Children with autism may not relate to the world in the same way as their neurotypical counterparts. The levels in which they differ may depend on both the support they have had previously, as well as where they sit on the autistic spectrum. This doesn’t mean that the child cannot live a fulfilling, happy life, but instead they may need different care than others. Even within this, no two autistic children are the same, even with a similar level of diagnosis, so each must be treated as an individual, and their particular health and wellbeing needs catered for.
While some children can hold a conversation, others may have a limited vocabulary, or even be non-verbal. Looking for a professional with a masters degree in speech language pathology will allow you to help an autistic child who struggles with speech, as well as to assist you in getting a diagnosis, and therefore move forward. This might also greatly aid the child with learning the different cues, both verbal and nonverbal, that others may give during social interaction and conversation, as well as to adapt any of their existing methods of communication to match. For parents, this can also give a great insight into the messages a child might be trying to convey, as well as to allow them to understand these cues a bit better.
Unlike a standard temper tantrum, a meltdown in an autistic child is often due to some kind of trigger or overload. This could be due to feeling intense emotions, having too much information given to them at once, or even be caused by the senses, such as too much noise or a bad taste. Giving a child coping strategies, such as the ability to leave a situation if they find it is getting too much for them, can be beneficial, as well as taking note of what their potential triggers and signs of an impending meltdown may be. However, it is not always possible to remove meltdowns entirely, as there may be situations where it is not safe or feasible to step back from the trigger. Learning how best to support them through this, whether it be through contact, a quiet space, or even familiar items, can be imperative.
Children with autism may be more likely to be bullied than their neurotypical peers, even being provoked into meltdowns, which can be deeply concerning for parents. Likewise, due to a lack of understanding about social interactions, children with autism may also become bullies themselves. Speaking to the child’s teacher, as well as gaining additional support from outside resources, can help greatly with this.
A child with autism should be treated like the individual that he or she is. Gaining support can help them to fit in more with their peers, and manage the pressures of daily life that bit easier. This outside support, including the use of support groups, can also be beneficial to parents who struggle with these problems themselves.