As a responsible parent/caregiver you can do several things to encourage your child with Autism overcome their challenges. Days ahead are not going to be easy but a constant uphill battle. Now is the moment to stay strong-minded. Staying determined enables yourself to be a supportive parent to your child in need.
Given here are the 4 essential parenting tips to help your child with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) thrive.
1. Practice Patience
I agree it’s easy said but hard to address. Parenting a child on the autism spectrum calls for a lot of patience. As you go in this journey you will learn to cultivate patience with time. The everyday actions associated with raising ASD child can get physically, emotionally as well as mentally exhausting. Nevertheless, planning and preparation help with anxiety and disappointment.
2. Stay Positive and Celebrate every Success
During these 7 yrs of parenting a child on the spectrum, the significant lesson I have acquired is to stay positive and celebrate every success no matter how small it is. The success celebration has been; quick eye contact with us, just touching us, even throwing toys, trying to say a word etc. If you observe any positive developments don’t simply brush it away, appreciate him/her verbally, give your child a big hug, tickle him/her. Exhibiting your happiness will motivate him/her and boost his/her confidence.
I acknowledge I am not able to carry it all the time, but discovering the wonders in each moment can make life full of hope.
3. Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is the commonly used efficient behavior management strategy in dealing with challenging behaviors of children with autism.
Your praises, hugs or tangible reinforcement to your child will improve their self-esteem and motivate them for desired behaviors.
4. Running Commentary
I regard this to be a powerful tool for the ASD child to thrive. I have emphasized this subject to several parents. Keep talking to your child in every possible situation. You have to enact as his/her mind.
I often hear parents say “but he/she doesn’t respond” my question to them back is why expect any response?. When a mother speaks to the child in the womb, apart from the occasional kick how else was the response? However, when the child is born he is happy to listen to the song you played during the pregnancy, your voice, the siblings sound etc do you agree?
Just start the day by greeting the child, ask if the child slept well, talk about your plans for the day, say what you have prepared for breakfast, talk about the chores you are doing. While driving or going for a walk, keep talking about the environment. Ignore the point that he is not looking at you or he is busy with something else but know the fact that he is listening. While this practice is carried out, imagine so many things are getting registered in your child’s mind.
I grasp that it is exhausting to follow each day. Believe in your child it may take days, weeks or months. Nevertheless, you will get some response from your child. The possibilities are endless. We have to create opportunities.
Here’s an anecdote that happened when Girish was 3 and started preschool. Around that age, he was nonverbal and intellectually a baby of 15 months perhaps.
While walking towards his school, there were many colorful flowers. I used to point out and tell him “flower”. Of course, some days I did, some days I didn’t. I am not sure if he even heard me or saw me pointing to the flowers. After a few months, his dad dropped him to school and Girish pointed out to those flowers and said: “ower” (that was the first time he has ever pointed out to something).
Have hope always in your child and yourself.