Parenting 101: Caring for a child with autism

Autism, a condition that challenges social skills and behaviour, affects 1/66 people in Canada. Caring for a child with autism poses a myriad of obstacles. Whether a parent, or a teacher,

being responsible for a child with autism is a heavy duty. According to helpguide.org, a caretaker should:

  1. Learn about autism: The more knowledgeable someone is about the condition, the more they will understand the best actions to take in various situations.
  2. Get to know the child: Depending on the child, different events and settings can calm them, scare them or trigger them. Once you truly recognize how the child reacts to several situations, you'll become better at preventing all sorts of challenges.
  3. Accept the child: It can be easy to compare a child with autism to one without, but it is super important to see them for who they are and adore their individuality. A child who feels loved and accepted is the greatest help.

These are good first steps, but what happens when the children pulls tantrums, experiences anxiety and feels unloved or unsafe? Special Education Technician, Tracey Kenny, from Verdun

Elementary has got us covered with some favourable tips and tricks to ensure the child feels relaxed, content and well protected.

  1. If they are having a meltdown, "removing them from the situation and bringing them to a quiet and safe corner" is a crucial step to putting an end to their excitement, agitation or violence.
  2. If they are feeling anxious, "reading social emotional books with them" is valuable! These books act as a tool that enable children to understand and control their feelings and emotions, and in turn, calm down. A popular book that does so is Amy Jaffe and Luci Gardner's book, My Book Full of Feelings.
  3. Another way to treat their anxiety is to "listen to their thoughts and reassure them that all will be fine." It's human nature: everyone likes to feel as though they are being understood.
  4. If they are feeling unsafe or unloved, "providing an opportunity to bond by playing games or activities" strengthens your relationship with them and provides the child with reassurance.

It is our job, as people who stand by those with autism, to ensure they thrive, feel indifferent and adore their lives.

Get involved by joining Montreal’s community of parents, friends and professionals on April 27th for the Autism Awareness Walk at Place du Canada (Bonaventure metro station) at 12:30 p.m.

Let's gain and spread knowledge about all-things Autism! For more information, visit Autism Montreal (https://autisme-montreal.com/en/), a non-profit organisation hoping to improve the lives of everyone affected by autism.

Lastly, let's remain mindful that autism is "not a disability. It's a different ability."

- Melissa xo

My name is Melissa Migueis and I am a student at Dawson College in the profile Cinema-Communications. I love to lead a healthy lifestyle by eating clean, being active and keeping a healthy mindset! Oh, and you can always find me somewhere in nature!

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