How Can Parents Help Their Autistic Child?

It might be a shock for most parents to find that their child is suffering from autism and can tend to be life changing. Certain new studies show that parents can have emotional problems and still can maintain a strong bond with their children as well.

Studies have shown that the coping mothers of autistic children show a lack of mental or emotional health as compared to the mothers of ordinary children. But they usually have immense strength as compared to all the other mothers.

How Can Parents Help Their Autistic Child

As the parent of an autistic child, the best thing that can be done would be to seek the right treatment. Seek help from a doctor when you find something unusual happening in the daily lives. Do not wait for the time when the problem becomes difficult to be managed. Early diagnosis is always better to get a better treatment and help your child in better development as well. By following this, the treatment will be more successful and the symptoms of autism will also be greatly reduced.

Parents Should Provide Structure & Safety for the Child Going Through Autism

Learning everything about autism and knowing the right treatment that can help your child in coping up is the key to help him or her in recovering well. The following tips will help in managing the activities and will make you as well as your autistic child’s life easier in various ways:

  • Be reliable. Children who are suffering from autism often find it difficult to understand and put all the strategies that they have learnt from a therapist or from school. Creating a sort of reliability in your child’s home environment can help him or her in adjusting well. You can also reinforce the sense of learning amongst children by doing so. Find out the approaches that are designed by the therapist and try following them at home. Encourage your child to adapt to changing environments by putting the techniques learnt during the session to use. It is also important for you to be consistent with your interaction pattern and deal with a child’s behavioral challenges.
  • Stick to a routine. Children suffering from autism do their best when their daily structure is systematic and a routine is set up correctly. Set up a timely schedule by allotting specific times for meals, school, therapy and sleep. Try to be with this schedule without any amendments. Even if there are certain changes going to be introduced, be sure to train your child accordingly.
  • Honor good behavior. Autistic children can tend to go a long way when you as a parent, make them to do things in a positive way. Praise or reward them for every achievement, as this will keep them in a constant drive of improvement. Letting them play with their favorite toy or allowing them to use their favorite sticker can be an example of it.
  • Create a safety zone at home. Create a private place for your child to relax, feel secure and safe. This may involve setting limitation or organizing activities in a way that your child understands it better. Laying visual cues can help your child in remembering things that are difficult to remember. You may also need to add all kinds of safety norms in your house, if your child has a habit of throwing tantrums. This can often lead to behavior that may be self injurious behaviors as well.

Parents Should Find Non-Verbal Ways to Connect With the Child Dealing With Autism

It can be difficult for you to connect with autistic children, but a bond can be created without talking as well. You can easily communicate with your child by the way you look, touch, your voice tone as well as the body language that you maintain with your child. Even if your child is unable to speak, he or she will be able to communicate with you. You will have to just learn the right language or method of communication.

  • Look for nonverbal signs. If you are attentive and observant enough, the signs that are used by autistic children can be recognized without any complications. Pay close attention to the vocal tones, expressions, gestures and the ways they use for developing a bridge of communication with you. Understand the cues that are often associated with feeling tired, upset, hungry or when they are in need of something.
  • Try to find the cause of their tantrums. It is a natural tendency of the child to be upset or feel angry when they are ignored or easily misunderstood. When autistic children act out, it might be due to your inability to understand the cues that they are using for communication. Throwing a tantrum can be termed as a way of communication when a child is angry or frustrated.
  • Make a little time for enjoyment. It is always beneficial to remember that an autistic child is still a kid. For both parents and the autistic children, a right therapy method has to be followed. Figure out a variety of ways by which the kids can break the bubble and have a great time at home. Your child will be able to feel alive when the activities seem less therapeutic and more play. The benefits of spending such amazing time with your kid are quite beneficial and this will also help him or her in learning better. Playing should be a fun filled activity and it should not seem like work for the kid.
  • Pay close attention to the sensory sensitivities of your child. Most autistic children are hypersensitive to taste, touch, light, sound and smell. Other autistic children may be under-sensitive to stimulus that is related to the senses. It is essential for you to figure out amongst these sensitivities and segregate them according to your child’s positive or disruptive behavior. If you have an understanding about what your child is going through, you will able to troubleshoot the problem in a better way. You may also be able to prevent situations that are creating difficulties or leading to disturbing experiences.

Setting up a Personalized Autism Treatment Plan for Parents Whose Child is Suffering from Autism

As there are too many medical approaches available for autism, it can be quite difficult for you to find which one is the best for your kid. You may hear a variety of treatments and approaches from your doctor as well as parents that can make things equally difficult and complicated. When you are trying to design a treatment plan for your kid, it is necessary for you to understand that a particular treatment will not work for everyone. Each autistic kid is different and is blessed with different strengths as well as weaknesses.

Depending on the child’s needs, the treatment should be tailored so as to meet the needs. You will know all the right things about your child and will make sure that all his or her needs are met in the right way. You can easily carry these things out by questioning yourself about the following things:

  • What are the strengths that my child possesses?
  • What are the weaknesses that he or she is possessing?
  • What are the problems mostly caused due to various behaviors?
  • What skills are lacking in my child?
  • Which method: seeing, doing or hearing will help your child in learning the best?
  • What are the activities involved and which amongst them does my child enjoy?

Finally understand that the autism treatment plan demands involvement and it will determine the success of the treatment. You can help your kid in making the most out of the treatment plan by working with him or her in collaboration. The therapies that are followed with a session can be practiced at home for better improvement. Most common Autism treatment plan includes speech-language therapy, nutritional therapy, play-based therapy, behavior therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy.

Finding Help & Support for Parents Whose Children are Suffering from Autism

Rendering care to a child who is suffering from autism can often ask for too much time and energy. There may be days when you feel stressed, discouraged and overwhelmed as well. Raising a kid that demands special needs is not an easy task. In order to be the best parent to your child, it is important for you to take care of yourself.

Never try to do all the things on your own. There are innumerable families who have kids suffering from autism. You can also turn to the following options for support, advice, advocacy and a helping hand:

  • Autism support groups. Joining a support group can be a great way to communicate with families that have autistic kids. You can get advice, share advice and learn something new about the disorder as well. Just being around people who are going through the same thing can help in reducing the stress and help in hunting for the right treatment for autism.
  • Offer care and relief. Every parent has the right to take a break and they deserve one. For the parents who are raising an autistic child, this break is much needed. In respite care, a caregiver can temporarily take over for a few days or weeks. To find the right care, you can refer to various resources.
  • Marital, individual or use family counseling. If you are struck with anxiety and depression, it is advisable to seek a therapist. Through therapy, you will be able to speak about your feelings. Marital counseling can be of great help to improve the mutual stress in the parents of autistic kids. Many a times, the therapist will also suggest the entire family to undergo therapy sessions for understanding the situations clearly.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 1, 2019

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