This is a contributed post and therefore does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the blog or its author.
As a parent of an Autistic child, I often think about the ways as a parent I can help them thrive and live a happy and fulfilled life. In some cases, it is exactly the same as any other parent would be for their children, but sometimes I feel there are added ways we can help children with autism that may not seem such a big deal in normal circumstances. I wanted to share with you some of the ways you can help your children with autism thrive on a day to day basis, and even if your children are not, they can still help you to raise well rounded and happy children for the future.
Have and stick to a schedule
Children with autism tend to thrive more when they have a structure and schedule that keeps them busy. Consistency is something they both want and crave in their day to day lives, and schedule and routine can really help implement that. Of course, life can change at a moments notice, so it can be difficult to remain so structured all of the time, but keeping disruptions to a minimum will help to manage expectations of your child. Routine can also help with any child, as it establishes structure.
Be aware of things like sound and change in environment
Changes to the environment and things like loud noises smells and even things like a change in temperature can affect a child with autism. Of course, reactions can really vary, but just like a structure can give consistency and routine, it is also best acknowledging that the environment should remain consistent as well. Some children can really react to loud noises, and often you may need to consider additional checks to help protect your hearing and keep your little ones happy. Earmuffs or noise canceling headphones are especially useful in environments where loud noise may present. This is important for basic hearing safety as well as providing comfort for kids with sensory processing issues and sound sensitivity.
Reward and positively reinforce good behavior
Positive reinforcement can go a long way with any child, so you may want to think about incorporating it into your parenting style. Praise is appropriate for situations like when a new skill is learned and good behavior has been showcased. You can say things in a positive manner or you can look at other methods of rewards like a sticker or reward chart.
Find nonverbal ways to communicate with your child
You might also want to find other ways to communicate with your child and not just rely on verbal cues. You may already be able to pick up on nonverbal cues such as a facial expression or reacting in a particular way in certain situations. It may even be sounds that your child makes. It might be also looking for reasons behind certain behaviors so that you can communicate differently and diffuse a situation.
Have support yourself
Finally, it is always worth remembering that as a parent you also need your own support network behind you and a chance to talk to others who perhaps understand the situation or can offer any tips and advice. It can help you to be more aware of things and feel less alone. As a parent, it is important to have people you can confide in.
I hope that these tips help you and your children thrive.