Helping children on the spectrum interact with relatives

Children’s doctor in Gatonia, NC

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Thanksgiving is a time of year when relatives come to Gastonia, NC to visit, which can be stressful for children on the autism spectrum and on their parents, so children’s doctors have some advice on how to minimize the stress. It’s often been said that if you’ve met one child on the autism spectrum, you’ve met… one child on the autism spectrum. No two of them are alike, and only someone who’s lived with a child with autism can make any predictions about how that child is likely to respond. 

If your child doesn’t respond well to encounters with strangers, or with people he or she sees only rarely, you may wish to limit his or her contact with relatives. If your child accepts the presence of such people, but has trouble making conversation with them, you may use this as an opportunity to give him or her some practice. If your child is easily overwhelmed by lights, noises or talk by other people, have a quiet room ready that he or she can retreat to.

Manage expectations at the adults’ end

The important thing is to make sure everyone else in the family knows how to behave and what to expect. Children’s doctors advise that children on the spectrum have to be met a lot more than halfway. If a child doesn’t respond well to attempted hugging, tell all visiting relatives that no matter how affectionate they’re feeling, they shouldn’t try to hug your child. If a child tends not to respond to friendly gestures unless reminded to, relatives should be informed beforehand that your child isn’t being deliberately rude or insolent.

Some family members may be nervous about approaching an autistic child, either because they’re worried about hurting or putting stress on the child by mistake or because they’re worried that the child may lash out in a violent way. If they’re worried about the former, assure them that you’ll be keeping an eye on the situation and will intervene if your child is seriously uncomfortable. If they’re worried about the latter, and if your child is not prone to such lashing out, do what you can to reassure them.

A children’s doctor in Gastonia, NC

Gastonia Pediatric Associates is a children’s clinic which is conveniently located west of Charlotte, NC. It is one of the first medical practices for children in the Gastonia area. This clinic has served three generations of families with personalized care and has personnel ready to offer medical advice for parents 24 hours a day. Its staff includes three physicians and three nursing staff. Gastonia Pediatrics is owned and directed by its own physicians. If you need a children’s doctor, call today.