Families of individuals with autism understand the daily struggle of everyday tasks and interactions. For siblings, understanding how to interact with that family member can be challenging. Young children often don’t know how to react to a sibling with autism. They may shy away from that sibling and not want to participate in activities. When supporting a child with autism in your family, it can be helpful to know how to help everyone better understand their sibling with autism.
Imagine a trip to the dentist or doctor’s office when you already suffer from heightened sensory experiences or are unable to communicate. Would that environment feel comforting or would you fear the worst?
It is BACK TO SCHOOL time! The start of school is both a time of joy and a time of caution for parents of children with autism as they know the challenges that come with adjusting to changing schedules. For teachers, the start of a new school year brings new opportunities.
Having your child with autism travel can be a challenging task and can limit your experiences as a family. Those challenges may increase when traveling with children with autism. Be prepared, it may require a few more steps.
Many parents express concern over how to “do therapy” when their child is not in an ABA session. Finding the balance between being Mom and practicing skills can seem impossible at times, and well-meaning Moms and Dads worry about missing out on teaching opportunities once their ABA team has gone home. While there is often a time and a place for more structured learning opportunities, parents shouldn’t feel pressure to schedule mini-therapy sessions with flashcards at the dinner table. Incorporating teaching opportunities into everyday life can be quick, easy, and fun!
Here is a report that we hear frequently from families:"Toilet training is going awesome! My child is staying dry for long periods of time and is initiating when he has to pee BUT he is still struggling with having successful bowel movements on the toilet. I know he has to go because he gets really quiet and hides behind the couch but he just can’t seem to figure this out!”
Many children struggle with picky eating at some point, but children with autism may have feeding issues that go above and beyond just being a picky eater. Tackling autism and food issues can be major stressors for families; not only does it have the potential for being disruptive to family life but it may lead to malnutrition, constipation, and other medical issues in severe cases. Working on feeding problems can be a daunting task but there are effective, evidence-based interventions that can help!
Two words that strike fear in most parents are toilet and training.
Toilet training, or "potty training", can be a scary process for any family but it may be particularly challenging for families of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Research shows that children diagnosed with autism are often delayed in achieving toilet training success and that it may take more time to complete the toilet training process than other children. Potential barriers may include language deficits that may make it difficult for the child to say “I need to go potty!”, difficulty dressing and undressing when it is time to go, change in routines leading to negative behavior, or having aversions to the noises, smells, and bright lights that are associated with bathroom time.
If you’ve ever felt the fear of realizing that your child is missing, you know it is a feeling you never forget. Parents know, and research confirms, that children with autism are more likely to “wander” or “elope” – in other words, they will leave their house or immediate area without alerting an adult.