Every child with their own demands and their own challenges. Children with autism are no different in that respect. However, their challenges tend to require a little more attention. There is a wide spectrum of autism, so each child will require their own approach, but if you want to help your autistic child thrive in school, in society, and in later life, here are some tips you can use to help them.
Try to keep their life consistent
Life at home can be a lot easier for everyone involved is there is a sense of structure and safety at home. Many people with autism spectrum disorders have trouble adapting to changes in environment and expectations. As such, printing out a daily schedule for them and helping them create a reliable routine can help. Stick to a schedule for meals, school, therapy, playtime, bedtime and more for the best results.
Use positive reinforcement
Taking the time to catch your child doing something good and then rewarding them for that new behavior has been shown to be very effective for children with autism. That is one of the core tenets of ABA therapy, or applied behavioral analysis. For instance, praising your child for stopping a tantrum or communicating their problem can potentially reduce obstructive behaviors in the future.
Create a safe space in the home
If your child is prone to self-injurious behaviors, then it may be important to set boundaries in the home where they can and cannot go, and to safety proof where you can. Otherwise, provide them with a private space where they can relax and they are in control. Creating a sensory room for them doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Many children with ASD find rooms where they can engage with a wide range of sensory inputs to be very stimulating and relaxing.
Learn to rely on nonverbal cues
Many children with autism can find communicating verbally to be a challenge. As such, it’s up to you to find ways to connect with them without speaking. For instance, there are some common nonverbal cues that you might be able to pick up on. Learning trends of expressions, sounds they might make, and gestures they commonly use can help you get a better idea of their moods and needs.
Find support for yourself
What’s most important is that you are not and do not feel alone in the task of helping your child with autism. Their school and health care professionals can help you find a better way to parent them. As a parent, you can also find groups that may be able to help you cope with the challenges of raising a child with ASD. There are support groups out there, for instance, both online and in the physical world. Furthermore, there are respite care services that can help you manage the responsibility of caring for your child.
Each child with ASD has their own personality, needs, and challenges. It’s important to work with professionals who can help you understand and cater to those while following the tips above.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.