Six Suggestions for Working CEO’s for Parenting a Youngster with Autism
April is Autism Awareness Month. The Center for Disease Control defines autism as “a developmental disorder that can cause significant social, communicative, and behavioral problems”. One in 54 children is autistic and whether your child is autistic or not everyone knows someone with an autistic child. Talking about autism normalizes it.
Whether you are raising a child with autism, know someone with autism, or are planning to hire someone with the autism spectrum, it’s important to make sure they are treated with respect and inclusion. While the stigma of people with autism is still rife in the workplace, some companies are now realizing that hiring people with neurological differences could give them a competitive advantage. In fact, people on the autism spectrum who are highly functional are known to have exceptional cognitive skills associated with memory, focus, and analysis.
There are many misconceptions about autism. Autism doesn’t work on a linear spectrum. Autistic people do not fall on the same line with “less autistic” at the beginning and “more autistic” at the end. Rather, like everyone else, autistic people have different abilities and it is important to recognize these abilities.
If you or someone you know is raising a child with autism, here are six tips for success:
- Make sure you have a daily routine. Autistic children tend to like structure and comfort themselves in their predictability. We made a daily schedule with Marston and wrote it down on a large dry-erase board. It listed such things as:
– Time to get up;
– shower / shave;
– School work;
– Work that had to be done on certain days, such as washing clothes, vacuum cleaning, changing bed linen; and
– Zoom meetings with friends and family to keep the conviviality going (especially during Covid)
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone is busy and that makes it difficult to ask for or receive help. Some find it difficult to get help from friends, family, other children, or partners because they may not do things the way you do. Or maybe it’s just not your style to let others know that you feel stressed or overwhelmed. After all, parents are expected to be good at multitasking and juggling their children’s needs and their own needs. However, there are plenty of adults and children looking for a summer job who would be happy about the extra cash. Encourage these helpers to get involved by taking your child to a play date, to the movies, or to dinner. These are all life experiences that can help your child and give parents some respite.
- List your child’s weaknesses, their strengths, how you deal with them, and whether therapies are having a positive impact. This assessment will help you know where to focus your efforts and when to look for alternative therapies. The list can include their diet, language, coordination, hygiene, eyesight, and cognition. We started picking on these every day.
- Keep your child busy in the summer. Look for a summer camp designed for similar children. This can be an overnight or a day camp. Sending your child away is a little scary, but they will develop skills that cannot be developed at home. Check out the local YMCA and see if they have a swimming program / classes for children with special needs. There are special swimming instructors. The sensory aspect of the water is calming and pleasant, helps regulate emotions and keep balance.
Other summer activities include hippotherapy and / or a music activity. Check if local farms / barns offer hippotherapy. Equine therapy provides children with Autism Spectrum Disorder with improved quality of life, coordination, balance, strength and sensory problems. Also, try to find a music activity, dance, or concert. Many children with ASD love music and summer is a great time to explore an outdoor concert where they can dance freely and sway to music. everything without evaluation.
- Teach your child responsibility. When they’re old enough, find a vacation job. It teaches your child responsibility, helps reduce idle time, increases socialization, and reduces fear of the unknown. There is vocational rehabilitation (a state, county-administered program that helps developmentally disabled adults find and retain employment). Also, ask friends and family if they need help. You can appreciate the extra help.
- Maintain a strong support system. The best advice I have been given is that parents of children with special needs have special needs of their own. They need to know more, do more, so they need more patience, comfort, understanding, compassion, and calmness than the parents of normal children. Talk over a pot of coffee, share a meal, or watch a movie. Take the time to connect and laugh with others and get rid of your usual worries. Support groups, both online and in person, can also be helpful.
Every day is challenging being a working parent with a child with special needs. If you’re a CEO working with or employing someone with special needs, realizing their strengths can ensure a seamless workplace for everyone.
Comment from Christine (Chris) Weiss. Dr. Eric Weiss is co-author of Educating Marston: A Mother and Son’s Journey Through Autism. Here is what you missed?
Leaderboards. Best countries.
Best books. Richest list.
The richest women in the world in 2021.