Scissors / Cutting

The objective of cutting is for your child to be independently able to cut patterns, lines, and shapes by himself.

What to do

1. Sit at the table with your child.
2. Engage your child by saying your child’s name and or touching your child’s arm.
3. Put a piece of paper and a pair of scissors in front of your child.
4. After you have your child’s attention, hand your child the scissors and say “(Child’s name) let’s cut”.
5. Perfect outcome: your child takes the scissors and cuts across the paper.

Not so perfect outcome:

If your child is trying to hold the scissors but can’t do it, what to can you do? Reengage your child by saying his/her name and or touching his/her arm and repeat the instruction “(Child’s name) let’s cut”, then prompt your child to put his/her finger in the right spot of the scissors and show them the motion of the scissor, then have your child cut the paper with your help.
After that engage your child again and repeat. If your child starts cutting , great, reinforce. If not repeat the steps from above. Repeat it three times and if your child still is not getting it move on to a different task and come back to it later. Also once your child gets the prompted instruction right, redirect your child to a simple task he/she has mastered and then go back to the original instruction to make sure your child got it.

Tip: cutting is hard. Just the simple process of holding the scissors and opening and shutting them is hard due. Have your child practice the motion of opening and closing the scissors by using play scissors and cutting play dough with it. Also use thicker paper and move on to thinner paper. It makes it easier for your child to hold the paper. In addition give your child a visual cue on the paper on where to cut. Start with drawing a ¼ inch thick line on the piece of paper and have your child cut the thick line. That way your child will have success cutting on the line. Then start to fade out the line making it thinner. Once your child has mastered to cut straight lines, introduce zick zack lines, move on to shapes and later more complex patterns.

It might take your child a while, a couple days maybe even a couple weeks, to grasp the concept of what is asked of him/her. Don’t get frustrated and stick with the program. Your child will get there! Reinforce (Praise) a right outcome or even if your child is trying really hard. If you have any questions or concerns please join our help desk.

Items you need:

Paper, scissors, markers

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Autism Support Now is a Parent advisory blog and media site presented by "Ella's Hope for Autism" a 501c3 public charity in Missouri. This site is built for parents dealing with Autism . . . by parents dealing with Autism. Hope and Sam McPheeters (founders of Ella's Hope) have two children on the spectrum, and strive to provide continued advice for other parents, who are dealing with the same issues..