Discovering that anything could be wrong with your child is a terrifying experience for any parent.
When you first begin having the autism conversation with teachers and doctors, you may not be sure where all of this will lead.
The first step is acknowledging that your child having autism is not necessarily a negative. They are not ill, and they do not have a life-threatening condition.
Autism does present challenges, which is why you may need to learn CPI training, but many kids can thrive and live a very fulfilling life with such a personality.
Below are five tips that will help you bring up your child with autism and ensure they can thrive in the world.
1. Don’t Wait for Official Confirmation
Many parents make the mistake of delaying any treatment or school changes until they get official word that their child has autism. Such a diagnosis can take a few weeks, depending on how quickly you can see the best experts in your area.
Rather than waiting for the official word, you can get started with some treatment immediately. Studies show that early intervention is the best way to help not only your child but the entire family cope with this situation.
As you learn about your child’s personality and how it differs from those who do not have autism, you can learn what to do and not do in various circumstances. Such lessons, especially if learned early, can prove invaluable as you help your child grow up and contribute to this world.
2. Provide Structure and Safety
Every child needs structure and safety if they are to feel comfortable, grow, and thrive, but it is especially significant for those with autism.
Studies show that autistic children prefer consistency. That means doing things at similar times of the day, going out as a family on specific days of the week, communicating similarly whether the child is at school, visiting with their therapist, or talking with you at home.
One helpful tip is to schedule therapy for your child in different places, such as busier locations in the city or outdoor spots like parks. Such sessions help as your child begins to learn how to effectively communicate with others and handle themselves, no matter what the environment.
3. Communicate Nonverbally
Children with autism can have a hard time effectively communicating with their parents or loved ones, and vice versa. Sometimes you do not need to talk or touch a child to communicate with them.
You can communicate through your tone of voice, how you look at them when they are misbehaving or not following your instructions, and by observing their non-verbal cues. Such observation can help you to understand if your child is about to have an episode and can eventually help them know the state of mind you are in at any given moment.
If your child has a tantrum, resist the urge to yell or make the situation worse. Remain calm, think about the situation objectively, and attempt to understand why your child may be demonstrating such behavior.
4. Create a Personalized Plan
Parents often assume that if their child has autism, they can use plans that other parents have devised for their autistic kid. Such a plan is admirable but not the best way forward.
It would help to remember that every person is unique, which is definitely true of autistic children. Think about your child’s strengths and weaknesses, identify the behaviors that are causing the most problems, and discover the methods that best allow your child to learn.
Understanding what works and does not work for your child will allow you to develop a personalized plan. Ensure your child’s therapist and doctor are also providing input in this area.
5. Discover a New Community
One of the most significant challenges for parents of autistic children is interacting with other families. Children with autism do not always get along with other kids, which can cause issues during playdates or trips to the local park.
If you have existing friends with kids, you may want to limit your child’s interactions with them, until you are more confident that your child can handle being in such a situation.
Discover the autistic community in your area. You would be surprised at how many families are going through the same experiences. Not only can you lean on them for support and information, but you can have play dates for your kids and plan other outings with them.
Show Your Child the Love They Deserve
After learning that your child has autism, the first step you should take is to show them even more love than you have in the past. Show your child that you are there for them and will be with them through this journey every step of the way.
By following the above tips, you can become acclimatized as a family to the changes that will occur in the coming months and years. Your child may not grow up the way you had imagined, but they can grow up to be a thriving individual; healthy, friendly, and fulfilled.