Real life situations should be made in play.
So with our little guy there used to be many exciting trips to the dentist the doctor the haircut shop the grocery store (the list could keep going but you get the idea!) all these things can cause panic and sensory overload and when they're upset behaviors that maybe or not great behaviors, come out because it's fight or flight so we've adapted, our little guy loves grocery shopping at Costco he loves pushing the cart he loves putting the items in now!! no stimuli no iPads no phones no nothing just plain shopping and being silly. No bad behaviors Sometimes he will try and be a little awnry by going down the aisle too far to see if I'm looking and I smile and pretend to shop but warily side watching and he comes back (no attention to his behavior) but our journey is almost always good and we grocery shop once a week. In the beginning we used to use the iPad and put him in the shopping cart. But as I practiced with him the more comfortable he became, in the beginning it was a fight but every time he had some success I would reward it. how? high fives hugs Twirls in the store absolute glee for him, when we got home he got a movie for his success. Now there's still one the store (Lowe's) that sensory overloads him and I put headphones on him because of the background noise but his behavior is still good but if you forget the headphones he's constantly covering his ears and looks like he's in pain so it's up to Mom to remember that. I can't change the building but I can help him cope with what that buildings looks and feels like.
What about the other sensories when going to the doctors the dentist a haircut? Practice play practice. For us, we are now practicing hair cutting we play pretend I put on the haircut apron and I let him cut my hair with pretend scissors and he loves it he thinks it's hilarious to brush mom's hair and pretend to cut it with these scissors and then in turn I put the apron on him and I pretend to cut his hair and they still sound like scissors just no blade (they are made of plastic of course). We do this for the doctor we put the teddy bear in a chair and we pretend to take his blood pressure look in his ears nose and mouth and listen to his heart (learning resources has a doctor kit with a stethoscope that actually has a heartbeat sound with it he really likes that). And as for the dentist he's always allowed me to brush and floss his teeth but doesn't want the dentist to do it so the dentist understands when I bring him there he gets in the chair lays it back he puts on a movie for him I brush the dentist looks and counts but I actually do the brushing when he's there at least for now as we make him more and more comfortable until going to the dentist is a fun trip. We drive out there 4 times before the appointment and get out and go through the building just so he's ready for the appointment now eventually this will just become a safe place to him and he understands the routine requirements.We also watch movies our dentist puts on to help familiarize him with the actual dentist and what's going to happen to him when he gets there.
It also helps if you can recline them in a chair at home like a recliner or prop them up on a bed and brush their teeth so they understand their heads going to be tilted back and for our guy he can't spit so he's not very comfortable with all that saliva so keep him comfortable I bought a nose bulb and only use it this suction his mouth.
The idea is as often as you can the things in life that are going to make up places that you will have to go whether it be the doctor the dentist the hospital the haircut place a restaurant, is to find a way to make a game or a play time out of those actions that might happen just so they're familiar with what the people look like what's going to happen when they're there, nothing scary just understanding for them that is the biggest success builder for children I have noticed on the Spectrum.
Cutting mom's hair.
Mom cutting his hair.😊 Big thing was the apron he really didn't like putting it on in the beginning but he really doesn't like hair touching his body that gets cut either!