Tips for when out and about with your toddler who has autism
Caring for your toddler is always a trying time because of their need for independence and those terrible tantrums. However, if your child has recently had an autism diagnosis, or if your child is in the process of being diagnosed, then there are additional difficulties and frustrations that you may face, especially when outside of the home. These may be due to communication difficulties, sensory overload and challenging behaviour. Below we share some of our top tips.
Plan your trip
If you need to go out of the house, plan your trip. Break the trip down into several steps and show your child visual images. If going to the supermarket in the car, then show a picture of a car, then the supermarket. Images help your toddler understand what is going to happen, which will reduce anxiety that may lead to challenging behaviour.
The fidget bag
Fill a small drawstring bag with your toddler’s favourite fidget toys and books. Hang it on the back of your toddler’s buggy and also keep one in the car. This will help distract your child while you do the grocery shopping or during a doctor’s visit.
Avoid sensory overload
If entering loud environments, such as a shopping centre or supermarket, try out ear reducing headphones. These may help your toddler if they have a sensitivity to noise. If you do need to go shopping, perhaps going earlier may be a less stressful experience, as there will be fewer people. Check out if any stores offer an autism friendly shopping hour.
Find a local additional needs group
Autism in toddlers often presents as challenging behaviour, which can make it difficult for you to access parent and toddler groups. Many areas now offer additional needs groups that are staffed by parents and professionals with knowledge of autism. As well as providing a safe space for your child, it is somewhere you can relax and gain additional advice.
An autism specialist or child behaviour specialist will be able to offer your child the autism therapy they need to better navigate the world. They will also help you with strategies and coping mechanisms when outside of the home with your child. To learn more about our range of autism services for children, please do contact us today.