Caregivers of children with developmental differences are unsung heroes- seeing the dedication, care, ingenuity, and advocacy these caregivers provide day in and day out for their children reminds me of how important it is to provide support and resources for our clients’ caregivers. Supports for sensory regulation, transitions, and socialization are especially important for these kiddos. 

Here are ten activities caregivers can do at home to help a child with autism: 

  1. Create a structured environment: Children with autism thrive on structure and routine. Create a daily schedule and stick to it as much as possible. This can help your child feel more secure and reduce anxiety. 
  2. Use visual aids: Children with autism often have difficulty with language and communication. Visual aids, such as pictures, symbols, and charts, can help them understand what is expected of them and communicate their needs. Check out Blue Bird Day’s visual library at 
  3. Develop social skills: Children with autism often struggle with social skills. Encourage your child to engage in social activities and help them practice skills such as sharing, taking turns, and making eye contact. 
  4. Use sensory integration techniques: Children with autism can be sensitive to sensory stimuli, such as light, sound, and touch. Try to create a sensory-friendly environment and use sensory integration techniques, such as brushing or compression, to help your child regulate their sensory input. 
  5. Practice communication skills: Children with autism often have difficulty with communication. Encourage your child to use words or gestures to communicate their needs and feelings. Check out this presentation from our Speech-Language Pathologists on simple sign language and functional communication: 
  6. Provide opportunities for play: Play is important for all children, including those with autism. Provide opportunities for your child to engage in play activities that promote social interaction, language development, and creativity. Check out Blue Bird Day’s resource on Functional Play:

  7. Use positive reinforcement: Children with autism respond well to positive reinforcement. Use praise, rewards, and positive feedback to encourage good behavior and reinforce desired skills. 
  8. Educate yourself: Educate yourself about autism and learn about your child’s specific needs and challenges. This can help you better understand your child and provide appropriate support. 
  9. Seek support: It’s important to seek support from professionals, such as therapists or counselors, who specialize in autism. They can provide guidance and support for both you and your child. 
  10. Take care of yourself: Taking care of a child with autism can be challenging and stressful. It’s important to take care of yourself and seek support when you need it. This can help you be a better caregiver for your child. 

These activities are a great starting point, and I highly recommend tailoring supports to your child’s unique interests, talents, and goals. At Eyas Landing, Blue Bird Day, and Merlin Day Academy, we engage in collaborative treatment planning to align therapist and caregiver goals to support the long-term success of our interventions. We create tailored plans for each child and provide caregivers with training on how to reinforce our therapeutic work at home. By reinforcing new skills learned in therapy at home, our caregivers help their children generalize these skills across a variety of environments. You can learn more about getting involved in your child’s therapy here: 

Learn More About My Programs

Blue Bird Day is a rotational therapy program structured like a preschool or kindergarten, but instead of teachers all our staff are therapists! This program is designed to foster socialization, sensory regulation, and learning for children ages 2-7 and helps provide children the tools they need to succeed in a traditional classroom.

Eyas Landing is an outpatient therapy clinic that provides services for children ages 0-21. Our multidisciplinary team of therapists provide ABA, developmental, occupational, physical, speech, nutrition and feeding therapy along with early intervention, social work, counseling, and neuropsychological testing at our West Loop clinic, in-home, at school, and virtually.

Merlin Day Academy is a therapeutic day school for children ages 6-14. Our proprietary model utilizes daily therapeutic and educational rotations to support children’s growth, learning, and their transition into the least restrictive environment possible.

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