12 Best Tips on Autism: Your Developmental Pediatrician or Therapist May Not Have Told You Yet
Updated: Oct 4
As a parent navigating the world of raising a child with unique needs, I've gathered these insights —those your developmental pediatrician or therapist may not have shared with you.
These "best tips on autism" have been unearthed through a blend of personal experience and diligent research, all in pursuit of the best possible outcomes for my child.
These tips encompass a holistic approach to nurturing your child's development, from harnessing the healing power of morning sunlight to embracing conscious parenting.
Allow me to share these transformative practices and ideas that have left an indelible mark on our lives.
1. Healing Power of Morning Sunlight
Every morning, I make sure my son and I spend at least 15 minutes basking in the morning sunshine, and the results have been great. Not only does this simple practice brighten our day, but it also works wonders for my son's sleep and overall health.
I was inspired to adopt this routine after reading articles about its benefits. It turns out that exposure to natural light in the morning helps regulate our body's internal clock, leading to improved sleep patterns. Plus, it boosts the production of serotonin, a hormone linked to the feeling of happiness. It also supports the production of Vitamin D, crucial for overall well-being.
Since we started this routine, both of us have been sleeping better, and feeling more energized. While the benefits may not always be immediately tangible, making this a part of our lifestyle has truly brought remarkable improvements to our daily lives.
2. Unlocking the Potential: Exercise, Yoga, and Physical Activities
Exploring the potential of exercise, yoga, and physical activities has been a transformative journey for my son's development.
Research has shown that exercise can benefit every cell of the body. This means there is much more reason to do some form of physical exercise, not just to lose some weight. Another fascinating study I came across revealed that increased oxygen intake through exercise can even be beneficial for individuals with conditions like cancer.
Personally, I've witnessed how these activities have helped my son enhance his body awareness, moto skill planning, concentration, and eye contact.
Amidst various options for physical activity, I want to emphasize the incredible power of yoga.
A fantastic resource that's guided me along this path is the book 'Yoga for the Special Child.' Its tailored approach has made a significant difference in our routine.
Additionally, incorporating practices like the Asian Squat for improved digestion and trampoline workouts for a healthier lymphatic system has been invaluable.
3. Exploring the Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil
Virgin coconut oil has become a staple in our household, and the benefits it brings to my son's health have been quite remarkable. One of the most noticeable advantages has been in digestion – it seems to soothe his tummy and keep things running smoothly.
But it doesn't stop there. Coconut oil has also played a pivotal role in maintaining my son's oral health. Healthy gums and teeth have spared us from any dental horror stories, a relief every parent can appreciate.
What's even more intriguing is that renowned brain expert Jim Kwik includes coconut oil as one of his top brain foods. It's reassuring to know that we're supporting not only my son's digestive health and dental hygiene but also his cognitive well-being with this simple addition to our daily routine.
My son and I take 1 tbsp of Virgin Coconut Oil a day plus we use Coconut oil in cooking our meals.
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4. The Gut-Brain Connection
The fascinating link between the gut and the brain underscores the significance of our dietary choices in nurturing our child's overall well-being.
While I've read about the GFCF (Gluten-Free, Casein-Free) diet and its potential benefits for gut health, I've chosen a slightly different path.
Rather than strict dietary restrictions, our focus lies in consistently choosing organic and minimally processed options. For example, we use organic eggs, coconut sugar, and organic milk. We also plant some of our green veggies to make sure the greens we eat are organically grown and free from chemicals.
This kind of lifestyle is not about doing it 100% correct (we sometimes eat burgers and french fries) but It's about making mindful choices of healthier and nourishing options for us as much as possible.
5. Nature's Role in Nurturing Your Child's Development
If there's one thing I'd recommend above all else, it's connecting with nature. For me, it's the top choice, hands down. Nature works wonders for my son's development on every level. Whether it's a weekend nature trip, immersing ourselves in the soothing presence of trees, trip to the beach or simply having our furry friends around, nature has an incredible way of nurturing him holistically.
One thing we absolutely love is going barefoot (i.e. on beaches and grass) – experts call it “grounding” and I can actually say it's fantastic for our well-being.
My son also loves the water, whether it's a beach or a pool, he just can't get enough of it. A meditation teacher once explained to me that indeed water has a great impact on our well-being. This is why some of our greatest ideas seem to originate when we're taking a soothing shower.
Nature is like the ultimate therapy session that leaves us feeling recharged and connected. So, if you're looking for a way to boost your child's development, just step outside and let Mother Nature work her magic.
6. Beyond the Classroom: Education vs. Traditional Schooling
The decision to choose the right school for our child can be a real challenge. But it's important to remember that education is a multifaceted journey, and it goes beyond the four walls of a traditional classroom.
While finding the right school is crucial, it's equally important not to mistake education for schooling alone.
Learning is a lifelong adventure that can happen anywhere and everywhere. And sometimes, the most profound lessons are found in unexpected places, whether it's a visit to a museum, a conversation with a store vendor, or a hands-on experience in the great outdoors.
So, as you navigate the choices for your child's education, remember that the best education is the one that embraces the world as its classroom.
At the moment, I'm in the midst of crafting a blog post detailing our quest for the perfect school fit, but I'd like to share with you right away what proved to be the winning choice for us: homeschooling.
7. Conscious Parenting: A Path to Addressing Behavioral Challenges
Embracing conscious parenting has been nothing short of a game-changer in my journey of raising a child with autism. It's a concept that goes beyond traditional parenting approaches, delving deep into understanding not just our child but ourselves as well.
Through conscious parenting, I've learned that to truly connect with my child, I needed to address my own inner child and resolve my own unresolved conflicts.
It's a remarkable process that allows me to be more present, empathetic, and in tune with my child's unique needs and emotions. By nurturing my own emotional well-being, I believe I creates a space for genuine connection and growth, helping both ourselves and our child navigate the challenges of autism with grace and understanding.
8. Accepting the Diagnosis: Embracing Your Child's Unique Journey
Accepting my child's diagnosis was a pivotal moment, and my very first visit with a developmental pediatrician helped me.
However, I've come to understand that not all developmental pediatricians may provide the words and support needed to navigate this emotional terrain. It's important to acknowledge that, therapists and doctors primarily focus on the child's well-being, and understandably so.
And as a parent, coping with the diagnosis is also a journey of its own. It's deeply personal, and everyone's experience is unique. But I thought of writing my own experience and journey, and my hope is that you’ll find solace and valuable insights through reading this separate blog post that I've written, aimed at helping parents like me navigate the complex landscape of acceptance and embrace our children's unique paths.
READ: A GUIDE TO ACCEPTANCE
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9. Travel as a Teacher: Broadening Horizons for Development
Traveling has turned into a holistic approach to nurturing my son's development, surprising us with its multifaceted benefits.
An article published in the 'Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders' even suggested that travel can positively impact children with sensory sensitivities by exposing them to new environments and sensory experiences. And indeed in our experience, beyond being a gateway to exploration and adventure, it has proven to be a powerful tool in helping him navigate sensory issues and being able to cope with sudden changes.
For my son, travel has become a fascinating journey of not only discovering new places but also exploring new foods. The connection between travel and food exploration has been a delightful surprise. It's as though he associates travel with culinary adventures, opening doors to trying foods he might otherwise have been hesitant to taste.
Traveling has truly broadened his horizons in more ways than one, making it an invaluable teacher in his developmental journey.
10. Smiles and Health: The Dental Connection to Overall Well-being
I count our blessings when it comes to my son's oral health. It's been a journey we've nurtured with care, and the results have been wonderfully rewarding.
We established a love for toothbrushing from an early age, turning brushing time into a fun ritual rather than a chore. Using a soft toothbrush, along with incorporating Vitamin C-rich foods and supplements into his diet, has been key.
We've also been mindful about using an organic toothpaste that promotes gum health and integrated virgin coconut oil (VCO) for its myriad benefits.
To help on oral health, we also have been mindful of sugar intake.
These steps not only safeguards his beautiful smile but also supports his overall well-being. The profound connection between oral health and overall well-being cannot be overstated. Research has shown that maintaining good oral health can reduce the risk of various systemic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and gut health. This link is especially important for children with autism, as gut health plays a vital role in their overall well-being.
11. Sugar Awareness: A Sweet Step Toward Better Health
Maintaining sugar awareness has been a sweet step toward better health for our family.
While we may not always be 100% perfect in avoiding sugar, we make a concerted effort to be mindful of what our son consumes.
I'm currently exploring different chocolates with at least 70% cacao content as a healthier option. We also limit processed fruit juices, encouraging him to drink more water.
Moreover, as I write this, I'm delving into baking bread and pastries at home, using healthier alternatives like coconut sugar instead of white refined sugar.
When it comes to sugar, we embrace the principle of moderation. It's about finding a balanced approach that allows him to savor life's little pleasures while also prioritizing his overall well-being.
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12. The Healing Touch: Exploring the Benefits of Massage
You've likely witnessed the therapeutic wonders of massage in the capable hands of your child's therapist. It's a practice that can work wonders for children with unique needs, providing both physical and emotional relief.
But here's the thing – you don't need a degree in massage therapy to harness its benefits. In fact, I'd like to stress the importance of continuing this healing touch at home.
While I'm currently researching the most strategic techniques, I firmly believe that it need not be rocket science to get started. A simple massage with gentle pressure, particularly on the feet, can be incredibly beneficial. It's akin to the feeling of walking barefoot on soft sand or through lush grass.
This practice not only fosters a sense of relaxation but also strengthens the bond between you and your child, offering moments of connection, comfort, and holistic well-being.
Closing Thoughts : Best Tips on Autism
Remember that every child is an extraordinary individual with their unique journey and potential. While these 12 tips have greatly benefited my family, it's essential to tailor them to your child's specific needs and circumstances. The path of parenting is one of continuous learning and adaptation.
As you embrace these insights and embark on your own exploration, may you find the strength, resilience, and joy that comes from nurturing your child's growth and well-being. Together, we can create a brighter, more inclusive world for our children—one filled with love, understanding, and endless possibilities.