As I mentioned earlier, Freedom within Limits is a Montessori principle. In a Montessori classroom environment, some freedoms within limits could be:
Children can move around freely in the classroom as long as they are not distracting others
That they can join others to do activities or to play, but they must ask first and get a ‘yes’ response
The child can only use materials that they have been presented a lesson on
Writing checklists for work to be completed collaboratively with older children.
These also work fabulously in the homeschool environment. Homeschooling is an excellent alternative for a lot of autistic children. Some examples in the homeschool environment could be:
The child can choose to do the allocated work in their own time, at their own pace, provided it is completed by a set deadline (e.g. the end of the week)
The child can choose to do projects/assignments in areas of their interest provided key learning outcomes are met.
Some examples of freedom within limits in everyday home life could be:
The child can choose the fruit they would like for morning tea (freedom) from the fruit bowl (limit)
The child can wake up whenever they want but cannot leave their bedroom until a set time (in my house, the girls can lay in bed and read quietly or play quietly if they wake up early but cannot come and get me until 6.30 am! This works a treat!)
The child can choose what tv show they want to watch, and they get 1 episode a day, then the tv (or iPad) goes off.
The child can choose the order of their morning routine as long as it gets completed by a set time.
The child can choose whatever they want to wear from a previously selected (by you) range.
These may seem like simple things, even non-events to you, but by giving opportunities for all these little choices, you are building valuable life skills in your little one and setting them up for success later in life. You are also minimising their need to ‘rebel’ against you by giving them this ‘control’, which means fewer tantrums and a happier family life!
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