Posted on: 1 April 2016
Autistic children (and adults) thrive on routine. Altering an autistic individual's routine can send him or her spiraling out of control. One major change in routine is moving to a new home. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to survive the move with your autistic child.
Visit The New Place
Many Autistic children have trouble with change and moving to a new home is a big change. If the home is nearby, a trip to the new place can help soothe a child's fears. Allowing them to explore their new surroundings and adjust to the idea of a different home can help prevent meltdowns on moving day. When the move is too far to visit physically, pictures online or taken by the real estate agent can be used in place of a trip.
Involve The Children
Moving is difficult for everyone, but when things feel out of control, an Autistic child may be more likely to act out or have meltdowns. Let them feel like they have some control of the move by giving them small tasks. Giving them stickers to put on the toys they want to take with them lets them control their small section of the universe, even if they do put stickers on everything in the room.
Make Visual Aids
Visual aids are a great product for children with Autism. Social stories are a wonderful thing to use for moving. Putting together one of these items can allow a parent to put in specific things their child may struggle with during the move, whether it be a long car ride or meeting the neighbors for the first time. Another great visual aid could be putting together a picture book of the new home. Photos of each room, the yard and the neighborhood show the child what to expect and gives them time to process the information and the move.
Make It Fun
Don't let the move become a giant monster. Turn it into a fun game by creating a treasure map of the new home for the kids to find little treasures to delight them on the way to their new bedroom. This could be something as simple as candy or tiny toys. Pick out stationary for them to write to the friends being left behind or a fun notebook to put emails, phone numbers, and addresses so everyone can stay in contact. For a long drive, be sure to pick up extra batteries for handheld electronics or even a few car games to play as a family.
Don't be afraid to talk to a doctor or therapist about your concerns regarding moving. He or she may be able to make recommendations on how to approach the situation as well.
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