Autism Sparks – Great Resource for Connecting with Your Child with Autism
April has been designated national Autism Awareness Month and provides the perfect opportunity for individuals and organizations across the nation to educate their communities about autism.
Autism is known as a complex developmental disability. Experts believe that Autism presents itself during the first three years of a person’s life. The condition is the result of a neurological disorder that has an effect on normal brain function, affecting development of the person’s communication and social interaction skills. People with autism can also have issues with non-verbal communication, a wide range of social interactions, and activities that include an element of play and/or banter.
How do you best interact and connect with your child with autism? Autism Sparks is a valuable resource for parents and siblings of children with autism. Their mission is to share thoughts, tips and information that will spark ideas for you that will help your child. Here are some of best and most-shared tips from their facebook page:
- “Some children with autism find it hard to let go of an idea once they’ve got hold of it, so they can get very upset if they mistakenly think something is going to happen and then find out that it isn’t. Correcting misunderstandings as soon as they are discovered may help to avoid a big upset later on.” (4/5/2014)
- “For some children with autism, things tend to be very black and white – e.g. something is perfect or it’s a total failure. This can be positive in that they can have high standards. The downside is that it can also cause them lots of stress, when things aren’t perfect. If your child is like this, consider teaching them to grade experiences, either descriptively or using a 5 point scale, for example.” (3/27/2014)
- “Some children with autism can become so absorbed in their own activities that it can be hard for us to find a way in. If you’re finding it hard to break into your child’s world, watch what they like to play with, and if possible get several of each thing. Then if your child picks up a certain item, there is another one available for you to pick up and join in. Watch what your child does with the item – children with autism often have wonderful ways to look at the world that the rest of us just haven’t considered – and try it for yourself (within reason!). Be GENTLY intrusive.” (3/25/2014)
- “People with autism have to work hard to process social information that most other people understand instinctively. While a social encounter can be relaxing for most of us, it can be exhausting for a child with autism. If this is true for your child, give them time each day to be on their own, or with low social demands.” (3/23/2014)
- “Children with autism tend to be more anxious than the rest of us, as they constantly find situations and other people confusing. Don’t wait until your child is very anxious before you attend to their well-being – give them lots of well-being spikes peppered throughout the day (favourite foods, time with favourite toys, being squashed under a cushion, etc). Do things with the express intention of addressing well-being.” (3/16/2014)
- “Children with autism generally have higher levels of anxiety than the rest of us. It’s easy to see when some children are in an anxious state, but others are much harder to read. It is these children who suddenly go from seemingly calm to meltdown. However, if we look for the clues that indicate rising anxiety levels, we can usually find them – even if they are not what we expect – and help the child get back to a better state.” (2/18/2014)
These are just some examples of the type of helpful information that can be found on the Autism Sparks facebook page. I encourage you to follow them and share the knowledge found there and help raise autism awareness. Follow them at https://www.facebook.com/autismsparks.
Parents of children with autism should ensure that their child is wearing a medical ID bracelet at all times. Autism can be a tricky condition for emergency medical professionals, primarily because the autism spectrum means that no two people with autism have exactly the same needs and concerns. Some with autism take medications, others have sensory concerns, others may be non-verbal, and others may be very high functioning. An autism medical ID can help inform medical and response personnel of the specific needs associated to the wearer and make sure that medications administered do not interfere or react to what may already have been taken.