The CDC’s most recent study showed that an estimated 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Whether your child is on the mild or severe end of that spectrum, raising a child with autism can be challenging and sometimes overwhelming.
The following tips will not only show you how to help a child with autism, but they’ll help you look after yourself, too.
How to Help a Child With Autism Thrive
First, don’t wait for a diagnosis. Early intervention is crucial. As with ‘neurotypical’ children, the first few years of development are key for the future development of your child.
If you suspect your child has autism, book an appointment with your family doctor right away.
It will be useful to keep a behavior diary focussing on the behaviors and characteristics that you believe are linked with autism.
Help to Build Social Links for Your Child
No one says it better than leading behavior expert David Petonyak.
Developing meaningful relationships with others will be paramount to helping your child thrive.
Provide Safety and Structure
People with ASD are often sensitive to change. Create dependable routines to maintain structure.
Visual supports such as picture boards are great ways to create daily timetables for your child.
Keep the environment safe from hazards. People with ASD tend to be less aware of risks than their neurotypical peers.
Be consistent in how you communicate with your child and how you deal with challenging behaviors.
A Look Inside Challenging Behavior
All human behaviors serve a purpose.
Challenging behaviors are responses to something in the environment (internal or external) that your child finds stressful or frightening.
These triggers are not always obvious so it’s important to examine situations when they arise.
The more you get to know your child the more you will learn how to spot triggers before situations escalate.
Better understanding your child will help you develop calming techniques to de-escalate challenging behavior when it arises.
Become an Autism Expert
Huge leaps are being made in treatment for autism and our understanding of the condition is better than ever.
There is a vast amount of literature on autism to help you on your way to becoming an expert on your child’s condition.
The more you understand about how your child processes the world, the better prepared you will be.
Find Help and Support
Caring for a child with ASD is no easy feat, and no one is expecting you to go at it alone.
ASD Support Groups are a great way to connect with people facing the same challenges as you are. You’ll be able to get advice, share information, and reach out for emotional support.
Respite Care is a great way to give yourself a well-deserved break. A specially trained caregiver can take over from you for a few hours, a whole day or even weeks.
Counseling provides a safe space for you to share how you’re feeling. Marriage or family therapy can also help work through the challenges you are facing.
Things Are Looking Up!
Don’t panic! Everything you need to know about how to help a child with autism thrive is close to hand.
Remember, you need a little unconditional love too, and enjoy the very special bond between you and your child as you watch them thrive.
Don’t forget to check back for more updates, and feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.