A Guide to Moving with Children Who Have Autism
Written by Claire Bough
Featured on MyMove.com
Moving becomes a part of our lives at many different stages: When we move away from our parents, relocate for a job opportunity, or find somewhere new to retire. No matter your circumstances, it can be a stressful process. And if you’re moving with a child with autism, it’s especially important to help relieve moving stress for both you and your kid.
It’s easier said than done, but relocating with a child with autism — and limiting stress while doing so — is entirely possible if you prepare and plan ahead. It’s important to maintain as much of your normal routine as possible and to consider additional ways to help kids with autism while you’re moving. Maintaining normalcy will help you and your children adjust quickly to your new home so you can settle in quicker and feel comfortable.
What is autism?
According to the advocacy site Autism Speaks, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) “refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, as of 2016, approximately one in 54 children is diagnosed with Autism in the U.S. Though it’s a relatively common developmental disability, it’s not commonly understood.
Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that there are many different subtypes. The way ASD manifests, and the subsequent challenges and strengths that come along with it, can vary depending on the person.
“Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less,” the CDC reports.
So, the ways in which moving stress could impact your child may vary. This article outlines some best practices based on expert resources. But to truly prepare, you will need to consider your child’s triggers and previous experiences. We also recommend you discuss the impending move with medical professionals that you trust and who know your child.
The importance of routine in the lives of children with Autism
One of the effects of autism is difficulty processing sensory information, which ultimately affects behavior. Through changes in their environment, children with autism can easily experience sensory overload. Established routines are known to help prevent sensory overload by allowing children to expect predictable outcomes and relieve some of the chaos they might feel from too many changes. Maintaining as much of a routine as possible during your move while help your child feel more comfortable throughout such a big change.
How to prepare your child for an upcoming move:
When moving with a child with autism, you can prepare them using consistent communication and positive reinforcement. As their routine changes leading up to the move, you can offer rewards for completing new tasks like packing. Allowing your child to adjust to the new behaviors that come with moving will help ease stress and anxiety.
5 ways you make a move easier for your child…