Techniques to Help Your Autistic Child Build Resilience

Techniques to Help Your Autistic Child Build Resilience

Children with autism face inevitable setbacks and daily struggles that may affect their mental health and development if not successfully managed. 

As a parent, you can provide support by learning the techniques to help your autistic child build resilience, as it is a crucial life skill they need to overcome adversity and bounce back throughout their life.

One way to build resilience is to create a safe and nurturing physical environment for your child. 

At home, you can support your autistic child by painting their room with soothing colors, controlling sensory stimulations, and ensuring they have a schedule they can follow. 

Doing this helps them relieve stress and manage difficulties better.

Also, you can encourage your child to develop positive thinking habits. 

It is easier to overcome a difficult challenge with a positive mindset. 

You can encourage your child to think positively and look at the bright side when faced with challenges.

Similarly, you can teach your autistic child problem-solving skills. 

Educate them on vocalizing their problems and practice problem scenarios to prepare them for setbacks. 

An essential aspect of being resilient is knowing how to solve problems and recover from disappointments. 

Read on to learn five techniques to help your autistic child build resilience:

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Create a Safe and Nurturing Physical Environment 

Children with autism are exposed to daily challenges.

They may experience sensory overload, bullying, loneliness, or discomfort, which could cause a great deal of stress.

To help your autistic child build resilience, you need to create a predictable, calming, and nurturing environment that can help them stay calm and manage challenges better.

For one, you must ensure your home is predictable and calming for your child.

You can do this by painting their room with calm, soothing colors, using comfortable lighting, controlling noise and temperature, and planning a visual schedule they can follow.

Likewise, you can partner with your child's teachers to ensure the school is not an overwhelming environment for them.

While there are so many uncontrollable factors in a school setting, every teacher has structures to make it work.

You could discuss with the teacher about giving your child a fixed seat, allowing them to use headphones to block out noise and use natural light where possible.

Creating a predictable physical environment for your autistic child reduces stress levels, helps them focus, allows them to manage emotions healthily, and ultimately builds resilience.

Encourage Positive Thinking Habits

You can help your autistic child build resilience by encouraging positive thinking habits.

This may include teaching your autistic child to see the good in every situation, avoid negativity, be realistic, and expect better as they move onward, even during difficult times.

You can actively teach your autistic child to think positively by practicing positive thinking activities.

Choose a day or two in a week where you encourage your child to write positive things that happened to them during the week and how they feel about it.

Ensure you include this in their schedule to make it a routine.

Also, you can take advantage of family meal time to discuss positive things.

Each family member can take turns sharing something that made them feel good and happy during the day.

Similarly, you can substitute punishment for positive reinforcement when something bad happens to your autistic child.

For example, rather than taking away your child's favorite toy for failing an exam, you can encourage them to do better, find out where the problem is and provide help where possible.

This way, they learn it's not okay to punish themself when something goes wrong.

Teach Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving skill is a vital life skill that will help children course through life and grow into responsible adults.

Teaching problem-solving skills will help your autistic child build resilience and empower them to get through difficult times.

One practical tip you can use is encouraging your child to be more vocal about their problems.

This may seem difficult because many autistic children are less vocal and would react to overwhelming situations by choosing solitude.

However, by encouraging your child to name and communicate their feelings from a young age, you can help them be more vocal about their problems.

Also, you can introduce age-appropriate problems to your child.

It could be solving a puzzle, deciding the best dinner option for the family, or challenging them to join a new activity.

Furthermore, an effective way to empower your child to get through challenging times and solve problems independently is to prepare them for it.

Create a problematic scenario your child may encounter and ask them to brainstorm potential solutions.

Your autistic child may have a problem speaking up in class.

If so, create a scenario where your child is called to read out in the classroom and allow them to think of what to do.

If your child is stuck, you can then provide guidance and advice.

Teach Them How to Deal With Emotions 

Identifying and managing emotions in a healthy way is an important aspect of resilience.

Emotional development plays a vital role in how an autistic child can process, recognize, interpret and respond to intense emotions.

Thus, to help your autistic child build resilience, teach them how to deal with emotions.

For your younger child, you can start with teachings on how to label and recognize emotions.

Point out when your child feels happy or sad, and label the emotions you feel throughout the day.

Help your child understand how the body may respond when they feel an emotion. For instance, the heart may beat faster when experiencing fear.

Also, you can help your child learn to understand and accept emotions.

It is easier for children to accept they feel a certain way if they can pinpoint why.

For instance, you can let your child know it's normal to feel afraid when they feel they are about to fall.

Furthermore, knowing how to regulate their emotional state is a building block for emotional development.

When your autistic child feels intense emotions, teach them how to cope by practicing breathing exercises, taking a break, changing the activity, practicing relaxation exercises, and so on. 

Build Social Skills 

With well-developed social skills, autistic children can learn how to behave in various social situations.

Likewise, acquiring social skills will help them learn how to develop school relationships and form friendships which may serve as a support network to get through difficult times.

As a parent, you can help your autistic child build resilience by developing their social skills.

One practical and simple way to develop your child's social skills is by practicing at home.

Role-playing, practice playing, praising, social stories, visual supports, and more are ways you can practice at home to help your child prepare for social situations.

Also, you can encourage your autistic child to join recreational activities and social groups, based on their interests, in school.

This way, your child can bond with other children with mutual interests and perhaps form life-long friendships.

Similarly, you can teach your child to understand various body language and facial expressions.

Autistic children are often misunderstood to be snobbish, rude, or uncaring.

However, the truth is that they sometimes find it difficult to understand other people's emotions and behavior.

By teaching them to understand other people better, they get more chances to socialize and form strong friendships. 

Conclusion

For children with autism, resilience can help them reduce stress, build confidence, understand social-emotional boundaries, overcome challenges, and ultimately set the stage for a smooth transition into adulthood.

Thus, as a parent, you can support your autistic child by teaching them to be resilient early on in life.

Techniques to help your autistic child build resilience include creating a nurturing and safe environment, building social skills, teaching them how to deal with emotions, teaching them problem-solving skills, and encouraging positive thinking habits. 

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November 26th, 2022

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