A diagnosis of autism does not mean that parents' relationship with children is over. The latest science shows that helping children with autism is easier than you think. More importantly, the studies show that most parents of autistic children do well emotionally and develop a strong, loving bond with their kids.
Data published in a scientific journal called Pediatrics indicated that moms of autistic kids were 5 times more likely to report having a good relationship with their children than moms of children with other learning disabilities. The key is how to deal with autism. And that's what we are going to find out here.
What Is Autism?
Autism is actually 1 of 5 neurodevelopmental disorders that make up autism spectrum disorder or ASD. These disorders can restrict a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others. They may also limit the child’s ability to learn, function in school and live a normal life. Some autistic children may develop repetitive behaviors, have poor coordination, and might be unusually sensitive to light and sound.
There is widespread disagreement among educators and doctors on how to deal with autism because symptoms and severity vary widely. Some children with ASD have high intelligence, while others are slow learners. Many children with autism will be able to function normally as adults despite some unusual traits.
How to Deal With Autism
1. Start Treatment as Soon as Possible
It is best to seek help from school officials and other professionals as soon as possible even if you don’t have a definite diagnosis. The current medical consensus is that the earlier children with ASD get help, the more effective the treatment is.
2. Maintain Consistency
A consistent environment at home, school and elsewhere is the best way to reinforce learning in an autistic child. One way to do this is that parents learn therapy techniques and repeat them at home. Another is to have a therapist work with the child in more than oneenvironment to help your children reinforce what she or he has learned.
3. Adhere to a Schedule
Autistic kids are more likely to thrive on a rigid schedule and a consistent routine. Set up a schedule with regular times for as many activities as possible. Make sure you tell the child if there’s going to be a change in the schedule no matter how small.
4. Encourage Constantly
One thing that an autistic child has in common with other kids is the need for praise and to learn good behavior. Whenever you children do something right, always tell you children this specific behavior is good and praise them or reward them with candy, toys or other things they like.
5. Provide a Private Space
An autistic child needs a private place where he feels safe and relaxed. Try giving the child his or her own playroom with privacy and to let the child know the areas are off limits by using visual cues like circling it with colored ribbons.
6. Mind Your Kid’s Sensitive Reactions
An autistic child may be extremely sensitive to stimuli such as light, sound, touch, taste and smell. Watch the child closely, find out what stimulates them and take steps to limit these stimuli. If you have a hard time doing that, talk to your therapist.
7. Seek Professional Help
The biggest mistake parents make with autistic kids is not seeking help early. There is a federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that funds a wide variety of services for autism. Some of these services are available free for kids under age 2 and are provided in public schools. Early Intervention Services and Special Education Services are 2of them that are effective in developing autistic kids' abilities.
If you want to know more therapies for autistic children and find out which therapy suits your kids best, check the following video:
8. Take Medications
Autism is a disease, so taking medications should be one of the answers to how to deal with autism. No medication that can eliminate the symptoms of autism, but there are some drugs that can help children with autism control some behaviors. These pharmaceuticals include:
- Antipsychotic Medicines: Drugs like haloperidol, risperidone and thioridazine can change brain chemistry and may decrease problem behaviors such as tantrums, aggressionand mutilation.
- Clonidine and Guanfacine: Marketed under the brand names Kapav and Intuniv, these medications can sometimes control impulsive and aggressive behaviors.
- Lithium: This sedative can sometimes control aggressive behavior and produce stability.
Medication should only be used on autistic children when all other strategies and therapies have failed. Parents should always seek a second opinion when medication is recommended or prescribed.
9. Parenting Tips
- Enjoy your kid’s special traits, celebrate small achievements, and don't compare your kid with others. Just give your kid the unconditional love and acceptance.
- Autism kids can be really sensitive, moody and even have aggressive or self-injurious behaviors. Parents should be patient and careful in taking care of them, but don't lose hope for autistic kids makes progress slowly, but they will learn the needed daily skills eventually.
- Autistic kids tend to communicate nonverbally and you should pay close attention to these cues and figure out what they want if they give a specific sound, expression or gesture.
- Autism kids are also kids. So make time to play and have fun with your kids, which promotes communication and encourages them come out of their own worlds.
- Taking care of autism kids can be really hard, so you should give yourself a break once in a while and let another family member or friends help; but if you find yourself depressed or anxious, you may need a therapist's help.