Advice and tips for parents with children with Autism

The Developmental Pediatrics department at Sidra Medicine advises parents to create new routines and consider family-based social and sensory activities for children with Autism.

Tips for families with one or more children with Autism:

Make a new routine:

  • Try to develop a modified version of your child’s typical nursery or school routine that can be adapted to the home environment. The routine might also involve other siblings if appropriate, or they may get together at some points in the day, such as meal times, breaks or for physical activities.
  • Create a visual schedule of how daily activities will be sequenced. For example, days for school work and weekends can be clearly marked with different colors. This may help children to predict what to expect day by day and is particularly helpful for children with communication needs.
  • If possible, set up a corner of a room as a school space. Involve your child/children in organizing this corner - provided you remain in control of what should and should not be allowed.
  • Allow plenty of breaks for physical exercise and short periods of self-chosen activities in between others that require compliance and concentration from the child. Again, if the sequence is visually displayed, compliance and your child’s engagement will be much easier to achieve.

Engage in family-based social and sensory activities

  • Family-based social activities are a fun way to engage the whole family. If you have a small garden or open space, try to set up physical activities or treasure hunts inside the house or in the garden; play “I Spy” while you walk outside or go for bike ride, if safe.
  • For very young children, sensory activities are a fun and relaxing way to keep them entertained. For example, playing with sand, water, play dough, dried beans or Lego.

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