Caring for a child with autism can demand a lot of energy and time. There may be days when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or discouraged. Parenting isn't ever easy, and raising a child with special needs is even more challenging. In order to be the best parent you can be, it's essential that you take care of yourself.
Challenges for Families of Autistic People
A child with ASD can be challenging—they may be restless; have trouble sleeping, eating or speaking; experience seizures; or have meltdowns born of frustration or overstimulation. Expectations for a “normal” life may need to be adjusted.
A variety of research has shown that the most effective form of parenting when dealing with ASD is Authoritative parenting, and the study shows that mothers tend use more of permissive form of parenting which may have an adverse effect on the behavioural problems of children with ASD.
It can be challenging to interact with a child or grandchild with ASD. But it's one of the most important things you can do to help that child learn. Research shows that early, frequent, and loving involvement of family members is one of the best ways to help children with ASD.
In severe cases, an autistic child may never learn to speak or make eye contact. But many children with autism and other autism spectrum disorders are able to live relatively normal lives.
Autism has a wide spectrum and not every individual with autism can find a place in mainstream schools. However, I have had a few success stories where the right support and timely intervention helped. Several students from my schools were able to successfully complete their education from mainstream schools.
During a meltdown: what to do
Give your child space, don't touch them, and keep other people away. Turn down lights and keep things quiet, or give your child noise-cancelling headphones. Let one person speak to your child, but don't say too much. Stay calm and wait.
People with ASD often have problems with social communication and interaction, and restricted or repetitive behaviors or interests. People with ASD may also have different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention. It is important to note that some people without ASD might also have some of these symptoms.
Keep your turns short at first, so your son needs to listen for only a short time before you praise or reward him. As he gets better at listening and waiting his turn, try gradually lengthening your answers (or those of another partner). We like combining this game with the talking stick or listen/talk signs.
Autistic mothers were more likely to feel they were not coping as parents and to feel they were unable to turn to others for support. In addition, autistic mothers may fear this negative perception in professionals, such as clinicians or social workers, leading to a fear or unwillingness to disclose their autism.
Another review of studies found parents of a child with ASD had decreased parenting efficacy, increased parenting stress, and an increase in mental and physical health problems compared with parents' children with other developmental disorders in high income countries .
Meeting the complex needs of a person with an ASD can put families under a great deal of stress—emotional, financial, and sometimes even physical. Respite care can give parents and other family caregivers a needed break and help maintain family well-being.
Autism does not change or worsen as someone gets older, and there's no cure.
ASD begins before the age of 3 years and can last throughout a person's life, although symptoms may improve over time. Some children show ASD symptoms within the first 12 months of life. In others, symptoms may not show up until 24 months of age or later.
Autistic people may display a range of strengths and abilities that can be directly related to their diagnosis, including: Learning to read at a very early age (known as hyperlexia). Memorising and learning information quickly. Thinking and learning in a visual way.
Reward good behavior.
Positive reinforcement can go a long way with children with ASD, so make an effort to “catch them doing something good.” Praise them when they act appropriately or learn a new skill, being very specific about what behavior they're being praised for.
Many autistic people have intense and highly-focused interests, often from a fairly young age. These can change over time or be lifelong. It can be art, music, gardening, animals, postcodes or numbers. For many younger children it's Thomas the Tank Engine, dinosaurs or particular cartoon characters.
Two types of reaction are typical of autism meltdowns – an explosive reaction or a withdrawal. Explosive reactions may involve screaming, shouting, aggressive behaviour or crying. On the other hand, less explosive reactions may include refusing to communicate or interact, withdrawing themselves or shutting down.
Here's the reality: every child will throw a tantrum at some point, whether they have an autism diagnosis or not. But for children with autism, tantrums can be more frequent, distressing, and difficult to quell. However, it is in no way impossible; you'll just need to be a little more patient.
Two Words: Gentle Consistency
Your child might not understand the consequences of their actions, which can be frustrating. However, you should refrain from any kind of physical or verbal punishment that could have a negative effect on your child. Instead, be gentle with your words and actions.
People diagnosed with Level 2 ASD require moderate levels of support. This means that they may only be capable of limited social interactions, have limited interests, and frequently perform limited or repetitive behaviours. Individuals with Level 2 ASD diagnosis will automatically qualify to be an NDIS participant.
Pros of Homeschooling for Children with Autism
The learning environment has fewer distractions and fewer stressors. If a student has been dealing with bullies in school, homeschooling provides a safe haven. All aspects of education can be individualized to fit the student's needs.
Characteristics of Mild Autism
Repetitive or fixated behaviors, interests, or activities: Autistic people often repeat movements or words as a way to self-regulate, a behavior often referred to as “stimming.” They may also adhere to specific routines and have specific and intense interests.