Everything You Need To Know About Supporting A Child Who Has Autism

Have you been worried about your child’s behavior for some time?

If your child is acting unusually with no obvious cause, it is time to seek professional help. In modern times, diagnostics surrounding autism spectrum disorder or ASD have dramatically improved, meaning medical professionals are better equipped to diagnose it, as well as help you and your child to better manage it.

boy with down syndrome enjoying art class with teacher

So, if and when your child receives a diagnosis of ASD, it is important to consider that there are things that can be done to help them. Here, you will be guided through what you can do to support them with day-to-day life and help them live the best life possible.

Clear Communication

Many children who have ASD may struggle with communication. It may appear that they aren’t listening, or they may have issues with vocalizing themselves.

You can help here, and so can technology. There is a parent’s guide to the best autism apps that can assist you in breaking down which app may help your child to better express their needs. Make sure that during daily conversations, though, you use your child’s name and speak firmly and clearly. If needed, use images and gestures to better communicate with your child. Be sure to also allocate extra time in case they struggle to understand what you want from them. If in doubt, talk to your doctor for advice.

Redirection of Undesirable Behaviors

Parents of children who have ASD may struggle when their child engages in undesirable behavior, such as stimming, self-harm, and meltdowns.

You should always talk to a mental health worker or child psychologist about the best way to prevent and manage these behaviors in your child, but the key is to redirect. If your child is pulling at their hair, it may be worth getting them a fluffy toy that they can remove the hair from without harm to themselves. Many parents invest in fidget cubes, spinners, or other tactile toys for these children to self-soothe with, which can distract from these harmful behaviors.

Food and Diet

All children are fussy eaters, but kids with ASD can only want foods of a certain color, texture, or shape. Try to ensure they eat a healthy diet as much as you can and keep a food diary, as this will help you to identify potential issues.

It is always important to consult with a nutritionist when your child has ASD so you can work together to ensure that they have a balanced diet without forcing them to eat food that they don’t like.

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Due to being over-sensitive to noise, many children with ASD may struggle to get a good night’s sleep. This can make it harder for them to concentrate and can exacerbate mood swings.

Try to keep the same bedtime routine every night, make sure their room is cool, quiet, and dark, and, if necessary, it can be worth getting them some earbuds. If these tips do not help, you will need to see a pediatric autism expert to get a better sleep plan in place.

Medical Appointments

No child likes going to the dentist or doctor, but when your child has meltdowns, the prospect of taking them for a medical appointment becomes more daunting.

Make sure that your child’s doctor, dentist, and optician are aware that they have ASD so they can make accommodations to see your child. This may involve having you and your child wait in a quiet area or, in the case of dentists, using sedatives to relax your child.

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