The role of a parent can be a pretty demanding one – there’s no doubt about that. But when it comes to parenting a child with autism, a parent’s role becomes even more challenging. It’s a journey that can feel overwhelming at times, and the one that affects practically every other aspect of the parent’s family life – from relationships and finances to mental and emotional health.
If you’ve just recently learned that your child has ASD or autism spectrum disorder, you might be wondering how you can adjust your approach to parenting in order to help your little one thrive. Below, four useful tips to help new autism parents and families cope with this life-changing diagnosis.
Show your child love and acceptance
No parent expects to hear anything other than that their little one is in perfect health. However, as frightening and confusing it may be to hear about the ASD diagnosis, you want to offer nothing less than unconditional love to your child. Practice acceptance, and instead of observing what your child is “missing”, focus on what’s positive.
Let go of comparison. Your child needs to feel accepted and loved, and the best way to achieve that is to embrace everything about them, whether it’s their peculiar quirks, their special talents, and every small success. Many famous people with ASD have built successful careers because of their special talents. Do your best to recognize your own child’s talents, and then do everything you can to nurture and reinforce them.
Take advantage of various resources available
Parenting a child with autism can sometimes make parents feel isolated and alone. During those high stress points when you feel overwhelmed, it pays to rely on different resources that can help you cope with the whole situation. Nowadays, there are plenty of resources available that can help make raising ASD children a bit easier.
According to experts from Lexington services Utah, meeting an autistic child’s individual needs often starts with providing them with a learning environment in which they can thrive. The programs at these schools are specifically tailored to fit ASD children’s needs, and they’re aimed at improving their behavioral, social, and academic skills. As a parent, it’s important that you look into different options and resources that are available, whether we’re talking about education, parenting books, or forming connections with other ASD parents.
Stick to a schedule for a sense of consistency
Routines are very important for a child with autism spectrum disorder. ASD children thrive when there’s a sense of consistency, and a structured schedule is when they perform best. In order to help your child get the consistency, order, and structure they crave, come up with daily schedules. From meals and bedtime to therapy and school, make sure your child has set regular times for everything.
ASD children do best in predictable situations and environments. Because of that, they may feel concern, confusion, and distress when they encounter a disruption in their regular routine. As an ASD parent, you want to do your best to prevent these disruptions. However, some changes are inevitable, whether we’re talking about a school timetable or their daily schedule. But even then, you should make an effort to make the whole situation easier and prepare your child in advance.
Rely on a positive discipline
Positive reinforcement goes a long way in disciplining a child, and ASD children are no different. By using positive discipline, you’re offering encouragement and praising your child when they do well. This is very important, yet many parents make the mistake of correcting bad behaviors without offering praise when it’s needed. What this does is it highlights negative behavior while ignoring the positives.
Instead of falling into this trap like most parents do, try to focus your attention and energy on the good. Whenever your child displays a positive action, make sure to acknowledge it by expressing your love and giving them compliments. Be sure to specifically highlight the behaviors you liked, as this will further encourage positive actions. Finally, remember to reward their behaviors by letting them play for longer or offering a small prize. This will help promote constructive behavior while simultaneously boosting their self-esteem.
The role of a parent is to help their child learn, grow, thrive, and make progress. While this role can feel quite challenging at times, it’s the simple, everyday steps that can make a difference and help you be the best parent you can be to your little one. Stick with the parenting tips above and you’ll be well on your way to making your everyday life with your ASD child easier and simpler.
Published by Carrie Davis