ASD : 8 Practical Tips for Mothers with Autistic Children
Here is what you need to know and incorporate in your lifestyle if you have an autistic child,
1. Create a structured routine.
Children with ASD thrive better with a consistent structure. Creating a daily routine with specific meal plans and eating times, therapy and play times and even a wind-down routine that prepares them for bed-time can be useful in helping the child feel safe and in control.
2. Provide regular and consistent reinforcement for behaviour
This applies for both positive and negative experiences. Examples include praising them when they do something well and gently reprimanding when they do something wrong.
3. Factor in their schedule something that they enjoy doing
If for instance, you notice that your child likes to draw, include some drawing and dance time in their structure. Engage them by drawing and dancing with them. Make time for play and always have a toy, art supplies or music available for them.
As you nurture their positives it builds your acceptance of them and allows them to develop further into the beautiful self they can be.
4. Track their patterns, behaviour and moods
Because children with ASD have difficulties communicating appropriately, it helps to start tracking their patterns. A journal that all family members have access to and record is one way of learning. Eventually you will learn of foods, sounds and even facial cues that affect them. Learn the things that soothe them and make sure these are readily available.
5. Read to them and with them
To help their recognition of sounds, words and images, read with them books with imagery and colour. Books that feature repetition are especially helpful for recognition and building vocabulary.
6. Be mindful of their sensitivities
Be aware of clothes that make them uncomfortable and stick to natural fabrics such as cotton. You may notice that they remove them. Because of their penchant for structure, days out of the house for a different routine such as a doctor’s visit can be stressful to the child. Gently prepare the child for the change in structure by informing them of the expected activities. Carry distractors that they can use. Having an extra hand like the help can also help you feel less frazzled.
7. Reinforce the new skills they learn
As a collaborator to your child’s treatment, learn the new skills they are developing so that you can adapt them to the home. Practicing the skills taught in therapy or school helps the child gain mastery of different environments. Make an effort to find out what the child is learning and reinforce it at home.
8. Creating a safe space
For children who are more likely to injure themselves, making the rooms as child friendly as possible will be helpful. For instance block movements to electrical areas. Remove objects that are likely to break or cause injury.