1 in 54 children has autism, and it’s something they have to learn to live with as they continue to get older. While it will be hard for them, it can also be challenging for you as their parent.
We understand parenting children with autism can be tricky to navigate, and we’re here to help. Below you’re going to find a guide that might make things a little easier for you and your child.
Use Helpful Resources Before the Diagnosis
If your child has been diagnosed with autism, it’s never too early to start tapping into the available resources. The earlier you start using these resources, the better.
There are several interventions that you can look into that might help your child navigate having autism. For instance, early intervention methods can be implemented to help your child with developmental delays they may be experiencing.
Early intervention can be implemented once the needs of your child have been identified. These needs can combine a range of things, from their education to therapy.
Change is difficult for all of us but can be especially challenging for children with autism. As their parent, it’s your job to remain one of the constant factors in their lives by adhering to a routine or schedule.
The thing about autism is that people who have it find it difficult to take the things they learn at home or in school and apply them to other areas of their lives. An example of this is your child might use specific cues at home to let you know what they want, whereas when they’re at school, they don’t do this.
If your child is in ABA therapy, it might be helpful to talk with their therapist about the strategies being used in treatment. You can then begin to incorporate these methods into life at home.
Maybe you’d like to consider whether your ABA provider offers services at home. This will help your child embrace the idea of incorporating the things they learn from one place to another.
Make Your Home Their Safe Space
There are many challenges of autism in a world that doesn’t fully understand it. It’s important to establish home as a safe space where your child knows they’re protected from everything else.
You could even take it one step further and think about creating a safe space within your house where your child can go to relax, calm down, recharge, or regroup.
Find New Ways to Communicate
Another one of the parenting challenges you might be facing is finding ways to communicate with your child that aren’t traditional. If your child is nonverbal, you still need to find ways to connect with them, but in a way that works for them and is on their terms.
For example, one way to communicate is simply to pick up on their body language. Does your child act a specific way before they have an episode?
When they’re hungry, do they make noise or point to something? By picking up on nonverbal cues, you’re learning to communicate without uttering a single word.
Another way to communicate is keeping track of your child’s sensitivities. Some children with autism can be overly sensitive to lights or touch. If this sounds like your child, keep note of these things.
By understanding what triggers them, you can relay this information to others that your child comes in contact with. It also will help you know what will calm your child down when they’ve been triggered.
Accept All of Your Child
As parents, we know you see your child as much more than their disorder. Give yourself permission to embrace everything about them, including the quirks that make them who they are.
Take time to celebrate the small successes your children accomplish! There is nothing your child is ‘missing’ about them.
Your job as their parent is to provide them with a place where they feel safe and make them feel as loved as possible. Remember that while you might slip from time to time, don’t compare your child with autism to other people’s children or the other children you have.
Parenting Children with Autism 101
Parenting children with autism has its challenges, but we’re here to help.
Contact Dream Big Children’s Center. We’d love to walk alongside you and your child as we navigate this journey in a safe, fun, and creative way.