A Parents Guide To Autism Treatment And Support
If youve recently learned that your child has or might have autism spectrum disorder, youre probably wondering and worrying about what comes next. No parent is ever prepared to hear that a child is anything other than happy and healthy, and an ASD diagnosis can be particularly frightening. You may be unsure about how to best help your child, or confused by conflicting treatment advice. Or you may have been told that ASD is an incurable, lifelong condition, leaving you concerned that nothing you do will make a difference.
While it is true that ASD is not something a person simply grows out of, there are many treatments that can help children acquire new skills and overcome a wide variety of developmental challenges. From free government services to in-home behavioral therapy and school-based programs, assistance is available to meet your childs special needs and help them learn, grow, and thrive in life.
When youre looking after a child with ASD, its also important to take care of yourself. Being emotionally strong allows you to be the best parent you can be to your child in need. These parenting tips can help by making life with an autistic child easier.
What Is A Wiggle Seat
Wiggle seats, also known as wobble cushions, fidget chairs, and balance disks, come in many different styles. But, essentially, they all are designed to accomplish the same goal: To provide an additional level of sensory and proprioceptive stimulation that ordinary chairs dont offer.
Some wiggle seats come in the form of inflatable cushions that can be placed on chairs, stools, on the floor, or in the car. Others are purpose-built chairs, best suited for desk or table use. Regardless of their design, these simple but powerful products create an uneven surface for your child to sit on, requiring more effort into balancing, and in turn, helping to satisfy their proprioceptive needs. Additionally, most wiggle seats are textured with bumps and patterns to maximize physical sensations to their skin.
The Balancing Act Of Rival Sibling Schedules
When Amal was younger, she was worked into Lil’ D’s schedule, engaging him in special sibling therapy and organized playtime to teach him to pay attention to her. Now, in addition to schoolwork, Amal has after-school activities , playdates, and language lessons with her grandmother. Meanwhile, Lil’ D sees therapists who visit him on four weekdays for two hours each day. Hamza, the youngest, is living the easy life for now. We are still bound by Lil’ D’s schedule and his limited tolerance for multiple activities. Almost everything we want to do for our kids or anywhere we want to go has to pass this test first: How will Lil’ D manage? Is it worth it? As the kids grow older, though, it is becoming more complicated to handle natural sibling rivalry and attend to individual needs. How will I manage Amal’s schedule with Lil’ D’s? Hamza’s needs haven’t even been factored into the mix yet.
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Managing The Daily Routine
One of the fundamental ways to improve everyday life’s struggles with autism is to focus on a daily routine. Many children with autism rely on a routine and may become agitating or overwhelmed when something does not follow the routine.
- Get up and go to bed around the same time each day.
- A morning and bedtime routine is critical. Tasks such as hygiene and getting dressed may be stressful if you do not establish a routine ahead of time.
- Breakfast and other meals should follow the same process daily. At mealtime, the child should wash hands, sit at their place, say prayers, eat, clean up, etc. A routine at mealtime will reduce stress on the family. Some children may want the same food every day for lunch. If it is a healthy option, allow this.
- Schedule playtime, education time and even television time at the same time daily.
- When there are situations where the routine may not occur, explain to the child several times throughout the day. Help them to deal with the worry.
- Parents should schedule time for one on one time with the child. Some autistic children respond better to parents than anyone else.
The Family Time Around The Dinner Table
By 6:30 every night, Lil’ D is circling the stove, trying to see what’s cooking. This kid’s stomach is a clock, and he wants his meals on time. If dinner isn’t ready, he throws a tantrum. He’s also a picky eater and has followed special diets in the past, so we cook at home nearly every night. The evening meal is an important time when we come together as a family and share our day. It’s also a hectic time when the kids are complaining about the food, and I’m constantly enforcing manners. Lil’ D usually picks the meat out of his food, eats about half , and runs off while also coming back to take more bites.
My rules are: Sit in the chair, eat the entire meal, and say “All done” at the end. I’m also teaching him how to set the table. Rules and consistency are important with Lil’ D. If I don’t demand proper behavior over and over again, while frequently enduring outbursts and pinches in the process, Lil’ D will not learn any dinnertime etiquette. Still, I pick my battles. If he really doesn’t like the meal, I will feed him. I try to stick to the rules all the time, but often it’s impossible.
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The Arrival Home After School
When the bus arrives, I meet Lil’ D at the bus door and escort him into the house. His demeanor when he comes off the bus usually sets the tone and schedule for the next few hours. Will he be happy or sad? Will he seek hugs and tickles or want to be left alone? I read the signs to know what the next two hours will be like. At the start of this school year, he left the bus upset, crying, and hungry. Now, whether he’s upset or not, Lil’ D comes straight inside and immediately requests beads. Our house is littered with strands of metal beads, which are his favorite thing. He will spend the next hour twirling beads repeatedly on a variety of objects and pairing this perseverative behavior called “stimming” with loud vocal noises.
Many kids with autism have something they “stim” on — it alternately grounds or excites them, and they withdraw into that particular activity and avoid dealing with the world. The bulk of our work with Lil’ D is to pull him out of the silent world he retreats into, but after he’s had seven hours interacting with teachers and aides, I allow him an hour of “stimming” time followed by a snack. Many kids want to be left alone after school, and I think Lil’ D is no different, so I honor that.
Other People And Autism
Everyday life with autism within your home is something that will develop over time. Quirks and unique schedules will emerge. If they allow you and your child to get through the day with less stress and frustration, there is no problem with it.
Many parents face difficulties when they have to explain situations to other people. Having a lunch guest at the home may throw off the routine. Explaining to children that your child does not like hugging can be difficult. Be brief and only provide the necessary information.
Although there is no set in stone method that works for all of these situations, rest assured that most parents with autistic children feel the same. It can be difficult to explain to others about autism, but doing so educates them on an ever-increasing condition.
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Little Clemmie: Defying The Odds
Fiona and Alex had settled into the normal life of young parents in London. They had established their home and careers, juggling those demands with caring for a child and growing another. While typically hectic, their life was fundamentally predictable. When little Clementine was born, her perfect health gave them no reason to fear this would change. She was hitting her developmental milestones and was an easy, cheery baby.
In hindsight, says Fiona, you cant help but search for clues that something was about to hit you.
When Clemmie was five and a half months old, she started having seizures. She was diagnosed with infantile spasms, also known as catastrophic childhood epilepsy because of the potential lifelong damage to the childs brain.
Fiona and Alex began the extended process of attempting varying treatments recommended by doctors. They tried steroids, the first line of attack for halting infantile spasms. When those didnt work, they embarked on a long and discouraging journey of anticonvulsants. Her doctors turned pessimistic, warning Fiona and Alex that Clemmies prognosis was bleak.
Clemmie survived the surgery. Whats more, it not only halted her seizures entirely, it stopped them without requiring any anti-convulsant assistance. Alex and Fionas fundamental hope was fulfilled.
Says Fiona, Im truly amazed each day when I hear her talking and connecting with the world around her.
Autism In The Classroom: Tips And Strategies
Having a child with autism in the classroom can be a challenge, but also incredibly fulfilling if you know how to provide the right support. Whether its helping them to maintain their routine, handle sensory overload, or engage in learning in a way that resonates with them, all of your interventions will benefit them significantly.
Here are our 7 top tips for supporting autistic children in the classroom:
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Tip : Create A Personalized Autism Treatment Plan
With so many different treatments available, it can be tough to figure out which approach is right for your child. Making things more complicated, you may hear different or even conflicting recommendations from parents, teachers, and doctors.
When putting together a treatment plan for your child, keep in mind that there is no single treatment that works for everyone. Each person on the autism spectrum is unique, with different strengths and weaknesses.
Your childs treatment should be tailored according to their individual needs. You know your child best, so its up to you to make sure those needs are being met. You can do that by asking yourself the following questions:
What are my childs strengths and their weaknesses?
What behaviors are causing the most problems? What important skills is my child lacking?
How does my child learn best through seeing, listening, or doing?
What does my child enjoy and how can those activities be used in treatment and to bolster learning?
Finally, keep in mind that no matter what treatment plan is chosen, your involvement is vital to success. You can help your child get the most out of treatment by working hand-in-hand with the treatment team and following through with the therapy at home.
Improving Everyday Life With Autism
Children with autism react differently to stimuli than those without autism do. It is difficult to determine just what life will be like if your child has autism since this depends on the place on the autism spectrum that the child’s condition is. Those with debilitating autism may need constant care. Those with high functioning autism, such as Asperger’s syndrome, may not require any specialized care.
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A Day In The Life Of An Asd Teacher
Jan 8, 2013 | DM News Blog |
Guest writer Lehanie Moller tells a bit about the qualities necessary to be a special needs teacher, and what a typical day looks like in an autism-only classroom. For any aspiring teachers out there, we hope this is helpful!
To be an SEN teacher demands a different set of skills than a mainstream teacher. To be an ASD teacher demands an even more sophisticated skill set.
There is great joy in being an ASD teacher because you will get children with such a passion for a subject that it is pure joy to see them literally absorbing knowledge like a sponge. ASD children are very happy-go-lucky children that feel very safe and secure in their rigid work and the key here is rigid.
I have learned that routine is key to ASD children and, because I teach in lower Key stage, visual timetables and cues form an integral part of our daily routine. The children in my class are between 6 and 7 years old and although they know their weekly timetable better than I do, they cope well with inevitable changes that sometimes do occur. Some of these same changes might be more upsetting for older ASD children.
Our school is using the national curriculum and it is my responsibility to adapt the learning material to suit the needs of the children. I tend to use the topic-based approach where I will pick an age appropriate story and then link Maths, Science, History, Geography PHSE, RE and ICT to the topic.
Trust Your Instincts Even With The Doctors Advice
What I wish I knew way back then is that its OK to get a second opinion when your gut tells you the doctor is wrong. We knew that Gavin had autism. Yet, we were told he had ADHD, that he had anxiety and depression. It took his first psychiatric hospitalization at age 8 for a psychiatrist to finally say he thought Gavin had Aspergers. We were always told, Why is a diagnosis so important to you anyway? Its just a label. Because the right diagnosis means the proper treatment. Now he has a job, hes involved in school activities. Hes going to college in the fall to become a chemistry teacher.
Shannon Smyth, Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania
Lacy Gunter, Greenwood, South Carolina
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A Day In The Life Of A Child With Autism
When I started teaching special education in 1984, one child in 10,000 was diagnosed with autism. A study released in 2009 indicates that one child in 91 falls somewhere on the autism spectrum. From one in 10,000 to one in 91 within 25 yearschurches, we need to get ready! But the reality is that many churches dont know how to minister to children and families touched by autism.
Attend church? said the mother of a child with autism living in Ontario. Hah! We tried four of them before we finally gave up. Every one of them sent us away.
We tried taking our granddaughter to church with us, said the grandpa of a child with autism living in Missouri. They told us the church down the road might have something for us.
These true and typical stories from worship-deprived families need to change. The following is a real-life example of the everyday life of one family touched by autism, along with suggestions for how a church could embrace and include them.
7:50 a.m. Jenna, age 8, climbs out of bed. She always gets up exactly at 7:50 a.m. Her parents know its much easier to change Jennas bedroom clock than it is to change Jennas schedule.
7:51 a.m. Jenna sits down at the computer. Typing with lightning speed with the index finger of each hand, she easily moves in and out of programs. She writes stories and draws figures of her first-grade classmates at Zeeland Christian School.
The Autism Blog By Seattle Childrens
As the world of autism spectrum disorders continues to shift, the Seattle Childrens Autism Center works to keep parents and caregivers up to date. In addition to serving as a reliable and current resource on autism, the blog is a place for engagement and community. Topics are varied and useful, coming from a providers perspective while remaining respectful to the understanding that opinions can vary greatly when it comes to different aspects of autism.
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A Day In The Life Of Autism
Whoa. Just looking at the title makes me overwhelmed. Where to start? There can be so much in just one day.. SO MUCH! And let me preface this post by saying our day does not necessarily describe another familys day with Autism. Each kiddo is different, their struggles are different and each familys experience is slightly different. With that being said, yes, there will be similarities as well, but one familys experience does not encompass every familys experience with Autism.
Our son Charlie..well, hes amazing. Simple as that. He has shown us how to experience the World in a different view. Not a lesser view, not a wrong view, but different. This little boy has the biggest and most caring heart of anyone I have ever encountered in my life. Hes smart- holy moly hes so incredibly smart, hes funny, adventurous, sweet natured, handsome , loves to snuggle, is spunky and strong-willed .
We guessed wrong. Its little things like that that can throw his whole day off.
Before we had kids Tyler and I were pretty active, liked being on the go, traveling, outside, camping, out with friends and family, etc. our oldest son didnt slow us down much but as soon as the twins came along things changed a bit. They were 3 months premature, spent 3 months in the hospital before coming home and then were still very small and sick when they came home. That definitely slowed us down. But we figured as they grew wed be active with them again.
A Day In The Life Of A Physics Student With Autism
Michael Barton, 22, has high-functioning autism and has just finished a degree course. He is currently promoting a new book – his second in three years, entitled A Different Kettle of Fish – A Day in the Life of a Physics Student with Autism.
It documents how he feels travelling from Guildford to London for a day out and the autism-related difficulties along the way.
Barton launched his book at the Manchester Autism Show where he also gave a talk which includes one of his pet subjects – how speaking metaphorically can confuse people on the autistic spectrum as they tend to take things literally.
He spoke to Ouch this week:
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