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5 Tips for Parents with Children Diagnosed with Autism

female child standing with heart shaped toy demonstrating tips for parents with children diagnosed with autism

When you learn that your child has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it can be overwhelming. The vast amount of information on the internet can be helpful, but it can also be confusing. At Opya, we understand that parent training is as vital as your child’s therapy. You need to feel secure about how to proceed, what daily tasks and procedures should be prioritized, and whom you can ask for trustworthy advice. With holidays approaching, we’d like to share tips for a safe and fun experience for your child.

We can help you prioritize your first steps, remind you to breathe, and provide guidance for what comes after the first steps. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Take the time you need, and don’t be hard on yourself. You can reach us by completing our online contact form or simply call us at (650) 931-6300.

Your Child Has Been Diagnosed with Autism

You just graduated from the ordinary challenge of being a parent of a young child to being a parent of a child with challenges you may not understand – yet. The journey will be exhausting at times, and you may question whether your child loves you. Rest assured, though they show it in unexpected ways, your child does love you and depends on you.

Like all parents, you will make mistakes and also have moments of deep satisfaction. Your patience will be worn to a nub, but then a milestone reached or a simple smile will energize and lift you up.

Remember:

  • It’s okay to ask for help
  • There are professionals who can help
  • Progress will happen
  • You and your child will be okay

Below are five tips for parents of children who have been diagnosed with autism that can help you feel more calm and more confident as you continue on this journey.

Five Tips for Parents with Children Diagnosed with Autism

Your primary physician has probably provided you with a list of therapists, educators, and medical professionals who can support your child through each stage of development and ensure positive growth.

 

In addition to the support of professionals, there are things you can do every day to help your child and provide opportunities for learning and fun. Below are five tips to keep in mind.

  1. Create routines – A daily schedule will be your greatest tool. Because children diagnosed with autism have difficulty transitioning from one activity or task to another, going over the day’s plan in the morning helps. Use a cell phone or kitchen timers to signal upcoming transitions. Be sure your schedule is visible to the whole family. It is important that your routine includes time for play, breaks from learning, and special treats – like taking the dog for a walk, or watching a short video.
  2. Set boundaries – When your child’s therapist comes into the home, as Opya clinicians do, it is a good idea to create literal boundaries between learning or therapy space and family space. You can also create clear boundaries for the people in your home that make them comfortable. If your child ignores closed doors, implement a knocking policy. Let your neurotypical children know what their sibling’s comfort level is around touch, personal space, and noise. You need to have boundaries too. Perhaps have a special chair or room where you take breaks. Let everyone know that you are still available but need ten minutes to yourself.
  3. Focus on the positive – Positive reinforcement is a core principle of applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy, which is widely used for children diagnosed with autism. Implementing positivity into your daily routine and even around the most tedious or stressful tasks will help your child feel calm and secure. Respond to behavior with specific feedback about what you liked about it and indicate whenever possible that you like your child exactly as they are. Positivity does not demand they become a different person, though it can encourage change in behaviors that don’t serve them.
  4. Don’t isolate – We know it can feel overwhelming to go out into the world, given the unpredictable nature of autism. It may seem easier to stay home because you don’t want to trigger certain behaviors or expose your child to potentially unpleasant situations. But normalizing life in the world is an important service you can do for your ASD child. Take them to the grocery store to pick up the dry cleaning or for lunch at a quiet lunch counter that has food your child will like. With Halloween coming up, trick-or-treating with your child can be a safe, fun way to socialize in a controlled situation.
  5. Make time for self-care – You are not much good to your child if you burn out. And burnout can creep up on you if you are not careful. Rather than having a meltdown one day because you are exhausted and have run out of ideas, be proactive. Set aside time for yourself whenever possible. A walk, an hour in a café with a book, or a visit with friends – do whatever will replenish you so you can go on being a supportive parent to your child.

This list is far from exhaustive, but it is a start. Contact Opya today for more tips for parents with children diagnosed with autism.

Opya Can Help

Opya’s early-intervention model of autism therapy targets children between the ages of 18 months up to six years old for comprehensive, home-based, multi-disciplinary therapies. We work closely with parents so you can always ask for helpful tips to make your time with your child as pleasant and beneficial as it can be.

Throughout October, as Halloween approaches, it’s beneficial to follow the tips listed above to ensure your child gets the most out of their holiday experience.

Reach out by calling (650) 931-6300 or filling out our online form to connect with an autism specialist today.