Recent studies have found that 1 in 68 children in the United States falls somewhere on the autism spectrum. Raising a healthy and well-balanced child is never easy, but finding out that your child is autistic or has Aspberger’s syndrome adds a special twist to your parenting responsibilities.
It may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. The good news is that there is autism help for parents raising children on the spectrum. Read on for some tips to make your journey easier to navigate.
- Exposure is Key
Children with autism may struggle with feeling comfortable in public places, especially those that are loud and have a lot of people present. Your natural inclination may be to keep them out of places that trigger your child, but that’s the opposite of what you should do. That doesn’t mean that you should thrust your child out into a crowd on day one. Start small at first so they can begin to develop coping skills. Start with a short trip to a place like a bank, then progressively move up to louder and busier spots. The goal is to empower your child to feel comfortable and confident in public spaces.
- Be Consistent
Children with autism, and even high-functioning children with Asperger’s, do best when their life is structured and consistent. That means their life needs to be relatively predictable in order to have the ability to learn new life skills. Leave for school at the same time each day, and set a regular routine. Have a set therapy time each week and then a set time for them to go out and practice their skills. You can even set a time each week to do something spontaneous, just make sure it’s on the schedule so your child can be prepared for it.
- Connect Non-Verbally
You might find it difficult to connect with your child when they have trouble expressing their needs and wants. This is especially important if you have a child who is non-verbal. This means you need to find non-verbal ways to connect. Watch for cues like facial expressions, sounds, and gestures for verification that you’re connecting. You can also use these mannerisms to learn when they’re hungry or need particular things. You’ll also want to learn about their triggers. What smells, sounds and tastes make your child feel overstimulated?
- Remember to Take Care of Yourself
Caring for your autistic child is time-consuming, but don’t forget to make time to care for yourself, too. Maintain a self-care routine to prevent burnout and compassion fatigue. After all, if you’re not feeling your best, it’s very difficult to give quality care to your child.
- Looking for Autism Help?
Parenting a child who has autism or Asperger’s syndrome is a challenge, but an incredibly rewarding one. Looking for autism help is the first step to relieving your stress. Remember to be consistent and patient and you’ll be well on your way to having a happy and successful child!
Not sure whether your child may have autism or Asperger’s syndrome? We can help you out. Start with this Asperger’s quiz and check out the rest of our site for a wealth of information about life on the spectrum.