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Fuzzies and Autism

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Like all parents to autistic kids, we struggle with meltdowns, behavior, sensory stuff, etc. And we are always searching for the right way to discipline and reward Luca. Enter Fuzzies…. What is a fuzzy? It’s a little ball that’s soft, squishy, and you guessed it, fuzzy! It’s a little pom pom you can get at the craft store. Here is how it works:

Have one empty jar, and another jar full of fuzzies. Whenever there is a behavior that you want to reward, have your kid get a fuzzy from one jar and put it in the empty jar. If its extra good, give more fuzzies. Every once in a while, we even give a handful of fuzzies! When there is a behavior you’d like to change, take a fuzzy from the earning jar and put it back in its original jar.

I’m not going to lie, that second part is much harder. We’ve had some serious meltdowns when fuzzies have been taken away. You HAVE to stick to it. We have a list of ways to earn fuzzies written down. When Luca loses a fuzzy for unwanted behavior, he runs to look at his list to figure out how he can earn it back. To give you some ideas, here is our list for earning fuzzies:

  • Let your reaction match the size of the problem
  • Be nice to your sister
  • Solve your own problems
  • Clean up messes
  • Listen and follow directions
  • At the end of school, remember your clipboard, water bottle and lunch box
  • If there is a problem that can’t be solved, move on

We’ve tried money in the past, and it worked a little. I love the fuzzies because the kids can see it, touch it and feel it. So not only is it good for behavior, but it’s good for sensory input as well. And every time we fill the fuzzy jar, we go do something fun. So far we’ve gone to The San Diego Fair, the Kids Museum, Swimming at a local pool, Pumpkin patch, etc. Anything that they love to do, they can earn.

I hope you find this helpful. Please share your stories and pictures of your fuzzies!