Many parents feel there is nothing to do but wait for treatment when faced with their autistic children. Certainly, not many parents have ever met this problem before. This is the kind of situation that worries them most.
However, the truth is that they can by following some of the guidelines to interact with their children. With these suggestions, it is easier to open the hearts of a child and therefore make it easier for children under treatment.
So, as a parent with autistic children, what should you do first? Well, there are a few tips to be considered.
- Tip 1: Find nonverbal ways to connect
Pay attention to the kinds of sounds they make, their facial expressions, and the gestures they use when they’re tired, hungry, or want something. Give care by staying beside them or satisfying their wishes. People feel upset when being ignored, and there’s no difference in autistic children. With this strategy, children will feel that you are the one who really cares about them. Gradually, they will open up their hearts, and find ways to connect with you.
- Tip 2: Pay attention to your child’s sensation.
Many autistic children are sensitive to light, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Figure out what kinds of kind of sensations stimulates your children to a positive response or a negative one. And what does this type of sensation brings to the emotional change in your children. Do your children feel upset when seeing blue, or do they feel happy when smelling fragrance? Sensory toys are the best choice in helping your children develop sensory feelings, benefiting them in living in the world around them.
- Tip 3: Label feelings as they occur.
This has to be consistent and occur naturally. For example, when an autistic child is reaching for food in the refrigerator, it is a good timing to label the feeling. By saying ‘You are hungry’, the child will relate how they feel at the moment with the expression of feeling. Repeat this whenever you think that your children are experiencing a type of feeling (such as happy, sad, excited), please do not hesitate to label these feelings. When time goes by, children will have a better concept of understanding things in an emotional way, creating a bridge between them and the real world.
- Tips 4: Never give up!
Never give up. In the eye of the autistic children, how you behave is really important to them. When your children see you feeling tired and desperate, they will feel nothing but abandoned. So, if you love your children, never express negative feelings in front of them, let them feel that they are worth for living and caring.
Despite increased awareness, many children are still not diagnosed with autism until at least age four or when they are much older. So it is essential to treat with autism as soon as possible when early founded.
Unfortunately, there is no medical test to diagnose autism. Instead, it is diagnosed by observing the behaviors of the child, especially the specific behaviors that match the symptoms of autism. After years of research and experiences, researchers have summarized a series of behaviors which indicates the symptoms of autism in early stages. So, what are the signs? Let’s take a closer look!
The followings are typical signs of autism on children in an early age:
- Not babbling – babbling refers to the sounds that babies make before they begin to talk, such as “ba”, “da”, and “gee”. Twelve-month-olds should look at someone while they babble, and take turns babbling with caregivers.
- Not pointing – such as pointing to ask for things (pointing to the candy jar on the table) or pointing to get someone’s attention (pointing to a train crossing by).
- Not showing objects to parents – Common twelve-month-olds show interesting objects to their parents. If a child isn’t showing things to others, it may be an early sign of autism.
- Lack of other gestures – Besides pointing and showing, common twelve-month-olds children should also be reaching to be picked up, waving, and shaking their head.
- Lack of shared enjoyment – Shared enjoyment refers to a child’s desire to interact with others. A child rarely smiles or laughs in interaction with others is a symptom.
- Repetitive actions or movements – Such as children clapping their hands often or playing a toy inappropriately over and over again, these are the symptoms of autism and must be taken action of immediately.
- Poor eye contact – Does your child look at people when communicating or playing with them?
- Not following an adult’s pointed finger – A typical 12-month old will look when their father points to the television.
- Limited play with toys – A young child with autism may only engage with a small number of toys, or play with just a part of the toy rather than the whole toy.
- Not copying actions or sounds – Does your child imitate actions like sounds of a song or specific behaviors of yours?
- Not responding to his or her name when called – Young children with autism don’t respond when their name is called even though their hearing is fine. This is due to difficulties with paying attention and understanding language.
In conclusion, there are two main aspects that you should look for in your child: Social communication and Behavior. If your child has any of the symptoms, treatment is inevitable. But the good thing is, autism is treatable. The earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it will be treated. Therefore, there is nothing for you to worry about!