When your child has autism, life can be challenging. No matter how much you want to help your child, it’s easier said than done. There are many different types of therapies and strategies designed to help kids with autism, but as you probably already know, they don’t always work. If you’re looking for ideas to better support your child, try these tips.
1. Get Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy at home
As the parent of a child with autism, one of your biggest challenges is probably juggling work with the various therapies you’re trying out with your child. Even if you work from home, it’s not easy to just pack up the car and drive to a therapist’s office, especially if that office happens to be out of town.
The good news is that some ABA therapists will come to your home so that you don’t have to bring your child anywhere. For example, Golden Care Therapy provides in-home ABA therapy sessions in Indiana that are customized to meet your child’s specific needs. While getting home therapy visits makes it easier on your work schedule, it also benefits your child by allowing them to remain in a familiar and comfortable environment. When your child has therapy sessions in a familiar environment, they’re more likely to have a positive outcome.
If you haven’t tried ABA therapy yet, it’s a highly effective therapy method that will teach your child functional behaviors and new skills by promoting inappropriate behaviors and discouraging inappropriate behaviors. If you’re new to ABA therapy, getting someone to come to your home will be a huge help.
2. Be accommodating
Kids with autism need accommodations that go beyond what most kids need. For example, if your child doesn’t like a certain vegetable, forcing them to eat that vegetable can be traumatizing. It all depends on your child, but if your child has a serious dislike for a certain food, being forced to eat it can cause them severe distress.
Instead of trying to make your child do things the way most kids do them, do your best to find out what’s causing their resistance to something and then come up with an alternative. For example, your child might not like taking out the trash because they don’t like the sound or texture of tying up the plastic bag. If that’s the case, find a different chore for them to help with around the house. When someone’s nervous system is overloaded by stimuli, they need as much relief as possible.
3. Try float tank sensory deprivation therapy
Float tanks are one of the best therapies for kids with autism. A float tank is essentially a shallow hot tub with thousands of pounds of Epsom salt dissolved in the water. The large amount of salt makes you effortlessly float on top of the water.
Float tanks are called ‘sensory deprivation’ therapy because the tanks are enclosed and block out all light and sound. While not completely soundproof, they do block out most sounds. The enclosures can look like a free-standing pod, but others just look like a walled-in hot tub.
These tanks benefit the nervous system immensely. When you float on top of the water, your nervous system doesn’t have to do any work to maintain your body in its position. That full support provides relief you can’t get in any other way.
On top of that, your body absorbs the Epsom salt, which includes a large amount of magnesium, which helps to block excessive calcium. Excessive calcium resulting from abnormal voltage-gated calcium channels is believed to be one of the main reasons kids with autism experience a disrupted nervous system.
Many people report getting relief from just one float tank session, while others experience relief after a couple or a handful of sessions. Many people with autism have reported relief from stress, anxiety, depression, and anger, and an increase in focus, productivity, and the ability to function in daily life. Float tank therapy has been so effective for kids with autism that the Gersh Academy school for kids with autism added a float tank to its curriculum.
If you haven’t tried this therapy yet, find a tank near you and try it out. If your child doesn’t want to be in an enclosure, you can always leave the lid or door open and they’ll still benefit.
Keep trying new therapies
Since autism is a spectrum, what works for one person may not work for your child. Still, it’s important to keep trying new therapies because when you find a strategy or therapy that helps your child, those tools will become your greatest asset.