Autism in the Home Tips

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How can I manage a sibling relationship when one has autism?

Siblings with Autism

Having a sibling can be complicated; they can be your best friend or your arch nemesis, or a combination of both. Having a sibling with autism can be doubly complicated - suddenly there are new challenges to navigate and questions to answer.

As a parent, it's important to remember that the neurotypical child should never feel responsible for the treatment, intervention, or care of a sibling with autism. They should also feel like their day, plans, and events are just as important. Time with each child, neurotypical or not, should be priority - this can feel chaotic, and at times impossible, but it will help the relationships of everyone in the family. It's also important to try to schedule time for everyone together - while a neurotypical child might not have anything in common with his brother or sister with autism, they should still spend time with their whole family as a group, so that all siblings are reminded that, autism or not, their relationship as siblings doesn't change.


Getting Ready For Summer--Life In An Autism Household

Most neurotypical children look forward to summertime. It's a break from the monotonous routines and rigid schedules of school. Alas, it is these very aspects which can sometimes make summer vacation long and unpleasant for families with children on the autism spectrum. Children with autism thrive on routine and structure. Changes in schedules, even a surpise, fun activity, can bring undue stress, often resulting in meltdowns. The most obvious and effective solution is to provide them with a daily schedule. Depending on your child's level of functionality, choose pictures or words to describe each activity and when they will occur. You know your child best, so adjust the schedule according to their personality. Some may need even the most basic daily routines included, such as when to get dressed or exact meal times. Other children may just need to know any activities which may be different, such as the day they have occupational therapy or swim lessons. One of the keys to a stress-free summer is consistency. Utilizing and adhering to a schedule will help to alleviate anxiety your child may have over the unexpected. Even scheduling fun activities such as a trip to their favorite fast food restaurant has its benefits. Once a child with autism has decided they want lunch at McDonald's, they may fixate on it until it actually happens. When it is on a schedule, this can lessen some of their anxiety and resulting perseveration, as they can see exactly when this event will occur. While it may seem daunting to have to "spell everything out" for your child, over time it will become second nature for both of you.

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Tammi Reynolds
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