Guest post by Erica Francis
Painting, dancing, and music are some ways your child with autism can express themselves creatively. Having a creative outlet helps them reduce their anxiety and escape their worries. Check out the creative outlets below:
Encourage your little one to paint. Give them a palette with different colors and brushes of different thicknesses and let your child go to town. Autism Parenting notes that painting can allow your child to express themselves, even if they aren't verbal, and it may help build confidence.
Whether you're encouraging your child to listen to music, play an instrument, or sing, it could benefit them.
When listening to music, the right and left hemispheres of the brain are stimulated. Professionals use music as part of autism therapy for this reason. In fact, Percussion Play points out that music can improve language development as well as cognitive function.
Try using a drum or rhythm sticks. Take turns developing patterns and repeating each other's rhythm.
Dance therapy helps to reestablish the body-to-mind connection. Dance improves concentration and attention and helps children express themselves, even if they're nonverbal. In a group setting, dance can help build social skills. The repetition of dance moves enhances memory.
Give them an opportunity to create a dance and demonstrate it to you, which is also a good time to spend more time with them and show you care. No matter how busy you may be with raising your child on the spectrum, carving out time to share artistic experiences pays huge dividends both now and into the future.
Try playing Night at the Museum, where one person is the museum guard and turns their back on the others, who must dance or move in some way until the guard turns back around. The aim of the game is to not get caught moving when the guard turns around.
Give Your Child an Art Room
If you have an unused room in your home, consider dedicating it as an art or crafting room. whether it's a den, a spare bedroom, or your unfinished or finished basement. Add a variety of supplies into the room, such as markers, rhythm sticks, paints, crayons, and more. Organize the supplies so your child can easily reach them.
General Rule with Art for Autistic Children
If you're creating activities, remember to adapt them to your child based on their skill and condition. Art shouldn't be frustrating for a child. When you notice them struggling, it's okay to accommodate them.
Create both open-ended and closed-ended projects. Open-ended art projects allow children to express themselves and get creative. On the other hand, closed-ended assignments help them follow instructions and build specific skills.
Guest post by Alyssa Strickland
Parents of children on the autism spectrum are always working to make sure their children are comfortable in every setting. Adjusting your home can make your child feel safe and support their progress.
Clutter and Organization
Raising an Extraordinary Person notes that having an organized and structured home environment helps children feel safe and prioritized – even when parents are busy with work. Uncertainties may trigger significant stress for these children, which often comes from not fully understanding how everything works. That’s why parents who work from home need to set boundaries to allow themselves to focus, while allowing their children to rely on the certainty of everything being in place.
Too much disorganization and clutter can cause anyone to feel anxious and stressed out. These feelings can be even more pronounced for children with autism. Ensure you have enough available storage containers, shelving, and organization buckets to help your family stay clutter-free and organized.
You can also utilize offsite storage solutions to hold boxes of items or larger items. This will remove furniture, toys, and other articles that aren’t necessarily needed for the time being. Start by organizing your space with a goal in mind. Yes, you want to reduce clutter, but are removing older items and keeping newer ones in the living space? Are you removing paperwork from surfaces, but needing to keep it organized and easy to find? Goals will help you to decide what goes, what gets stored, and what stays.
Keep Sounds in Check
As a parent of a child with autism, you may have gotten used to doing particular tasks that make noise when your child is asleep or out of the house. Noises can become too much for children on the spectrum and make them react negatively. These sounds can include background noise from the TV, outside noises, and so on. You can keep your child’s interaction with sound at a minimum by soundproofing rooms or having them use noise-canceling headphones to mask noises that bother them.
Add Stimulating Furniture
Simple yet interesting furniture like swings can help calm a kid who becomes overstimulated. Using heavy drapes will invite activity within the room, helping your child relax as loud noises won't be that prominent. Adding a beanbag chair, some climbing mats, and small trampolines can also help with sensory integration needs for a child with autism.
Provide a Restful Bedroom for Optimal Sleeping
Sleepless nights and insomnia are significant issues in the autism community. Your child's sleeping arrangements can make a big difference. Removing distractions, adding blackout curtains, putting toys away, and using the bedroom only for sleeping are helpful ways to combat insomnia.
Lighting Is Very Important
Lighting can impact anyone's mood and ability to focus, but children on the spectrum can especially have a hard time being near particular lights. Harsh, flickering, and fluorescent lights can affect them negatively and change their mood and behavior. Stable light with soft colors is what's recommended. LED bulbs are ideal options as well because they are also energy-efficient and available in delicate nuances. Although LED bulbs are usually more costly, they last much longer, saving money over time.
Paint With Soothing Colors
Paint is one of the most affordable ways to update and adjust a room. For a comfortable, relaxing, and soothing bedroom for your child with autism, use mellow colors that help get rid of tension and maintain a peaceful atmosphere. Pale and soft greens and other soothing colors can do wonders.
The Bottom Line
Parenting a child on the spectrum can be daunting and incredibly challenging at times. However, by making a few simple changes to your home, such as decluttering, reducing noise, creating a restful bedroom, and adjusting the lighting and paint scheme, you can make your child more happy and comfortable, while providing a place for them to thrive.
Growing Up Autistic helps give families and loved ones affected by autism hope. Contact us today for more info!
Guest post by Tracey Cohen and Freezecat, originally published on LastWeeksNonsense.com
We have all been hearing it for months at this point. “In these unprecedented times.” We have seen skyrocketing rates of depression in the United States as a result of these shutdowns. Some lucky people who have been deemed essential have been able to keep their employment and a semblance of normalcy in their lives, but many Americans feel hopeless and lost. This can be especially true for those on the autism spectrum.
Guest post by Patrick Bailey
In recent years, the lasting effects of teasing or bullying have become more apparent. Suicides linked to teasing have increased significantly. The spread of drug or alcohol addiction is also often attributed to a history of being bullied. Understanding the correlation between being made fun of and dependence on drugs or alcohol may help fend off future substance abuse problems.
Guest Blog Post originally published by Learn from Autistcs, September 15, 2020
Tracey Cohen is an experienced ultrarunner, author, and speaker, and has competed in thousands of races around the world. She was featured on Learn from Autistics last year discussing some of her experiences growing up undiagnosed, her current advocacy work, and her love of running. Tracey was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 39 and speaks regularly about autism to school groups and at conferences. She is the author of several books, including Six-Word Lessons on Female Asperger Syndrome, Six-Word Lessons on the Sport of Running, and the recently-released My Life on the Autism Spectrum: Misunderstandings, Insight & Growth. This week she shared how she’s been surviving the pandemic and the unique, personal nature of her new book.
-- by Trevor Pacelli
A decade ago around this time, my high school's drama club had its year-end ceremony celebrating the students' accomplishments throughout the year. At the end of that night, it was time for the club supervisor to announce next year's new officers. At that point, I had nominated myself to be the historian (or photographer), and prepared so vigorously to make sure I was seen as the right candidate for the job. I met with and shadowed the historian at the time, Louise Whitaker, wrote out my speech, gathered materials for it, and even dressed up to show how serious I was about it. To my absolute joyous surprise, after the supervisor said, "the Historian is…" he paused and said my name (albeit incorrectly). I walked right up to the stage to Louise, she congratulated me with the greatest of joy she ever expressed for me, and gave me this blue Styrofoam wand as a memoir of the torch being passed down. I was literally shaking with joy at this moment, this was a monumental achievement in my life that I still am so grateful about.
Guest Blog by Jane Spitz, RoadwayMoving.com
Moving to a new home can be one of the most stressful and challenging situations in life. Aside from being a hassle, it can disrupt the way you live your life, especially when making some significant adjustments in terms of the new environment, neighborhood, and a lot more.
Thus, what is stressful and tedious to you is definitely more problematic to your autistic child. Since most children with autism need to adhere to a strict routine in a familiar environment, any deviation from that schedule, such as moving, can cause more anxiety and increased stress. Luckily, even if it’s impossible to eliminate all the fear a relocation might cause, there are ways to make the process much more comfortable for your child with autism. Consider these tips to make the move easier:
Guest Blog Post by Dr. Steven DeLisle, DDS
A trip to the dentist can lead to some anxiety, even for adults. The process of regular dental cleanings and X-rays can be uncomfortable for children who aren’t familiar with them. Even more involved treatments like fillings are done more quickly and painlessly than most people expect.
But parents of children with ASD, know that a trip to the dentist is quite different. The unfamiliar location, people, sights, smells, and sounds can easily make a child uncomfortable and uncooperative. Many parents feel helpless when their child is at the dentist, not knowing what to do or how to help their child deal with the ordeal.
Below are six ways parents can help. Of course, you know the saying, “If you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism.” Since every child with autism processes sensory events differently, not all of these tips may apply to their unique situation.
Guest post by Don Lewis of AbilityLabs.com
Are you at your wits end with a child who won't sleep? There are many reasons children with autism may have sleep problems, from allergies to circadian rhythm disorders. These are some of the most common issues contributing to sleep problems in children with autism and how bedroom design can help combat them.
Guest post by Tracey Cohen, author of Six-Word Lessons on Female Asperger Syndrome
Socializing and social events are incredibly difficult and 'tricky' for many people on the autism spectrum including myself. We very much want to be included but are overwhelmed quickly - by the social situation itself as well as the very notion of attending. As a result, we often decline invitations and/or make very brief appearances which are often seen as standoffish; some even assume us to be arrogant. But such assumptions could not be further from the truth. In fact, what may appear to be a small 'token' effort is actually monumental and often a huge achievement for many of us on the spectrum.
Inspiration for Life with Autism
This blog has a variety of articles about people living life with autism, and topics and ideas that can help in the journey. Guest bloggers are welcome. Inspired by Trevor, a young adult film critic, photographer and college graduate on the autism spectrum.