Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by difficulty in social interaction, repetitive behaviours, as well as verbal and or nonverbal communication. Individuals living with autism have a unique understanding and experience of the world owing to the above-listed characteristics.
The prevalence of autism globally is on the rise, and so is the health care afforded to individuals with autism such that they are growing older and living longer.
The health needs of autistic individuals could be because of the social challenges they experience so these may not be
resolved unless addressed accordingly. Parents caring for an autistic child can find the responsibility a little challenging with a trickle-down effect on the family dynamics especially when they do not have a proper understanding of the condition.
Here are some tips for caring for an autistic child;
HANGOUT WITH YOUR CHILD
No matter how exhausted you are, get your child out in the community/neighbourhood for leisure activities. This is vital for building social interactions and happiness.
IDENTIFY WITH OTHER PARENTS WITH AN AUTISTIC CHILD
Try to identify and associate with other Parents with autistic kids. This not only builds friendship
but also helps when the parenting experience is shared. These people will be a wealth of
information for you and a lifeline.
ACQUAINT YOURSELF WITH HIS OR HER TEACHER.
Make friends with your child’s teachers and school administrator and ensure that specific provisions/considerations are made for your child.
GET THE HELP OF A BABYSITTER.
No matter how difficult your child can be, take any offer of babysitting you can and get out. You need a night off from autism once in a while. Even if it’s for a few hours, a break will help.
SENSITIZE THOSE AROUND YOU
Educate your friends and family about raising an autistic child. You need all the support you can possibly get, do not keep to yourself.
JOIN AN ADVOCACY/AWARENESS MOVEMENT.
Get involved in an autism advocacy/ awareness program in your community. It is so powerful to meet so many families like (and unlike) yours. It will give you strength.
Autism is a marathon, not a sprint. You owe it to yourself and your child to be whole, healthy and happy. Do whatever it takes to get there.