How to Support Parents of Children with Autism and the Importance of It
When a child places on the autism spectrum, there are certain adjustments that need to be made to help them thrive. These changes often start within the home by caring and hardworking parents.
Just like any other parents, though, parents of children with autism sometimes need a little extra help. Luckily, in these cases, there are a variety of things that others can do to help. Here, we will take a look at a few things that you can do to help support parents of children with autism.
Learn What You Can
First and foremost, you should take the time to learn what you can about autism. This way, you have a basic understanding of what is going on.
It should be noted, though, that you shouldn’t make any assumptions about their child. Autism exists on a spectrum so while you might have a basic understanding of autism, it’s important to remember that every child is different.
The point about learning about autism is that you aren’t trying to becoming an expert on the topic. The point here is to know enough that you aren’t going to make any assumptions on situations that are more damaging than helpful. As you go along, be open to learning more about autism and the parents’ child specifically. Remember, autism is complicated and at no point should you assume that you know everything and you definitely shouldn’t try to assume that you know better than the parent. That is more likely to be frustrating to parents than helpful.
Teach Your Children
If you have children, teach them the basics of what is going on. They don’t need to know the specifics or all the ins and outs of autism but you should explain things so that they aren’t confused by the other child’s behavior and they don’t make the child uncomfortable.
For instance, if an autistic child struggles in loud, claustrophobic environments, you might want to teach your child not to yell around them or crowd them.
You should, however, encourage friendship. Don’t warn or scare your child away from an autistic child. In fact, you could even encourage playdates. It can go a long way for both an autistic child and their parents to see the child accepted by their peers. After all, all parents want to see their child happy with their acceptance in society. Without that, both children and parents can start to feel isolated.
Learn What Can Help
By both talking to the parents and committing your own research, learn what you can as to how you can help these parents and their children.
Most children with autism spectrum have sensory integration issues. For instance, you could look into products that can help autistic children’s sensory issues. These are important because they can help children to stay calm and feel safe even when they are overwhelmed and overstimulated. Some of these products include learning games, autism products, and tools, calming products, toys for autistic children, sensory therapy toys etc.
It should be noted that sometimes, it isn’t about doing things for their child or working to find resources and products for them. Sometimes, helping parents of children with autism is as simple as just listening to and supporting these parents.
Odds are, they have a lot of thoughts that they don’t share on a daily basis. Just like any other topic that you keep to yourself, these thoughts can eat at them and increase their stress levels.
In these cases, the best thing that you can do is listen to them. Let them vent and say what they need to say without judgment. Don’t offer unsolicited advice, just allow them to talk. It might not feel like much at the time but for these parents, having someone who they know cares and is there for them can mean the world.
Support Groups and Resources
If you know a parent of a child with autism, leading them to others who can relate to and help them is a great idea. After all, just like every other parent, they are learning as they go along. So, having other parents who understand their situation intimately can help.
In Des Moines, there are a few different support groups established to help parents of children with autism. Once such resource is the Des Moines Metro: Family & Educator Partnership (FEP). There is also the West Des Moines: Mothers of Mary – St. Francis of Assisi which is for mothers of children with special needs.
Another noteworthy Des Moines resource is the Des Moines: Sibling Support Group. This group is made to help siblings of children with special needs who are 6 years or older.
About the Author