Parents of an autistic child is not a worse thing or having an autistic child is not a curse. Don’t blame yourself at any stage. Make yourself your child’s strength towards a happy and normal life by following some of the necessary parenting guidelines towards an autistic child.
Children are the beautiful and the most merciful gift of God. Children are considered to be the real asset of their parents. Every parent wants a healthy, cute and physically as well as mentally superb child. But what one might feel if she/he has a child with any type of physical and mental disability? Many of them feel like they are the world’s worse parents and fail to handle their child in a proper way and however destroy child’s life.
In this article, we will talk on one of the common but very complex developmental disability “Autism”.
In an under developed country, like ours, most of the parents don’t have enough knowledge on Autism and how to deal with an autistic child. Whether you are parents of a normal child or a disable one, you should know the basic and necessary parenting elements of parenting.
Coming back to our topic, first we look at what is autism and then suggest some very basic and important parenting steps towards dealing of an autistic child.
The first and the main lesson for the parents of an autistic child is that, never ever feel your child as a curse. After all, your child is innocent and that’s not his/her fault. Your child even doesn’t know about his own behavior and disorder. At this stage of life, you are his/her strength and power. Don’t underestimate yourself because by doing this, you drag your child into a darker side of life. Make her/him enough strong that he/she can spend a healthy and normal life instead of the disability.
Before applying any steps, all you need is to gain enough knowledge on autism and then go for the further treatments and steps. With enough knowledge and proper parenting guidelines you feel yourself confident and strengthen yourself to make your autistic child a normal child.
What is Autism?
Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in early childhood. Autism is the most common condition in a related constellation of disorders known as "autism spectrum disorders," also called ASDs. Other autism spectrum disorders include Asperger’s syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder, or PDD. Autism and other autism spectrum disorders can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms and degree of impairment — ranging from mild to severe — are different for every child.
Some features of autism include:
- Social withdrawal
- Verbal or nonverbal communication problems
- Rigid and repetitive behavior
In severe cases, an autistic child may never learn to speak or make eye contact. But many children with autism and other autism spectrum disorders are able to live relatively normal lives.
Signs and Symptoms in Children with Autism:
Autism usually appears before a child is 3 years old. Some signs of autism may be evident by 18 months of age.
Varying widely, signs and symptoms in children with autism typically include:
- Impaired communication skills.
- Difficulty making eye contact.
- Repetitive behaviors and activities such as arm flapping, head banging, or twirling an object over and over.
- Rigid behavior and difficulty with change and transitions.
- Narrow range of interests and activities.
Parenting of an autistic child:
Autistic children can be extremely challenging to deal. Parents and caretakers of autistic children often spend more time trying to appease them then discipline out of pity and a fear that the autistic child is unaware of their behavior.
While there is no known cure for autism, there are just treatments and education approaches that may reduce some of the challenges associated with the condition. Intervention may help to lessen disruptive behaviors, and education can teach self help skills that allow for greater independence. But the treatment must begin as early as possible and can be tailored to the child’s unique strength, weaknesses and needs.
Steps to deal with an autistic child:
Before going to follow any step, the important things you need are:
- Patience and Consistency
- A Malleable Communication Style
- Step 1: Figure out what your child responds to
Autistic children can seem hard to control, understand, and discipline. Most of this comes from the idea that they don’t and can’t understand the consequences of their actions.
It is true that many autistic children have a harder time understanding, depending upon the severity of the disability, but even the most challenging children can learn to behave given effective discipline that is tailor-made for that child. The first step is to figure out what that child responds to, like any other child who and what does that child respect.
- Step 2: Provoke positive behavior and responses
It is not true that autistic child was incapable of understanding because of his disability, infact, he required certain types of interaction in order to get him to behave.
Figure out what types of behavior and response provoke positive behavior and responses out of your child. Try to immolate those behaviors.
- Step 3: Give opportunities for proper communication
Don’t be afraid to discipline your autistic child. Many parents of normal children are afraid to discipline them, and parents of autistic children usually follow this trend to the extreme. Many parents feel as though an autistic child’s bad behavior is a response to their disability and not of their own volition.
Usually an autistic child’s bad behavior stems from frustration from not being able to communicate their thoughts and feelings. It is important to give them other tools to communicate. Try giving them a color sheet with different color squares, and start working with them on associating those squares with thoughts and feelings. Blue can mean tired, red can mean mad, and yellow can mean happy. As they become angry try pointing their fingers toward the blue square, eventually they hopefully will associate the two and be able to communicate another way. Be creative when trying to get your autistic child to communicate with you.
- Step 4: Give time to yourself as well
Like any child, an autistic child who has to deal with a parent who is clearly stressed and frustrated will also act stressed and frustrated. Try to calm yourself. The best way is to get time to yourself, even if its just 30-minutes while they are napping. Try meditating, exercising, or reading – whatever it is that relaxes you. Every parent or caretaker needs "me time."
- Step 5: Focus on your child’s areas of strength
Your child may have areas that need intervention but every child also has special areas of strength. Believe it or not, focusing on his or her areas of strength can be used to improve areas of weakness. For example let’s say your child like books but does not engage in any kind of play. Rather than force him to play with a toy he doesn’t like, start using books for imaginary play. Pretend to do what the characters in the book are doing. Use the books to work on social conversation and academic skills.
- Step 6: Celebrate your child’s improvements
Remember to celebrate improvements, no matter how small they may be. And be sure to share the joy of your child’s progress with the people who love him.
- Step 7: Maintain the basic loving relationship of parent and child
Don’t forget every child wants and needs to feel loved by his parents. Any activity that you and your child enjoy together is precious whether it’s watching TV together or sharing and ice cream cone. Yes it’s necessary to alter some of the ways of interacting with your child to facilitate his learning, it’s equally necessary to maintain the basic loving relationship of parent and child and if you only think yourself as his therapist, then you need to find your way back to being a loving parent again.
Finally, realize that an autistic child may not know exactly what his interests and favorite activities might be, so it is up to you to introduce him to several areas of interest. Once he discovers a new hobby, he probably won’t be shy about letting you know what he wants to do! Encourage him as much as possible, and let him participate with others when possible. This is an excellent way to not only encourage him to work on a particular skill or activity but to also hone his social skills as well.
Parents of an autistic child is not a worse thing or having an autistic child is not a curse.