PT needs your help! 3yr Old with ASD Lacking Safety Awareness


We received this question from one of the school therapists in our community, she would like to hear your thoughts and experiences:

I am a physical therapist working in early intervention. One of my client is a 3 year old boy with ASD . Recently we noticed that if we take him to the park he is unaware of his surroundings. He will not avoid obstacles in his path and has no safety awareness. He actually nearly walk right over a boy on a scooter. Any suggestions on how to address his lack of safety awareness? He has come a long way in early intervention but he is aging out and will start school in September. Any thoughts would greatly be appreciated.

Thanks again Jacqueline PT

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One Response to PT needs your help! 3yr Old with ASD Lacking Safety Awareness

  1. Kathryn Biel says:

    This is a tough one, and I know safety awareness is a difficult concept to teach. I would start with a visual cue–maybe a red stop sign. Pair with the verbal support of “stop.” Then add another visual support, maybe a yellow sign with eyes on it and tell him to “look.” Then give him either a “wait” or a “go” visual prompt. This will obviously take a lot of repetition and practice to get the concept down. Start in a smaller setting, even inside, where safety isn’t as big of a concern to teach and then expand outside. Parents can carry over at home and use consistently when going out. Try putting his signs on a small ring so they’re easy to carry and flip to. Hope this helps!

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