3 ways to support children with Autism

As part of Autism Awareness Month we thought we’d share with you 3 of our top tips for supporting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). There’s a saying that if you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism. And it’s so true! By its nature, autism is a spectrum, with each child having their own combination of strengths and difficulties. Even though every child is unique, there are some key ways we can help support all children with autism so they can reach their goals, whatever those may be.

So, here are 3 of our top tips for supporting children with ASD…

TIP #1 – Create a consistent routine

We all tend to enjoy some consistency and routine in our lives however for children with ASD this is even more important. Consistent routines are something they rely on to understand their world and feel calm. Regularity in mealtimes, school, therapy appointments, and bedtime makes their day more predictable which reduces anxiety and increases calm. Disruptions will happen from time to time but try to keep them to a minimum and stick to your schedule. If a change to your routine is needed try to give your child as much notice as possible beforehand and talk about it regularly with them in the lead up to the change. 

TIP #2 – Use visuals to support understanding

The problem with words is they’re so transient. Spoken one second and gone the next! This puts an enormous load on our brains to process the information quickly and remember it. For children with ASD we know this is much harder from them to do. Visuals, or pictures that represent words, lighten that load. The pictures stay put and your child can refer back to them whenever they need to. Visuals can be used throughout your day. They can be used to show your child their routine for the day, the steps they need to complete for everyday tasks (e.g. going to the toilet), understand abstract concepts like emotions and more.. 

TIP #3 – Use their interests to teach them new skills

All children have things that interest them more than others. Children with ASD are no different. There’ll be things that interest them a lot and things they’re not interested in at all. Finding out their interests and incorporating them when you’re playing or talking to your child will help them pay attention and learn from you. Some parents worry that entertaining their interests will make them fixate on them even more however this is not the case. Using their interests will help them to engage with you and when they’re engaged you can gently introduce new ways of playing or new topics to talk about.

We hope you found this article useful? Please feel free to click the share button and help spread the word. All children deserve to be supported to achieve their full potential.