Autism and Providing Structure at Home
When a caregiver learns all that they can about autism and gets involved with a child’s treatment, it can go a long way, according to the health-themed website Help Guide. Additionally, it helps when a caregiver provides the child structure and a strong sense of safety. Here are some tips.
Children with autism have a hard time applying what they’ve learned in one setting, like a therapist’s office, to others, such as the home. Creating consistency in the child’s environment is the best way to reinforce learning. Explore the possibility of having therapy take place in more than one location in order to encourage the child to transfer what they have learned from one environment to another. It’s also important for parents and caregivers to be consistent in the way they interact with the child and deal with their challenging behavior.
Stick to a schedule.
Children with autism tend to do best when they have a highly structured routine. Set up a schedule with regular times for meals, therapy, school and bedtime. Try to keep disruptions to this routine to a minimum. If there is an unavoidable schedule change, prepare the child for it in advance.
Reward good behavior.
Positive reinforcement can go a long way. Parents should praise the child when they act appropriately or learn a new skill, being very specific about for what behavior they’re being praised. Also look for other ways to reward them for good behavior, such as giving them a sticker or letting them play with a favorite toy.
Create a home safety zone.
Caregivers should carve out a private space in their home where the child can relax, feel secure and be safe. Visual cues can be helpful, i.e. colored tape marking areas that are off limits, labeling items in the house with pictures.
To read more tips, go to Help Guide online.
*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.