Ways to Help Your Child with Autism Cope with Change

Ways to Help Your Child with Autism Cope with Change

Most children with autism often rely on routines and structured schedules to help them go through their day. Change can be challenging, and routines are predictable and repetitive, which can be comforting. However, life can have unpredictable moments and calls for adjustments to daily routines or planned events.

While change can be difficult to handle, it’s important to teach your child how to adjust to unexpected events. However, there are techniques to use to prevent a meltdown, anxiety, or stress. Here are four ways to help your child with autism cope with change.

Practice the Change

Practicing for new scenarios or unexpected changes in routine will prepare your child for the real thing. Roleplaying can be helpful when your child is about to experience a new environment or milestone in life.

How Can You Practice?

If your child is riding an airplane for the first time, you and your family can roleplay as flight attendants and security officers to walk them through the process. By practicing the change, your child is less likely to panic or feel stressed.

Talk About It

Being transparent is key to building trust with your child with autism. If you know they may miss recess for a doctor’s appointment, tell them beforehand. Discuss what the calls for a change in schedule and answer all the questions they may have.

Why is This Important?

Helping them anticipate changes in routine will make the process much easier and less stressful for your child. You can also inform teachers, siblings, or other caregivers about the schedule change. They can make positive comments about going to the doctor or attending a new program.

Use Visuals to Show Where They’re Going

Another way to help your child with autism cope with change is to use visuals, such as pictures, videos, or a visual schedule to explain the difference in the schedule. Your child can see where they’re going and what they’re doing. Using a visual schedule will also remind your child and help them prepare.

Visual Aids You Can Use

There are various ways you can show your child that there’s a change in their routine. Visual supports work as a communication tool to help them improve their understanding and reduce frustration or stress. The following are some visual aids you can use:

  • Line drawings
  • Short videos
  • Pictures
  • Miniature objects
  • Flashcards

Encourage Your Child to Use Coping Skills

Every once in a while, you should switch things up and introduce new activities to help them become more flexible with change. While in these unfamiliar environments or activities, offer emotional support and encourage them to use the techniques they learned in their ABA program. This way, when they feel stressed or overwhelmed, they can practice deep breathing, positive affirmations, and other self-soothing methods.

Patience is Key

This is a journey, not a race. It may take a while for your child to catch on and become more comfortable with new things. But that doesn’t mean you should give up. Use these tips to help your child cope with change more easily.

Photo – Mikhail Nilov

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Shannon Lazovski

Shannon is the Owner of Detroit Mommies and is a lifestyle blogger of 17 years. She is the CEO of The Lazov Agency, Glameselle Beauty, and the owner of Glamorousmoms.com and Detroitfashionnews.com. Shannon is also the Founder & President of The Glamorous Moms Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports women and children rebuilding their lives from poverty, illness, human trafficking, addiction, and domestic violence. She is big on spreading love to those who need it most and loves to connect with other parents.

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