Autism Help at Home ( Part 2)
If you read our last article on the topic, you’ll know that facing an autism diagnosis is, oftentimes, an overwhelming reality for a family to accept. Staying focused and asking the important questions can be difficult. What is easily one of the most important of those questions is the following, how can I help my child to have a safe and supportive home life?
In our previous article on the topic, we highlighted some initial steps one can take to provide security and safety in a child’s homelife; it included tips such as consistency, schedules, rewarding good behaviour, and creating a safe space. In this following part, we will once again look into how you can make your child’s homelife easier, with a few ways that you can learn to communicate nonverbally with your child with ASD (as summarized from Help Guide).
- Find nonverbal cues. Most children with ASD have a limited ability to communicate or interact with others successfully, so take some time to understand the nonverbal cues your child may use. Observe the sounds they make, eye contact or lack thereof, their facial expressions, and any hand gestures they may make when tired, hungry, or in want of something.
- Identify what triggers tantrums. Instead of looking at this kind of behavior as bad, try to understand the context surrounding what is upsetting your child and explore what you can do about it. Oftentimes, when your child with ASD is acting out, it’s because you’re unable to pick up on their nonverbal cues, and so a tantrum is their way of getting your attention to communicate any frustrations they may have.
- Learn your child’s sensory sensitivities. Light, sound, touch, taste, and smell are all common sensory sensitivities for autistic children, some are even under-sensitive to these. Pay attention to what stimuli may trigger responses, either positive or negative, from your child. If you can identify any stressors or comforts, you’ll have a better chance at understanding your child and preventing any issues that may come their way.
- Set aside time for fun. Autism can be challenging to cope with, so understand that your child is still a child, with or without the disorder. Set aside time for play when your child is at their most alert, find ways to have fun together and make them smile, laugh, or come out of their shell. Not every activity needs to be educational, and it’s highly beneficial to bond outside of a therapeutic context – play is an important part of learning too! Help Guide states it best, “there needs to be more to life than therapy.”
It doesn’t take talking, or even touching, to bond with a child with ASD. However challenging it may seem, there are other ways of communication. The tone of your voice, body language, touch, and even how you look at your child are all ways of communication – they also communicate in this way, even if they never say a word. Don’t get disheartened if it takes time, like with any child, you just need to learn their language!
Check in with us again soon to see more helpful tips on caring for your child at home!
Questions or concerns? Get in touch with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org today to learn more!
Resources and references:
Autism Behavior Problems: What’s Triggering Your Child’s Outbursts?
Living with Autism – Guide to successfully living with autism, including how to cope with stress on the family, make the home safe, and deal with sibling issues. (Autism Society of America)
Life Journey Through Autism: A Parent’s Guide to Research (PDF) – In-depth guide teaches parents how to evaluate autism research and choose treatments for their children. (Organization for Autism Research)
Parent Guide to IDEA – A parent’s guide to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and how to use it to help your child. (National Center for Learning Disabilities)