Why Kids with Autism Need More Parental Support
When a child has autism, they need more support from their parents than kids without autism. Unfortunately, kids with autism have needs that often go unmet by parents who want to treat them just like their other kids, but this doesn’t work and can be detrimental to a child with autism.
Kids with autism do better in life when their parents actively become involved in supporting them. According to a study discussed by CNN health, kids thrive when their parents work with a therapist to develop effective communication and pick up on their child’s cues for interaction.
While every child needs a significant amount of parental support, kids with autism need a deeper level of support, and here’s why.
Kids with autism function better in familiar spaces
Many parents push their kids to go out and try new things, meet new people, and travel to new places. This seems like positive encouragement, but for kids with autism, going to new places and meeting new people can be a scary experience.
Kids with autism tend to prefer familiar spaces and often need to know everything about a new place before they’ll visit. For example, if they take the bus somewhere, they might need to know exactly how many stops are between their starting point and destination before they’ll board the bus.
Since familiar environments keep stress at bay, many Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy organizations provide in-home sessions for kids with autism. For example, in-home ABA therapy from Golden Care supports parents in New Jersey by sending a therapist to their patients’ homes. While it might seem easier to drop a child off at therapy after picking them up from school, it’s more supportive to ensure therapy sessions are conducted in a familiar environment.
Kids with autism need a routine to thrive
Kids with autism tend to need a routine to thrive in this world. Having a routine creates a sense of familiarity that eliminates the unknown. For example, a simple routine on Thursdays might involve being picked up from school at 3 pm and going to swimming lessons. If that routine is disrupted, a child with autism will feel frazzled – far more than a kid who simply feels disappointed about not being able to go to their swimming lesson.
It’s important for parents to understand that part of the reason kids with autism become upset at a change in routine is because of the technical disruption and it’s not just about missing out on something they were looking forward to doing.
For this reason, it’s important for parents to establish routines that aren’t likely to be disrupted on a regular basis. Routines will be disrupted periodically and there’s no way to prevent that, but the point is to commit to maintaining the child’s routine by considering it a priority.
Kids with autism a have sensitive nervous system
When you don’t have a sensitive nervous system, it’s hard to understand how the sound of a bag rustling can drive someone out of their mind to the point where they might yell or rip the bag out of your hands. For someone with autism who is sensitive to that particular noise, it’s like nails on a chalkboard; it feels awful.
Having a sensitive nervous system makes it challenging to navigate daily life in a world full of stimuli that often has a negative impact. What many parents don’t realize is that when their children are lashing out, it’s often a reaction to being over-stimulated by sensory input. It’s not just an emotional reaction; it’s visceral.
Kids with autism need extensive support from their parents in order to create daily routines that don’t subject them to the abundance of stimuli that bothers them. Some kids don’t have many sensory triggers, but some kids get triggered almost constantly.
Simple things can be difficult
For kids with autism, simple things can often be difficult. It’s different for every child, but most kids need extra help with the simple things that perhaps their siblings don’t struggle with, like participating in a back-and-forth conversation with someone they’ve just met or staying organized and following a schedule without being reminded of what’s next.
The best support is strong parental involvement
Presence, attention, and commitment are the best forms of support parents can give their kids with autism. When parents commit to providing support that works for their child, that’s when their child will thrive.