Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the brain. It can present itself as a variety of symptoms, from mild to severe, and those on the spectrum may have difficulty with some or all of these areas: social interactions, motor skills, verbal communications skills, and physical clumsiness.
The first step in taking care of an autistic child is learning as much about their condition as possible. This is done by finding information such as books, websites, and videos from various organizations and professionals. Next, you should find a therapist who specializes in autism treatment therapy so they can help you with certain issues. They will also be able to offer guidance on what therapies your child will need while they are growing up.
For children, it’s important to work on things like speech therapy and occupational therapy early on in the process so they can start doing these things at home which will make life easier for them. In this blog post, we shall discuss what autism is and how it manifests itself in children and how to look after autistic them.
1) Provide Structure and Safety
Children with autism need structure in order to function well. It gives them a feeling of control, which is important for their sense of self-esteem and confidence. The key here is not to provide too much or too little structure at any one time, as this can also present problems for autistic children.
Autistic children are good at following rules but will often copy the person who gives those rules rather than obey them deliberately. On the other hand, providing no structure at all during an activity is probably not the best way to go either. This is why many seek out Autism parenting help, in order to understand this different way of thinking. You can provide structure by doing the following:
Giving clear instructions
When you provide instructions, make sure that they are very clear and straightforward so that there is nothing ambiguous about what you’re trying to say. Use humor where appropriate because kids with autism respond well to sarcasm and humor.
Giving concrete rewards for good behavior
Autistic children respond well to a reward system that is clear and measurable – for instance, if they do one thing you want them to do, then they get a point on their chart. The points can be exchanged for prizes at the end of each week or month.
At first it is best to reward only with positive attention and praise, but if they refuse to comply then it’s okay to move on to milder forms of punishment. Time-outs work well for kids with autism because they give the child some breathing space in which they can collect themselves before resuming play or activity.
Sticking to a schedule
Children with autism are more comfortable adhering to a routine or schedule, so try to stick to the same daily routine at all times. This makes life easier for them and helps them prepare for activities they know will happen in the future.
Employing a babysitter may be necessary as you need time to yourself, but if possible take that person along with you on the same daily routine so that your child can become accustomed to him or her.
Creating a safe zone at home
A child with autism can become quite easily distressed in a busy environment. It is important to set aside a safe zone in the home where your child feels comfortable and secure, such as a bedroom or an adult-free playroom.
This will also give you peace of mind when you’re in that room too because your child won’t feel stressed out in that environment. Allow the child to choose his own toys and activities in that room, and never force him to interact with others inside it.
2) Find Nonverbal Ways to Connect
Some children with autism have a hard time communicating verbally, so it is important to find nonverbal ways in which you can connect with them. In addition to playing their favorite games and watching their favorite TV shows, try inviting them along on family picnics or other fun outings that they will enjoy. When attending social gatherings or parties, have your child sit in a chair with you so that he has the opportunity to interact without feeling overwhelmed by the energy of others.
It is a good idea to learn a little bit about nonverbal communication so that you can get a better sense of what your child is feeling and thinking at any given time. This may help you understand why they have certain reactions to different situations, and it can give you an outlet if you need to convey something but don’t know how to do so through traditional means.
Figure out the motivation behind the tantrum
Children with autism are prone to having temper tantrums because the world around them is so unpredictable. They may throw a fit in order to get out of an activity, or to let you know that they feel uncomfortable in certain situations. When this happens, try not to raise your voice or discipline them for expressing themselves in this way. Instead, figure out why they are having a tantrum and handle it accordingly.
Pay attention to your child’s sensory sensitivities
Autistic children are often very sensitive to the world around them, making your job as a parent that much more difficult. Their strong reactions can range from overstimulation to physical pain. Sensory sensitivities include loud noises, bright lights, and strong smells; it is important to make sure these things do not upset your child too much and cause them great discomfort.
Some families find that a daily routine helps them stay organized and keep things as smooth as possible, while others don’t have much structure at all, allowing their child to live a much more carefree lifestyle.
3) Interact With Your Child on Their Terms
As discussed, many children with autism can struggle when it comes to verbal communications skills. This means that the best way to interact with them is on their own terms. Try not to force any kind of physical interaction or eye contact during conversations because this may make them feel uncomfortable and increase their anxiety levels.
If they like to play video games, for instance, allow them time after school every day to do so; don’t ask why they seem uninterested in playing soccer or other games involving physical activity with friends outside of school hours, or try and get them involved in these activities to the point where they feel forced to do so. It’s important to respect your child’s boundaries, and if he doesn’t want you to hug him or kiss him then just don’t – there is no need for that type of physical interaction.
In conclusion, when you have a child with autism in your life it is important to be attentive and understanding of their needs. It may take time for them to warm up to people or situations that are new but never force anything on them because this could cause anxiety and frustration.
When possible, try not to make any major changes to the way they do things which will help alleviate some stress from their lives. The more educated you become about how someone with autism thinks and feels gives you a better chance at providing what they need most: love.
- About the Author
Alex Grigoryan is a Professional Home Improvement and Lifestyle Writer. He has been in the industry for over 6 years and has been writing for Chique Home Living since 2019. His work has been featured in prestigious blogs such as Spruce Home, Better Homes & Garden, and more.