How to Cope with an Autistic Child
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How to Cope with an Autistic Child

Looking after an autistic child is a challenge for any parent but there are things they can do to make the situation easier. The first thing is to learn as much about autism as they can as the more they know the better equipped they will be to cope with it.

Having an autistic child is one of the toughest challenges a parent has to face. Autism is a severe development disability which usually begins at birth or before the child is 3-years-old.  It is a neurological disorder that changes the way the brain works and it causes delays or problems in many ways from infancy to adulthood.

Autistic children and adults find it difficult to socialise and are very insular hardly talking to anyone. It is very frightening for parents to find their child has been born with autism when they were expecting a happy, healthy energetic youngster.

No parent can prepare themselves for it but there are things they can do to help them bond with their autistic child.

  1. Learn about autism, the more you know the better equipped you will be.
  2. Find out what triggers the child's bad behaviour and what causes stress. If you understand how the disease affects your child you will find it easier to cope.
  3. Showing your child love will make them feel more secure and treat him or her like any other normal child. Don't focus on the autism or bring your child up to be different from other children.
  4. Have fun together, celebrate their successes and if you have other children not affected by autism treat all the children the same.
  5. Don't give up and don't lose your temper. Persevere and you will be rewarded as autistic children can be very loving.

Children with autism have a hard time adapting to different situations and places so try and stick to a standard schedule. Stick to regular mealtimes and bedtimes, try to arrange therapy sessions for the same time each week so disruptions are kept to a minimum.

At times autistic children are hard to control as they cannot understand the consequences of their actions so create a space in your home where your child can relax and feel safe.

Don't be afraid to discipline your child just like you would any normal child and try to keep calm and get some time to yourself to re-charge your batteries. The autistic child will pick up the signs if you are stressed and frustrated.

Case History

Vinesh Nair is an autistic child. He lives in a world of his own playing with his fingers and shaking involuntarily. He sometimes throws temper tantrums and destroys whatever he can lay his hands on.

He attends school and he pulls threads from the mat he is sitting on joining them together to make one long string. He pulls it and rolls it again and again. His teacher asks him to stop fidgeting and he folds the string up and puts it in his pocket.

He sits quietly for a moment then he pulls the string out of his pocket and plays with it again. He shows no interest in the activities in the classroom and will only respond to the teacher when he receives personal attention.

His teacher says he is very co-operative in one-to-one situations and he is quite independent in his self-care activities. He can draw and paint and perform pre-vocational skills.

He can follow instructions and copy actions if given individual help but for most of the day he is hyperactive and lives in a world of his own.

The Autism Society helps to improve the lives of all those affected by autism, both those suffering from the condition and the families looking after autistic children.

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Comments (1)

Being an educator for early years, I experience the children with autistic symptoms and to deal with these special children we get trainings and workshops. Thanks for your tips which are easy to follow for everyone.