Most parents want their children to succeed in life. But what if your child has autism? How do you help them reach their fullest potential?
As a parent of a kid with ASD, I was told my daughter would never get past the intellectual age of 4 years old. However, thanks to therapy and pushing her boundaries, little by little she has well exceeded those measures.
So, if you want to know how to help someone with autism conquer all their goals and succeed, here are my tips as a parent that is going through that too:
Autism mental age: Would they ever get past that?
It's a common misconception that children with autism can fall “behind” when compared with neurotypical kids, however, that’s far from the truth. While autism affects every individual differently, some autistic children are able to exceed their mental age, start doing things by themselves, and even get along with their peers.
Mental age is a measure of a person's intellectual development in comparison to the average development of other people of the same age. Often, kids with autism exhibit low mental age because for most of them it’s hard to understand abstract concepts, and have difficulty processing social or emotional information.
Nonetheless, it’s important to bear in mind that autism is a spectrum, a band of colors with different shades, which means that not everyone will develop the same way. Yes, some kiddos with autism may have a low mental age even when they reach adulthood, but others will be able to get past it.
So, it’s time that we, as parents, stop seeing autism mental age as a limitation and start visualizing it as something our kids can overcome to reach their full potential with our help!
So, can a person with autism live a normal life?
There's no one answer to whether or not a kid with autism can live a normal life. The term "normal" is relative, and what works for one child might not work for another. But, generally speaking, many people with the condition can live happy and fulfilling lives with the help of early intervention, therapy, and other support.
Symptoms of autism can include difficulty with social interaction and communication, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors. However, people with autism also often have strengths and abilities that can offset these challenges. For example, they may have a heightened ability to focus and attention to detail. So, with some support, they can learn the skills they need to thrive at school and in personal relationships.
Take Temple Grandin, for example. She's a world-renowned speaker, author, and animal expert who just happens to have autism. Or there's Cookie Meter, who owns and operates a successful cookie business.
Clearly, kids with autism are capable of growing up and leading fulfilling lives. Maybe they won’t be able to go to parties with their peers or do other things that neurotypical kiddos do at their age. But, if you're willing to broaden your definition of normal, you might be surprised at how many children with autism can actually reach their full potential.
5 Tips to helping autistic children to reach their full potential
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to supporting someone with ASD, there are some general tips that can be helpful. Here are five things on how to help someone with autism reach their fullest potential:
1. Seek early intervention services
This is a fact: the earlier ASD is diagnosed, the sooner kids can start receiving treatment and therapies that can make a big difference in their lives.
With early intervention, autistic kids can learn how to communicate with others, make friends, and cope with the challenges of autism. In addition, they learn how to manage their behaviors and become more independent. Plus, it may even help prevent some of the problems that can occur later in life, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
So if you suspect that your child may have autism, don't wait to get help. The sooner you seek treatment, the better the chances are that your child will be able to live an extraordinary life.
2. Don't try to change them
Autistic children are different from other kids in the way they think, learn, and process information. But that doesn't mean they're less capable or less intelligent. In fact, many autistic children are extremely bright and have unique skills and talents. So, trying to make them conform to societal norms can be detrimental to their development and self-esteem.
What's more, autistic children often have a strong sense of who they are and what they want out of life. Forcing them to conform to someone else's idea of normalcy can be crushing. It's important to respect their individuality and allow them to grow and develop at their own pace in order for them to succeed in life.
3. Promote social skills
Life is based on communication and contribution, which are two abilities kiddos with autism tend to have trouble with. That’s why promoting social skills can help them thrive in society!
One of the most significant social skills is communication. Autistic kids can have trouble with verbal and nonverbal communication. They may not make eye contact, they may not want to talk, or they may say odd things. Teaching them how to communicate can help them interact better with others.
Additionally, it’s essential for autistic kids to learn how to deal with emotions. They may have outbursts or meltdowns when they get upset. Helping them understand and cope with their emotions can make a big difference in their lives.
It may take some time for them to catch on, but with perseverance and support, they will eventually learn the necessary skills to interact and express their needs to others.
4. Encourage their interests and talents
Just like any other kid, autistic children have their own unique set of interests and talents. And just like any other kid, it’s important to encourage these interests and talents.
One of the benefits of encouraging an autistic child’s interests is that it helps them develop a sense of identity. Every child needs to feel like they belong somewhere, and for autistic children, this sense of belonging can come from being part of a community that shares their interests. For example, if an autistic child is interested in trains, joining a train club can give them a chance to meet other kids who share their interest. This can help them feel less alone and more connected to others.
In addition, it can help them develop useful skills. Many autistic children are extremely intelligent and creative, and if their interests are nurtured, they can grow up to be successful adults. For example, a kiddo who loves music may have a talent for composing or playing instruments. Or, a child who loves computers may grow up to be a software engineer.
Encouraging an autistic child’s interests is also important because it can help them build self-confidence. Kids who feel good about themselves are more likely to succeed in life, regardless of whether they have autism or not.
When a child sees that their interests are valued by others, it boosts their self-esteem and makes them feel more confident about themselves. This increased self-confidence can then lead to even more success in life.
5. Seek professional help
One of the most indispensable things you can do for your child if they are diagnosed with autism is to seek professional help. A team of therapists can help your child develop the skills they need to communicate and interact with others.
They can also provide support and guidance for you as a parent, so you can help them thrive throughout their childhood and teenage years
6. Push their boundaries
Pushing boundaries is an important part of life, no matter who you are. It helps us to grow and learn new things about ourselves and the world around us. For children on the autism spectrum, pushing boundaries can be especially beneficial.
By exploring new things and expanding their comfort zones, autistic children can learn how to communicate and interact with others, develop new skills, and better understand the world around them.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re going to throw them off the cliff to help them thrive. You don’t have to make them do something they really don’t want to do, however, encouraging them to take on new challenges will help them grow and reach their potential
What is the prognosis for a normal, productive life for a child with autism?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of what the prognosis is for a normal, productive life for a child with autism. However, there are a number of factors that can play a role in determining how well a child with autism will be able to function in society.
First and foremost, as we said before, early diagnosis and intervention are crucial. The sooner a child with autism begins receiving treatment, the better their chances are of developing the skills they need to lead a productive life. Additionally, children with higher-functioning forms of autism tend to have better outcomes than those with lower-functioning forms. Finally, having supportive family and friends can make a big difference in how well a child with autism is able to cope with the challenges of daily life.
Ultimately, each child with autism is unique and will require individualized care and support in order to reach their full potential. However, with early intervention and a supportive environment, many children with autism can go on to lead happy and successful lives. And that’s the answer to how to help someone with autism reach their full potential!
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