Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs on the planet. It’s demanding and tiresome, bringing tricky situations into all aspects of your life. Being a parent of a child with autism, while not taking anything away from the difficulties of ‘normal’ parenthood, will bring even more of a challenge. Autism is a disorder that varies in severity depending on the person. It’s characterized by having difficulties with social interaction and communication, usually paired with restricted thought and behavior patterns. There is no factual handbook for how to raise a child with autism, as each case is so different, but there are guides to help you find your way.
Structure and routine for someone with autism are essential, some even find uncertainty physically painful. Structure gives any situation a beginning and an end, making things bearable. Providing fair and enforceable rules and remaining consistent is important. Children don’t like rules, but it gives them a sense of security and stability in their lives. If there are other children in the household, then enforcing positive interactions is going to help everyone feel more settled.
Try Different Techniques
There are plenty of ways to parent, and different techniques will have varying degrees of success, depending on the child. However, when it comes to an autistic child, you may have to adopt and try something slightly different. One way to really make a difference with the understanding of a situation is by using social stories. These are stories with a narrative designed by you to illustrate certain situations and issues, making them easier to understand. They help children learn how to communicate appropriately with others.
They’re important because they can improve the way in which children with autism relate to others. When looking at this ultimate guide, it’s easy to see how this technique might help a child form understanding of social norms. When done correctly, the child should feel much happier that they’re getting a grasp of something that’s usually very difficult.
Autism is known to limit children from knowing whether their actions are right or wrong. With the brain being so rigid in thought, it can become a battle between parent and child when the understanding isn’t there to know they’ve done something wrong. Reinforcing behavior is a good way of showing what behavior is good and what is bad. It allows them to understand their actions have meaning and, in fact, real, instead of believing they are functional and abstract. Combining rewards with education will assist in learning whilst letting them have fun.
Learn Non-Verbal Cues
Learning how your child communicates will be hugely beneficial for their lifestyle. A common trait known within autism is that communication will be a problem area, many won’t use words and sentences to communicate and instead will use cues such as facial expressions, gestures, and noises. Learning these cues will help you better communicate better with your child, but it will also allow you to bond with them better. A child will be much happier if they can communicate with their parents.
The majority of us will take for granted the ease of leaving the house and exploring new situations. This is very difficult for anyone with autism, so being prepared before going anywhere will be advantageous to everyone in the family. A good way to prepare for new situations is to look at photos to identify the feeling of a familiar place. If you’re going to a new shopping center, go online beforehand and look at pictures and any information. Knowing the shops that can be expected and how the center’s layout is will be a trick to remember.
For the situations out of your control, like visiting a family friend’s house, you can always ask them to email pictures of themselves and a few of the house for the same reason. The better prepared you are as a family, the less likely there will be any stress.
Living with autism is something you won’t understand unless you have it, and it’s something that is too difficult to understand. The only thing we can do for anyone with the condition is to try to accommodate and be as helpful as we can. Every person will be different, so using blanket techniques won’t work, learning about your child and how they process information will be much better for both of you. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s something that will be hugely rewarding when you see the beaming smile from your child.