Caring for an autistic child at home poses different needs for every caregiver. Since the symptoms of autism can drastically range from person to person, safety preparation often feels overwhelming. Regardless of age, some available services can help parents and caregivers foster independence. The following are some tips and information that can help you.
The symptoms and severity of autism can greatly vary depending on the individual and their age. Motor skills, communication, and social connection are just a few issues that many people with autism struggle with daily. To care for a child with autism, safety is always a consideration.
The resources available for caregivers are a mixed bag. Certain states and cities provide comprehensive services to help provide a safe environment while other locations fall flat. Eligible adults with autism in the United States are usually able to find a job training program, but this will not help children at home.
Mobility issues are a major concern for those with autism. Some children may have difficulty coordinating both sides of the body while others struggle with muscle tone and posture. Regardless of the issue, mobility problems often persist into adulthood and require attention from a young age.
A buckle guard is a safety feature designed to be used in the car. For children with autism, this helps them feel safe and physically supported. A caregiver can install this device onto the seatbelt buckle to prevent a child from unbuckling. This is especially helpful for children who ride in the backseat where it is difficult for a parent to reach.
In some areas, early intervention programs are available for physical therapy services. Provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, this program can provide occupational therapy, physical therapy, and assistive technology devices.
Children with autism may be frightened of loud sounds and physical stimulation. For children at home, safety videos are available for social interactions with authority figures. This is especially helpful with law enforcement that may interact with a child due to safety issues. The movie BE SAFE teaches children with autism how to communicate effectively.
Medical alert tags or bracelets are a critical component to safety at home. Since many parents cannot monitor a child with autism at all times, medical alert services are handy. These services allow for immediate responders to help a child if they are hurt or experiencing a medical emergency.
Medical IDs provide critical health information in the event a child cannot communicate. Health information includes what types of medication they are taking as well as any potential allergies or coexisting conditions. For children with autism, this is particularly important as they may need physical adjustments depending on potential sensory processing issues.
A child with autism means care must be consistent and monitored. By using cost-effective services and safety support measures, this can be achieved. Wearing a medical alert ID is one way to optimize independence for both children and parents.
Thank you Charmaigne Ambas for contributing this article.