Are you raising a child with autism? There are specific demands that can lead to distress and meltdowns. While not their fault, this can frustrate even the most loving parents and drain their energy.
Raising a Child with Autism
Creating a loving and consistent home life is vital 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 you’ll be at making informed decisions for your child. Learning about 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 to 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, make sure to create a schedule for those days as well.
When raising a child with autism, these routines will be vital to having a successful day. If you need help creating schedules, 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,” which means hungry/angry? Well, that feeling is natural and can affect our children!
Help Recognize Hunger
When an autistic child gets hungry, they may be unable 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 considering 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 Diets & 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 most children.
The key to a healthy diet in children is not trends but ensuring 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, 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 of punishments.
Since sweets can cause problems later in the day, rewarding them in different ways is better. Autism apps for kids are great for two reasons. They will have fun using them and 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 building relationships.
If an in-person group is impossible 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 at 1 am!
Raising a Child with Autism
Raising a child with autism can be challenging and 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 many 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!