To all of the parents out there who are just starting the autism journey, consider this quote from Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are probably right.”
Parenting is a difficult job—but parenting a child with autism spectrum disorder or ASD poses extra challenges. In fact, studies about the coping skills of mothers of children with autism confirm that these women are more likely to report “poor or fair” emotional and mental health than other moms.
Here is a small list of surprisingly effective techniques you can use daily to cope with autism and nurture your child:
Use Sensory Experiences
Use Sensory Enrichment Therapy to help your child. Created by Mendability, this type of therapy uses sensory experiences, such as smelling essential oils, walking blindfolded across textured surfaces, and immersing the hands in warm water, to help reduce the effects of autism. This technique has been proven effective by two bodies of research.
Use Time to Let Them Prepare for Transition
Many children, especially those with autism, have trouble leaving their favorite place and activities. Like other parents, you probably prefer not to take your child to their favorite place, because you are afraid of that awful moment when you have to leave.
Use minute warnings. Your child may need a five-minute warning, for instance, to prepare for the transition. When you use this technique, your child will start to learn that the warning comes—and then the change comes, and it becomes a routine.
Focus on the Want
Have you ever said, “Stop screaming!” at your child—only to hear louder screams? Minimize the use of negative words like “don’t” and “stop”. Instead of saying, “Don’t walk on the grass”, say, “Walk on the sidewalk”, because this lets the child know exactly what you want them to do.
Parenting a child with autism can be quite the ride—but for the most part, everything you are going through is only a phase. It will end. Sometimes, all that is standing between you and your child’s happiness is a little extra structure and control.