How to Support a Family With a Child who has Autism
Families with an autistic child can sometimes find it overwhelming to balance everyday activities while taking care of their child. If you are looking for some ways in which you can support a family with an autistic child, then consider the following suggestions.
Take time to listen to parents with autistic children. Just being around to listen can be a great support. You don't have to have any answers or experience with autistic children--just the time and willingness to listen when the parents wish to share in the struggles and accomplishments associated to parenting a child with autism.
Motivate family members with an autistic child to remain involved in their usual everyday activities. This may be more difficult with people who feel ashamed if they are not directing their attention to the autistic child. In some cases, parents of an autistic child stop going to church, visiting friends or partaking in favorite past-times, primarily because they are consumed with the needs of the autistic child.
Support the autistic child's parents by offering administration services that need to be taken care of. If there is a call, or online research, that needs to be made regarding information on services, for example, then you can suggest that you take care of it as a way of easing the parents' burden.
Offer to run some errands, such as shopping or picking up laundry, for a family with an autistic child. You could also do some back-up chores to get them back on track if they are having a busy week of appointments and therapy sessions.
Attend IEP meetings, doctor's appointments and other activities, with a parent as a way of helping parents of autistic child. You don't have to get involved in the conversation. Just being there could be enough of a support to the parent who may not want to deal with the situation alone.
Spend some time with any siblings that the autistic child may have.Oftentimes, these children feel neglected because so much attention is given to the child who requires special needs. Another option would be to offer to take care of the autistic child so that the parents can give special attention to the other sibling individually.
Invite yourself to family dinners at a restaurant if you want to assist autistic child's family. Parents with severely autistic children usually don't get to eat in restaurants much because the experience is exhausting. If this is the case for the family you know, then being with them to take care of the child's needs, while the rest of the family tries to enjoy their meal can be a welcome relief.
Allow the parents to go out on their own by offering to babysit for them. Even once a couple of months can be a source of relaxation for parents who have a child with autism.