I’m a mom of a kid with autism. There is a beautiful truth about parenting your autistic child and providing them with the tools to make every day a better experience. This article will discuss how to improve your child’s future with autism.
What can you do to improve the future for a child with autism?
Every parent spends considerable time contemplating their children’s futures. This is especially true if the child has autism. Although therapy and medical care are essential, a parent’s love allows each child to flourish.
There is a beautiful truth about parenting your autistic child and tools to make every day a better experience.
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Create a Plan
Create a plan based on the skills that seem challenging for your child despite being developmentally appropriate for other kids the same age. If you feel overcome, return to this list as a guide and focus on those skills. It is critical to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
People respond incredibly well to positive reinforcement. When a child behaves well, communicate clearly to tell them you like it. By reinforcing these specific actions, you promote them to occur more frequently. Please make sure your child knows exactly what they did to earn your praise and find a special way to reward them.
A reward can be anything from praising what they did well to a small prize to extra privileges (i.e., extra play or screentime). The best positive reinforcement occurs soon after the behavior you reinforce. Finally, it may make your child happy, and it will also make you feel good. It is critical to love your child as the special person they are.
Engage in play
It is vital to spend time playing with your child. Therapy and education is key, but enjoy one another and have fun together. Playtime may be what it takes to establish a deep and meaningful connection with your child. Try not to rush and let your child guide play. Sometimes, sitting next to one another while engaging in a similar task will be the perfect way to spend time together. Using different approaches and techniques will establish what your child responds to best.
Create a support network
Receiving support can significantly help, including friends, other families, online, and professionals. Support groups offer a way to share information, advice, and meet other families facing similar challenges. Individual, family, and marital counseling can also provide necessary assistance.
As you work through the skills and plans for the future, consider what additional therapies may be appropriate. Children who struggle to zip up a sweater or hold a pencil will get help through occupational therapy. Many children with autism benefit from speech therapy.
Creating a support network is critical. Do not be afraid to ask for help. When you have a question or concern, speak to an expert that will have the answers.
Include your Child in the Routine
Creating a daily schedule can help your child understand their daily routine and deal with any changes. You may not have all the answers on improving the future for your child with autism, but some experts do.
Many parents feel it is better to protect their autistic children from specific situations, but they need to spend time where they live. Taking your child along to run errands, visit a neighbor, or go for a walk is an excellent and beneficial interaction with your child.
Many autistic children need a set schedule and a routine to flourish. Consistent interactions and guidance will help your child practice what they learn in therapy. Being consistent will make it easier for your child to learn new behaviors and skills and enable them to apply their knowledge to real-life situations. Talking to your child’s therapists and teachers will help you develop the proper techniques and strengthen the bond with your child.
Planning for the Future
There are no answers that fit every situation because every child is different. However, sometimes it can be frustrating for both you and your child. There are a lot of unknowns as children grow up. Start long-term planning from a financial and healthcare perspective. Make this as close to a beautiful, fulfilling, and loving experience for both the parents and the child.
Cheer the Milestones
Autistic children need encouragement when they reach special milestones, like learning to dress themselves effectively coping with a change or challenging situation. Always tell your child precisely why you are proud of them.
Positive reinforcement will ensure that your child and you both feel fantastic. Everyone needs to know when they have accomplished something to take pride in, and autistic children are no different.
Unfortunately, not all people can see an autistic child with love in their eyes. These children and their parents cause adversity, and often it has nothing to do with you or your beloved child. They have bad experiences with other parents, teachers, and society. Your child must understand that not all people are kind because uncertainty will make your child defensive. Your child will tend to mimic your actions, so treat unkindness with kindness and ignorance with knowledge.
Provide a safe zone
Your child needs a special place where they feel safe, secure, and relax. You can mark this area using colored tape to ensure your child learns about boundaries. Safety proof this area, and fill it with some of your child’s favorite things. This can include special toys, books, blankets, or anything that makes your child happy. Spending time with your child in this area will strengthen the bond you feel for one another. Spend time reading to your child or telling them stories.
See our article about how to support people with autism while shopping or in public.
For some children with autism, language understanding may be complex. Your body language, the tone of voice when speaking, and the way you touch your child are all important. These all represent communication skills. Some autistic children learn to talk, and others do not.
Make sure you can clearly communicate with your child, regardless of verbal ability. Providing tools for those who are nonverbal may have significant advantages. Visual schedules show the different tasks in a day or break down the specific tasks’ steps. For example, below is a helpful tool called a picture exchange communication system (PECS) that allows children to communicate by pictures. Check the price for the below communication system here.
Create a toolbox
Resources are key. There is so much to learn about autism, and who better to learn it from than the people who have it? Unfortunately, many resources are created by people who are not autistic and do not include autistic people on the board of their organization. There are a lot of problems with Autism Speaks, but I will save that for another post!
Luckily, there are some great resources with a wealth of tools created by autistic people for autistic people. These inclusive non-profit organizations advocate for acceptance, provide educational resources, and protect autistic rights.
- Autism Self Advoacy Network (ASAN) resource library
- Autistic Inclusive Meets (AIM) documents
- Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network (AWN) resource library
- CommunicationFIRST for those who cannot rely on speech to be heard and understood
- Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism resources
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can a child with autism improve?
Yes, children’s symptoms can improve over time. Medical management and behavioral therapies may improve autism symptoms. However, a study showed that an autistic child’s severity of ASD symptoms could vary with age- 30% of 6-year-old kids have less severe ASD symptoms than when they were 3-year-old.
What improves autism?
- Speech therapy can improve communication techniques. Occupational therapy may support developmental milestones like fine and gross motor skills.
- Some children also have attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Manging those will improve symptoms will improve the attention span of an autistic child. Other ways to improve attention in autism are to give clear instructions, demonstrate tasks, and prepare the child for transitions.
- Improve executive functioning by helping them organize their thoughts, access the information they need, and integrate it in a useful way. For some that means, utilizing visual supports like a homework log, daily schedule, or checklist.
- Some research shows that a gluten-free diet may improve symptoms of autism. Others claim it does nothing.
What are the needs of a child with autism?
The needs of a child with autism are the same as any child. Children with autism may need more support with communication, social skills, and interacting with the world. Being an engaged parent is one of the best gifts you can give.
What should I not do with an autistic child?
The actions to avoid vary from child to child. People have different triggers. Some more common considerations of what may be overstimulating or upsetting to someone with autism include disrupting their routine
large crowds or sensory overload
- Don’t discipline autism
- You shouldn’t try to force them to be neurotypical
- Don’t act as if their identity is strictly autism
- Do not talk around them as if they’re not there
- No treating them as less because they have autism
- Don’t discount their opinions because they have autism
- Never allow them to be bullied
- Don’t stop believing in them
How do you help a child with autism calm down?
- To help a child with autism relax, recognize your child’s signs of distress. Often they will start to feel sensory overwhelm before they enter a crisis. Try to help them avoid it before it starts.
- Give your child space and leave self-soothing toy or object nearby (like their toy or favorite book.)
- Provide sensory toys that provide a tactile outlet like a stress ball, fidget toy, or stability disc.
- Get them a weighted blanket that helps people deceompress by creating a calming sensory experience. (Weighted Evolution offers a promo code for 10% off your first purchase here.
- Get a family pet (or a service pet!)
- Purchase chewelry, a discrete way to chew a firm, medical-grade material. It’s great for mild to moderate chewing but should be avoided in people who chew significantly.
- Look into guided breathing techniques.
- Putting pressure on a child to calm down is the worst thing you do. If all else fails, just be present and give them space.
How can you help a child with autism develop?
One of the common signs of autism is that children develop at a different pace than their peers. Address misconceptions and meet them where they are. Early educational intervention and support from occupational and speech therapy services are key.
How can I help a child with autism learn more effectively?
Each child is different and will have unique needs. Helping a child with autism to learn more effectively requires tailoring their education to them.
- Practice social skills: Try to include their special interests. My son loved the Simpsons and his speech therapist included Bart in a lesson about social skills and sarcasm. He never forgot that lesson and still talks about sarcasm.
- Support routines and transitions: Making transitions mooth is key. Whether you’re shifting between subjects, activities, or places, make sure to give warning.
- Sensory tools: Some kids do well on fitness balls others require fidget tools. Whatever works best for your child is okay! Work with your children’s individualized education program (IEP) team to include it into his day.
- Use visual cues: Visual cues help with transitions and routines, as well. Creating a visual schedule and reassuring what comes next helps.
What is the future for a child with autism?
A diagnosis of ASD doesn’t mean that your child won’t live a happy and fulfilled life. Many people with autism have friends, attend secondary education, date and marry, and pursue meaningful work.
If you want to know how to improve the future for your child with autism, there are general and specific things to try. In general, create a world that provides acceptance and resources to support people of all ages with different types of disabilities. This article reviewed the specific techniques that you can try to support your autistic child’s future.
What happens to an autistic child when they grow up?
Children with autism become autistic adults. Unfortunately, adults with autism are less likely to work for pay outside the home. In fact, a research study found that less than one-half of young adults with ASD never worked outside the home, which is the lowest rate among all disability groups. Adults with autism earn about $8.10 per hour. Young adults with autism were less likely to live independently, among other types of disability.
There is an adage that what you give will come back to you, especially with autistic children. Please share all the love in your heart with your babies. The beautiful truth about parenting your autistic child is that it changes you in ways you never dreamed.
What tips do you have to share about creating an amazing future for your children?