Great Parenting Resources for People With Autistic Children by Emily Graham
If you’re parenting an autistic child, finding helpful resources that guide you through every aspect of your child’s life can make quite a difference. From understanding what to expect at certain stages to playing your role in helping them be their best selves, knowing where to turn is essential. These resources below can help prepare you for what life has to offer.
The Early Years
While it’s not typical for children to get diagnosed with autism before they turn two, it can happen. If your child doesn’t make eye contact or imitate your facial movements, it could be an indication of autism. You should also look for a lack of speech and not responding to their name. Even at an early stage, it’s not recommended to ignore your concerns and wait for things to improve. By contacting a specialist early on, you can start a recommended treatment program. According to the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation, children as young as 18 months can start an early intervention program that can do wonders for their development, as it can make the transition into learning and social environments easier.
Getting Ready for School
Before your child is ready to start school, it’s good to do some research. If you’d like your child to attend a school that focuses solely on children with special needs, then look into schools that have specific programs that are helpful to autistic children. This can be very helpful if your child needs in-depth therapies that the average school system wouldn’t provide. Since these schools can be a little expensive, you can also check with your local school district to see if any of your costs will be covered. If you’re leaning towards a regular school, then it’s best to contact the schools you like to find out about their special education services. According to Friendship Circle, getting this service usually starts with an evaluation, which you can request in writing.
Helping with Development
As the parent to an autistic child, you will always have a role to play in developing their social skills. According to Psychology Today, younger children can benefit from simple, direct lessons. Older children can learn more nuanced interactions like body language as they build on the foundation that was set. Bear in mind, however, that these lessons should also incorporate explanations of behavior as well as role-play scenarios using real-life examples. When your child is in school, you can expect to pitch in with their homework. If you suspect the homework is out of your child’s reach, have a talk with the teacher; otherwise, you can assess the best way for the two of you to tackle the work together.
Parents of autistic children can have even more safety concerns than others because these children aren’t always good at assessing safety risks. While this includes keeping them safe from strangers and in public places, it starts at home. Make sure your home is kept safe by keeping swimming pools and freezers off-limits. If door locks aren’t enough, then you should definitely invest in some door alarms. Your cleaning products should also be kept a safe distance from your child, no matter their age. Your furniture and televisions should also be properly secured with straps. If your television is mounted, don’t rely on one mounting point. Make sure you use a strap on each side so there’s no risk of it falling on your curious child.
There’s no doubt that parenting an autistic child can be challenging. but if you use the resources that are geared toward helping them, you’ll know what to do. On top of being there for your child, try to reach out to support groups that can help you maintain your own balance as well.
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