TIPS FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH AUTISM
Learning that your child has a developmental disability, or a significant health problem is overwhelming. As parents, we are never prepared for this; it can be paralyzing. Seek help, even if you have not yet received an official diagnosis. If you suspect that your child has a disability, take action; the earlier that a child with autism begins treatment, the better the outcomes will be. Early intervention will accelerate development and will mitigate symptoms. Behavioral challenges can be minimized or avoided altogether. Learn about autism, become an expert on your child, and build a team to assist you, your child and your family.
- Provide structure—children with autism are at their best when their environment is highly structured, they have routine and they know what to expect. Prepare them ahead of time for changes.
- Be consistent—rules and routines should flow from one environment to the next, from home to school, to grandparents etc. This will reinforce learning and will result in generalization of skills.
- Catch them being good—reinforce good behavior when ever possible. This is the most effective means of changing behavior.
- Create a calming routine at home. A cozy corner where your child can go to calm, relax and regroup is critical. A bean bag chair, music, books and a couple favorite toys should be available.
- Provide choices whenever possible—Come up with two choices that you can live with.
- Are you going to take your bath before or after dinner?
- Do you want milk or juice to drink?
- Are you going to pick up your room before school or after?
- Limit screen time—no more than one to two hours per day. Encourage other activities, art projects, playing outside, building.