Autism is a horrible and unfortunate condition, and attempting to be a caregiver for an autistic child can prove to be a challenge at times. From mood swings to complete lack of attention, autism can throw a curve ball at the caregiver at any time. No parent or caregiver wants to hear that their loved one has autism, so learning how to properly cope with autism and what it entails is highly important. Unfortunately, it is rare for an individual to “grow out of” autism in any form. From therapies to the right environment and diet, autism can be treated to the best of a caregivers abilities providing the most normal and happy life for the afflicted.
- Learn about autism. By understanding autism completely, one is better able to deal with all that autism entails. From the mood swings, to the rigid movements, and some of the aggressive behaviors, if the caregiver understands autism they will be able to handle each situation with both ease and poise. Educating oneself on the treatment options, asking questions, and participating in the treatments also help in the full comprehension of what autism is and how one can help.
- Accept the autistic patient. Rather that pinpointing that the child is different from others and that they are “lacking” something other children are not one should enjoy their child. Make note of the special little quirks the child has, celebrate all of the success that comes their way, and do not compare your child to others. A feeling and sense of unconditional love and support will go a long way with the child.
- Be consistent. A child with autism will have a difficult time applying what they have learned in one particular setting to another. For instance if they use sign language at school, they may not think to apply it at home. Reinforce the positive things they learn outside of the home, and use them often. Do so vice versa with what they learn at home. This will aid in their overall progression!
- Sticking to schedules. Children with autism prefer a highly structured environment. Autistic children need consistency. Keep a regular schedule for school, therapy, and even bedtime. This will provide that structure the child needs to be more successful in life and in their learning.
- Have fun time! While the child may be dealing with autism, and not as progressed as others, they still need fun. Finding new and innovative ways to connect and have fun with the child will lead the child to laughing, smiling, and coming out of their shell. There are countless benefits from the enjoyment the child will have as a result of the fun. Play is as essential in life as learning is; it’s important not to forget that!
- Look for those cues. Remain as observant as possible. Picking up on non-verbal cues a child gives is important; sounds, facial expressions, and certain gestures will give great indicators as to their moods and wants!
These are only six of the countless ways one can interact and aid a child in dealing with autism. Practice new and innovative methods, and share them with the parents of other autistic children or even the child’s primary physician.