Are you raising a child with autism?
It is tough to raise an autistic child. They have specific demands that, when we cannot fulfill, can lead to distress and meltdowns. While not their fault, this can frustrate even the most loving parents and drain their energy.
Creating a loving and consistent home life is key when raising a child with autism. Keep reading to learn how you can raise an autistic child with less stress and more love.
1. Learn about Autism
The more you know about autism spectrum disorder, the better equipped you’ll be to make informed decisions for your child. Learning about things such as therapies, schedules, and other resources will help make daily life easier. Here are some of our top articles for you to learn from with ease:
- Autism Symptoms in Girls
- The Play Project – Early Childhood Autism Intervention Therapy
- Understanding the Levels of Autism
- Music Therapy for Autism
- Autism and Wandering
- Understanding Autism and Transitions
2. Routine is key
Autistic children do best when they have a highly-structured routine. Having a structured routine provides the consistency they need and crave.
Create a routine that works for your child and family. This schedule needs to include mealtime, homework time, hygiene time, and even when they can have free play.
When all possible, stick your child’s routine strictly. If there needs to be a change, try to let them know in advance of the change.
These schedules do not have to be the same every day. If certain days have therapies or church, just make sure to create a schedule for those days as well.
When raising a child with autism, these routines will be key to having a successful day. If you need help creating schedules, make sure to check out our free autism resources to print visual schedules for morning and night.
3. Consider What Your Child Eats
Have you ever heard the phrase “Hangry” that means hungry/angry? Well, that feeling is real and can really affect our children!
Help Recognize Hunger
When an autistic child gets hungry, they may not be able to express that need to you. One thing you might notice, though, is a decrease in mood and an increase in anger. So make sure they are eating meals and getting healthy snacks on a schedule to reduce the change of hunger fueled meltdowns.
Making sure your child’s stomach is full isn’t the only thing to consider when thinking about diet. Reducing or eliminating your child’s sugar intake is equally important. The boost in energy, as well as the sugar crash, can lead to emotional dysregulation.
Avoid Internet Diet’s & Trends
It has been found gluten-free food doesn’t have the impact that experts once thought. While those with a diagnosed gluten intolerance need to go gluten-free, this isn’t the case for the majority of children.
The key to a healthy diet in children is not trends, but making sure your child gets fruits and vegetables, along with the proper amounts of protein and healthy grains.
When raising a child with autism you may find that they have many food aversions. If this is the case, make sure to work with an occupational therapist to introduce new foods into their diet.
4. Reward Good Behavior
Positive reinforcement is the best way to instill good behaviors when raising a child with autism. Rewarding good behavior teaches children to love you instead of being afraid due to punishments.
Since sweets can cause problems later in the day, it’s better to reward them in different ways. Autism apps for kids are great for two reasons. They will have fun using them and they will learn more as they continue to play.
5. Find a support group
Connecting with other parents of autistic children will benefit you and your child in many ways. These groups are a great place to ask questions and receive helpful answers in an instant.
Many groups offer events where your children can get together and mingle. Since social interactions can be an area of struggle for autistic children, these events are a great stepping stone to build relationships.
If an in-person group is not possible due to location or family needs, try joining a group online. The Mom Kind hosts a free Facebook group for parents to connect online. These groups are a great way to connect when you have time, even if its 1 am!
Raising a Child with Autism
Raising a child with autism can be difficult, but also the most rewarding job ever. There are many helpful resources available to you.
Want to learn more about great tips for raising a child with autism? There are a lot more things to discover, so make sure to bookmark our autism parenting section and subscribe to our email list below for the latest articles and resources sent straight to your inbox!