A diagnosis of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) can come as quite a shock to any person or their parent. It can be a frightening time fraught with concerns about a person’s future, confusion about the best way forward and not knowing what to do next.
Whilst it’s true that a person won’t simply “grow out” of ASD, there are a wide range of support options available to help your child develop, grow and thrive in life. From acquiring new skills to the approaches of those around them to focus on a wide variety of developmental areas, there are a number of government services, in-home behavioural therapy and school-based programs to help your child succeed.
The best thing you can do is to start to identify the things a person needs right away – whether that’s simply seeking help from different governmental or private bodies in order to learn more about your child’s specific case. Early intervention is the best way to help speed up your child’s development, allowing them to learn and acquire new coping skills and mechanisms as early in their development as possible.
We’ve put together a few tips to help you and your child develop and thrive together:
- Learn About Autism: One of the best things you can do if you’ve discovered (or suspect) that your child has ASD, is to learn as much as you can about the condition. Educate yourself about the options available, and help yourself be as informed as possible when it comes to making decisions for your child.
- Learn About Your Child: Each case of ASD can be entirely different to another, meaning understanding exactly what helps your child can be difficult. That’s why it’s so important to learn as much as you can about your child’s specific needs, challenges, enjoyments and fears.
- Create A ‘Home Safety Zone’: Finding a space for your child to feel secure, relaxed and safe should be an important aspect of your child’s development. It should be a space where they can relax and perhaps reflect on their day. For children with ASD, it often helps to have visual cues and stimuli that will allow the child to recognise that this is their safe space, such as a clear boundary.
- Stick to a Schedule: Generally, children with ASD tend to perform at their best when they have a clear, highly structured schedule of daily activities – such as set mealtimes, bedtimes, school, and therapy. Schedules help to offer comfort and familiarity, and it’s generally advised to help a child prepare for any unavoidable changes in this routine.
- Reward Good Behaviour: Like any child, rewarding good behaviour is a big aspect of helping your child learn and develop. For a child with ASD, ensure that you clearly explain what behaviour they are receiving praise for, and look for more visual, tangible ways to reward such behaviour – such as by giving them a sticker.
- Find Help & Support: When caring for a child with ASD, it can be easy to forget about your own wellbeing, too. Parenting isn’t ever easy and raising a child with special needs can be even more of a challenge. It’s important to look for help when you feel like you need it, such as ASD support groups, respite services and individual or family counselling.
If you’re looking for more information on Autism Spectrum Disorder, or you’d like to find out how we at Bright Futures Care provide support and learning development for children with ASD, feel free to get in touch with us to find out how we can help.