Parenting a child with autism is a rewarding experience, but it also brings some challenges. Education and support for parents and the entire family is a crucial part of autism treatment. If you have a child with autism, these tips will help you help your child:
Seek Help Early It can be distressing to notice that your child is showing signs of a developmental delay or autism, but ignoring the symptoms could make treatment more difficult and less effective. As soon as you recognize a potential problem, call your doctor immediately. Even if you’re worried you’re overreacting, it is better to allow a doctor to decide if there is an issue. Early intervention is extremely helpful in developing treatment plans.
Have a Schedule Children with autism respond well to strict schedules. The consistency of the schedule gives them a sense of security. Have meals, snacks, playtime, and bedtime on a regular schedule as much as possible. If there are to be disruptions, let your child know as far in advance as possible, and remind him or her frequently about the change. Return to the usual schedule as soon as possible.
Be Consistent with Treatments If your child communicates in one way during therapy and a different way at home, it can get confusing. The same is true of behavioral expectations and reactions to tantrums. Work with your child’s therapist to get on the same page about things like non-verbal communications and how you’ll respond if your child acts up. This consistency will help your child understand what to expect.
Make Time for Yourself Caring for a child with autism is demanding. You will be a better caregiver if you don’t neglect yourself. Look for autism support groups in your area, and consider respite care. With respite care, a trained caregiver will fill in for you, so you can take a break. Respite care is available for hours or even weeks at a time. Know that it is okay to need some time to rest.
STAR California is available to support families of children with autism. We offer evidence-based autism treatments and services for parents dealing with autism. Call us today at (805) 624-6982 to talk to one of our specialists.