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Being a Stepparent to a Child with Autism

Updated on June 25, 2017

What I have learned about autism

What I have learned about autism is that it is not an illness that can be cured despite what some books say, rather it is something to be embraced. Being on the spectrum means having repetitive behavior and having impaired communication and social interaction. Like I have said my stepchild is nonverbal. So communicating is often tricky. I've noticed that if you just pay attention and are really good at reading emotwhen things get too crazy my stepdaughter ion it can be easier. Something that comes along with autism is having social anxiety. When things get hectic around her she has what is referred to as a meltdown. She cannot handle things when they are crazy, like busy stores, parties, or even the church daycare. It does get hard sometimes when she is having a meltdown, because people stare and think she is being a bad kid, but that just is not so. To put it plainly she is freaking out! I wish we could have her be outside without all the judgmental stares. There have been a growing popularity with fidget toys and I don't know if I would be giving her a tool to help with the meltdowns or a weapon to throw when she is frustrated. her father has a very hard time with her autism because sometimes it feels like we are doing everything wrong. However she is developing everyday and here are a couple things that help: art and bubbles. I often have her paint, because I believe art is a great way to deal with emotion and bubbles are just fun for any kid. However with her bubbles are a great way to help her relax. Maybe they could help with your child with autism. With summer here it is very hard to make her stay on track from the school year. She does know the alphabet song, can count to 20, she knows her days of the week and months. The biggest challenge is getting her to say them correctly and clearly, but with the help of her amazing teachers she is getting there. There are specialists I would recommend: an occupational therapist and a speech therapist. Both can help with your nonverbal child. Right now we cannot really afford either one, but we are really hoping someday we will. When it comes to discipline the important thing is to just be firm with her, because she is prone to repetitive behaviors like climbing and jumping off of things. Consistency is very important. Your nonverbal child may seem like a handful right now, but as they grow and blossom it will all be worth it. As a stepparent I knew what I was walking into and I try to the best of my ability and hope it is enough. Be patient and trust your instincts and while while life may not be easy it will be worth it.

Sensory Items

Another part of autism is a sensory processing disorder. This means that the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes through the senses. They are often oversensitive to things in their environment. Certain sounds can trigger a meltdown. Some examples of items that can be used for this are a weighted blanket they often cost a pretty penny but I know my stepdaughter's helps her recenter. There are Items such as chew jewelry and chew toys often similar to teething toys. These are oral motor tools used for those who must chew, bite or fidget. My stepdaughter's main need is the needs to squeeze things. So squishy things are a must. The biggest thing is not bringing her into an environment where there is too much going on at one time. Searching for sensory toys will bring up numerous options depending on your child's needs,

© 2017 Elizabeth Trevino

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