Parenthood is a journey filled with beautiful experiences and unmatched joy. Challenges are also a part of this journey that becomes even more overwhelming living with a child with developmental disabilities such as autism.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that several environmental and genetic factors may lead to autism. However, vaccinations for measles, mumps, and rubella have proven to have no contribution to this condition.
The biggest challenge for parents coming to terms with this condition is looking for ways to improve their lives and bond with their children. Keep on reading to find out more about how you can live a better life with an autistic child.
- Educate Yourself
Although Autism is no longer an unknown developmental disability, learning more about it practically can be a rocky journey. From seeing the symptoms in your child to getting the results of a diagnosis, your journey as a parent to an autistic child can be very daunting.
Even though millions of children are diagnosed with autism every day, it can be an overwhelming journey to look for ways to improve your child’s potential and bond with you. The most important way to make it easier on yourself is to get educated about this disorder.
You can learn autism parenting strategies to stay updated about the disorder and learn new strategies to improve your child’s life and family’s well-being. In addition, you can also join support groups to sit, talk, and share with parents on the same journey as you.
Do not forget to always keep in touch with your child’s developmental pediatrician. They can teach you the best ways to take care of your child, cater to their needs, and strengthen your bond with them. The more resources you explore on this disorder, the easier your journey as a parent gets.
- Create a Schedule
If you are someone who religiously follows an everyday routine may face one lesser challenge as a parent of an autistic child. Children with autism appreciate a schedule in their lives. Predictability and certainty can help them feel safer and certain.
From meal time to play time, bedtime, and much more, you must make a foolproof schedule as a parent of an autistic child. Do not hold back from any little steps. Adding more details and following them through can make life easier for you and your child.
If you are someone who loves to go with the flow and does not believe in planning, you may have to put some extra work into bonding with your child and making them feel comfortable. Over time, the routine will integrate into your life seamlessly.
Of course, changes in routine are bound to happen even for the most dedicated parents. The best way to prepare your child for these changes is to communicate as soon as you are certain. Communicating early can give your child time to be mentally prepared and not get frustrated by sudden shifts.
- Praise their Uniqueness
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a parent of an autistic child is to compare them with others. This habit can lead to guilt in your child that they may not even know how to cope with. No parent wants their bond with their child to be affected for such reasons.
It can be hard to see your child having a hard time among peers their age or not bonding with their siblings. The best approach to cater to these differences is acceptance. Instead of seeing what your autistic child lacks, look into what makes them unique.
As a parent, you are your child’s first support system in this world. You cannot expect people to be kind if you are not practicing kindness and acceptance at home. Being kind and compassionate can be the best thing you can do for your child with autism.
It is best to ensure that you do not criticize your autistic child on the basis of what their siblings can do or achieve. It can create a sense of hostility among the siblings that can disturb your autistic child and the family as a whole.
- Provide a Safe Space
Children with autism need certainty and surety in life. While creating a schedule and following through is a fruitful approach, you may also want to look into ensuring a safe space for your autistic child to learn and thrive in.
An Assurance of a safe space can help autistic children unlock their potential, make the best of their abilities, and communicate better. They can also express themselves better, leading to improved moods and peace of mind for you and your child.
On the contrary, autistic children may have a hard time expressing themselves verbally and physically if they feel vulnerable. That is why children with autism have a hard time adjusting to new spaces and becoming comfortable with change.
A great way to help your child cope with changes is to provide them with sensory objects to improve self-regulation. From weight blankets to fidget toys, sensory objects can show a decline in their tantrums due to their inability to feel vulnerable.
- Manage Your Emotions
Some things are easier said than done. As a parent of an autistic child, you may have heard many people tell you to remain calm, fight frustration, and keep your cool, but no one can understand your struggle until they have walked a mile in your shoes.
There is no exaggeration in saying that life can be very challenging when raising a child with autism. From dealing with tantrums to sticking to the schedule, it is truly a challenge to make ends meet every day without feeling overwhelmed.
Feeling overwhelmed from time to time or on the verge of a breakdown is a part of the journey as a parent of an autistic child. You can only care for the physical and mental well-being of your child if you are caring enough for yourself.
Take a deep breath every time you feel agitated or frustrated. Keep in mind that you do not want to say any regrettable words. Be humble and empathic to maintain a healthy relationship with your child.