, even before it hit you or pinch you, or you may see an increase of the following behaviors over a period of about 30 minutes before reaching its intense energy.
-> Jump intensely
-> Making voltage body parts, for example, by as much tension on the face which comes to shaking for a while.
-> Crash on any part of the body more vigorously by hand or an object. 
-> Running around the house or room with an enormous energy. 
-> Crying sounds louder than usual. 
-> Becoming more intense and quick to recite excerpts from movies or books. 
-> Asking you questions fired at you, when you know that she knows the answer. 
-> Enter a standard against which asks for something, you give him and the child says no, then back to ask the same thing and when you give back to give her back to say no, and so on. 

If you are unsure of what your child does in the earlier period to have intense energy, become a detective, always walk with a notebook and start writing what you see. Write down what your child does before having intense energy will give you important clues about why they are doing this. Once we know why we can apply the most useful strategy to help her. We want to treat the underlying cause of the intense energy of the child and not just manage the symptoms. 

What to do? 
The idea is to give them the sensory stimulus that they are looking all day, so as not to create a moment that they will seek from us using the "Intense Energy". 

You can do so by: 
-> Start to shake hands, feet and head of the child. 
-> Give it a bear hug, sitting behind the child and involving the arms and legs with the child so that you can make a real tight body. 
-> Roll a large ball care about your child, this is a useful way to give a "bear hug" to an older child or older. 
-> Encourage the child to jump on the trampoline. 
-> For a child older than 14 years, I suggest you make sure that it makes a lot of exercise, like swimming, running, go hiking, jumping on a big trampoline, something they strive same. Do this three times a week. 
You can do any of the above suggestions. Choose the one that you think your child will enjoy most. While doing the first 3 suggestions, should experience the intensity that offers Hurso hugs, squeeze or roll the bag therapy. Increase pressure slowly while watching to make sure that your child is like. My experience is that children who are using the energy due to their intense sensory needs, will enjoy more pressure. 

How to respond to the child when they hit because of this?1. Consider the following thoughts: 
-> The child is hitting me in an attempt to take care of your sensory sitema. 
-> It means nothing about love or respect you have for me. 
-> I can help the child, giving you more sensory stimuli to help balance the body.These thoughts will help you preparer to answer in a calm, peaceful and loving.

2. Squeeze her hands, head and jaw. 
-> If your child is hitting you with his head, offer to shake his head ... if it is to pinch him, offer to shake hands with him ... if she's biting you, offer to put pressure on the jaw line. 
-> Explain that she does not have to bite, pinch or hit their head, and you would be happy to tighten whenever she wants.Now that you know the warning signs, you should be able to give the child the sensory stimulus that it seeks before it reaches the state of hitting, biting or nipping. Take his hand before it gets to you to pressure!


-> When I am working with kids who like to hit, usually as when they hug me pierce my teeth in my shoulder, I always have a little chew toy in my pocket to be able to offer them, or put pillows under t -shirt to protect the shoulders. 
-> If your child can bite you try to move towards the bite and not move away. For example, if your child is biting his arm, push the arm to the bite, you pull your arm will hurt you more. Use your thumb and forefinger and push the two sides of the jaw line of the child, this will not hurt her and she will instantly open the good.

Hitting, biting, give crackling, spitting, pinching, punching, hitting his head, biting themselves to themselves, may be just your child to tell you that they want something. May be the case of a child who is not verbal and a child who is highly verbal. If they believe that people will give them things faster if they knock on people or in themselves, then they will want to click on "fast forward" by doing this. 

What are the signs? 
-> Nip / bite / hit / give punches right after you tell them they can not have anything. 
-> Are having trouble making himself understood. 
-> Beat in different games, usually in a disorderly way, this may be the way the child re-start the game with you.What happens is that people around will start to move faster and "see" better when they hit the adultode suddenly becomes more responsive because they want to prevent the child from her gown. The child may start thinking - "ok, so the way I get more of what I want is to hit, then everyone tries to understand me better." At this point it is important not only that you be aware of when the child is to use energy intense, but also to what YOU do is rem answer to that.  

Try this exercise: 
Answer the following questions in the situation that responds to injury of their child when she wants something or has a problem in communicating what you want. 
-> How is your body reacting? Your heart is beating faster? His hands began to sweat? 
-> How are you feeling? Upset? Sad? Scared? Content? 
-> How do you move? Faster? Slower?
 -> Give the child the object or activity that she is asking?
 -> If you do not realize what she wants, try to offer you different things?So start watching other familiars to interact with your child, how they respond when the child hits them.  
Ask the school or where the child does care how they respond when the child hits them.If your child is hitting something you want to communicate is because someone somewhere is responding more quickly to this type of communication. 

What to do?1. Consider the following thoughts 
-> My child is smart! You are trying to get what you want as quickly as possible.
-> I know what to do. Can I help my child, moving slowly and explaining that I can not see it when it hits me.

2. Move slowly. 

This is very important. Wanting to show children that any form of intense energy will not help them get what they want faster, in fact, this will cause people to slow down. 

3. Explain 
Tell the child does not understand what she wants when she hits him. Also explain that even if she hit, it will not change the situation and you will not do / give what she wants. 

4. Out of the way and give you an alternative. 
Now you know why the child behaves in this way, prepare yourself. If the child wants something and the answer is no:
 -> Please be aware that it can hit you. 
-> Out of the way so she can not reach with their hands, that will give you time to protect himself, taking the child's hands and squeezing them, or offering anything for her biting or hitting, such as a ball or drum.
 -> If your child or adult is taller than you, always have a large therapy ball or a large cushion available, to put between you and the child to protect themselves. Believe that you are strong and keep it in place with all its determination and do not forget. 

5. Do not give your child what led her to bite him. 
This is very important! You want to help the child realize that any kind of intense energy will make her have what you want. This is a very important capability that is teaching the child, it will be socially useful in the following years. 
If you want to give the child what led her to bite you, make sure that asks you to communicate in a different form before giving it. Ask him to point or use an approximation of the word or even plavra. Celebrate your child for doing so and make sure that explains that is giving her what she wants because she communicated differently and not because it hit.

6. Be Persistent and Consistent. 
Do you have a story to move more quickly when the child hits you, so take some time until the child realize that this is not how you respond. Continue to respond in the way as indicated above until the child realize the idea. If you are taking longer than 2 weeks for the child to change this behavior, make sure you follow all the steps above. Maybe you missed an important step? If not, the more likely is that someone other than you, is to respond quickly. Be a detective and find out who this person is.