Raising a child is no easy task. When autism or non-verbal communication becomes part of the equation, it can become even more challenging for parents. However, these children are often as intelligent and capable as their peers in all other ways if given the right support. In this blog post, we will give you some tips to help make your journey with autism or non-verbal parenting just a little bit easier!
TRY YOUR BEST TO BE PATIENT
I know I know, it seems really obvious. However, autism and non-verbal communication can really make it hard for a child to communicate what they want at times. Try your best not to get frustrated when this happens! As long as you have tried everything else first (remember, autism and non-verbal children are just as capable of communicating their needs/wants!) then try being patient when they burst into tears or screams. While autism and nonverbal children may be a little different, they are still people who feel the same emotions like any other human! And that means their non-verbal language should not be disregarded. Whether it's through gestures or facial expressions, try to find out more about how your autistic child is feeling by paying attention to what patterns you pick up on.
Autism and non-verbal children can actually be really imaginative! Try coming up with some games or activities to try with them that may not have a lot of talking involved while you wait for them to catch on and start playing along!
DON'T BE ASHAMED OF WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
While so-called "expert parents" may think otherwise, if you have found tactics that seem "weird", "unusual", "non-mainstream" or just plain "different" from what they're used to, don't be ashamed. Your autism and nonverbal child knows what they want, and if they feel loved and validated, then that's what works! Don't forget, as always with autism and non-verbal children it's important to remember that autism doesn't look the same for every child or family.
COMMUNICATE YOUR CHILD'S NEEDS OR TRIGGERS WITH OTHERS
You may not always be able to take care of your autism and nonverbal child 24/hrs a day, but with the help of family or friends, you can make sure that they're safe when you aren't present. That's why it is crucial for any autism and nonverbal parents to communicate their children's needs or triggers with others so that everyone is on the same page.
It may seem impossible at times to maintain the same routine, but autism and nonverbal children thrive on routines. Maintaining a consistent schedule is key in parenting an autism or nonverbal child and can help with their sensory issues. Try your best to keep consistent pillars that happen each day, such as bedtime, and change only one pillar at a time.
I hope this list has helped you gain some confidence in your parenting skills. If not, please feel free to contact me and we can chat one-on-one about what it's like being a parent of an autistic or nonverbal child.
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You are not alone, and I am struggling every day just like you. There will be hard days ahead but know that you've got this and there is always someone out there who understands exactly how you're feeling (even if they don't say anything).
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Did I miss anything? Let me know by commenting below!