How Do You Handle a Child With Autism?
Children with autism tend to thrive when living a predictable daily schedule that includes meals, therapy sessions, school, and bedtime. Keep disruptions as minimal as possible by informing your child of unavoidable changes beforehand.
Encourage your child to use his or her private space if they feel overwhelmed or scared, which will help reduce the chances of them running away and seeking refuge elsewhere. This may reduce anxiety levels significantly.
Children with autism tend to flourish in an environment with structure and consistency, including rules and routines. Boundaries are also necessary as children may struggle with transitions, unfamiliar settings can feel unsafe or anxious causing anxiety – it’s essential for parents to create a discipline strategy which addresses all these needs together as a family unit.
Children with autism require encouragement and challenge just like any child to succeed and develop. When parents hinder this growth and development, it often does more harm than good. Parents need to teach life skills that will serve their child throughout their lives.
Parents should encourage their children to learn new languages; this can help them secure employment and make friends as adults. In addition, teaching social skills to children will enable them to interact more easily with people from various backgrounds.
Rewarding children with autism for their positive behavior is another effective way of helping. Doing this not only reinforces positive behaviours but will make them feel good about themselves – visuals and schedules can be great ways to do this effectively; children with autism tend to respond best when their actions are recognized with rewards.
Children with autism tend to have short attention spans and it may be challenging for them to follow instructions. Parents must remain patient with their children when they do not respond as directed; however if their behavior becomes dangerous or harmful to themselves or others it’s imperative that parents act immediately to remove them from the situation.
As part of their school discipline plan, it’s also essential that you collaborate with their school to establish a plan consistent with what happens at home. This will allow your child to apply skills learned during treatments like ABA therapy to everyday situations – while giving you the ability to monitor progress and ensure they’re learning and progressing well.
Create a Quiet Space
Children with autism are susceptible to wandering away from home and trying to leave safety. They can become overwhelmed in public settings and become hostile toward strangers; so it is crucial that a plan be put into place in order to keep your child safe.
One effective strategy to accomplish this goal is by creating a safe space where they can go when they need a break from stress or anxiety. This could be either within your house, such as an unlocked room, or outside in nature; either way it should contain soothing colors, plush blankets and their favorite toys to help them relax. When they enter their safe zone it should always be monitored closely so as to avoid running away or harming others.
As important as it is to remember that when children with autism exhibit behaviors such as meltdowns and aggression, this may not necessarily be done with any intent to hurt others or themselves. Meltdowns may instead be responses to stress or sensory overload. When your child begins acting out it would be wise to consult a professional therapist. They can offer individual, marriage and family therapy programs designed specifically to address your particular circumstances with your child.
Learn to read your child’s nonverbal cues to effectively handle an outburst or meltdown by paying close attention to their body language and nonverbal communication. They could be trying to tell you they’re tired or hungry – paying close attention can help them!
Encourage positive behavior by providing praise when your child engages in appropriate behaviors or displays new knowledge. Positive reinforcement works wonders with children with autism and will likely encourage them to repeat that behavior again.
Try not to try and reason with your child during a meltdown, as they won’t be able to comprehend you at that point and may see their behavior as justified. Also avoid using sarcasm or shouting as these tactics only escalate emotions further.
Parents often find that children with autism are prone to wandering or “eloping”, which can be dangerous and upsetting as it exposes your child to injury, exposure and abuse. Some kids may climb trees, squeeze through tight spaces or throw heavy objects which could cause injuries; moreover they are at greater risk for falling down stairs, being attacked by animals or playing with harmful materials than usual.
Children with autism tend to enjoy motion and the outdoors, putting them at greater risk of wandering when upset or anxious. Kids may become fixated on certain items, places, or people and attempt to reach them by wandering; this behavior is most frequently observed at family gatherings, events with lots of attendees or outdoor activities.
As part of your efforts to protect your child from elopement and wandering, installing security alarms on their doors and windows is the key to helping prevent wandering. If there are neighbors living nearby, installing alarms will notify you if someone attempts to leave or has left. It is also wise to arrange a meeting spot in the event of emergency – be it between houses or anywhere nearby where children could bolt into traffic in their attempt at escape if this were ever necessary; having this designated meeting point prevents this happening spontaneously and avoids bolting into traffic where they could get injured or hindered in their attempt.
Other safety measures you can take at home include eliminating potential tripping or climbing hazards from your home and installing safety features similar to what would be found in a toddler’s room, such as toilet locks, cabinet locks, non-pitch drawer closes and electrical outlet covers. Autism climbing furniture products exist specifically to allow your child to safely climb without risk of falls; you could even label any unsafe items with big, red stop stickers to demonstrate boundaries and limits for them.
Emergency plans should also include keeping an up-to-date list of critical information, including items they like and likely places they frequent, bodies of water nearby and any medical conditions they have that require attention. This will enable authorities to quickly locate your child if they should become lost and return them safely home if that should ever occur.
Encourage Your Child to Go to Their Quiet Space
These behaviors might seem like tantrums to you, but are actually self-stimulatory and may help children with autism to relax and remain calm.1 Keep this in mind if disciplining or trying to stop these behaviors from occurring.
Many children with autism prefer consistency and routine, so discipline techniques that vary may not work as effectively for them. It’s essential to establish clear rules and consequences so your child knows what they can expect – rewards can include candy or extra TV time while punishments might include taking away toys or sending them into time-out.
If you need assistance choosing appropriate rewards and punishments for your child, consider seeking guidance from a specialist. Autism specialists are equipped to guide parents in teaching appropriate behaviour while offering strategies that will enable their success in school, work and life.
Your goal should also be to avoid situations that trigger challenging or disruptive behavior in your child, such as overcrowded places or certain activities such as watching videos or playing with specific toys2.2 For instance, this might include being exposed to crowds of noisy people, or participating in certain recreational activities they find engaging – this might include crowding them out altogether by keeping their physical space free from obstruction.2
Acquaint yourself with various autism treatments available and ask your child’s treatment team questions to gain more understanding into why your child may act out and how best to manage his/her behavior.
Make the process exciting for them by including them in creating their quiet space! Explain its purpose and use. Make sure it is quiet, without doors or electronics nearby; provide blankets, pillows and favorite teddies as incentives to stay still in this peaceful corner.