There is much there has been said about the problems of screen time and autistic children
There have even been studies that claim autism is caused by screen time
( one of my friends calls a famous series of videos – as Baby Autism and not Baby Einstein)
We read that fire together wire together and that the neurons pathways being formed with too much screen time are not the right neural pathways ( this is the downside of neuroplasticity )
I know I myself have worried about this myself
However the stellar Danette's BOB will have some wonderful bloggers post on the whys and hows to set limits on media
So I will talk about a few other aspects around media in our lives and how DH and I think about it and limit setting
The first aspect is about how DH and I approach R's day
Our approach thinking about what we want his day to have – instead of thinking of what we don't want his day to have.
These are two very different approaches So for instance we want each day to have to have the following parts
- 1 part reading comprehension and conversation
- 1 part physical activity, sensory , outside time
- 1 part foundational physical ability ( ST/PT/OT )
- 1 part Floortime
The above is a very different way of thinking about the child's day, than an eliminiation perspective,( for example , simply thinking in terms of "no more than 2 hours in front of a screen")
Second , we do want him to have portion of downtime – whatever-he-wants-to-do-time ( honestly I feel this is a basic human right that well-meaning loving parents often dont think about this)
Fourth, we give him a reason to want to be in our shared world.
We entice him into the non-screen world.
Screen time IS addictive – but so is play - and social interaction ( yes , even for autistic kids )
And as long as we have the energy, we find many many ways to keep him in our shared world
The fifth aspect is how we use media as a way to connect with our child. Our Floor time psychologist observed us interacting with our son last month .
She observed that we initiated many interactions that he ignored.Her recommendation was that we need to build up a repertoire of things that get us a "wow" reaction from him .
These wow things are what we need to build interaction around
(One of the strongest findings in neuroplasticity, the science of how the brain change its structure and function in response to input, is that attention and emotion is almost magical in its ability to physically alter the brain and enlarge functional circuits.)
Not surprisingly many of these "wow" factors for R, are around media
And so I look for ways to use media to get a connection going.
And I find them
So for instance,I and R play with blocks when he watches Little Einsteins( a show ) - enacting the way in which the " little Totem pole" triumphs with the help of the Little Einsteins.
Finally,as I look to the future, I am very glad we live in a digital age.
Not just for me ( though the internet has been a huge boon for me - helping me reach moms, dads, professionals and methods - including Floortime - that I would never have had before )
But also for R .
I can see R connecting with other like minded people through social media - better than I see him connecting through "play dates".
I can see a career with computers
We are living in a digital age and its more for the better and less for the worse .
This post has been written for Danette's Wonderful Best of Best Bloggers to be published sometime in June