10 Things Parents Can Do to Help Their Child With ASD
From the moment a parent learns of their child’s Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis, they usually scramble to find appropriate services, schools, doctors, and therapists.
It can be a tough diagnosis to accept at first. When that is coupled with a lack of knowledge about ASD, the situation can get even more complicated.
If you are currently in this boat, do not worry. You, as a parent, want your child to be happy and healthy and there are various steps you can take to ensure that you provide them with all the support and tools they will require as they navigate a life with ASD.
So, what do you do when you learn that your child is diagnosed with ASD? Here are ten things that parents can do to help:
1. Start with the diagnosis right away. Most parents don’t start with the treatment right away. This is a fundamental mistake. The sooner your child can get help, the better the chances of successful treatment outcomes. Early intervention is one of the most effective ways to speed up your child’s development.
2. Learn about autism. Gather knowledge about autism. The more you know about ASD, the better equipped you will be. This will help you make knowledgeable decisions for your child.
3. Know your child. Every child with ASD has unique challenges. No two children with ASD have the same conditions. Each case differs from the other. Hence, it is best to know everything about your child – what triggers him, what is his response to various stimuli, what stresses him? Understanding these factors are important for you as a parent and for your child as well. It will help you modify tricky situations and/or completely prevent them.
4. Accept. Most parents feel that their child is missing out on many things because he is diagnosed with ASD. Rather than focusing on his ASD, practice acceptance. Learn to enjoy the characteristics that are specific to your child. Acceptance plays an integral part for children with ASD.
5. Be patient. It is nearly impossible to predict the course of ASD. Be patient with your child. Children with ASD have their entire life to grow their abilities and develop new skills.
Read about inspiring stories of people with ASD
6. Involve the community. Including the community in your child’s treatment can prove to be beneficial to both your child and the community. Additionally, you can join parent groups. Groups and communities are great ways to gather knowledge and make connections that could help your child. Try to connect with parents whose kids are at the same functioning level as yours. This helps in two-way information sharing. Also, sign up for any autism walks with the community as well. These will help boost your confidence.
7. Educate friends and family. Involving as many caring people as you can in your child’s treatment is a good thing. Friends and family can be of support in their own unique way, from carpooling to day-care centers to listening to you talk about your child.
8. Organize playdates. Invite friends over to have a fun playdate with your child. Thanks to all the community involvement, as mentioned above, you can organize playdates for your child. Make sure you organize the first few playdates with kids who have similar behavioral characteristics as your child. You can increase the frequency of playdates once you feel that your child is comfortable with other children.
9. Respite is important. Take a break from time to time. Handling children with ASD can be stressful for certain individuals. Ask other parents to watch your child for a few hours in a week so that you can take a breather and refresh yourself.
10. Reward good behavior. Most parents do everything right, but often miss out on this. Positive reinforcement can do wonders for your child with ASD. Compliment them on a job well done.
These are the ten things that you can do to help your child with ASD. What are your thoughts about it? What else would you add to the list? Do let us know in comments below!