Tag Archives: Autistic Child

Planes, Trains, and Autism!

courtesy of pixabay
courtesy of pixabay

Traveling with children is stressful! Traveling with a child on the autism spectrum can be terrifying! However, with a little planning and preparation, you can have that family trip you have been too scared to plan!

1. If your child gets overwhelmed by crowds, noises, and lights, DON’T have your first trip be to a big theme park! Maybe try an island vacation, or a local beach or even just a nearby city with kid-friendly activities.

2. Start reading about where you are going. If you decide to visit San Diego, get a map and some guidebooks and start planning all the places you will visit. Plan on visiting one tourist site each day and one park or playground where you don’t have to be so structured. Plan your meals too! Children, in general, like to know what to expect, and children with autism feel a lot more in control and calm when they know where they are going and what is expected of them.

3. Start talking about rules and routines. The airport can be a very overwhelming place even for adults! Draw a picture of the layout of your nearest airport and go through what will be expected from your child at each point. What happens when we check in our bags? What happens when we go through airport security? What do we do when we are waiting at the gate? If you map these routines out for your child, he will know what to expect and will be less likely to have a meltdown!  I call the security check,  the “Magic Gate”.  My kids knew that when they passed the “magic gate” they would be allowed on the plane!

4. If your child has any allergies or food sensitivities, be sure to take his food along. No amount of planning can stop a hungry and tired child from having a meltdown! Be prepared and be happy!

5. When your child is using his best behavior, PRAISE, PRAISE, and PRAISE him some more! WOW! You were so sweet to wait patiently while mommy checked in our bags! Praising reinforces the good behavior and you are more likely to see that good behavior again!

6. Try to keep a schedule on your vacation that is similar to your routine at home. If you do any at home therapies (such as Brainjogging) or your child has any favorite toys. Be sure to bring them a long (within reason). Your child will appreciate the familiar activities and toys when he is away from home.

7. Pick your battles! You want your child to listen and follow directions, but parents need to realize that what they think makes perfect sense, doesn’t always make sense to our little ones. Especially when your little one has processing issues, you might have to explain your point another way, or even let it go, if your child is getting visibly upset.

8. Have fun!! If you are on vacation, and you are not having fun, something is wrong! Family vacations are for relaxing with your loved ones. Plan your day and prepare your child, but also be flexible if things don’t go exactly the way you planned. Each vacation will be better than the last! Bon voyage!

Nonverbal

Nonverbal ways to Connect with Children with Autism

Nonverbal communication can be one of the most important forms of communication between a parent and a child with autism. Given the challenges communicating verbally, sometimes the best way to form a connection with a child with autism is through the way you look at them, the way you touch them, and by the tone of voice you use as well as your body language.

Just as parents can learn to communicate nonverbally they can also learn how to pick up on their child’s nonverbal cues. This takes practice and an acute awareness to their body language and behavior. Below are some additional tips to connecting with your child with autism regardless of the communication mediums at play.

Observing Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal cues in children with autism can help to clue you in to how they are thinking or feeling. Parents who practice observing the body language of their children will learn to understand their feelings much better and this can help you to form a closer connection. If your child is not particularly adept at verbal communication, tune into their sounds, the changing expressions on their face and take note of any similarities they make – nonverbally or verbally – when they are attention-seeking, tired, hungry, upset or frustrated.

Prevent Tantrums by Understanding Nonverbal Cues

A tantrum thrown by any child, and moreover a child with autism, is a sign that they are feeling ignored or misunderstood. As verbal communication between a parent and a child with autism can be difficult or nonexistent, it is up to the parent to determine how their child is communicating their feelings nonverbally. The better a parent can get at interpreting or predicting their child’s behavior, the better they can get at preventing tantrums.

Learning the Scenarios that Elicit Response

You may find that your child is particularly hypersensitive to certain sights, sounds, touch, tastes, smells or light. Parents who figure out the senses that elicit negative responses can help to avoid specific scenarios and replicate positive ones.

Having Fun Nonverbally

A child with autism will present unique challenges to parenting but a child who is coping with autism should still be treated like a child. While a parent might feel obligated to spend more time simulating educational or therapeutic environments, a parent who can find fun ways to spend time together will help spur a child’s enjoyment and relax pressures on the relationship. Finding ways to make your child laugh and play will make them enjoy their childhood more and shows that life isn’t all about therapy.

Contact Brainjogging for Extra Help

Brainjogging is a web-based computer learning program that uses visual stimuli to enhance learning. Used for just five to seven minutes two times a day, the program rapidly improves a child’s capacity for learning. Contact Brainjogging today to learn more.