Every child needs love and nurturing in order to grow into a happy, healthy, and independent adult. And as parents, we all have our own set of rules and our own style of discipline when it comes to raising our children. However, when dealing with a child who has autism, it may be very ineffective due to the nature of their disease.
When raising normal children giving them a warning or placing them on punishment may be enough to keep them from misbehaving. But because of their developmental and learning abilities, children with autism may not understand or be able to respond appropriately to your admonishments. You may have to talk to them repeatedly about their behavior. They may not remember getting into trouble the last time. Instead of punishment, what they really need is reassurance that they are okay. Your child could be hurting because of their inability to function just as the rest of the family. Talk to your child before going into the store, the doctor’s office, the dentist, or any other place where your child is likely to throw a tantrum. Let them know in advance what will happen when they show up.
For example, before going into the grocery store, make sure your child knows in advance what you will and will not buy them. Act as if you are excited about what ever it is that you have agreed to purchase. They may feel less inclined to beg for everything they see. Be sure to catch your child at the onset of a tantrum by reminding them of what you two have discussed and let them know that they may not be able to go anymore if they continue the behavior and the results. No child wants rotten teeth. This may get them to calm down again. Also, remember that autistic children are smart and intuitive. Don’t ignore them when they complain or don’t want to cooperate. Your child may be trying to communicate with you about something that is very important and possibly dangerous!
Talk to your child about their disorder and the limitations that it may impose on their lives. They will know that it is not their fault when they cannot get a task completed. Children with autism respond very well to praise and encouragement. Cheer them on when they participate in sports. Reward them when they do a good job on homework assignments and are well behaved. They will be motivated to do their best in the future. Treat your autistic child the same as you treat your other children as often as possible. It will help them to feel as if they are a part of the family.
Building Social Skills
Autistic children can sometimes be timid and shy. Also, because they may not be capable of verbal expression, they can become a target for bullying or get blamed for something they are not responsible for. Therefore, it is necessary to make sure your child is supervised by a trustworthy and caring adult at all times. Talk to your child friends to find out what they have in common and get to know their parents as well. Make sure your child’s playmates are age appropriate. Hanging with kids who are younger than them who don’t have developmental and learning issues will motivate them to want to do better socially and academically. Pay attention to the activities that your child enjoys doing the most. It could end up being their new career. Teach them to share with others. Many cities offer classes that help children with special needs to develop their social skills.
Health and Nutrition
Eating well-balanced meals are necessary for your autistic child’s health and development. Making sure that their food tastes delicious to them will ensure that they are not malnourished. Improper nutrition may cause your child to become irritable and unable to function to the best of their ability. Although your child’s motor skills may prevent them from being able to participate in certain activities such as skating, bike riding, and jump rope — they can benefit from activities such as swimming, walking, and running to relieve themselves of emotions such as frustration and aggression.
Ask your child for their opinion when making decisions. It will let them know that what they think and feel matters. Allow them to watch you cook, clean, and perform other tasks so that they will know how to do these things on their own. (This is with supervision of course.) Allow them to make mistakes and figure out a way to correct them before offering aid. This will help them to develop resilience and self-confidence.