It is important to understand that autism doesn’t mean that your child is different. It simply means that your child is special and these children have special needs and abilities. Similarly, it is imperative to understand that most care givers of children with autism believe that autism doesn’t pose any challenge for them, it’s just how they face the problem heads on.
Autism can’t be fixed, but it also doesn’t mean this mental issue is hardwired into your child and their gene. Although, you can manage the effects associated with autism, only if you pay attention to the sensory needs of your child. Focusing on things and the environment around your child can help you understand how your child behaves in a certain setting and what triggers those episodes. Managing their hyperactive senses can help your child to pull together and come to terms with these issues.
Understanding your kid’s needs
Most parents, teachers, carers, and others lack the understanding of how a need for a child with autism is different. They do not understand how your child reacts to sensation, touch, and perception. There’s been a ton of research about how children with autism do not have a particular theory of the brain—they don’t understand that you are a different person and you have needs and requirements different from others.
The family and carers and anyone who is in contact with children with autism simply don’t “get” why the child is irritated when a light bulb flickers or why they cry or shout when the doorbell is ringing. For these children, a doorbell is equal to the sound of a thousand church chimes and a flickering light bulb is like lighting. They fail to acknowledge why their child may need to tap his foot and move around the classroom to prevent themselves from falling off the chair.
They may not see that today has been a terrible day for you, thus they fail at being less needy. They may keep talking because they fail to understand your mood or your boredom.
There are two ways in which your child’s behavior can be affected. Both internal and external environments affect how your child will react to challenges associated with autism. We have mentioned them below:
1. External environment
A few things in your child’s environment are alterable and some are not. Say, for example, your child has been too noisy in class and if the teacher gives them candy, she is unknowingly rewarding a wrong behavior.
So, it all boils down to understanding your child’s needs and how you can help them in an environment where you can make changes. For example, if you are trying to help your child calm down or make them do their homework, you cannot achieve that in a room where there is constant noise or disturbance. For a hearing-sensitive child, you need to set them up in a peaceful and noiseless spot.
1.1. Sensory stimulation: If all of your child’s senses are exposed at the same time, this may overpower them. Too much sensory data can push them on edge, always make sure that your child is not too exposed and if they are, you can try to alter these environments.
1.2. Social triggers: Help the teachers and students understand how your child is different and being in a place with no companion or friend, might trigger negative emotions. You need to help your child feel accepted.
1.3. Communication issues: Most children with autism find expressing themselves difficult. To make communication between you and your child easy, try using pictures, talk-back apps, sign language, and others to help them open themselves.
1.4. Interests: Kids with autism find it too difficult to concentrate and be interested in a single topic. Not being part of the communication can send your child on edge, try and explain this to the teacher and ask them if they can include some topics that your child may like in the conversation.
2. Internal condition
Below we have listed in ways how internal conditions can trigger a series of issues and how they can be managed:
2.1. Pain: You must look for problem areas that may be painful and how your child reacts to it. For example, reflux, gut, broken bones, cuts, and splinters, among others. A localized fit or anger can explain why your child is irritated.
2.2. Seizures: If your child starts acting out without any reason, unmotivated, or out of the blue, this might be because of seizures.
2.3. Allergic reaction to food and sensitivities: Try to identify foods that may cause an allergic reaction to certain food sensitivities. Sudden diarrhea, red, flushed cheeks, or ears can explain these reactions.
2.4. Fatigue, unexplained thirst or hunger: Hunger, thirst, or being tired can make anyone cranky. The same happens to a child with autism. This coupled with lack of sleep or contracting a virus could enhance the issues.
2.5. Feelings: Sorrow, outrage, uneasiness, and others can affect the conduct of the child. As parents, if you are undergoing a separation, a health emergency, work change, or others, that may affect your child’s behavior.
2.6. Coordination issues: A child who has autism has low motor skill coordination, so sometimes, group activities can add to their problem.
Stabilization, regulation, and sensory breaks
When you have tended to your kid’s physical needs, you should take an opportunity to understand and think about your child’s sensory and emotional needs. Your child’s sensory needs are different from your own and other children as well. They are likely to be overpowered by data given to them either through school, their senses, environment, or even you. You must understand how you can manage and use this information to help your child and allow them to understand you.
What kind of sensory break does your kid need?
Watch your kid and see what helps them calm down when they are doing something tedious or repetitive. That may give you a few hints to what senses or exercises you should conduct to help them refocus. Based on the child’s needs and requirements, you can select a sensory break exercise, which may include:
- Doing push-ups
- Listening to music
- sucking through a straw
- Eating crunchy food
- Rubbing against the rough texture
- Wearing a vested jacket
- Sitting in a corner in cover
Children and youngsters with autism face problems based on two spectra which can be defined as followed:
- The issue with social communication and association
- Issues related to confined spaces, tedious activities, fickle interests, or exercises
- Intellectual issues, for example, troubles concentrating or understanding, lack of thought processes, among others
- Formative or neurological conditions, for example, hyperactivity issue, dyspraxia, and epilepsy
- Gastrointestinal issues, for example, unpredicted bowel movements, gas issues, acid reflux, among others
- Hereditary conditions, for example, tuberous sclerosis, Cornelia de Lange disorder, problems X syndrome, among others
- Learning disabilities, for example, children with autism face problems, poor intellectual ability, among others
- Emotional wellness, for example, tension, fanatical impulses, anger, among others
- Poor motor skills, for example, trouble standing straight, poor fine motor abilities, for example, issues facing in holding a pencil between their fingers and thumb
- Sensory issues, for example, hearing and sound inability or sensitivity, visual issues, among others
- Other issues may include lack of sleep, unable to rest, difficulties in eating and drinking, among other things
A few children and youngsters with autism spectrum, their parents, and carers face various other issues that others may underestimate. For example, they may think that it’s hard to:
- Trouble finding the right school for their children and lack of training.
- Trouble moving or shifting between schools or into work.
- Trouble maintaining a reasonable, healthy, and balanced eating routine.
- Lack of recreational activities or chances for them to relax.
- Trouble in traveling safely without triggering any episodes.
- Trouble in forming friendships or starting a relationship.
- In addition to that, they face bullying, differentiation based on disabilities, among others
Family members and Carers
Family members and carers of children with autism spectrum also face various issues, for instance, they may be:
- Concern, stress, and tiredness from caring for somebody with autism.
- Disappointment and lack of empathy from others and difficulty in helping others understand their perspectives, issues, and challenges of caring for someone with autism.
- Lack of information on the topic and medication can lead to disappointment and frustration
- Frustration due to the low quality of services provided to these families.
- They are worried all the time if any other of their children may have autism.