Parenting comes with serious challenges in the most perfect conditions, but each parent must overcome additional challenges based on each child’s specific needs. For parents with the unique journey of rearing a child with autism, finding the best techniques can b a hurdle. Here are some simple parenting dos and don’ts to consider when raising a child with autism.
Do Remain Consistent
Many children with autism find comfort in structure. Follow a regular schedule during the week and maintain clear rules. You should also consistently reward good behavior and make steady progression toward the child’s personal and educational goals. Establishing clear goals and expectations encourages children to push themselves without overwhelming them. While this is a good rule of thumb for raising any child, it’s especially important when raising children with autism.
Do Not Get Frustrated
Many children with autism struggle to communicate in ways that make sense to those who don’t have autism. This can result in tantrums and other socially unacceptable responses.
While you may feel frustrated by your child’s behavior, your child probably feels just as frustrated at the fact that you don’t understand. Instead of yelling or huffing at them, do your best to perform breathing exercises that can calm you and your child at the same time.
Always remain calm when you find yourself getting frustrated since your frustration can only perpetuate the child’s own anxiety.
Do Look Into Behavioral Therapy
Every parent can use help, so don’t be afraid to enlist the services of autism behavioral health therapy for assistance. Whether your child has been diagnosed with a more mild or a more severe form of autism, they likely exhibit behaviors that you don’t know how to react to. Some of these behaviors may even be harmful to themselves or others. Behavioral therapy can help you both find new strategies for dealing with or overcoming these behaviors. In some cases, your child may stay at an in-patient facility for some length of time as part of their treatment.
Do Not Make Your Child Feel Different
Autism comes with a label and stigma that can seriously affect a child’s self esteem. As their parent, you need to do your best to build your child’s confidence and minimize how the illness makes them different from their peers.
Many parents associate autism with certain characteristics, but it is important to understand that everyone experiences similar feelings to different degrees. Understanding this helps you and others encourage inclusions as opposed to exclusion or isolation.
Do Have Fun
Children with autism want to have fun just as much as other children do. Encourage them to spend time doing activities they enjoy, and to explore new things too. It’s important not to try to limit your child or pressure them because of their autism. Many children with autism tend to hyperfixate on one topic of interest, often for extended periods of time. While these hyperfixations aren’t necessarily bad, they may neglect other things like caring for themselves or spending time with family. Teach them to find balance in all areas of their lives.
Enjoy life as a family by doing fun activities together and allowing goofy behavior when appropriate. If things do get out of hand, correct your child in a positive manner and get back to the fun!
Many successful people struggled with autism and different ways of thinking. You can only do so much as a parent, but these tips can help your child as they grow.