Not everyone is the same. That’s what makes our world so wonderful. But sometimes being “different” can be hard. Here are tips from one military mom on what she found makes life easier as a military kid with autism.
6 Ways To Create an Easier Transition for a Child With Autism
During A PCS
By, Amber Myers
PCSing is something that will happen when you’re in the military. Many families are able to cope with the change without any major issues. But if you have a family member with autism, things can get tricky. People with autism generally are not fond of changes. They rely on a schedule and if things get disrupted, chaos can ensue.
My son Tommy has autism. We’ve gone through 3 PCS moves and have come up with ways to ease the transition for him that work for us.
1. Let your child do research on the base. My son loves looking up the history of the base we’re going to. He also likes knowing what is on the base and where things are located.
2. If you know where they’ll be going to school, let them look up the website. We did this when we were coming to Tinker AFB in Oklahoma. We knew we’d be living on base, which meant he’d be going to the school located there. He felt much more at ease checking out the people who worked at the school. It also helped that we had an IEP meeting soon after arriving so we would know that he’d get the help he would need to have a successful year.
3. Google Maps can be a huge help. My son likes to know the area around the base as well. He checks out all his favorite places to eat (Texas Roadhouse, Hu Hot, and McDonalds) and lets me know where my favorite store is located (Target.)
4. Let kids pack a bag with their favorite things. Tommy was worried that movers might break his PS4 or STEAL his PS4. So I told him he could just bring it with us.
5. As soon as you find out dates of when the movers will come, let your child know so they can prepare themselves. Likewise, inform them of the date you’ll be heading for the new base. Keeping them in the know as much as possible is important.
6. Ask them how they are feeling about the move often. Tommy was always okay with moving and if he seemed nervous, we’d check out Google Maps. This seemed to relax him.
We should be PCSing soon and I know these tips will help Tommy. He’s been researching our potential new base and already informed me that there’s a Target nearby.
I think everything will go smoothly and if problems arise, well, I’ll look back on this list.
Extra tip for any military family: Have special nights no matter where you live, like Taco Tuesdays, Family Movie Night Fridays, because traditions and routines are important.
Do you know someone who has autism? You probably do because over 200,000 kids are diagnosed with autism each year!