Being a parent is hard, and being a parent to an autistic child can be even harder.
I've supported hundreds of parents to understand their children better, and I know it isn't easy.
As a parent, you're doing your best and you can often worry about how your child is going to cope growing up or who will look after them. You can also feel like you've made many mistakes and worry about if your child will ever feel for you or understand how hard you're trying.
It can often it can feel like you have to fight to get even the tiniest of support and like things are never going to get any easier. But they can.
It's frustrating as often it's lots of small changes that have big impacts over time. But to know what things to do can feel impossible. With waiting lists being long and professional support not guaranteed, it's hard to know what the right decisions are.
I can help: have a little read below to find out how.
Examples of what we can talk about:
Sensory support in the home
Sensory ideas for school
Understanding & managing behaviour
Strategies for aggressive behaviours
An example of how I've helped others:
Quite a lot of parents speak to me about their children refusing to eat. This can be tough as you may literally see them getting weaker in front of your eyes.
For some their natural response is to try and force or demand their child eats, thinking this will at least keep them physically healthy, but sadly this can often make things worse.
For many the only time, they eventually get support is when their child becomes seriously ill. For parents this is devastating. Eating disorders are really common in autism and there can be many reasons an autistic person doesn't eat.
As someone with sensory differences and OCD, I'm uniquely aware of some of these challenges.
First let's look at the senses: Is it their sense of taste, smell, sight, or hearing? Or their sense of touch: feeling the food's texture or consistency. Or maybe it's their sense of proprioception: that feeling when they move their jawn muscles or their sense of pain when food is too hot or cold?
Or is it their interoception senses: from their bowels and hunger. Or a mixing such as synesthesia.
Or perhaps, it's due to mental health such as anxiety or OCD?
Sometimes things can seem counter-intuitive: you could think they're not eating as they don't feel hunger. But maybe they're actually oversensitive and feel it constantly.
Why wouldn't someone eat if they feel constantly hungry? Well, it could be because they're holding onto that sensation. That due to anxiety, uncertainty, and being bombarded with information from their senses they hold onto that feeling because it's consistent and in their control.
For that child getting them to eat requires a very different approach than one that's not eating due to a food's texture or smell!
You can see just how important it is to recognise the senses differences in autism is: and that's something we can talk about.
We can begin by covering what the senses are:
Proprioception (Body Awareness), Touch, Smell, Taste, Sight, Hearing, Vestibular (Balance), and a few others like our senses of temperature, pain, and our internal body.
Then by understanding your child's sensory profile we can make strategies to avoid meltdowns at home and in school.
Executive functions are a set of mental skills that include working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control.
We can discuss what they look like and how we use them every day to learn, work, and manage our behaviour.
By recognising these difficulties we can then come up with strategies to make it easier to focus, complete tasks, and handle our emotions.
Being autistic myself I can help explain what your children might be experiencing.
I've also supported hundreds of parents so you're in understanding hands.
Below are some examples of things we could talk about: