If you’re not a parent, you may not know that there is an autism epidemic in children. One in 68 kids has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and this number keeps growing every year. With numbers like these, it’s hard to feel like we can make any difference as individuals. But there are many ways that we can help “the kids.”
Allow them to work at their own pace, especially when learning something new or challenging. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from teachers or other parents if you are concerned about your child being overwhelmed in school. Encourage kids with autism who have trouble expressing themselves verbally by giving them more time to answer. Do not interrupt while they are talking, but if you think that what they are saying is incorrect or confusing, ask the teacher for suggestions on how to handle this situation in class.
Give kids with autism opportunities to experience success by offering multiple chances at new things until it feels comfortable and familiar enough for them to be successful. Avoid using negative words like “can’t, won’t, or doesn’t know how to.
Change phrases such as “He can’t do it” to “I don’t think he’s ready for this.” and avoid telling kids that they shouldn’t be upset by saying things like “It’s not that big of a deal.”
Give these kids opportunities to make choices. This will help them feel more in control and increase their sense of independence, too! Don’t do everything for your child with autism; instead, allow them to find things out independently by taking small risks now and then.
Be your child’s cheerleader. Encourage good listening skills by only talking when the parent is not in sight. Take time to know what they want to do. It could be anything and will be based on their surroundings. Examples of these interests are building blocks, coloring books, or playing on the iPad.
You can also get your child to engage in outdoor activities like basketball or even hunting. However, ensure their safety by buying them a portable stand to enable them to stay on a tree and easily see their target. This stand offers them a great hunting view. With it, they can reduce the number of times they miss when they glimpse a good game.
Identify what is social and not so they can learn to interact with others during playtime. They will imitate your behavior when around them, so your child needs to act appropriately in these situations. Teach children how to resolve conflicts through games like “Simon Says,” where one child is Simon, and the rest follow his orders.
Introduce them to others in a safe environment, such as through playdates or at school with experienced teachers with children with autism. Having friends will help them overcome their fears of socializing by seeing that they can be accepted into society and have fun doing it!
Help with transitions by giving clear instructions and helping your child get organized. Don’t put the burden of social interaction on them, even if they seem to want it. Remember that every kid is different—and just because one seems uninterested in talking doesn’t mean he isn’t interested in interacting at all!
Don’t put the burden of social interaction on them, even if they seem to want it. Remember that every kid is different—and just because one seems uninterested in talking doesn’t mean he isn’t interested in interacting at all! Don’t scold children for things socially acceptable with other kids: flapping their hands or jumping up and down, for example.
Don’t scold children for things socially acceptable with other kids: flapping their hands or jumping up and down, for example. Keep them safe! Make sure your child’s classroom has appropriate sensory toys available—and ones that can be easily cleaned between students as well (such as a plastic ball filled with cat litter).
Be flexible in your expectations for behavior.