Creating an Enjoyable Life
Some Common Stressors
Last month, I discussed the stress of being a mom of a child with autism (check out the article here); this month, I will discuss how to help your autistic child experience a joyful and fulfilling life! Most autistic children will go to more medical and therapy appointments before adolescents than many adults. Examples include occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language therapy, sleep pathologists, med checks, and ABA therapy. It is easy for you and your child to get overwhelmed and stressed with all of these appointments and therapists.
Routines can help
If it is stressful for us as parents, you can bet it is stressful for our little ones too! One prominent and common suggestion is to set up routines and schedules; I know how overwhelming those words sound! As a mom of three young children, being told I need to set a routine makes me want to cry. In fact, a recent study published in the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy discussed the struggle of setting up routines. Despite families of ASD individuals wanting to implement a schedule, the study found that they struggled with getting it started. But there is help! Here is another resource worth checking out: Establishing Routines at Home: Why Children with Autism Need Routines at Home. The article talks about routines promoting positive bonds between parents and children and provides a step-by-step guide to establishing a home routine.
Have fun and love them
Is there anything else I can do to make sure my autistic child is happy? Yes! As a parent, you can spend quality time with your child and engage in enjoyable activities with them. If you are looking for recommendations, I highly suggest the book “Playing, Laughing and Learning with Children on the Autism Spectrum: A Practical Resource of Play Ideas for Parents and Carers.” The book includes a collection of enjoyable activities while breaking them down into small, manageable stages. This way, the activity keeps the child’s interest while also building upon small achievements.
Lastly and most importantly, you must love them! Our children deserve our time, attention, and affection. Even though my son is not big on hugs, I have found that there are times when a big loving hug makes everything better!