Last Updated on November 29, 2023 by Emma White
Children with autism start displaying symptoms from an early age, which can continue during adulthood and childhood. Such children have trouble relating to other people and sometimes avoid making eye contact. They often withdraw into themselves and appear uninterested in relating to family members.
As a parent of autistic children, thinking about your child’s future is one of your priorities. But instead of focusing on the ways in which your autistic children differ from other kids, learn to accept them for who they are. That means acknowledging your autistic children’s unique needs and their challenging behaviors.
When you realize that your child is unique and there is not something ‘missing’ or ‘bad’ about them, parenting becomes more manageable. Celebrate their little achievements and encourage them to do more. That will help your child become more self-sufficient and socially active.
In this blog post, we are going to offer some helpful parenting tips for taking care of your autistic children.
Consider Your Child’s Sensory Needs
Hypersensitivity to light, taste, smell, touch, and sound is typical in children with autism. Some autistic kids also have low sensitivity to pain and cold.
Being aware of and sensitive to sensory challenges can improve your autistic child’s communication, learning, and social skills. For that, parents may need to modify their surroundings and establish new techniques and habits. For example, you can add a ‘pop-up tent’ in a corner where children can enjoy a quiet space with little to no sensory input.
While customizing your home is a beneficial way to create a harmonious environment for an autistic child, the same challenges become more burdensome to handle while traveling. For that, parents can create a travel sensory toolkit. For example, make a small bag with sensory toys and tools that can calm your child’s nervous system during long commutes.
Disregard Attention-Seeking Actions
An autistic child may occasionally misbehave to seek your attention. The easiest method to stop this habit is usually to ignore it. In addition to that, praise the child’s good conduct frequently as well.
Participate in Physical Activity
Short attention spans are standard in kids with autism, especially when it comes to engaging in activities. That’s why spending time outdoors is a great way to spend quality time with your autistic children without overwhelming them. Running and playing will make them feel at ease and help them unwind.
Find Nonverbal Communication Techniques
When it comes to building a connection with your autistic children, talking to them is not the only thing that helps you get close. In fact, communicating with such children is often quite a challenge. A simple smile, your body language. So, even if your child doesn’t speak too much, he can still respond to your gestures.
Watch for cues such as facial expressions, sounds, and other signals. You can learn to pick up on nonverbal cues from your autistic child through awareness and observation. Research reveals that when autistic children are hungry, tired, or desire something, they are likely to exhibit nonverbal behavior. For example, they can be anxious or angry when they are hungry.
Praise the Actions You Want to See More Often
When raising a child with autism, positive reinforcement is helpful, so try to praise them whenever they are doing something constructive. You can also offer a small reward for it. For example, when they behave well or if they are doing some artwork, praise them generously. Parents can also do this by stickers or awarding extra time to let them spend on their favorite hobby.
Follow a Routine
Autistic children tend to thrive when they have a highly structured routine and schedule. Again, the outcomes greatly depend on consistency. Make sure your child’s schedule has time for school activities, regular mealtimes, therapy/treatment, and prep for bedtime.
Don’t add too many breaks in between because that can affect your child’s ability to stick to a routine. Whenever a necessary schedule change comes up, prepare the child for it ahead of time with an explanation.
Don’t Give Up
You can never know what challenges your child will face or what habits they will form for the rest of their lives. It is crucial not to make any presumptions about what your autistic child may experience in the future. Instead, focus on the present moment. Never give up on positive parenting techniques with your children, and remember that they have their whole lives to develop and thrive.
You can reduce your anxiety and confusion by learning as much as you can about the disorder and where to receive help. Furthermore, it can help you find the resources you require to take care of these special children. Parents who are aware of the needs of their autistic children should benefit from helpful resources to keep learning about the latest parenting techniques. There are many websites as well as autism parenting books that can ease your journey.