Autism is a developmental disability that significantly affects one’s verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction, and behavior. It affects each person in different ways and can range from very mild to severe. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects 1 in 88 children. However, autism is nothing parents should be afraid of, because there are numerous things they could do to make their children’s and their own lives easier.
Their senses are different
Various everyday touches, tastes, smells, sights and sounds that we consider irrelevant can be painful for a child with autism. This is due to the fact that the environment that surrounds us often appears hostile to them. If the child is mean to you or appears withdrawn, it’s usually because they feel like they need to defend themselves. Considering they hear every little sound, just going to the grocery store tends to be agonizing for them. If their hearing is hypersensitive, all the talking, register beeping, and every other random jabber or squeak will be too much information for their brain to process. So many items and objects in the store will also affect their sight, so they won’t be able to focus on just one thing, and this will be very confusing for them.
They are concrete thinkers
Talking figuratively will only cause major confusion in the mind of an autistic child. Therefore, it’s vital that you don’t talk metaphorically, but rather speak your mind clearly. Avoid using any idioms, metaphors, inferences, nuances, puns, sarcasm, or allusions around autistic children, because it’ll cause a major commotion in their mind. If you say “It’s pouring cats and dogs”, instead of “It’s raining”, they will probably think that the city is filled with pets falling from the sky.
Know their triggers
Meltdowns tend to happen rather often in the life of an autistic child, which is why you need to know what triggers them. Not only will you be able to prevent them, but you’ll also be able to make it easier for the child. Namely, all the blow-ups are much more painful and horrid for the child than they are for you. Sometimes, they may happen because one of the senses of the child is overloaded, while other times, the child may simply not be able to communicate the way they want to. Therefore, observe your child carefully, and try to see if there’s a pattern.
Creative special needs toys that stimulate the senses are a great way for autistic children to learn and engage. Dimple pops, chew necklace or noodlies you can you can squeeze, stretch, knot can help children develop skills that are important for learning and development. It is important to remember that different types of play develop different skills.
Visual aids are invaluable to them
Autistic children appreciate visual aids. Simply telling them to do a certain thing isn’t good enough. Practice will help them learn, and visual support is the best way for autistic children to acquire knowledge. Spoken words don’t stay with the children for long, unlike the information and instruction visually presented to them. What’s more, they will go back to the instructions any time they need to remind themselves, and it will prevent any potential frustration. Not being able to remember a certain rule or an important information is aggravating, so always be prepared to help them with visual aids.
Not only are children with autism different, but they also require exceptional care and a lot of attention. Every child is special in their own way, but being different from other kids may sometimes feel overwhelming for the child (and you). However, that shouldn’t prevent you from loving your child and caring for them the best way you can. Just be sure you are familiar with their way of communication, offer them a pleasant environment to grow up in, and your lives won’t be as difficult as you might think.