10 Tips for parents who have recently discovered that their children are affected with Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Start Early. Don’t waste time waiting for miracles, if you have any doubts about your child’s development, behaviors or language progress, consult with a specialist ASAP.
- Accept and have faith. Do not blame your self or anyone else and do not let anyone blame you, the denial is a waste of time, hope starts with actions.
- Learn about the disorder. Start to read so you can understand why your child is behaving in a certain way, and it will also help you learn about what you need to do.
- Start Early Intervention as soon as possible. The earlier you start, the more skills your child will gain and the faster he/she will improve, and understand that there are no miracles and no shortcuts, it takes years to get results.
- Understand and Manage the Behaviors. The ABC (Antecedent- Behavior-Consequences) of behavior will help you analyse and put the right strategies in place, study what happens before, during and after the behavior as a consequence. This will help you manage inappropriate behaviors and replace them with the desired ones. ABA therapy is one of the most researched and effective tools for behavior management.
- Find a way to Communicate with your child. Many tools are available, some of the common ones are pecs (Picture Exchange Communication System), however today many augmentative devices, and software’s are available to be used with phones, iPads and tablets to enable your child to have a voice.
- Play with your child. Take every opportunity to use the natural environment to teach your child new things. Play is not only a fun thing to do together, but it can also help your child to further develop stronger muscles and learn new words.
- Diet and Nutrition are important for your child to grow up and build strong bones and muscles. Many parents put their children on diets because their friends advise them to, or they read about a certain diet. It is important to seek a nutritionist’s advice before putting your child on a diet. You many need to know if it is needed through testing and to insure that he/she is not deprived of essential vitamins and minerals. Some kids may have clinical issues with digestion or absorption, and appropriate treatment is needed under medical supervision.
- Develop Routines and Structure to your child’s life. Using visual schedules, or other tools to help your child understand what to expect throughout the day, and it will help him learn how to adapt to change and transition.
- Learn Coping Strategies to calm down and keep up with the hard work. Don’t give up or loose faith, sometimes it can get very difficult before it gets better. And make sure to look after yourself and stay healthy.
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