Autistic children are not immune to everyday traumatic events such as personal injuries resulting from car wrecks, slips and falls, and other accidents. Unlike neurotypical individuals, however, autistic children react quite differently to the trauma associated with their injury and the emotional distress that can accompany it. Parents must understand how to support their autistic child immediately after the bad event and forward.
Whether or not your child is autistic if they have experienced a personal injury due to an accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, you need to contact the best personal injury attorney you can find.
According to the pros at the Chopin Law Firm LLC, a personal injury attorney in New Orleans, when accidents result in serious injuries to you or your loved ones, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by legal, medical, and emotional repercussions. An experienced personal injury attorney will not only help you navigate the volatile legal waters. They will also fight to get you the compensation you deserve so you can focus on your recovery.
Supporting Autistic Children After a Traumatic Event: How Parents Can Help
Recovering after a traumatic event can be especially stressful for an autistic child and the parents.
According to a recent report by Raising Children, autistic children, including teens, see the world differently than average developing kids. For instance, they are likely less aware of other people’s emotional and social cues. The way they manage and express their own emotions is different also. It’s said that autistic children often show their emotions by stimming.
These differences can directly affect how autistic kids experience a traumatic event. Events that might seem minor to a neurotypical child can feel more traumatic and emotionally wrenching to an autistic child. Conversely, events that seem traumatic to seemingly normal individuals might not affect an autistic child in the least.
But then, oftentimes, autistic children will find some characteristics of a traumatic event far more emotionally stressful than others. For instance, a change in routine due to an accident can cause significant stress their routine is upset. They might also find it hard to deal with their loved one’s emotional changes, even if they are subtle.
Assisting your autistic child with feeling calm and safe is considered one of the most important “first responder” actions immediately following a traumatic event, be it an auto accident or a house fire.
Here are a few ideas you can employ with your autistic child or teen:
- Spend quality time with your autistic child. Reassure them that you and other loved ones are close by. That you are willing to look after their emotional and physical needs.
- Allow your child to utilize a safe space or keep their routine if possible. This helps them significantly when they are under duress. The safe space could be under a table on a pillow, in a calm corner of the home, or even in a locker room at school. They might wish to play with a favorite toy, sing a song they love, or count their stuffed animals. Your child could even recite passages from a play or a movie they love (ecolahila).
- As a parent, consider the environment around you. Immediately following a traumatic event, consider what you can do to change the environment if it seems to be causing your child emotional stress. Suppose your child is sensitive to loud sounds or bright lights, such as those from an emergency responder vehicle. Place noise-canceling headphones and sunglasses on them.
- It’s also important to encourage your autistic child to shift their focus onto the objects around them instead of the feelings and thoughts going through their heads and causing them psychological stress. A grounding exercise or mindfulness game is said to be a big help in these situations.
A traumatic event can be upsetting for a neurotypical child, but more so for autistic children. Make sure to be there to be supportive of your child’s needs, and you can help reduce those anxieties.