About Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological developmental disorder that impacts a child’s behavior and communication. It’s characterized as a “spectrum” disorder because there are several iterations of the condition that vary in severity. Different types of autism have their own set of symptoms, though an individual child’s symptoms can be completely unique to their situation. Nobody knows what causes autism spectrum disorder, but research suggests that genetics and environment may play a role.
Signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder may include:
Avoiding eye contact
Delayed speech and language skills
Sensory processing issues
Flat facial expressions
Difficult to comfort
Does not pretend play
Short attention span
Unusual emotional reactions
Upset with minor changes
Making Your Home Safe and Comfortable
If your child has autism spectrum disorder, there are certain ways you can make your home conducive to their particular symptoms. Having a safe and comfortable home can cut down on troublesome outbursts and mood swings. Furthermore, your home can serve as a great learning environment that supports your child’s development into a well-adjusted person.
Consider a Service Dog
An autism service dog may also help when it comes to developing self-esteem and independence. A service dog can help in many ways including improving social interactions, relationships, expanding communication abilities and teaching life skills. As they grow into adolescents and eventually transition to adulthood, a trained autism service dog can be a vital resource that facilitates independent living.
Minimize Sensory Overstimulation
Sensory processing issues are common in children with autism spectrum disorder. However, there are many different types of sensory issues, so minimizing overstimulation depends on a lot on your child’s specific needs. Decluttering and adapting a minimalist interior design is a great place to start. Focus on dim lighting and replace fluorescent lighting with something softer. Consider adding dimmers to fixtures to make it easier to adjust the light to your family’s needs at any point of the day.
Minimize outside noise pollution by replacing windows with double-paned models -- these can also cut down on UV light and save you money on power bills, so there’s plenty of benefits do doing so.
Adapt a Routine
A daily routine is crucial for families living with autism. Not only do routines save time, they help reduce childhood anxiety. When kids have an idea of what is coming up in their day, they don’t feel overwhelmed by the unknown. This can be helpful for children living with autism who tend to have meltdowns when things don’t go their way.
Consider printing out and laminating visual routine charts that help your child with autism stay on course. Visual charts increase understanding because they utilize your child’s visual strengths.
Over time, they can gain independence and self-esteem that encourage the child with autism to use their skills in places other than home.