Happiness is the ultimate goal for every living person or any living being for that matter. Everyone is trying so hard to find happiness and, ironically enough, this is the main reason why a lot of people are unhappy. For something that seems so hard to a fully-functional, mentally-healthy person, you can only imagine how hard it can be for a child with autism to find happiness. And it’s not that autism itself prevents them from being happy, most of the times it’s the things that come with autism. Things like depression, anxiety and even epilepsy. Of course, you can add a lot of other adjacent factors that can prevent happiness for a child that suffers from autism, such as being misunderstood or even bullying. For every person out there, that tries to make life better for their autistic children, here’s some advice coming straight from mums that struggled with the same situations.
Make Yourself Happy First
When trying to help someone suffering from autism be happy, you first need to care after your own happiness. It may sound like a cliché; however, it is a very important step in making someone else happy, you have to put yourself first in order to be able to help. You need to be patient, loving and filled with energy in order to help a child that’s on the spectrum. Making sure your child is fed, understanding why he or she is crying and being able to take all that negative energy and neutralize it, requires a happy and confident state of mind.
Make Sure Your Kid Sleeps Enough
Might be easier said that done since around 80% of children with autism will experience sleeping problems. Some of them are medical and can be ameliorated or even fixed, however, some of them are simply side-effects of the illness itself. Sleep is a very delicate thing for the children on the spectrum and there are so many variables that can disrupt a good night sleep. Temperature, light, humidity or even not having their favorite bedsheets can make a world of difference between a peaceful sleep and a night filled with crying and yelling.
It’s a vicious circle that can easily form around the sleeping routine of a child with autism since a night without rest will almost surely transform in a day of crankiness and unhappiness, which makes the entire process of offering happiness and wellbeing a lot harder.
Address Any Physical or Medical Problem Immediately
Unfortunately, as if autism wasn’t already hard to bear for your kid already, there are multiple conditions that often coexist with this illness. You need to keep a constant eye for these and, if you discover anything, work on them separately. For anxiety issues, you can use therapy as studies show that cognitive-behavior therapy is the best way of addressing anxiety. If you’re dealing with depression, a mix of therapy and medication might be the best approach. The good part is represented by the fact that a lot of progress have been made in medicine and there are remedies and solutions to most of the problems, however, identifying them and properly taking care of them requires time, patience and experience.
Give Your Child What He or She Needs, Not What They Want
Raising a small child is a very difficult task as it is. When to all that you add autism, things can be come a bit too much to handle. And besides all this you also have to cook, to the laundry, clean the house and still be able to function in society. This is where you need to make sure you give your child what they want and not what they need in that moment. For example, playing video games on the phone might give your autistic child a sensation of pleasure and happiness, however, on the long term it can seriously influence its social skills and even make him cranky and tired for the rest of the evening. No matter if, on the spot, it might seem that you’re ruining their happiness, having discipline and applying it accordingly will actually bring a high contribution to the overall wellbeing of your child.
Give Them All Your Love
It is said that autism affects the way the children on the spectrum perceive the environment around them, as well as they way they are able to express emotions and strong feelings such as love, empathy or confidence. Even so, making yourself available and giving all the love you are capable of giving is going to perform some miraculous changes and will contribute a great deal to their happiness and wellbeing.
The bottom line when it comes to making sure that your child is happy even though he or she is on the spectrum, is that you need to always be on the lookout for the things they need and find ways to provide them with the proper means of obtaining that certain something. Doing so, will make you feel a lot better and all that positive energy will bounce back and make them happier as well.
Psychologist, writer-freelancer, traveler and just creative person, lover of world cultures, languages, food, wild spaces and urban places by nature. Also part-time web-designer working here.