If your child has been diagnosed with autism or you are starting to notice some signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in your child, you may be thinking about how to help them. We have read that autism is incurable, but there are surely some ways you can help your child thrive.
As a parent or caregiver of a child, you will need to provide them with an environment that supports their growth and development. Just remember that each child with autism has unique needs, so you will need to follow some specific tips to help them navigate the daily world.
Parents of a child with autism have a better idea of how such children behave. However, if your child has recently been diagnosed with autism, you will need to make yourself familiar with the autistic behavior. This includes the characteristics, challenges, and strengths associated with autistic behavior.
Many books, websites, and professionals can help you understand autistic behavior and how to cope with it. Autism Parenting Magazine, for example, is a great source for parents of autistic children. This magazine provides updated news and professional guidance on the subject of autism.
You can subscribe to it and get updated news and insights on your child’s unique needs and responses. As you will learn more and more, it will be easy to help your child with autism thrive in the best possible way.
One of the most difficult things autistic children have to experience is communication and social interaction. There are different problems associated with communication when it comes to autistic children. This includes delayed speech and struggling with verbal communication.
For such children, you can use non-verbal communication mediums such as picture communication or sign language. Other forms of communication may include visual schedules, social stories, and communication apps on the recommendation of expert professionals.
These things will help your child communicate easily about their needs, which will provide you some relief because it will be easy for you to understand what they need or want to portray.
Establish Routine and Structure
Autistic children have severe problems with disturbed routines. If you want to help your child in this regard, you will need to provide them with a sense of security and stability by providing them with a structured routine and structure.
This will help them follow their daily activities easily without any additional stress or anxiety. To create a structured routine for your child, it is advised to pre-outline all the events and tasks for a day. Remember that you can be somewhat flexible, but try your best to remove the unpredictability from the routine.
Focus on their Interests
While autistic children may be weak in some aspects of life, they do have some unique strengths and interests. If you want to make your child thrive in the best possible way, you will need to recognize and identify which things interest them the most and what their strengths are.
This can be anything for children of different ages. Some children can be fascinated with numbers, while others have a special bond with animals and artistic capabilities. After identifying their patterns about these things and recognizing their strengths, you can use them to boost their confidence and skills.
For example, if your child loves animals, you can provide them with activities or hobbies, including animal characters. You can also give them animal-themed books or games that can help them learn other skills like mathematics, language, and history.
Provide Sensory Support
Sensory supports are very important for children with autism because most autistic children have severe sensory sensitivities. These sensitivities affect how these children process the sensory information as compared to other individuals.
If you don’t want to trigger their sensitivities, you will need to create an environment that is sensory-friendly and helps manage these triggers instead of triggering them. Sensory triggers can cause discomfort and anxiety for these children, so be sure you take special care of them in this regard.
This care can range from anything, like specialized tools and strategies that can help cater to their sensory needs. As a general rule of thumb, it is advised to use dimmer lights and provide quiet space so they can relax.
Build Social Skills in Them
Children with autism are socially awkward and fear social interactions with anyone except their close family members. This is because they find it very difficult to understand how social cues and social norms work. This is the reason you will need to create opportunities to engage them socially by providing a supportive environment.
A great way to do this is to organize their playdates and activities in a way that focuses on teamwork and cooperation. This can be done by providing them with social skills training by utilizing games and other fun ways. These things will teach them how to share and understand others’ emotions.
If you find that your child is also finding it difficult to interact with teachers and classmates, you can continue providing them support and guidance to promote these interactions. Just be sure to celebrate their social successes, no matter how small. It will boost their confidence and allow them to engage in more social interactions.
As mentioned above, autistic children get disturbed even with a small change in routine. This is where you will need to show patience in understanding them and be flexible with how they react. First, be sure to understand their condition and know that they may need more time to process what you have said to them.
Also, they may need some time to adapt to the changes in their daily routine. That’s why it is advised to be flexible in your expectations because sometimes, rigid routines will start causing you distress.
However, you can always work towards using visual aids and verbal cues to make your child understand the transitions and unexpected changes. This will help minimize anxiety and potential meltdowns.