There is no exaggeration to say that life with autistic children can be very challenging. From learning about this developmental disability to catering to different behaviors, there is always something new for caretakers to learn and cater to.
Looking at the dependency of children with autism, parents wonder what life will be like for their child as an independent adult. While it can be a scary thought, one can find comfort in the fact that there is a certain way of creating a better future for your child with autism.
Here are some of the best ways to ensure the independence of your child with autism.
1. Get Help Around the House
One cannot be free and independent until one learns to be responsible. When you are teaching responsibility to your child, you may not want to pressure them with your words or let them handle serious tasks by themselves. Take a slow and steady approach to secure the best results.
You want to start with baby steps and work your way up with your child. The first thing you can do is to involve them in household chores. These chores can be as simple as letting them make their own bed, help you around the kitchen, or change your pet’s litter box.
It is best to keep your expectations low in the beginning because no matter what task you give them, it is likely that they may not give you the most flattering outcomes. However, you can help them improve it over time and let them take one step after another towards independence.
2. Teach Financial Responsibility
Just like every independent individual, your autistic child will also have to cater to many of their needs and problems with money. Many parents are uncomfortable teaching their children about finances at a young age, but this knowledge can help them throughout their lives.
Learning what money is, how to use it, and the way it impacts everyday life is important information that everyone must have in order to ensure their independence. After all, they will be solely responsible for paying their bills, managing their budget, and so much more.
You can take a responsible start at a young age by letting them handle the change at the superstore or create their own budget to manage. With every supervised step, your child will become more and more financially independent and deal with their own financial matters.
3. Teach About Safety
Letting your child head out in the world, even as adults, will never stop being a scary step for parents. Parents give so much love to their and cannot imagine something or someone hurting them when they are out of sight. As mentioned in Autism magazines, children with autism too have to leave their homes at some point.
If you also want to ensure the safety and well-being of your child independently in the world, it is crucial that you teach them about security, self-defense, and other basic safety protocols. These may include pedestrian safety, threat identification, and safety markers to be safer in the real world.
Safety lessons provided to your child can help them stay safe and ensure your peace of mind as well. Teaching these skills to your child can also reduce their dependence on you from a young age and yield several positive results for their life.
4. Communicate Openly
Hassle-free communication is one of the many things children with autism struggle with. They not only have difficulty listening to what you have to say but also may not be able to get their message across effectively. It can create frustration for the speaker and the listener alike.
These limitations often raise concerns in the minds of parents regarding the safety of their children, especially when they grow up and lead independent lives. How will this child communicate with their flatmates, landlords, teachers, instructors, and so on?
If you are also concerned about the same things, you may want to look for ways to improve the communication skills of your autistic child. Even if your child is limited by spoken language, teach them alternative ways of communication that can help them get their message across without a hassle.
5. Incorporate a Visual Schedule
Every parent with an autistic child understands the importance of an unhindered schedule. Children with autism love and appreciate routine like no one else. They get equally upset when their routine is disturbed or shuffled under any circumstances.
If you are having difficulty maintaining communication and the schedule of your child, you may want to use a visual schedule. You can create a visual schedule by relaying a series of upcoming events and activities through objects, pictures, or icons to communicate with them.
A visual schedule is an easy way for caretakers to communicate with autistic children about things they are required to do throughout the day. You can mention every small and big detail on this schedule to ensure that they can keep track of every little detail by themselves. This way, your child can transition from one activity to another without prompting.
6. Emphasize on Self Care
Self-care is an important aspect of life that every parent must teach their child, especially if their child is autistic. Young age is a good time for you to teach your child about self-care. They must know how to care for themselves for an independent life.
You can start with basic self-care essential activities such as teaching them about brushing their teeth, combing their hair, and several other life skills. Some activities can be a bit challenging depending on the moods of your child, but there is nothing you cannot teach them with resilience and patience.
If you get frustrated, remember to work your way through communication. Remember that it is not a one-way process. It is important to teach communication skills to your autistic children because this skill can help them kill ambiguity and let them feel acknowledged.