Child playing on the floor with toys

Holistic Approach for Children with Autism and ADHD

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Parenthood is a journey filled with unique challenges, and for parents of children with autism and ADHD, the quest for wellness takes on an extra layer of complexity. Balancing the needs of a child with neurodevelopmental differences requires a thoughtful and holistic approach. These are some key strategies we have used to foster wellness in those with autism and ADHD.

Embracing Neurodiversity

Understanding and embracing neurodiversity is crucial. Each child is unique, with their strengths and challenges. Celebrating these differences and creating an environment that recognizes and accommodates diverse needs can significantly impact a child’s well-being. It is essential to focus on their abilities and provide opportunities for growth tailored to their individual preferences.

Enjoying the day at a theme park!

Creating A Manageable Routine

Fostering a routine that incorporates sensory-friendly activities can be transformative. Children with autism and ADHD often experience sensitivities to various stimuli. Establishing a predictable daily routine, incorporating sensory breaks, and creating a calm and organized environment can help mitigate stress and anxiety.

This stability provides a sense of security for the child, contributing to their overall emotional well-being. Visual schedules can be a great tool to start your day and remind your child of what is next throughout the day. Many visual schedules are available, or you can make your own if you have very specific activities in your home. We use this visual schedule because it can be customized easily.

Get Moving!

Physical activity plays a vital role in promoting wellness. Engaging in activities that cater to the child’s sensory preferences, such as swimming, trampolining, or nature walks, can be both enjoyable and therapeutic. Regular exercise not only supports physical health but also aids in regulating emotions and improving focus – essential aspects for children with ADHD.

Our daughter is always HIGH ENERGY, so getting outside for some exercise is important for her. We like to play in the backyard, swim in the pool, and visit the playground. We know it is time for an outdoor break when she seems dysregulated. Something about being in nature somehow resets her mood and behavior. Note, if your child is in the middle of a tantrum or having meltdown behaviors it is important for them to be calm before taking them outside. Once they have had a moment to relax, you can suggest going for a walk afterward. 

Developing Social Skills

Implementing a structured social skills program is another effective method for enhancing the wellness of children with autism and ADHD. Social interactions can be challenging for these children, and a targeted program can provide valuable support.

Children can develop essential social skills in a supportive environment by incorporating games that focus on communication, turn-taking, and understanding social cues. This not only aids in building connections with peers but also boosts self-esteem and confidence. Collaborating with educators, therapists, and fellow parents to create a consistent and tailored social skills program ensures that the child receives comprehensive support across various settings, contributing significantly to their overall well-being.

Communication is Key

Even if your child is non-verbal, talking to them and explaining anything happening is still very important. They may not be able to respond but likely understand most of what you communicate. It is very easy to slip into a habit of not talking when your child doesn’t respond.

Keep communicating because you are developing their language skills; they may start speaking later. Also, having open and supportive communication channels between parents, educators, and healthcare professionals ensures a collaborative approach to the child’s well-being.  Sharing insights into the child’s needs, progress, and challenges facilitates a holistic understanding, enabling everyone involved to work together effectively for your child to be setup for success.

Find What Works Best For Your Child

Overall, promoting wellness for children with autism and ADHD involves recognizing and embracing their unique qualities. Find what strategies work best for your child. Utilize things they already like, such as toys and games, then slowly incorporate new activities. Over time, things become easier. You may spend hours or years mastering a skill, so be patient—it is worth it!

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