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This week I have the absolute privilege of chatting with Kari Dunn Buron, the inventor of the Incredible 5-Point Scale! Parents of children with autism and teachers around the globe are using this practical scale to teach self-regulation skills and reduce challenging behaviours. Kari explains how this incredible scale can be used for children on the spectrum – with or without language, as well as adults. Listen in to hear how you can implement this simple tool in your everyday life to reduce stress and improve quality of life for your child and your family.

5 Rapid Fire Questions

1. What is one habit parents can implement today?

The Anxiety Scale. It’s an easy one to start with because it’s easy to imagine in your own head – that a 5 is an explosion and a 1 is calm, and all of the 3 stages in between. Once you put it together and make the scale you can individualise it.

2. What do people never ask you that you wish they did?

When I talk and when I write I usually stress that a 5 is never worth it, and I rarely have anybody ask me a question about that. Why not? It’s a much bigger deal than most people think. When we were all taught by our parents how to behave (and when) I was taught early on at the university how to handle challenging behaviours – one thing that was stressed was that I needed to respond in the moment so the person knew exactly what they did wrong, and that I believe is totally incorrect. Nobody loses emotional control and has control of their cognitive abilities. So when you’re at a 5, you’re not learning, you’re not in a place where your brain can absorb good information, you’re incapable of making good choices. So when I see teachers or parents in a situation where the child is beginning to lose control of their emotions, and the response is “make a good choice” – that comes straight out of the old textbook, and yet that is the worst time for that person to make a choice because they are not thinking.

3. What book would you recommend all parents read?

The Explosive Child by Dr Ross W Greene.

Dr Greene doesn’t focus on autism but he does focus on the neuroscience of challenging behaviour.

4. What is one of your top 3 unfinished bucket list items?

Going up to the Hudson Bay in the Fall to observe the migration of the polar bears.

5. If you could only offer one piece of advice to parents, what would it be?

Take time to enjoy your child. Find ways to connect with your child, even if you think it’s weird or odd, or they are not interests of yours. Enjoy your child. Don’t take too much of your time worrying about how to change your child. Really embrace who he or she is, their personality. Find joy where they find joy. Watch where they giggle even if its dust coming through on a light beam. For some reason if he thinks its funny thats where his focus of social attention is – on that light beam of dust. And you want to join him there.

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So….until next fortnight, I encourage you to open your mind, respect the differences and above all believe that YOU can make a difference from homebase!

With love and hope,

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