I remember when I worked with my very first client- a young boy- with Autism. He had an Autism spectrum disorder called Asperger’s. He was not what I had expected. I was a young clinician- just starting my career in mental health as a community based therapist. I wish I could claim that I had a tremendous impact on this young man, but I cannot. I do know that I learned a great deal from him and continued to learn a great deal from other clients with Autism throughout the years. Some of the most challenging experiences I had as a therapist were with children with Autism, but they were also some of the most rewarding experiences ever. I continued to work in the mental health arena for over a decade. In that time, I learned a great deal about Autism. I also learned that I really don’t know that much at all about Autism. Every child is different, every family is different and as a therapist I always had to think creatively.
I remember with one family I worked with- I always say family because even though the child was my client- I truly worked with the whole family. I worked with Mom to come up with a behavior plan and also worked on flashcards to use with the client. I thought that I was being so creative and original. Little did I know that flashcards and “cue” cards can be an important component of Autism therapy. Since working with that family, I have learned much more about the treatment approaches. I am not a trained therapist in any behavioral approach for Autism. I worked with some clients throughout the years who have had Autism spectrum disorders. I am not an expert in Autism or the treatment of Autism. I have just been fortunate enough to experience how special they truly are in my behavioral health work.
I really tried to think creatively about doing an Autism Awareness Post. I had thought about doing a cookie puzzle piece cookie, but decided that I would be a rebel and do something different. So, instead I made cookie flashcards. Flashcards can be a component of therapy or treatment with a child with Autism, but I have learned that flashcards or “cue” cards can be an amazing tool with any kid. Cue cards can be incorporated into a chore chart. Cue cards can be placed on the mirror to remind a kid of the morning bathroom routine and cue cards can be used as visual reminder for many daily tasks and learning.
Here are a few cue cards I made.