Autism Spectrum Disorders

Parents' Guide

What can Parents Do to Help Your Child?

After children have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), parents may encounter difficulties in taking care of them or feel unsure about what can help. The journey may be tough occasionally and full of ups and downs. 

 

Here are some guides on addressing the challenges posed and exploring possibilities forwards:

1. Give consistency and structure

It is difficult for children with ASD to transit their knowledge or skills acquired from one setting to another. Therefore, it is important to provide consistency in your child’s environment. For instance, if your child learns to put in a request through speaking to others at the therapist’ room or school, try to model how the therapists or teachers train your child at home.

 

2. Maintain a schedule

When children with ASD have a tight and structured schedule to keep, they will try to follow and perform better. Arrange a schedule, explicitly talk with your child about it and do not deviate from it. It is crucial to give your child prior notification as early as possible and cues whenever the schedule has to be amended.

 

3. Give positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement refers to offering something rewarding to subjects after they exhibit a desired behaviour, so they associate the action with the rewards and increase it. It is beneficial to praise your child when he or she acquires a new skill or behaves properly. Remember, communicate concretely with your child about which specific behavior is being complimented.

 

4. Set up a sensory room at home

Create a place at home where your child is able to feel secure and relaxed. For example, separate the room with brightly coloured visual cues from other areas of the house. It is crucial to safety-proof the room if your child may self-injure or act in a dangerous way.

 

5. Connect in novel ways

Utilizing nonverbal communication can create lots of opportunities for connection with children with ASD. You can communicate with your child by the way you look at him or her, tone of voice, body language and more. You can also learn which kinds of physical touch your child feels comfortable with and which do not. Your child is trying to communicate with you with his or her best effort even he or she is not or never speaking. Notice the facial expressions, the sound made and gestures of your child when he or she needs something. For instance, some children may merely nod to show tiredness or hunger.

 

6. Find out the impetus

It is challenging for children with ASD to communicate their needs, which often be misunderstood or neglected. This may be the cause for their acting out. Seek to understand the reasons behind your child’s behaviours and establish a system to know the environment and precedents of his or her acting out.

 

7. Have fun

Play is necessary for every child to learn. Aside from attending school and therapy sessions, organize playtime for both of you and your child. Any activities that involve social interaction are advantageous to his or her development.  

 

8. Pay attention to sensory sensitivities of your child

Be conscious of your child’s sensory sensitivities in daily environment, communicate with therapist to be informed of which stimuli are triggers of disorderly behaviours and which are acceptable and manageable to your child. This can help to defuse terrifying situations for your child, providing a sense of safety and favourable experiences.   

 

9. Formulate a unique treatment plan with therapist

Work with your child’s therapist to figure out:

a. Strengths and weaknesses of your child

b. Behaviours of your child producing the most problems

c. The best way for your child to learn (e.g. through seeing, listening or doing)

d. Activities which your child feels enjoyable and relax

 

Then, you can make use of these insights to set up a system by developing your child’s interests, encouraging him or her to keep to a schedule, breaking each task into small steps, and arranging highly structured activities regularly. 

Reference

Elemy. (2021, December 17). Parents' guide: So your child has been diagnosed with autism.

     https://www.elemy.com/studio/guides/parents-guide/