The challenges of autism can place a strain on the entire family. While each individual with autism is unique, some general needs are common among many people with this condition. However, for seniors respite, senior care can help as they aim to provide the support needed to continue daily routines, preserve safety, and maximize the experience of ageing in place. While for the other family member, here are the special needs you need to provide;
Sensory processing issues:
Many autistic people have sensory processing issues, making certain stimuli (sounds, lights, textures, tastes) overwhelming or even painful. As a result, you may need to provide a calm and quiet environment, special accommodations (such as noise-cancelling headphones), and sensory-friendly activities.
Many autistic people have difficulty communicating, making everyday interactions difficult. You may need to provide alternative communication methods (such as picture boards or sign language), help your family member interpret nonverbal cues, and be patient when communicating.
Many autistic people engage in repetitive behaviours (also known as “stimming”), including hand-flapping, rocking, or spinning. While these behaviours can be soothing for the individual, they can also be disruptive or dangerous. You may need to provide a safe space for your family member to stim, help them find less disruptive ways to stim, and redirect their behaviour when necessary.
Many autistic people have difficulty with social interactions, making friends and participating in activities difficult. You may need to help your family members practice social skills, find social activities that support their needs, and provide accommodations (such as breaks from social interaction).
Many autistic people have intense, focused interests in specific topics, resulting in fixations or repetitive behaviours. While these interests can be a source of enjoyment for the individual, they can also be disruptive or dangerous. You may need to help your family member find constructive ways to pursue their interests, set limits on repetitive behaviours, and redirect their focus when necessary.
Many autistic people have difficulty sleeping, leading to fatigue, irritability, and difficulty functioning during the day. You may need to help your family member establish a bedtime routine, create a calm and comfortable sleep environment, and find resources to help them cope with sleep difficulties.
Some autistic people engage in self-injurious behaviours (such as head-banging or skin-picking), which can be harmful and even dangerous. You may need to help your family member find less harmful ways to cope with their emotions, provide support and reassurance, and find resources to help them cope.
Many autistic people have dietary restrictions or preferences, making eating challenging. You may need to help your family plan safe and nutritious meals, find restaurants that accommodate their needs, and teach them how to cook for themselves.
A safe and secure place to live:
Many autistic people feel unsafe in the world and need a special place to call home where they can feel safe and secure. It may mean creating a haven in your home with specific security measures in place or finding a suitable group home or another living arrangement that meets your loved one’s needs.
Some autistic people require constant supervision due to their impulsivity, difficulty understanding danger, or other safety concerns. This type of care can be exhausting for caregivers, so it’s important to have a support system to help you out.
Structured activities and routines:
Autistic people often thrive on routine and structure. Having a set schedule of activities and routines can help your loved one feel more comfortable and safe.
Many autistic people have difficulty communicating, so it’s important to find ways to help them communicate their needs. It may involve using picture cards or other alternative communication methods.
Many autistic people struggle with disruptive or self-injurious behaviours. Working with a behaviour therapist can help you develop strategies to manage these behaviours and improve your loved one’s quality of life.
Many autistic people need specialized education to reach their full potential. Working with educators to create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) can help ensure your loved one gets the services and supports they need.
Many autistic people benefit from occupational therapy, which can help them develop skills for daily living and work tasks.
Mental health support:
Many autistic people experience anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns. It’s important to seek professional help if you notice your loved one struggling in this area.
Providing for the special needs of an autistic family member can be challenging, but it’s also rewarding. Having a support system to help you cope with the challenges is essential. Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or professionals for help when needed.
If you have a family member with autism, you may need to provide them with special needs. It could include help with communication, social interaction, and daily tasks like self-care and grooming. You may also need to create a sensory-friendly environment and routine for them. Additionally, they may require medication to manage certain symptoms. Your autistic family member can lead a happy and fulfilling life with the right support.