The biggest problem that the educators face is breaking the ice with a child on the Spectrum. Getting a child to be interested in what you are doing is the first step towards helping him open up to the world outside of his cocoon. Many a times, educators come to me saying, whatever we have tried, this child doesn’t seem to be liking or has any interest whatsoever, so how to take the first step.
The key to get a child out of his STIM or self stimulatory behavior and give you the first glance is to first get into his STIM with him. Simply saying, “look at me” and trying to get his attention will not work, for sure. The kid has no obligation to look at you or to listen to you , however, if u seem to be interested in his world, and are having fun doing what he is doing, chances are he might like to spin the coin with you, or roll his fingers with you. Once a kid begins to accept you in his world, slowly move on to turn taking, like, you can say, “ok, so now I will spin the coin, then you do”, get the concept of “waiting” in his system. Infuse a lot of happy energy and excitement whenever you happen to meet the child. The excitement in your tone and body language will automatically attune him towards you. Very gradually, introduce five more variants, like a light and sound toy, playing interestingly with it, or a slime or any other toy that you feel the kid might like to give a second look to. Chances are, he might disregard all 5 things kept in front of him by you, so don’t get disheartened if that happens. Try another 5, and another 5, something, the kid is going to look upto. That is your starting point. Have at least 6-7 such like variants ready and handy. The kid will by now, begin to look at you as an interesting person with interesting things that he likes to explore. This is, the beginning of instructional control. When the kid wants another one of his favourite toys from your variants, say “first this , then that” and push a worksheet or a task gently forward that you had planned for the child. Do not budge from your resolve if the kid cries or throws a tantrum, saying “first this, then that”. Slowly, the kid will understand that the only way he can reach your rich reservoir of his favorite toys is by listening to you. This way instructional control will set in. Encourage hugely upon completion of a given task. Also doing social stories with visual clues alongside such as, when in class, I listen to my teacher will help the child in internalizing the concept of listening to ones teacher irrespective of who his teacher is. The process takes time but with consistent effort, it is pretty much achievable.