Autism is a condition that can affect all aspects of your child’s life – everything from their attainment to their relationship with their peers. No two children have identical autism, however, the number of cases continues to rise every year due to factors that scientists do not understand well.
Getting an autism diagnosis can be frightening for parents, but there are a lot of things that you can do to help your child thrive, no matter how severe their condition is. In this post, we look at some practical strategies and techniques that you can use.
Autistic children need structure. If they don’t have it, it can produce high levels of anxiety which makes it challenging for them to enjoy their lives.
As a parent, therefore, you should try to create both a daily and weekly structure for your child. For instance, perhaps you will serve breakfast at 7 am sharp and then dinner at 7 pm every day. Or maybe you always take the same route to school in the morning or buy the same types of food.
You may also want to add structure to weekly events. So, for instance, you always go for sports practice on a Wednesday afternoon or choir rehearsal on a Saturday.
Find An Appropriate School
Some schools are better equipped than others for managing autistic children. Many specialist institutions, such as a SEN school, provide dedicated resources for the ASD students in their care.
As a parent, the school you choose is very much a personal matter. However, picking one geared to support children with autism improves educational attainment and can even, in some circumstances, mitigate the condition itself.
Use Nonverbal Cues
Some autistic children find it difficult to communicate verbally. It can be a challenge for them to connect with people around them using words alone. That’s why parents should focus on using more nonverbal cues. Things like making certain facial expressions or changing your body posture can influence how an autistic child perceives you. You can also use touch as a way to communicate if your child struggles with their speech.
Make Time For Fun
Just like other kids, autistic children need time to relax and have fun. There needs to be more to their lives than just endless therapy and education. They need to enjoy themselves, just like anyone else.
Over time, you’ll get a sense for what makes your child happy. You’ll learn about the things that make them smile and giggle. You can then periodically introduce fun to make their lives more enjoyable.
Be Mindful Of Your Child’s Sensory Sensitivities
Autistic children often have highly developed sensory sensitivities. Things that wouldn’t affect you or I can be disruptive for them. Excessive light, sound, taste, touch or smell can trigger a negative reaction.
Look for how your child responds to various forms of stimulation. Sometimes, they will feel calm and happy (for instance if you light a scented candle) and other times, they will feel stressed, such as when you play loud music.