Help Your Child With Autism Set Up for Success

Wednesday January 11, 2023 at 11:50 AM


Help Your Child With Autism Set Up for Success

The start of a new year is an awesome time to set intentions and new habits for yourself. Those with autism may need some guidance from a parent and/or family member to help come up with and reach a desired goal. Corinne Kelley, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Assistant Director of Clinical Quality and Compliance at our Bingham Farms clinic, met with Metro Parent to share some tips on how to set your child up for success this year.

Before you get started, it’s important to remember to be patient and flexible. “Not all wins have to be big wins. Not everything is necessarily life-altering, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an important stepping stone to something greater.” says Corinne. Celebrating small victories with your child as they continue on their journey to reach a goal can benefit their self-esteem and may make them want to continue to achieve more.

For example, if the goal is to have your child be able to wash their hands independently, you’d want to break down the steps and celebrate each step successfully taken as a win. Corinne explains that because the breakdown of washing your hands involves many tasks/steps, for children with autism maybe your initial goal is to have your child turn on the water independently, then helping them complete the rest of the steps until they can tackle all steps needed.

Involving family members, such as your child’s siblings, to help your child achieve their goals can be very helpful. Because kids with autism have social deficits, Corinne encourages parents to “take advantage of natural opportunities to involve siblings by being inclusive when playing games,” and asking how their school day went so they can practice on conversation skills and reciprocal play. Having everyone in the home engage and collaborate can help greatly.

Corinne suggests also including extended family in your child’s journey, because success does come from team effort. Communicating with grandparents and/or other family members about your child’s home routines, goals, and what your child needs to be successful could broaden the help and support to get your child to their end goal. When including extended family, it’s important to stay patient. Not every family member will have the same level of understanding of your child as you do, so give them time to learn.

Having patience as well as flexibility is important. Of course, not everything will go as smoothly as you’d like. Corinne says, “You might find a routine that works well the first time and that’s exciting. Other times, it might take a few tries. Don’t be discouraged if you have to make adjustments and give it proper time.” If you are struggling, talking to your child’s ABA therapy team can help.

Taking small steps to reach a big goal takes a lot of effort and support. That’s why it’s important to celebrate every win, include siblings and extended family on your child’s journey, and be flexible with how your child achieves the goal. Corinne reminds us that “Tomorrow might not look different, but in a month or a year, you will be in a different place. Be patient and remember that small wins are still wins.”

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