A lot of research has been done to understand Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and minimise the stigma attached to it. Having a child with autism may seem frightening at first but one must remember that though autism may pose severe challenges of speech, social skills & non-verbal communication, it also attributes your child with unique strengths & distinct skills.
In order to honour those skills & characteristics, parents must use effective & innovative parenting skills.
- Ensure that home learnings are consistent with the learnings at school or at the therapist’s office. One of the best ways to reinforce learnings be it behaviour or academics is to make sure there is consistency among all the environments your child is exposed to.
- Don’t forget to reward good behaviour. Positive reinforcement will not only help them differentiate between good and bad behaviour, but will encourage them to be more open to learning new skills.
- Autistic children work best with schedules. Make sure they follow a strict routine right from the time they wake up to when they go to bed. If there is going to be any change in the routine on a particular, make sure to tell them in advance.
- Make your home a safe & secure environment, where your child can relax and feel safe & happy. Safety proofing your house will keep you well -equipped to handle your child’s tantrums or even self-injurious behaviours- which autistic children are prone to.
- Autistic children are hypersensitive to certain kinds of light or sound. Find out what triggers ‘bad’ or unacceptable behaviour and what helps balance these bad triggers. You will be better prepared to handle or even prevent bad experiences and will be more successful in creating good ones.
Most importantly, find time to have fun with your child. There is more to life than just therapy or school. Make sure you find time to bond with your child. Play a sport, indulge in the arts or even read a book together. This free and liberating experience is a good break from the pressures of school or therapy session where the onus is always on the child, where the child is burdened with certain expectations. This time with the parent is a good break and also makes for a relaxed, pressure-free and ‘being yourself’ time which your child will enjoy.