When you learn that your child has autism, you can feel overwhelmed and not know precisely what you should do next. Children typically begin displaying signs of autism from around one and a half years old.
You can view this post as a guide. In it, we discuss what autism is (also called autistic spectrum disorder – ASD), and how you can respond to it in a way that assists both you and your child.
Learn About The Condition
ASD, as the name suggests, affects children differently. For some, it is mild. For others with special needs, it is more severe. Each individual person with autism is not representative of everyone with the condition.
There are several different dimensions of autism of which you should be aware. These fall along social, emotional and behavioral lines.
Socially, children with ASD may struggle with eye contact or maintaining conversations. They may also find it difficult to show their emotions and pay close attention to nonverbal cues.
Emotionally, they may express poor regulation or appear apathetic and depressed. It is often difficult to determine their true emotions, particularly in social situations.
On a behavioral level, you may notice repetitive motions, such as rocking, jumping or hand flapping. ASD children also find it difficult to process information coming in from their senses, which is one of the reasons they become so attached to routine.
Find Out Where You Can Get Support
Once you learn about ASD and what it entails, the next step is to get the help and support that you need.
There are various professionals who can help your child with their diagnosis. You may require a combination of developmental therapy, speech and vocabulary training, social skills therapy and even psychiatric services.
You can also reach out for yourself. Many parents of children with ASD join support groups that help them deal with the difficult emotions that can so often accompany a diagnosis. As a parent, you need to understand that it’s not your fault.
Prepare Your Home Accordingly
After learning about the condition and getting the support you need, you’ll want to prepare your home accordingly. This can involve ensuring that it is safe for your child and that it is not over stimulating for them, as this can lead to behavioral and emotional regulation problems.
Sites like Foryourlittleone list neutral items that you can include in your home. These are low-key, but provide the functions that you need to care for your ASD child.
Pay Close Attention To Your Child
Children with ASD require you to pay close attention to them so that you can assess how they feel. In many cases, they may not be able to speak, or they may only give non-verbal cues about how they feel.
As a parent, it’s your job to interpret these cues and figure out what they mean. You may notice that ASD children develop their own way of talking. It’s your job to reflect this manner of speaking back at them so that you can build communication with them.