Are you friends with parents of an autistic child? Do you have a relative who has an autistic son or daughter? If so, do you find yourself wanting to know what you can do to help? Your support of parents with special needs children is essential. Key tips in doing this and what to expect are revealed:
1. Reach out to parents of an autistic child. Ask if there’s anything you can do to make visits with their child at your home easier. Perhaps going out together is more of a challenge, but be willing to deal with unexpected behaviors that come with a special needs child. Isolation enters the lives of parents with special needs children to some degree. By including them in your world theirs is much more fulfilling.
2. Find joy in simple outings with parents of an autistic child. When they bring their child on your day out, overstimulation of crowds, bright lights, or busy settings may be too much for him or her to handle. Solace and calm are then sought. It’s not uncommon for an autistic child to be content near a stream of water, stare endlessly at an intriguing object, or see patterns of bricks on a building wall. Autistic children love patterns and a set routine. Be in the trenches of support for these parents of autistic children. You may be in one location for hours while a child with autism fixates on a particular interest. This is alright and part of the autism spectrum disorder. It means everything to the parent being by his or her side.
3. Be flexible for parents of an autistic child. Parents must be flexibile for their special needs children at all times. An unexpected tantrum may occur for any host of reasons, cancelling a planned destination, or leaving a store because the child is overstimulated are distinct probabilities. These episodes are difficult for the parent as well. Your willingness to be patient and flexible is priceless. An autistic child’s needs are specific and must be met until he or she learns coping mechanisms over time.
4. Don’t offer suggestions unless you understand autism. If a parent appears to not have control of their special needs child, don’t assume that’s what it is. There is an army of specialists and therapists who work with these parents and their child. They are trained and qualified in special needs children. Your best role supporting a parent of an autistic child is to not interfere unless asked for your input.
5. Show you really like to be around. Parents like to know you enjoy the company of their autistic child. Being devoted and supportive unconditionally makes all the difference because they want their child to be accepted for who they are. You have a lot of power in the lives of parents who raise an autistic child.