Facebook can be a blackhole for time and energy, but sometimes there are such good things to read about. Today, I came across a post asking people to comment any advice about autism they would give to someone who just received a diagnosis in their family. I responded with a bunch of stuff and thought it might be helpful to some of you, my dear readers.
Being that my son and husband are both on the spectrum (& Elon Musk, ok I don’t know him but it makes more sense to me now that he has superhuman capabilities when it comes to ideas and implementation), I have some experience with people very dear to me that have high functioning autism and have spent time with younger kids on different places on the spectrum.
So if you have kids on the spectrum or friends’ kids etc, here’s my advice for you… Hope this is helpful!
Group therapy for social learning helped my son so much. He has Asperger’s but there were kids on all the spectrum in the class(verbal to nonverbal). It was the best things we ever did for him when he was 5. He came out of his first class exclaiming “I made a friend! I made a friend!” Best. Day. Ever!
We also held him back a year for kindergarten. Studies have shown for any boy, this is one of the best things you can do for your son, autistic or not, if their birthdays are in spring/summer and before the cutoff birthday date in the fall. Also always remember, autism or not, your children are always hearing what you say. For example, if you say oh little tommy can’t do this or that, they will take that to heart. They will already feel defeated before they even try.
Believe in your child. Know that their brain is functioning and can hear everything you say but may not have the ability to respond. It can be a mountain to climb but do every thing you can to find out how your child can communicate. Here’s a prime example… https://people.com/human-interest/22-year-old-nonverbal-woman-with-autism-on-finding-her-voice-and-advocating-for-others
Also something that still helps my 13 yo is him wearing earphones. We got him some that people use at shooting ranges that have a volume control. He wears these occasionally when he is overwhelmed with noise at home. He also was allowed to wear them at school as an accommodation. Plus, he could keep a stress ball at his desk. Kids on the autism spectrum need a physical way to release all the information that is gathered by there overactive nervous system and this is a simple way to help that happen. Talk with the teacher about accommodations for this or allowing him to stand up every so often.
Also, at school you might have to fight for his rights. Luckily, I’m at an amazing school that had an aid for him and they even have a sensory room for when kids are overwhelmed they can go in the room and calm down. Yes, it’s a public school and in Louisiana (most amazing school ever). This school has continued ed for teachers regarding special needs kids and it is such a huge blessing for our family. You wouldn’t be able to recognize my son from when he was in 2nd grade when we moved here until now.
Also if your child is verbal be ready for a brain that is always firing on 5 billion cylinders. My son has amazing ideas and inventions that he is thinking about all the time. His learning level for detailed scientific information is outpacing my husband and I. He read up about quantum mechanics this summer and is teaching himself about quantum computing.
Soooo all that to say whether you child has verbal or nonverbal autism, he or she has an incredible mind that wants to communicate but might have trouble with doing the one thing they need to do most getting to speak with you.
Message me if you have any other questions regarding our journey, I’ll help as much as possible.
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