As a parent, relative or loved one, you want to find ways to support a loved one with autism. Well, here are 5 loving ideas!
Autism is a complex disorder that can be extremely challenging to deal with.
If you have a loved one with this developmental condition, it’s important to know how to support them so as to help your family remain strong despite the circumstances. Every day will be a constant challenge.
Although you can no longer do anything to prevent or treat the disorder, it’s still possible to help the person improve their development and functionality.
I recognize how stressful it can be to want to take care of a loved one with autism in the best possible way you can. I’m committed to helping people to live calm, happy lives – which is why I decided to put together this quick guide for supporting loved ones with autism.
Living with people you love has its own ups and downs, but living with a loved one with autism is an entirely different thing. There may be lots of downs, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have better days. The key is to educate yourself and the rest of the family about the disorder to better prepare you on how to interact with the person.
A good starting point is to find out about autism services in your area that could significantly help you every step of the way. Such services offer therapies and activities that can be useful in assessing and monitoring your loved one’s condition.
Additionally, you can also support a loved one with autism through the following ways:
Regardless of what autism spectrum your loved one may have, you must always remember to interact with them with respect and patience. Building rapport is highly recommended, especially if you’re dealing with a low-functioning individual with autism. Their means of communicating could be exceptionally different from the high-functioning spectrum and it can prove to be very challenging to build rapport with them.
The key is to always make them feel respected. Keep in mind that they’re still individuals regardless of the condition they have. They’ll feel it when you respect them and when they do, that’s when communication may begin. They need to feel they can trust you and you’re being very patient with them.
One of the best ways to support your loved one with autism is to understand the community they belong to. Several organizations focus on dealing with and supporting developmental disabilities, and if you can find one in your area, it’s better to be part of it.
Also, knowing the different types of autism and which one your loved one has can go a long way in understanding and supporting them better. That way, you can educate yourself about the condition. You can also be given an opportunity to interact and socialize with families that are in the same situation as yours.
People with autism often struggle with making friends, and this is something that can easily break the heart of their family members. Sometimes, it’s also what the autistic person feels and thinks, that’s why they tend to isolate themselves (high-functioning ones) instead of trying to get to know other people better.
What you can do is to help build their confidence. Let them know it’s possible for them to be friends with other people outside of their family circle. Encourage them to ask questions and patiently answer those for them. It’s important that they feel they’re not entirely different from other people.
For most autistic people, having a routine is vital. It’s part of their everyday life, and as their family member, it’s up to you to respect it. Show them that having a routine is okay, and maintaining it is acceptable.
A routine shouldn’t make them feel so different from others. Rather, you can help them keep it, so you can make their life easier to cope with.
Supporting the advocacy of autism is also supporting your loved one in more ways than one. By being an advocate, you can encourage others to learn more about the disorder, so they can better interact with autistic people. Knowing that you’re able to increase awareness among other people is a good reason to feel great about your advocacy.
It helps your loved one in a way that when they’re outside, you can feel more at ease knowing that the people around them are more educated about the condition, so they can better interact with autistic individuals.
There are many challenges you could encounter if you have a loved one with autism. But remember that this isn’t about you; rather, it’s about your family member who’s struggling with the condition. Be patient with them and let them feel they’re not alone; always be respectful and supportive when dealing with them.
Hopefully, the tips above can somehow help you be more sympathetic to your loved one with autism. It’s a constant battle, but with enough knowledge, determination, and patience, supporting them should come as naturally as loving other people in your family.