How can I help my Child with Autism at Home?
We understand this question is at the heart and mind of every parent we meet. Facing an autism diagnosis is, oftentimes, an overwhelming reality for a family to accept. It can be difficult to stay focused at this time, and ask the important questions. Perhaps the most important of those being: how can I help my child to have a safe and supportive home life?
The first step is learning all you can about autism, as well becoming involved in your child’s treatment; this understanding will go a long way toward building a foundation for you and your child. The following tips, as summarized from Help Guide, are a good start toward an easier home life:
- Consistency is key. Autistic children have trouble when it comes to transferring what they’ve learned in one environment to the next, and consistency is the best way to reinforce learning. Find out what technique your therapist is using so you can continue them at home, or even in other places to inspire progress. Consistency in how you interact with challenging behavior is also very important.
- Create a schedule. This ties back into consistency. Having a structured schedule or routine (for meals, therapy, school, and bedtime) tends to encourage the best from children with ASD. Try to keep disruptions at a minimum. If something must be changed, then prepare your child for this in advance.
- Reward good behavior. Make the effort to catch your child doing something good! Positive reinforcement can work wonders for children with ASD, but be sure to be specific in what you’re praising them for so there’s incentive for repetition.
- Make a safe place. Take the time to create a private space in your home where your child can feel secure, safe, and relaxed. You may need to safety proof your home, especially if your child is tantrum prone or has self-injurious behavior. Visual cues may also be helpful, such as labels or colored tape.
Making a strict set of instructions for every child, with any degree of autism, just isn’t practical. It’s important to remember that every child is unique, and what may work in one case could be impossible for another. The above tips are merely a starting point, and each can be adjusted on a case-by-case basis.
What is applicable to all children, however, is the need for acceptance. Be cognizant of appreciating their individuality, successes, and quirks rather than comparing them to other children. And if you must compare them at all, compare them to themselves – look back on the progress they’ve made and remind yourself how far they’ve come, and will continue to go. What will help them more than anything else stated here is feeling loved and accepted.
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:
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)