While being a parent is hard, being the caregiver of a child can at times feel even harder. With parents, they know the ins and outs of their own child and can take certain liberties that you as a caregiver might not feel comfortable with, especially when it comes to dealing with undesirable behavior. And for those who work with children on the autism spectrum, you might have even more challenges to face. So to help make these battles a little easier to fight, here are three tips for caring for a child on the autism spectrum.
Get To Know Triggers For Behavior
For many children with autism, there are certain things that can trigger their inappropriate behavior. Now, if you’re hoping to avoid episodes where this behavior takes place, you’re going to have to know what the common triggers are for this behavior. According to Indian University’s Resource Center for Autism, the best way to start to recognize triggers and stop them before they start is to pay special attention to what happens right before or after a certain behavior that you’re trying to avoid. Once you’ve pinpointed what it is that’s accelerating this behavior, you’ll have a better chance of stopping it and hopefully keeping this behavior from taking place again in the future.
Try To Keep Things Calm
Children with autism often get overwhelmed very easily. Any overstimulation of their senses can cause them to shut down or react in a way that you may not want. To keep this from happening, Kate Miller-Wilson, a contributor to Love To Know, advises that you do your best to keep this child’s environment as calm as possible. Try not to use bright lights, eliminate loud noises, and keep things away that would be distracting to this child. And if the child does start to get overloaded, try bringing him or her to a dark, quiet space where their senses can get back to a baseline and calm down their body and mind.
Don’t Take Things Too Personally
If and when the child your caring for does act out or cause a scene, Deanna Adams, a contributor to The Mighty, shares that you should try not to take these responses too personally. Especially if the child is out of his or her routine, it can be incredibly easy for things to set him or her off, causing emotional and mental turmoil for the child. And in situations like this, the only thing the child knows to do may be to have a meltdown or outburst. So while this can be challenging as their caregiver, try to be as patient as you can be.
If you commonly care for children with autism, consider using the tips mentioned above to make your interactions more enjoyable.