How to Help an Autistic Child

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Helping an autistic child can be frustrating because they need continuous, intensive and multifaceted assistance. Autistic children in the 60 to 70 IQ range tend to have a better outlook, as do those who have spontaneous speech by age 5 or 6.

    • Make your child a part of your family, not the center of it. No child benefits from all of his parents’ attention.
    • Provide consistency. Your autistic child needs you to establish a set routine that he can count on every day. If you feel disorganized, if you are trying to juggle too many balls, your autistic child will respond to this confusion with bizarre behaviors.
    • Use the same set of words every time you reward him, likewise when you reprimand him. Autistic children do not learn well from experience. Often each event is a completely new occurrence to the child, even if the exact same thing happened yesterday.
  • Use behavior modification to correct undesirable behaviors. Use tangible rewards to increase motivation. You should provide 10 praise statements for every one corrective statement.
  • Notice your child’s cues to stop a misbehavior before it occurs. A child might whine, or begin avoiding eye contact.
  • Pay attention to his warning signs, give him a basic instruction, guide him through the task nonchalantly, and then praise him.
  • Describe what you are going to do to your autistic child beforehand, since autistic children are easily confused by change.
  • Find the best educational program available to fit your child’s special needs. Early intervention programs offer special education for autistic children that are not yet of school age.
  • Contact your local school district or health department, or ask your pediatrician about preschool and all-day school programs available in your area. Search the Web for Internet resources.

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