Getting Organized as an Autism Parent

As any parent can tell you, there are endless amounts of activities and planning when it comes to having children.  When it comes to autism parenting, getting organized can be an even bigger challenge!   It can be extremely hard to keep track of all the appointments, medications, classes, after school activities, and everything else!  Getting organized as an autism parent is tough!

Getting organized as an autism parent is a challenge I face on a daily basis. Having four children of my own, three of which are on the autism spectrum, means I have an endless amount to organize.  Our oldest has activities cheer leading, student counsel, youth group, and counseling.  Our autistic children have choir, Lego club,  weekly therapies (both at home and in office), counseling, and sensory diets to add to the list.  All four of them have different school times, different doctors, and medications that have to be balanced too.

As you can imagine, that is a ton to get organized in itself!  Not only do I have to balance all of those so they do not overlap, I have mine and my husband’s schedules to account for too.   Getting organized as an autism parent was a huge struggle for me in the beginning.

Through trial and error, I have found several techniques to getting organized. This has helped with not forgetting half of what I am supposed to do!  Here are my organizing tips for autism parenting.

 

Autism Parenting ~ Getting Organized as an Autism Parent can be tough!  Learn some tried and true tips on how you can get organized today! #autismmom #autismparenting #getorganized

Getting Organized as an Autism Parent

Get a yearly planner!

I had never been one to keep a written yearly calendar.  In the digital world we live in, having access to google calendars has been my go to for planning.  This is great for things like scheduling appointments and sharing with family members.  While this is a method I still use, I have found having a yearly planner I can write in much more efficient!

I have always heard that if you write something down, you are more likely to accomplish it.  After months of writing things down, I can see why this may be true.  For me, I just cannot stand having a list not checked off!  That probably isn’t what they were referring to, but my own autistic tendencies of having a schedule not followed.

The great thing about yearly planners are that they break down into months, weeks, and days.  You can plan out things hourly, which is a huge help for coping with sensory diets and working in occupation therapies at home.

Monthly sections are great for writing down doctor appointments.  As an autism parent, you may have already figured out that many doctors schedule out months in advance.  Your child’s next appointment can be as far as nine months to a year out!  Writing these down in the monthly section. Then when that month comes, will it into the weekly/daily section so you do not forget it or over book yourself!

Plan out everything you can!

Children with autism thrive with schedules and routine.  Even as an adult, this is still true for myself and other autistic adults. Planning takes a lot of stress away and can make life much more enjoyable for everyone involved.

We plan out things like dinner by using a weekly meal planner, as well as filling in start times to prepare dinner in my daily planner sections.  This takes away the “what’s for dinner” question, as well as not having the right supplies on hand!  

Other things you can plan out can be thing like physical activities, when you will go to the store, family outings, visiting friends, and more.  The key to planning out it really learning  your families individual needs.  Every person with autism is different, so you will have to learn how to tailor your schedule to what helps everyone in your family.

Autism Parents Get Organized: Be Prepared!

When it comes to autism parenting, getting organized includes being prepared!  Though you may feel as though you are preparing for a zombie apocalypse,  I promise this will make life so much easier for you!

 On The Go

Whether you carry a purse, diaper bag,  make sure to pack it full of the items you and your child need!  (If you dislike carrying a purse, grab a book bag!). Our bag always includes : Mini first aid kit,  noise cancelling head phones, pull ups, preferred snacks, crayons and mini coloring book, chewy necklaces, and squeeze toys.

These are the items that I have learned we absolutely need on us always!  I also have a bag in the stow away section of my van full of other essentials we need on the go.  This includes a change of clothes for both autistic children, a back up shirt for me, water bottles, blankets, and other items for if we ever are stranded.

crash pad for kids with autism spectrum disorder

At Home

Our youngest with autism is almost three, so his need greatly different from our autistic daughter who is twelve.  Even I have my own separate needs to take in account. Being organized as a parent of autistic children, also means being prepared at home.

All four of us have to have an area to go to for calming down.  Each of us like small spaces when it comes to sensory overload.  We converted a closet for my daughter by taking the door off for sensory overload. We hung a soft curtain, put in a crash pad, and put in some of her favorite sensory toys.

For our son, we had to make him a box for all his squeezes.  He currently will squeeze my arm when he gets overloaded (or anyone or thing near him).  We have collected several items for him to squeeze instead of people.  It gives him the release he needs, without me having to use our first aid kit on my own arm.  His newest squeeze item he loves is the Diy Sensory Bags we made.

Schedule Time for Yourself!

We have all heard the classic line from the airlines. Place the oxygen mask on yourself first. You cannot successfully be the best parent you can be without taking care of yourself first!  Schedule time for yourself to get out of the house by yourself, go for a walk, take a shower (seriously), call a friend, or anything that makes you happy.  We often forget to take care of ourselves when caring for others.

Getting Organized as an Autism Parent

Getting Organized as an Autism Parent is key for having a successful, less stress day.  Do you have any additional tips? Let us know in the comments below!

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
Alicia Trautwein is an autism parenting coach living in Missouri. She is the creator behind The Mom Kind, a website dedicated to parenting neurodiverse families.  She is one of the head creators behind the #WeLoeveMoms campaign and is also featured in the "Amazing Moms" coffee table book by Hogan Hilling & Dr. Elise Ho.  She shares her expertise along with her experience in parenting children, both with and without autism.

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