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Navigate Autism

Below is an excerpt from Teresa Cardon’s book, Top Ten Tips: A Survival Guide for Families of Children with ASD. In her book, Cardon gathers quick tips from autism experts, including some of the top specialists from around the world, as well as families who live with autism every day.

Travel Tips
While on an airplane, bringing along video games like a Nintendo or a portable Playstation can save your life. –Holly Reycraft

For children who use visual forms of communication, create a "choice board" for use with the flight attendant so your child can interact and request his choice of drive and/or snack. –Mindy Small

Bathrooms are loud and bouncy on airplanes. Go to the bathroom with your child and wait to flush until he has left. 

Friends and Family Tips
Give your relatives something to do. Relatives often feel a sense of loss and helplessness when learning that a family member has been diagnosed. A book and or other resources that give them practical strategies that they can understand and implement right away will help empower them. –Teresa Cardon

Let your family know how much you need them. Now is the time to ask for help. Let them help you. –TC

Your family may not know how to react to the word autism. They may experience a lot of negative or sad emotions and confusion. Some people go through a grieving process upon learning about the diagnosis. You can only provide information and facts about autism. You cannot force anyone to accept it. –TC

School Day Tips
Many children like maps and directions. Create a map of the route to school and add boxes along the way or landmarks that your child can check off during the ride. This is a good sequencing skill to practice; besides, it helps pass the time. –TC

Get to know your child’s bus driver. He or she is with your child for a significant length of time each school day and can be an important member of your child’s team. Be sure to share specific information about your child – calming activities, whatever may cause anxiety, favorite things, etc. – TC

Create a way for your child to monitor his behavior on the bus ride. A visual support that reminds him of the "rules" is a good start. Make up rules for when the child gets to add a check mark, like every time the bus comes to a stop, or give him a watch to keep track of the time intervals. –TC