Tips for Bringing Together Family and Your Autistic Child
You want your family and friends to understand, believe in and love your child. Sometimes that’s not the case-the closest people in your life may not know how to act or behave around your child and vice versa. Because of this, you may dread the reactions of your family and friends. Fortunately, thinking and planning ahead-taking everyone into consideration, it should be possible to build an inclusive environment. Below are some tips and tricks to help make the family event runs smoothly!
Consider the situation you're stepping into
If your child is likely to act out, meltdown or cause any unwanted attention, you may not want to bring them along. Instead, try to plan for a someone to watch them while you attend the event. They, understandably, are a member of the family and should attend most if not all family events, but there’s a time and place for meltdowns(formal or non-formal events are not necessarily the best place).
Offer some autism training
Many people may not know much about autism and may need some coaching in order to learn the ins and outs in order to keep up with the needs of your child. If anything, you can provide some information to update their knowledge on the subject of autism.
Plan for a quick, graceful getaway
Most people with autism are quickly overwhelmed by lots of noise, lights, smells, and social interactions. Knowing this, it makes sense to set the stage for a graceful getaway when your child shows signs of stress.
Know how you'll handle a meltdown
You’re visiting the family and you can tell that a meltdown is going to happen. Have you planned ahead? Have you scoped out a quiet place to cool down?
Have a plan for lowering your own anxiety level
When you have a child who has autism, you sometimes need a break yourself. How will you let off steam? Take some time to yourself to relax and unwind. Have a designated spot in the house or during naps or tv time where you can let that happen. Knowing you have somewhere to unwind can make or break a family visit.
Have support on hand
There are situations in which it’s almost impossible to help your child with autism cope with stress while also being a good daughter, son, sister, brother, or parent to sibling. Knowing that that’s the case, it’s wise to have at least one other adult on hand who can take over, either by helping your child or by supervising the other children (or demanding adults) in your group.