Love & support from family and friends can make all the difference in our lives. This is especially true for those who find processing even day-to-day activities overwhelming.
To care better for your loved ones with autism, we have compiled some tried and tested tips that can help you to show even more love in your caregiving role. This way, you can shower your love not only on Valentine’s Day but also all year round 🙂
Express thoughts clearly
It is a very human tendency to drop subtle hints or convey our thoughts in a not-so-straightforward way. For people with autism, the task of reading between the lines is a challenge. So, it is always best to communicate thoughts and opinions in a clear and straightforward manner with them.
Being transparent and upfront helps them stay focused on the immediate present in addition to giving them a clear idea of what was communicated.
Say NO to surprises
When a change is presented in a rational, gradual and logical manner, it is well-received by people on the spectrum.
On the other hand, they would find coping with sudden changes in routine difficult. They do best when they know what to expect. Even when a “happy” surprise party is thrown, they would need time to thoroughly consider and walk through the events unfolding in front of them.
A change of plans brings with it an immediate sense of uncertainty. This, in turn, could lead to confusion and discomfort. Hence make all plans keeping this in mind.
Create opportunities for activities to look forward to
The anticipation of an enjoyable experience (things they are already familiar with) keeps them going throughout the day. The thoughts of an upcoming happy time would help counterbalance anxiety and panic-driven situations.
Simple things such as their favorite meal, lunch with a dear friend, or a day to sleep in and rest – looking forward to things like these keep them going. So ensure that you create such enjoyable events for your loved ones on the spectrum.
Have things in order
Having things organized in a systematic and consistent manner is essential in providing comfort. Make sure the immediate space – such as rooms, paperwork, school bag, wardrobe and such are organized in the same fashion every day.
While this might be a bit tiresome for you, this also means less anxiety brought on by challenges with object permanence that your loved ones on the spectrum face. Simple things like knowing what to expect when they enter a room or when they open the dresser drawer prevents anxiety. Not having to guess and process the excess of information before, during, and after an encounter goes a long way.
Give them ample time to process
One of the most important things you can do to support your loved ones is to provide them with adequate time to process information at any given point of time. People on the spectrum need time to process their own emotions and expectations. Without the time to process the events of their life, they might not function to their fullest. So it is essential to give them ample time and space to let them understand the unfoldings of both internal and external events.
Give them unconditional love and acceptance
People on the spectrum need to be understood, accepted and loved unconditionally! When they are forced to do things they don’t want, it might lead to meltdowns. Instead, provide them with space to follow their pursuits and special interests. Let them have their “Me” time, and make sure that you do not disturb them or push them to do things that you may think is best for them.
This Valentine’s Day let us show our love and support to the adults and children with autism and make them feel loved even more! The above-mentioned ideas are just one way of doing that. We hope that you find these tips useful and implementable for your loved ones. Together, let us make sure that Everyone is being Loved & Cared for!
Do you have any ideas that you have used with your loved ones? Feel free to share with us in the comments section below!