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How to Prepare Your Autistic Child for a Happier Life

At worst, autism can lead to a life in which caregivers are needed throughout adulthood. At best, autistic children can grow up to be happy, productive, and able to enjoy a normal family life as adults. Unfortunately, it isn’t entirely up to you what the outcomes will be, but you can raise the odds of them being able to experience life in a positive way, even after you are no longer there to offer support. Childhood will be especially important since this is the time when we form behaviors and skills most easily. Here’s what you can do to help.

Look for Professional Help With Flexibility

Just as every child is unique, autism spectrum children respond differently to various therapies. Action Behavior Centers illustrate a gold-standard approach that’s child-centered rather than an attempt to find a single methodology. That’s because there is no single method that works well for all autistic children. Look for individual attention and a willingness to work with you as a supportive team. Seek out experts who are willing to adapt to your child’s needs.

Work to Understand Your Child

Before your child can connect with you, you will need to understand them. You may find that they find certain ordinary-seeming things upsetting. Processing the things you say will also be more difficult. Work to make things easier for your child instead of presenting them with sensory and verbal overload. Manage your stress levels so that you don’t end up stressing out your child to the point of mental shutdown. Yes, you want results, but pressure is counter-productive. Slow down. Be gentle. Keep calm.

Look for Magical Moments to Share

Happiness is a habit. Although your child will be leaning on you, he or she will be leading the way when it comes to what makes them happy. It’s at moments like these that you can build on emotional connection, looking for activities and spaces in which your child is calm and content. They will present learning opportunities too, but resist the temptation to turn up the pressure. Offer approval and support instead, and let them enjoy the moment without interfering. Do set a time limit, and let them be aware of it. “After this, we will do that,” prepares them to change from a preferred activity to another one.

Hold Onto Routines and Prepare Them for Changes

For your autistic child to advance, they need to be in a calm state of mind. Apart from limiting stressful situations, try to make their days predictable. Prepare them for any changes to routine and use positive “spin” as much as you can, even if that means promising  (and delivering) a favorite activity after something unusual, like a visit to the doctor. Remember, coping with changes to routine is an achievement. Recognize this and provide positive reinforcement.

Teach Them “Why” With “What”

To be happy, and for you to stay sane, your autistic child must be able to cope with some basic rules and learn not to cause harm or get harmed. Physical discipline will only teach your child that striking out is acceptable behavior. Try using very simple explanations for boundaries, and if your child is acting out, try understanding why they are doing so. Do get expert help if you are struggling with this. It can be a very difficult area to navigate. As a parent to an autisitc child, you will face a great many challenges. Get all the support you can, and remember to make time for yourself too!

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