My brother has a blog that offers me tremendous insight as an autism mom. And this week I wanted to share an article he wrote because I think it will benefit all of us.
The unfamiliar can be scary for a kid, especially when that kid has autism.
But those scary things need to happen. Things like trips to the dentist, haircuts, babysitters, or moving. These can all be rough, if not feel impossible to get through, with the challenges that autism presents.
I confess that I don’t have children myself, and I won’t pretend to know what it’s like to be a parent, especially one to a child with autism. Thankfully, mine is hardly the only website around with advice about autism. Here are some resources that might help you.
As this article points out, an ASD child isn’t giving you a hard time, they’re having a hard time. A trip to the dentist can be scary for any child (and even some adults), and this is especially true for autistics. Challenges with the unfamiliar, and sensory issues, can make it really hard. This article offers advice about finding the right dentist, and preparing for the visit.
Trips to the doctor offer similar challenges to that of the dentist. Unfamiliar places and people, bright lights, and strong smells can be hard for a child with autism. The waiting room can be really hard, especially if your child has trouble sitting still. This article offers advice such as bringing a comfort item, and having the healthcare providers use simple, direct communication when talking to the child.
Have them be honest and direct with the child as well. My neurotypical wife went to the chiropractor as a child, and was told that popping sounds in her joint were because she had eaten popcorn, and that he was popping them out.
In her case, knowing they weren’t being honest created distrust and fear. But for a child with autism, they may not understand that the doctor is kidding, and will get confused.
When you have sensory issues, you often don’t like things coming near your head. But that’s rather necessary for a haircut. Haircuts can be a huge challenge in autism. Like with the dentist, this article suggests things like finding the right hairdresser, preparing for the appointment, and asking for accommodations.
All parents need to get away sometimes, and this again can be especially true with autism. But it can be a challenge finding a babysitter ready to handle the challenges that autism presents. As the title suggests, this article offers advice on how to find the right babysitter.
It includes introducing your potential babysitter to your kid(s) ahead of time and seeing how it goes. This is especially valuable with a child with autism, who might resist a new, unfamilar person.
My family moved when I was 5 (we moved two other times before that, but I was too young to remember). We moved from Chicago to Pennsylvania, staying in a few hotels along the way. I did not understand at the time what was going on. A few weeks after moving to our new house, I said “I don’t like this hotel anymore, mommy. When are we going home?”
When you’re autistic, you depend on structure and routine, and nothing disrupts that more than moving. This article offers suggestions like talking them through it, and packing the autistic child’s belongings last, and unpacking them first, to minimize disruptions.
Things like haircuts, babysitters, trips to the dentist or doctor, and moving, can be scary but necessary things with a child with autism. Hopefully in these resources you’ll find advice to help make it easier.
This article was previously published on Decoding My Autism.net
Abby is capable and caring. She is learning more about Autism and parenthood every day. And even though she is the first to admit she makes a lot of mistakes, she is so grateful to be on this journey. She comes from a family with many autistic members. She invites us to join her, as she shares her adventures. She wishes to emphasize that Autism is a difference not a defect. If you or a family member have autism, Abby wants you to know that this isn't a bad thing. And you or your loved one are not sick or broken. Together we will teach the world this new language.