Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder requiring long-term training for the child's development. To make the child reach the full potential of their abilities, one has to have a system/ routine. Dr Puja Kapoor, Paediatric Neurologist & Co-founder of Continua kids, share a few guidelines to manage the day of a child with ASD.
Constant engagement is the key to change: The child needs to be engaged constantly to prevent them from "getting lost in his world". Here lies the role of family and friends, and siblings. Try to ask for help from family and friends as it helps generalise the child's engagement and enhances the communication skills. Calling all the relatives at one point could be detrimental as they may not like a crowded place. Giving a communication script to the helping friend is advisable to have meaningful communication. Even video chatting with the family has to be scripted, so the child does not get bored and lose interest in the communication.
Make sure the dietary components are not sugar based: The child's energy has to be managed constructively. As sugar-based food items are an instant energy source, such foods should be avoided. Make sure to exclude items like cakes, pastries, sweetened drinks, etc. and give a balanced diet rich in minerals and vitamins. These children are picky eaters and have limited choices, but if those are healthy choices, they can be repeated repeatedly.
Make the engagement enjoyable to make the child learn new things: As it is essential to engage the child, the engagement should also be interesting. For example, it can involve the child in regular household chores and explaining the function in short sentences is essential.
Sports/ physical activity should be a part of the daily routine: A fun way to keep the child engaged, fulfil his sensory needs, and utilise his energy for a positive outcome. Sports have to be introduced into daily life. It should be essential to daily activities as it helps the child multifold.
Make sure to manage the sensory concerns, if present:Sensory problems can cause disturbance in the daily routine of the child. Make sure to settle the sensory matters to relieve the child and help their daily activities.
Set a system/ routine to be followed: Always follow a fixed time to bed and get up. Due to initiation of sleep concerns, some children may need Melatonin medicine to help start sleep and "sleep hygiene" practice.
Despite all the efforts, raising a child with ASD becomes overwhelming. As it is a long journey with both ups and down, to avoid losing focus, try to connect with a support group, where we could discuss the problems associated with daily activities and find a solution. In addition, talking to parents with similar concerns helps to mitigate the anxiety and negative thoughts.