How to establish a comfortable life in a new place for a child who has autism
- Try to bring a familiar and well-loved item that you can leave in each room of the house: for example, place a favorite toy and a pillow in the bedroom, leave a familiar cup in the kitchen, and bring along your child’s favorite clothes.
- If possible, zone out the new space: show your child where you sleep, where you can draw or assemble toys, where you do your exercises and where you will eat. Even if space is very limited (such as in hostels or refugee camps), try not to confuse these areas and make sure each part of your room has a function.
- Sign each area using stickers or draw schematic images. Use a symbol of an item to signify each room (a kitchen can be marked with a plate and a spoon, the bedroom – with a bed). Put the child’s personal belongings in each zone.
- During the first days or weeks, while the child is still getting used to the new living space, walk with the child from one zone to another and clearly say things like: “I’m going to the kitchen to eat”, “I’ll go to bed in the bedroom”.
- Try to come up with a game or positive activity for each room to reinforce the relocation with lots of positive emotions.
For example, a shower always starts with a favorite song, the kitchen is a place where you sort vegetables by color and give the child a prize at the end. You can place a sticker with a favorite character on the front door and more.
* Recommendations provided by Anastasia Stepula, an expert on the peculiarities of communication with neurodivergent people
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