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Helping Young Children: Celebrating April as National Autism Awareness Month

Today, 60 children will be diagnosed with autism. In America, one in every 68 children has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Since the 1970s, the United States has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month to help raise awareness for what is now the fastest-growing developmental disability. Mazz Media celebrates April as National Autism Awareness Month and children with Autism Spectrum Disorders by featuring the Marvel and Friends DVD series.

Marvel and Friends: Sharing and Taking Turns focuses on the development of interactions with other children. Using real-life scenarios, the children in the video display effective ways to take turns and share. Animation and music videos are also added to engage and entertain children who might have limited attention spans.

Teachable Moments With Marvel and Friends

Marvel and Friends is appropriate for any young child struggling to learn these important social skills. By modeling everyday situations children encounter at school, in peer groups, and at home, these essential life skills are presented for all children who are in need of social instruction.

Animated hosts Marvel the dog, Mikey, and Mandy are the friendly companions who turn each scenario into a teachable moment. By using verbal and visual aids in the video, they give children the additional prompts they need when nonverbal cues are not enough.

Each situation is first modeled by young children and then replayed by Marvel and his friends. “Look,” “listen,” and “stay calm” flashcards in the video spotlight the steps modeled by the children, and animated music follows to reinforce the message.

Taking the Lesson With You

It has been shown that consistency is the best way to reinforce learning with ASD children, so be sure to apply similar strategies from one environment to another. Children with autism also do best with a highly structured schedule and a “home safety zone” where they can relax and feel secure.

You can help children avoid the frustration of challenging social dilemmas by giving them the structure and safety they need and showing them positive ways to respond to day-to-day circumstances.

Don’t forget to reward good behavior by praising them when they learn a new skill. Each approach to helping an autistic child is a step toward helping them learn, grow, and thrive.