Inside This Article
- 1 What Is Autism?
- 2 Causes Of Autism
- 3 What Are The Symptoms Of Autism?
- 4 Practical Tips For Raising A Child With Autism
- 4.1 1.Be A Supportive Parent
- 4.2 2. Employ Non-verbal Means Of Communication
- 4.3 3. Create A Safe Haven
- 4.4 4. Study Your Child
- 4.5 5. Reward Their Behaviors
- 4.6 6. Build Your Child’s Interest
- 4.7 7. Watch Your Words Around Them
- 4.8 8. Disallow Self–isolation
- 4.9 9. Involve Others
- 4.10 10. Hire A Private Tutor
- 4.11 11. Be Committed To Treatment
- 5 Conclusion
The joy of a parent to raise a healthy and decent child. But, what happens when the reverse becomes the case? This unprecedented change in a child leaves most parents confused. Subsequently, it results in fear and anxiety when the doctor’s report shows that their child is diagnosed with autism disorder. Unfortunately, no parents ever prepare beforehand to raise an autistic child. Therefore, it becomes devastating raising a child with autism for all parents.
Furthermore, you begin to wonder what’s next? As your life will undergo drastic alterations, likewise, that of your child. However, you’re not alone in this struggle. This article is written to provide you with the best tips you need when raising a child with autism.
What Is Autism?
Autism is a term that encompasses a group of neurodevelopmental disorders that disrupts the ability to communicate, socialize, coordinate emotions, and comprehend things. Autism is also known as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This disability varies from person to person. Oftentimes, it becomes a complex, lifelong challenge. Meanwhile, research has shown that it occurs more in male children than females.
Causes Of Autism
There isn’t a specific cause for autism yet, although there are various factors that can give rise to autism disorder. Interference with the function, structure, and development of the brain result in autism. Most especially, when pregnant women indulge in unhealthy lifestyles during pregnancy like intake of hard drugs, alcohol, and anti-seizure medication— it affects the unborn child.
Also, metabolic conditions alter the function of the brain, for instance, diabetes, epilepsy, sleep disorders, obesity, or untreated phenylketonuria.
Other factors include heredity, gene mutation, exposure to harmful chemicals, viral infections, and being born to aged parents.
What Are The Symptoms Of Autism?
1. Behavioural Signs
Autistic kids are impulsive, clumsy, have poor eye contact, engage in self-harm, and display passive/aggressive/disruptive attitudes. They enjoy repetitive patterns like rocking, spinning, hand flapping, or walking on toes.
2. Social Signs
Perhaps you have noticed your child prefers being alone instead of associating with their peers? it might be a sign of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Subsequently, they become indifferent to caregivers, having restricted Interests.
Oftentimes, they struggle to express themselves. For infants, hardly respond to their names and lack joyous engaging expressions.
3. Development Signs
Delay in speech can be traced to ASD. Victims of autism have abnormal speech patterns like babbling or robot-like speech. These categories of children can be seen repeating a single word or phrase which is often meaningless.
4. Cognitive Signs
The simple litmus test for autism is through cognitive signs. Children with ASD have low intelligence, creativity, memory retention ability, and emotional coordination. They lack concentration and can’t understand easy questions or directions.
5. Psychological Signs
This includes being unconscious of their emotions and those around them. They are also victims of depression and sensitive to touch, light, sound, smell, taste, colour, and texture.
Now that you know the symptoms of autism, how do you raise an autistic child?
Practical Tips For Raising A Child With Autism
1.Be A Supportive Parent
It’s exhausting bringing up a child who forgets everything that has been learned. Unfortunately, this is the state autistic kids belong to. In other words, they keep repeating wrong behaviours after being corrected countless times— slow at adapting to normal behaviour. However, instead of getting angry with their lack of improvement, chose to be a patient and supportive patient.
Learn how to be patient with that child, looking beyond their disabilities. Don’t permit your anger to dictate how to nurture an autistic child nor should you employ violent methods of disciplining a child when correcting them.
2. Employ Non-verbal Means Of Communication
Autistic children find it difficult to communicate and express themselves verbally—speech defaults. Therefore, to connect with them you must learn how to communicate using nonverbal methods such as communication using gestures, facial expressions, and touch.
This may sound ridiculous. However, raising a child with autism demands you learn them. It enables you to relate to their needs and provide for them. It further helps that child associate with others instead of being left behind.
3. Create A Safe Haven
A hostile environment stirs up autism spectrum disorder—it hinders improvement. Perhaps, you’re raising a child with autism, you need to make your home a haven. It isn’t the time for nagging, quarrelling, or violence in the family. Rather a time to practice activities that increase love bonds with a child.
A healthy relationship communicates the message of love and value to an autistic child. Oftentimes, victims of autism give in to self-harm. Therefore, ensure you keep out all harmful objects, substances, and appliances from their reach. Always monitor their movements.
4. Study Your Child
As a parent or caregiver, you must watch out for the signs of autism in your kids beginning from infancy. This enables you to seek the right treatment early. The outcome from your study will give an accurate knowledge of the things that upset your child, so you can avoid them.
Similarly, engage in the things that cheer them up. Don’t hesitate to do more of what makes them happy as it boosts their learning process to increasing normal behaviour.
5. Reward Their Behaviors
To boost the retention ability of children with ASD you need to reward their good behaviour often. Since they easily forget what’s learned, getting rewarded will help them familiarize themselves with normal behaviours.
Subsequently, they begin to adapt to what’s learned to obtain the rewards. Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to show disapproval for wrong behaviours by not awarding rewards.
6. Build Your Child’s Interest
You must learn how to discover your child’s passion irrespective of their disability. Autism hinders a child’s cognitive ability and academic performance, however, it doesn’t terminate their interest in other activities. You also need to step beyond discovering their passion by giving them your support and encouragement.
Developing their interest strengthens them to communicate and socialize faster. Don’t be quick to conclude they aren’t good at anything—keep trying. I have met with an autistic child who is an awesome artist. Therefore give your child a chance!
7. Watch Your Words Around Them
Raising a child with autism requires the use of gracious words. I know it hurts to see your child with disabilities but that shouldn’t alter your words used in communicating to them. It’s disastrous to use insulting words at them. This implies that your words can either become a healing or destructive balm.
Using words like “You are worthless”, “you would never learn” or “why don’t you ever fit in like other kids?” tears down their self-esteem and worsens their condition. In contrast, use supportive and loving words like; “I believe in you”, “you can do it”, “you’re a genius”, “you’re unique among others” etc.
8. Disallow Self–isolation
Oftentimes parents encourage the attitude of loneliness in autistic children by restricting their movement. Due to fear of being embarrassed when they misbehave while among their peers. Unfortunately, this act doesn’t solve the problem. If you must succeed at raising a child with autism, you must realize that they are also entitled to the privilege and rights of a normal child— not less.
Therefore, give them your support by allowing them to associate with their peers. Perhaps, you feel their peers will laugh at them, ensure they hang out with a few friends, preferably one or two is healthy for a start. They adapt faster to normal behaviour through positive peer group influence.
9. Involve Others
To prevent breaking down with depression, involve others in your quest to help your child overcome autism. In other words, you need the help of other household members. It’s one of your responsibilities to inform and educate them on how to relate to an autistic child.
Therefore, instead of insulting or rejecting such children, they give their love, support, and acceptance. It further creates a conducive atmosphere to learn new skills.
10. Hire A Private Tutor
Furthermore, it’s a waste of time and effort to assume that an autistic child will cope along with their peers. Therefore, you need to employ the assistance of a private tutor to simplify what’s taught, which aids their comprehension ability. They also tend to forget easily.
However, a private tutor will help in revising what is taught many more times until it’s adapted.
11. Be Committed To Treatment
There are numerous treatments for autism spectrum disorder depending on the disability of a child. As a parent raising a child with autism you need to understand that these treatments work in a progressive pattern—not instantaneous. This treatment process calls for commitment and patience. There will be a time when you feel the treatment isn’t working, however, don’t quit! Sooner or later, you will see improvement in that child’s life.
Autism spectrum disorder treatment includes speech therapy, occupational therapy( Enhanced daily activities), physical therapy, educational therapy, family therapy and applied behavioural analysis. In addition, certain medications may be recommended like antipsychotics for behavioural problems or antidepressants (for anxiety and depression).
12. Take Care Of Yourself
You need to be healthy and fit to provide your child with the best support needed to walk through autism. Taking proper care of yourself is needed to avert a nervous breakdown. In essence, you need to be emotionally stable. Avoid engaging in self-pity or worrying, this often results in depression.
Likewise, give your body enough rest, proper diets, and seek medical care when sick. Also, discard the use of hard drugs to forget about your pain.
Early recognition of autism spectrum disorder makes treatment achievable. Therefore, be an observant parent. Nonetheless, your support is highly required to enhance normal behaviour, although you would have to make decisions for them for a long time before they attain independence.
Meanwhile, as a pregnant mother be careful of the things you take into your body system. These substances affect the unborn child.
You should also check out tips to help you raise your kid as a single parent.