8 essential tips for mothers of newly diagnosed autistic children: Navigating early years of autism in kids - Hindustan Times

8 essential tips for mothers of newly diagnosed autistic children: Navigating early years of autism in kids

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
May 26, 2024 10:46 AM IST

Mothers raising children with autism often experience a myriad of challenges. Here are 8 essential tips for mothers of newly diagnosed autistic kids

Being a parent is difficult; being a parent with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is even more worrisome, since children on the spectrum express themselves differently. Research shows that mothers raising children with ASD often experience a myriad of challenges, which include increased stress and anxiety, health issues and managing emotions – often resulting in social isolation.

8 essential tips for mothers of newly diagnosed autistic children: Navigating early years of autism in kids (Image by Freepik)
8 essential tips for mothers of newly diagnosed autistic children: Navigating early years of autism in kids (Image by Freepik)

It is important to acknowledge these struggles faced by parents with recently diagnosed children to ensure better guidance and support. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Smita Karve, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Surya Mother and Child Super Speciality Hospital in Pune, suggested that the following approaches can be adopted -

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  1. Join Support Groups: An autism diagnosis can feel overwhelming, often supplemented with isolation. However, it is important to connect with other parents with children with ASD who understand these struggles. These connections can provide emotional support and valuable resources to help parents navigate this journey. By connecting with others, parents may gain the support they need, while also potentially discovering new ways to help their children thrive.
  2. Explore ABA Therapy: Applied Behaviour Analysis, or ABA therapy is a powerful tool for improving communication skills for children with autism. The technique uses rewards and other strategies to help children learn new skills and manage challenging behaviours. This type of therapy has been successful in helping many autistic children improve their social skills, self-care abilities, overall development and communication.
  3. Create Realistic Schedules: Children with ASD thrive with routine – setting consistent times for meals, bedtime, therapy school, and playtime, with minimal disruptions can be beneficial for both the children and the parents.
  4. Create a Calm Corner: Designate a quiet area in your home where your child can relax, play, and feel secure. This will help them learn boundaries and feel safe. Using visual cues like pictures or coloured tape could further define the space. If the child has tantrums, childproofing the safe space is a must.
  5. Take your child along for everyday activities: If your child’s behaviour is unpredictable, you may feel like it is easier not to expose them to certain situations. However, when exposed to different environments – such as everyday errands, to the grocery store or the post office, children with ASD may become more comfortable with their surroundings and get used to the world around them.
  6. Stay consistent and on schedule: People on the spectrum like routines. Make sure they get consistent guidance and interaction, so they can practice what they learn from therapy.
  7. Take care of yourself: As a caregiver, it becomes important to maintain your physical and mental health to cope with the challenges that may arise on a daily basis.
  8. Focus on the positive: Just like anyone else, children with ASD often respond well to positive reinforcement. Ensure that a positive atmosphere is maintained within the household.

Building a connection with a child on the autism spectrum who doesn't speak verbally can feel difficult however, everything you do communicates – your facial expressions, tone of voice and body language all send messages. Remember, your child with ASD is trying to communicate with you in their own way - the key is to learn their unique language.

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