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Caring for a Child with Autism—Tips and Resources

Taking care of a child with autism can present many challenges. We’re here to help with some important tips and resources to support you and help your child thrive.

April 09, 2020 | HF Healthy Living Team

Autism rates have steadily increased in recent years. In 2020, the CDC determined that approximately 1 in 54 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). For example, check out these common myths about autism. If you’re a caregiver to someone with autism, or know someone who is, having the right resources can make all the difference.

Take a look at the information below for ways to support your child and help him or her grow.

Set a Routine and Engage

Setting a routine in your child’s day can maintain consistency and help lessen surprises and disruptions for things like appointments and meetings. When your child needs comfort, find a spot in your home where your child is relaxed to enjoy an activity such as reading, writing, or exercising.

Every child is unique. Pay attention to your child’s behavior, abilities, and communication techniques to better understand and guide him or her:

  • Stay aware of non-verbal cues. Children with autism often communicate non-verbally or use sign language. Look for gestures, sounds, or facial expressions that your child may be using to communicate with you.
  • Look for sensitivities. Many children with autism are sensitive to light and to certain sounds, tastes, or smells. Find out what makes your child uncomfortable and what brings him or her joy. Nutritious foods may serve as a good reward and help improve behavior.
  • Praise good behavior. Always look for opportunities to reward good behavior, and be specific about what is being rewarded.
  • Know the symptoms. According to Autism Speaks, there are a few “red flags” that can be signs of autism in children. Get your child tested if s/he exhibits any of them. You can also refer to a developmental milestones checklist and talk with your child’s doctor if you’re unsure.

Seek Treatment and/or Early Intervention

Treatment for a child with Autism
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Early intervention is free for everyone in New York City. According to mental health experts, it’s best to get early intervention as soon as symptoms appear to help your child succeed and better support his or her needs. Speak with your child’s doctor to determine what treatment plan is best for you and your child.

Find out more about early intervention in New York City here.

Know You Are Not Alone

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed as a caregiver. Try to connect with others when you can. Speaking with other guardians of children with autism, especially those with similar interests or challenges, can help lessen stress, anxiety, and isolation, and help you feel empowered.

Check out the resources below to help your child flourish and take good care of yourself along the way.

Find out more on what you need to know about caregiver stress and burnout and the importance of practicing self-care!

 

© 2020 HF Management Services, LLC.

 

Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies.

This health information or program is for educational purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose, or act as a substitute for medical advice from your provider. Consult your healthcare provider and always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.

Sources
“Dietary Intervention in Autism,” Clinical Trials. Accessed March 30, 2020.
https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/study/NCT00614198?sect=X016

“Learn the Signs,” Autism Speaks. Accessed March 30, 2020.
https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/learn-signs

“Early Intervention,” NYC Health. Accessed March 30, 2020.
http://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/early-intervention.page?utm_source=google&utm_campaign=early%20intervention&utm_content=adwords

“Autism: Why Act Early?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed March 30, 2020.
https://www.cdc.gov/features/act-early/index.html

“Facts About ASD,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed March 30, 2020.
https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html

“Autism Statistics and Facts,” Autism Speaks. Accessed March 30, 2020.
https://www.autismspeaks.org/autism-statistics

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