Parenting and Autism is a journey
Parenting is a journey, which includes pivots, detours and the occasional need to ask for direction. As we all know, each child is different and has unique needs that may require a road map that is modifiable. Just like any other child, those diagnosed with Autism (ASD) want to have fun and succeed during this journey at the same time that their parents want them to thrive. By employing certain routines, techniques, services and treatments, parents can aid in their child’s successes and avoid burnout for themselves therefore creating a more enjoyable journey.
In the article on HelpGuide.org, there are multiple tips and suggestions which aim to help support the parent and the child during the diagnosis and treatment stages of ASD. The article reminds us that a child with ASD does not simply “grow out of” the diagnosis but there are a variety of treatments/strategies to help facilitate the overcoming of developmental challenges. One of the big take-a-ways here is that the parent has to take care of themselves too! It’s important to remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup so this is your friendly reminder to take those couple minutes for yourself as a parent whether it be joining a support group, enjoying a nice meal or spending quality time alone with your thoughts.
One of the parenting strategies and techniques is to provide consistency in a safe manner for the child and the parent. A routine for someone who has ASD can feed the need for a highly-structured schedule and can assist with their focus/attention. However, as we know, life does not always go according to plan. Try to keep disruptions to your family’s schedule as little as possible and if there is going to be a deviation from the scheduled plan, try to plan and prepare your child in advance to avoid complications and unsafe feelings.
The next parenting strategy and technique focuses on the connection between the parent and the child. Most commonly, the connection is by verbal connections. But these verbal connections might not always be available. In the case that this might happen, try non-verbal connections to engage and interact with the child. Examples of these non-verbal connections could be and are not excluded to; smiling, laughing and engaging in play in a safe manner. It is also important to note here that as a parent you can still remember that your child wants to have fun and play just like any other child so by offering and facilitating time to do so can bring them joy.
Another parenting strategy and technique is in regards to finding support for all family members. Finding health professionals that specialize with ASD and support groups for the child and the parent can be extremely helpful with navigating challenging times. Respite care can also be an option for parents wanting a little time to themselves as well as to avoid caregiver burnout.
To learn more about ASD and to assist in understanding the importance of language, check out one of the previous posts on our website.
Connect with Safe and Sound Therapeutics for more support for yourself or your family when managing autism.