Are you parenting a child with autism? It can be a unique challenge. You want to be able to help them thrive and watch them do it.
There are a few things that you need to do in order to do this. Some of them are as easy as being patient and some are as hard as finding non-verbal ways to communicate with them. If you do it right you’ll find joy in the challenge.
To help you with this, check out this quick guide on helping your child living with autism navigate through the world around them and become successful.
1. Don’t Wait for a Diagnosis
The most important thing that you can do as a parent is to not stall. Don’t wait to see if they are just a late bloomer. Don’t even wait to get a diagnosis from a doctor.
As soon as you suspect that something is going on, you need to jump into action. You want to start the treatment while your child is still in their developmental stage. This will speed things along and calm their symptoms of autism down later on in life.
2. Be Positive
Children with autism respond better with positive reinforcement than with negative. You want to tell them that they are doing a good job when they do something that you like. Be specific about the good action that they performed when you’re praising them.
Find fun ways to reward them when they make progress. Maybe take them out to get their favorite ice cream, give them stickers, or give them a bit of extra playtime.
3. Stay on Schedule
Your child is going to want to be on a schedule. They don’t respond well to change and they love things to be consistent. It will also help keep the learning going.
Talk to their therapists and teachers to find out what their schedule is like at school. From there you can build a similar schedule at home that they can sort of cling to. This will help them bring home what they’ve learned at school and make those behaviors stick.
4. Play With Them
Whatever schedule that you start up at home, you want to incorporate playtime in it. Even if these activities are educational for the child, make sure that they don’t know that it is. It needs to feel like a fun break.
Try and sit down and play with them. This will help them connect to you and get you more involved with their development.
5. Be Patient
Not every treatment works with every child. You’ll end up trying several before you find one that clicks with them. Be patient and don’t get discouraged every single time something doesn’t work.
Again, your child will respond better to positivity than frustration. So, even if you are frustrated when a treatment method doesn’t work out, don’t let them see it.
6. Take Your Child on Errands
You may be hesitant to take your child into a grocery store because they tend to pull away from you or start having a tantrum. This would be a bad choice. For the sake of their development, take them on these little errands with you.
When you expose them to these everyday actions, it allows them to process the world around them and learn. If you’re afraid of them pulling away, enlist another person to go out with you.
7. Find Support
Finding someone to go do errands with you brings us into our next point which is, find a high-quality support system. Ask friends and family to take over for a bit so you can get a little bit of rest.
You can reach out to groups either online or physically near you to ask for advice. They are likely to have a lot of insightful information that you can learn from.
You can also look to the clinic that they receive treatment at for advice and support. They may not supply it but it’s worth it to check it out.
8. Respite Care
As much as you love your child and may feel bad for thinking about it, there will come a time when you need a break. If you don’t get it you may start to burn out and begin to behave negatively toward your child without meaning to.
When you feel yourself slip into this, reach out to respite care. This is when a professional comes in to watch your child while you get out for a few hours to relax. You’ll be able to focus on your mental health so you can better help your child when you come back.
9. Find Non-Verbal Ways to Communicate
It’s important to note that not every child with autism is verbal. This doesn’t mean that you should give up on communicating. Find non-verbal ways to talk with them.
The easiest way to go about this is to pay attention to their gestures, facial expressions, and sounds. What sounds do they make when they’re hungry? What gestures do they make when they are stressed?
It may be hard but if they start throwing a tantrum remain calm. They are likely frustrated because you aren’t picking up on what they are trying to tell you. It’s your duty to figure it out and soothe them.
10. Look Into Free Government Services
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, your child is entitled to for free or low-cost services. This includes medical evaluations, speech therapy, parental counseling/training, physical therapy, and assisted technology.
What to Do When You Have a Child Living With Autism
Do you have a child living with autism? It’s as hard on them as it is for you. It’s important that you are understanding and patient in their treatment so they can thrive. Keep these tips in mind throughout their development so you can see your child be as successful as possible.
Were these tips helpful to you? Keep checking the parenting section of our blog for even more great advice.