For many children with autism, sticking to a routine and schedule is essential to deter stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, adhering to a strict schedule or routine during a household move can be extremely difficult. To reduce the stress on their child with autism, parents may have to do a bit of extra planning and preparation. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare for your upcoming move with an autistic child in the home.
1. Find a caregiver, if possible.
While some children with autism may be okay to help out during the move, others may find it too stressful. If your child is easily alarmed by environmental changes or disruptions, finding a trusted caregiver to help can be an essential solution. In some cases, it may even be better for the child to be out of the house during most of the work and simply transition to the new home after everything is in place and set up for a familiar living environment.
2. Use visual aids to explain what is happening.
Visual supports or visual aids allow parents to communicate with an autistic child that may not use or understand language the same as others. Visual aids to use before the move may be anything from basic pictures of the new house to step-by-step flashcards showing what will happen during the relocation. These aids can also help explain particular instructions. For example, if an older child will help pack, parents can use visual aids to describe how to place things into a box and close it.
3. Allow the child to help with packing personal belongings.
If your child is easily alarmed when they don’t know where their personal belongings are, allowing them to help pack may be a positive thing. If the child uses their own hands and witnesses their belongings being placed into a box, they may be less alarmed by missing items.
4. Pencil in time for extra breaks and routines.
When moving with autism, always plan ahead and give yourself enough time for the relocation project. If the child is going to be at home throughout the project, you will likely need more time than other parents. In addition, try to maintain some semblance of your child’s usual routine. For example, if meal times happen at the same time every day, ensure you have enough time penciled in to maintain that regimen.
5. Keep an essentials kit on hand with comforting items.
Children with autism may face health concerns and sensory issues. This means they can feel uncomfortable, especially during unfamiliar situations. Before the move, create an essentials box that contains everything your child may need to stay comfortable during the move. Be sure to include the following:
- Necessary medications
- Special toys, blankets, or comfort items
- Headphones or earplugs
- Familiar snacks and drinks
- A change of clothing
You may also consider adding a few new toys for autistic children that you can offer during a stressful situation that can act as a distraction.
Bring in Extra, Skilled Hands to Help with Your Move
Moving can bring particular challenges when you have a child in your home with unique needs. Therefore, having professionals to help with the transition can be highly advantageous. If you need a bit of help with your upcoming move, reach out today to get a no-obligation price quote.