Some very first words
We parents have probably spent a lot of our time and effort thinking about our child’s future. And if your son or daughter has an autism spectrum disorder, there will be even more of those investments. I once thought I couldn’t bear the feeling of watching my little one suffering from the autism.
But then I started to feel proud that he has been actually fighting with it. And that he is now trying his best to live in the moment. Now I am more than willing to share what I have been doing to provides what my child with autism needs in his life. This is actually a case study that all parents having an autistic child can apply.
What parents should know about autism in children
7 signs of autism
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- Having trouble in relating or playing with other people, rejecting physical contact
- Little eye contact when interacting with people and lack of coordination
- Repetitive or unusual movements, and having discrepancy between expression and the content of statement
- Delaying in developmental milestones, especially speech and language skills
- Difficulty in studying, short attention span, and expressing impulsiveness
- Having odd habits of playing with toys and exposing hyper behaviors repetitively
- Clumsiness, weak muscle development and lack of spatial awareness
What parents should do to support
Photo credit: Lance Neilson via Foter.com / CC BY
Don’t wait for the diagnosis – I am telling you a lesson that I learned from my own case. Don’t wait until the bad news come to take action; a day sooner can make a story better. If you suspect something’s wrong, start the treatment right away.
Be an expert on your child – The more you know about your child and his/her condition, the better you will be able to equip yourself with necessary decision-making to help them. Specifically, it’s crucial to understand what your child find happy, sad, calm, frightening, and stressful.
Be patient – Instead of trying to figure out how your autistic child is different from other children, practice acceptance and get used to her/his missings. Enjoy their quirks because just like anyone else, we all have an entire lifetime to grow.
What a child with autism needs
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A consistent schedule
Autistic children have a hard time to apply what they learned in one particular setting to others. Building the consistency in their environment will thus encourage their knowledge absorbance. Specifically, it’s best to create an elaborate routine for your child. The schedule should specify the time for their daily activities such as eating, bathing, going to school and sleeping.
It’s also crucial to be consistent in the way you interact with your kid and handle with the unusual behaviors. The disruptions should be at the minimum level all the time. When there is any inevitable change, make sure your kid is well aware of it in advance.
A fun and helpful sidekick
This can be the key to the therapy for your autistic child. A golden retriever, a scooter, or anything can be your child’s friend will help them a lot in enjoying their life. My son always has a really good time when he’s on his favorite scooter exploring every corner in the neighbor.
It’s good to have something like a firm and quality scooter for your child to move around and engage with the surroundings. An important note for you while buying this toy vehicle is its safety and stability, we don’t want any negative experience for our little one.
A nonverbal connection
Connecting with an autistic child can be a challenging task. But it’s important to understand that talking and touching are always the effective means of communication. Instead, when establishing a bond with your child, you can use your voice, body language, and moderate eye interaction.
The key to communicating with autistic children is about offering the feeling of safety and comfort. I always pay attention to the facial expressions, gestures, and postures that my child makes. Also, I believe that it’s definitely worth your effort to learn how to make them smile and avoid the sensory sensitivities.
Rewards for good behaviors
Positive incentives are the great way to develop the skills for your child. Catch them when they are doing something good, praise them and reward them. This way is also helpful for them to memorize new skills and learn how specifically they should behave.
What a child with autism needs for his reward may not be something too materialistically valuable. A compliment or a cute sticker may just be enough. My son John especially loves it when I reward him with a cloth badge on his bag.
The feeling of safety
It’s fair to say that the top priority of an autistic child is safety and comfort zone. Even though it’s ideal if we can get them out of the zone, there should not be any rush during the process. It’s advisable to have a private space where your child can feel relax and secure.
I usually create a small corner marked by color ribbons in my house; my kid loves it. The color ribbons are like the sign of safety to him. And this is to show you that visual cues are helpful, they may help your child to be more open and enjoy their time at home.
The bottom line
There are so many things parents can do to facilitate their autistic child in his/her habitation. But whatever you may do, remember that what child with autism needs is the feeling of comfort. The term “comfort” means many things, the consistency, the safety, the connection, the encouragement and support in their life journey.
Emma is the founder of ShrewdMommy, where she and associates blog about pregnancy advice, parenting insights, tips for mommy. Those experiences will somehow help you in your search for questions about pregnancy and baby tips.