When your child receives an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis, helping them live happily, healthily, and independently can be complex. Children on the autism spectrum are special, and for them to live their best lives, they need special care and attention. With these tips, you can explore some proven strategies to help your child with ASD grow and thrive.
Manage Wandering Tendencies
Wandering is a common occurrence for children with ASD. Many have certain triggers that set them off, while others may wander simply because they are bored. Have your child wear an identification bracelet with a GPS device so help you find them quickly. If he or she is nonverbal an ID bracelet with your child’s name and the phone number for you and their school can help someone who finds them know how to contact you.
Create a Soothing Space
Create a low-stimulus environment where your child can retreat during uncomfortable situations. At home, their bedroom can be painted with neutral colors and have soft, cocoon-like bedding. You can install a white noise machine to help manage any noises that might overstimulate him or her, and some children with ASD respond really well to aromatherapy when stressed.
Try CBD Oils
Recent evidence shows that children with ASD who take CBD oils can experience a reduction in aggression, stress, and anxiety, and it is especially helpful for those who do not respond well to the prescribed medications. In addition, studies have also shown that CBD can help people manage pain and inflammation. Be sure to talk to your child’s doctor about possible side effects and other concerns. If your doctor gives you the green light to try CBD oils with your child, consider purchasing gummies, which are much more palatable for kids than the oil.
Manage Reaction to Changes in the Home
A child with ASD might become disturbed or upset if they have to manage sudden changes in their most familiar environment. It can be something as simple as hanging new art (especially if it is brightly colored) or as complex as moving into a new house or neighborhood. Change is going to happen; it is unavoidable. So, try to turn these scenarios into learning opportunities by having conversations before, during, and after a change.
Make Exercise a Priority
With more than 3 million cases of childhood obesity diagnosed each year, parents of a child with a disability must be especially attuned to the physical health of their children. Studies show that children on the autism spectrum face a heightened risk of obesity, which can seriously impact other areas of physical and mental health. So, get your kid moving. Go on a family bike rides, walks, or hikes. Playing team activities like volleyball, tennis, tag, or hide-n-seek does double duty— it also encourages social learning in your child.
Get a Pet to Help with Social Adjustment
Having a pet can be an effective way to build social skills in children with ASD. Not only do they learn about compassion and responsibility, but they also learn how to read the body language of an animal to help address their needs. That translates effectively in becoming motivated to understand human body language. Plus, the non-judgmental, unconditional love of a pet is a huge confidence booster for kids in general, but especially those with ASD.
An autism diagnosis can mean big changes for your child and your entire family. You, as the parent, might feel alone and unsure of where to begin. Remember to start simple and small and stay compassionate — to yourself and your child.