Are you a loving parent preparing for a big move with your child who has autism? Adapting to change can often be challenging for children.
However, moving doesn’t have to be traumatic. It can be eased, managed, and even enjoyed. And we are here to guide you.
In this blog post, we share eight key tips for smooth house-moving with autistic children.
#1 Early preparation and communication
Early preparation is crucial for a successful move. Begin discussing the move with your autistic child well in advance. Discuss the reasons behind the move, when it will occur, and what they can anticipate.
Consider using visual aids like calendars, picture books, and social stories to illustrate the process. You could also create a countdown calendar to help your child understand the timeline. Using these tools can help demystify the moving process and ease anxiety.
#2 Maintaining routines and structure
For autistic children, routines are comforting and provide a sense of control. Aim to keep your child’s daily routines unaltered as much as possible during the transition. This includes mealtimes, bedtime routines, and favorite activities.
Consider creating a moving schedule that mirrors your child’s typical day. And remember, familiar items, such as favorite toys or bedding, can bring comfort and continuity during the transition.
#3 Creating a safe and comfortable transition space
A transition space in your new home can help your autistic child adjust more smoothly. This space should cater to your child’s sensory needs and preferences.
Try to set up this space before the moving day with familiar items from your old home. Incorporate your child’s favorite colors, textures, and belongings. The aim is to offer a soothing, reassuring environment where your child can feel secure.
#4 Security camera systems
Prioritize places with comprehensive security camera systems. This step is not just crucial for your family’s overall safety but also for the tranquility it imparts.
Before booking, research the hotel’s safety measures, read reviews from previous guests, and don’t hesitate to ask questions about their security protocols, from on-site guards to cloud video surveillance technologies.
#5 Involving the child in the moving process
Involving your autistic child in the moving process can help them feel more in control and less anxious. Allow your child to pack and organize their belongings. This can also be an opportunity to sort through old toys and clothes together.
Here are a few strategies you may try.
Packing and organizing –
Encourage your child to pack and organize their belongings. It not only gives them a sense of responsibility but also helps create an understanding of the process. A study in the Journal of Child Psychol Psychiatry suggests that participation in structured activities can reduce anxiety and boost adaptive behavior in children with autism.
Sorting through old items –
Use this moving process as an opportunity to sort through old toys and clothes with your child. It can be a valuable bonding experience, and it promotes decision-making skills.
Make it fun:
Turn these tasks into engaging activities to ensure your child stays interested. For instance, you can make a game out of packing. A 2020 study in the International Journal of Advanced Science and Technology suggests that game-based learning can enhance social interaction and communication skills among autistic children. Therefore, using colorful boxes or stickers not only makes the process enjoyable but also contributes to their developmental milestones.
Overall, turn these tasks into engaging activities. For instance, you can make a game out of packing using colorful boxes or stickers.
#6 Coordinating with support professionals
Ensure your child’s care and support continues seamlessly during the move by coordinating with their current therapists, educators, and healthcare providers. They can provide valuable insights and strategies to help your child cope with the change.
Consider setting up introductions or preliminary meetings with new support professionals in your new community. This way, your child can transition without a significant gap in services.
#7 Handling security deposit issues
When leaving a rented property, it’s crucial to comprehend your rights and duties regarding the security deposit. A security deposit demand letter is a formal request to your landlord to return your deposit.
However, prioritize your child’s well-being throughout the process. You may need to balance the time and energy spent on these issues with the attention your child needs during this transition period.
#8 Establishing a support network in the new community
Once you’ve moved, establishing a local support network is invaluable. Look for local autism organizations, support groups, healthcare providers, and social opportunities for your child.
Connect with other families in your new community who have autistic children. They can provide advice, friendship, and a sense of belonging for both you and your child.
Moving house is a significant event for any family. For families with autistic children, it brings unique challenges.
But with thoughtful planning, maintaining familiar routines, creating a transition space, involving your child, and coordinating with professionals, you can ease the process. And remember, establishing a new support network will make your new community feel like home in no time.