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10 Commandments of Parenting an ASD Child, from the Autism Support Network

Posted Jul 10 2011 8:42am
The 10 Commandments of parenting a child with autism

1) You shall seek out therapists.
Specifically those in Occupational/Physical/Speech Therapy, and ABA) to help facilitate your child's skills and address various behavior problems. With the diagnosis of Autism are typically deficits in the areas of sensory processing, attention, grasping development, visual perceptual skills, social skills, communcation, and delayed motor skills. Keep in mind that each child is different though.

2) You shall find a support group.
Receiving the diagnosis of Autism, Aspergers, PDD, or any other diagnosis for your child can be overwhelming and the best thing that you can do is have support from those that have faced the same challenges and gain strength from one another.

3)You Shall engage in floor activities.
Several children have difficulty making eye contact and engaging with others and this is the perfect opportunity to get down where they are and enter into their world.

4) You Shall play with various weird textures.
Several children on the autism spectrum have difficulty with tactile sensitivities and often avoid various textures so begin to explore with various textures and welcome your child into a new world of sensory play. Purchase textured balls, introduce different washcloths/sponges/scrub brushes, fabrics, make crafts or playdough for scratch, bake, but explore.

5) You Shall establish at least two appropriate toys to play with.
Often children along the spectrum have odd attachments to items that open/close such as drawers/doors/ or elevators, & they enjoy flicking of light switches, so you need to introduce new toys and engage in play as we again seek to welcome them into our world.

6) You Shall limit your communication to 2-3 words phrases.
For the children that have limited vocabulary or are non- verbal, try to limit your communication to 2-3 word phrases such as "stand up, sit down, get the ball, lights off, bye toys" as they may not understand what you're saying because of their communication deficits.

7) You Shall include structure at home.
All children with Autism have a need of structure so begin to add timed play/work with the use of a timer, a visual schedule. So begin to use a timer for their play and transition them for periods of work, or to the table to eat or work on a craft. Structure decreases the anxiety of a situation and helps increase their success. This is the foundational block for daycare and school.

8) You Shall hold hands while walking in public places.
To demonstrate modeling in public places we need to ensure that children are learning how to walk in public places and down the halls and are not dashing down the hallways. So begin by standing at the door and saying "hold my hand" and begin today to implement this tiny foundational block for yielding success later in life.

9) You Shall establish a play date
Often parents express that their child has no friends, doesn't like people, are afraid of other children, or doesn't know how to interact with others. Parents it's now your time to find at least one play date in a church, park, mall, social events, etc. You have got to begin teaching your child how to engage with other peers (ask for objects, greet others, share toys, etc) this in turn will also become a building block for social skills in school and public places. Start now!

10) You Shall Believe That All Things are Possible and to Never Lose Hope.
Why? You have got to keep hoping and be your childs' best cheerleader. Anything is possible just never stop hoping!
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