Parenting is never easy, and parenting a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is even more challenging.
Because of certain brain function abnormalities, children with autism develop hypersensitivities and behavioral issues that can be difficult to manage for parents. Parenting children with ASD requires a great deal of effort and patience.
Between hypersensitivities to stimuli to challenges in interacting and communicating in social and educational settings, there are several aspects to the effects of autism on a child.
Often parents go through enormous research to find out about their children’s condition and what they can do to raise the child to grow up to live their best possible lives.
In this article, we look at some practical tips that parents should know to raise an autistic child.
1. Do Not Ever Compare
Stop comparing your child with others. Most of the time, parents do compare among siblings. That is a bad practice and it results in nothing but frustration and depression. Parents who compare their child’s progress with others often put unnecessary pressure on their autistic child. They do it without even realizing that they are doing it. The pressure of comparison certainly will have a negative impact on physical and mental health.
Parenting autistic child needs enormous patience. Train yourself to be patient and not react to their tiny mistakes harshly. They are slow learners and will repeat the same mistakes again and again. You have to manage your anger or frustration, and stop comparing them with their peers.
2.Teach Your Child with Tech
Learn to lean on technology to develop his learning. You will find autism apps for kids both in android and iOS systems. These apps are great for academic learning. They are also great for developing social skills and communication skills.
Some of the best educational apps for autism are-
- Autism education (AutEdu).
- Autism read and write pro.
- Autism iHelp.
Other than academics, you can use autism communication apps like-
- Autism and PDD comparative.
- Avaz Lite.
You will find more apps on social skills, functional skills, games, storytelling, etc.
Kids are generally more adaptive to technology and they love their screen times. Children with ASD will have a pronounced tendency to screen time. A recent study found almost 60% of all kids have deep affection with mobiles, iPhones, iPods, and laptops. Lively actions, motion videos, and audio sounds create a better sensory environment for their learning.
3. Help Your Child to Apply New Skills to different Situations
Even if autistic children learn new skills, it is difficult for them to apply their skills in different situations. Decision making and making the right choice are some of the biggest hurdles for them. As a parent, you will need to pay close attention to this issue.
Help identify possible situations where they can use this skill. Maybe they just learned to count, now place them in different situations and make them count everything. Some more practical life interactions will help them apply this newly learned skill.
4. Break Between Learnings
Kids need more breaks than adults. We have to keep that in mind. Pushing too hard on learning continuously will not help – it may make things worse by overwhelming the child. Our brain needs some relaxation time between learning new skills. Because of brain abnormalities, autistic children need even more time. If your lesson plan has a monotonous flow without breaks, then that can hamper the learning process for the child.
Try some entertaining items in between learning. Make him realize that you are enjoying a break. Just like other kids, autistic kids also love cartoons, toys, flowers and treats. Incorporate them into the breaks.
5. Let Your Child Contemplate On His/Her Own
Teaching and continuously correcting their mistakes is not helpful. If they make a mistake, give them a chance to think before you rectify their actions. Try to remind them of what you had taught earlier. He will think and there are possibilities that he will make mistakes.
Mistakes are the best source of his learning. He will think and you will help him to get back to the right stimuli. Also, thinking improves his brain functionality. More neurons engage to perform when you allow him to think.
6. Celebrate on Successful Learning
Whenever he completes any task successfully, celebrate it. Give him a reward and cheer him for more motivation. He needs to get the essence of happiness and make him realize that we are all happy for your success. You can buy him new toys, offer chocolates or cook something delicious to celebrate the occasion.
7. Try More Peer Relationships
Some parents may feel shy to put him in schools or to take him to the local community. Being parents you have to come out of these negative perceptions. Take him to the playground and try to introduce him to his peers within the community.
Schooling is very effective. Even if it is not a special school, try him in the regular schools. The more he interacts the more he will learn. The best learning is mostly through peers. It will socialize him and he won’t feel lonely.
In case you have a fear of bullying, talk to his teachers. Maybe they can help find solutions for him. There are specialized schools for autistic children. So, you can try it for his betterment. Make sure he is having a bunch of good peers and he is happy to play with them.
8. Teach Your Child Self-Care
Parenting autistic child you need to cultivate self-care habits in him. Give him potty training, show him how to take a shower, the correct pattern for brushing teeth, etc. Leave him and monitor whether he can perform the basics or not. If he still needs help to change his clothes, then emphasize basic self-care teaching.
9. Take your Child Outdoors
Other than indoor sports, put emphasis on outdoor sports. This not only develops his growth but also improves brain functionality. You can try some common sports like football, cricket, basketball, volleyball, sprint, etc. Play with him and give him more natural space to breathe.
10. Communication is Key
Not all autistic children can successfully communicate. Children with ASD can display communication problems like flat speech, hearing problems, monotonous speech, non-verbal cases and many more. In such cases, do consult with a physician and therapist. Try to use finger signals, sound signals, photographs or any other options for effective communications.
11. Pay Attention to Their Diet
Some of the common brain foods include milk, nuts, fatty fish, eggs, spinach, broccoli, etc. Other than that you can use probiotics to improve digestion. Above all, it will be better to consult a dietician to tailor his diet.
Parenting autistic children requires a lot of patience and hard work. Fortunately, we have plenty of resources and technology to lean on these days. Follow the tips above and you will find raising your child with ASD gets easier with time.
This content is brought to you by Shawn Richard.