Autistic children thrive when in a setting that they are familiar and comfortable with. That's why moving home can be particularly difficult for them. By planning ahead and preparing your autistic child for the big change to come, you can help your child to adjust gradually. Social stories and regular visits to the new home and its area are important tools of integration. If done well, when moving day arrives, your child will already be familiar with most aspects of the coming move.
However, the chaos of moving day is especially hard on autistic children. That's why it is important to keep your child in the loop at all times. You can do this by involving them as much as possible via the following means.
Get to Know Your Movers Before Moving Day
Movers often visit a home before moving day to assess the situation as this helps when calculating the final cost. This is a great opportunity for your autistic child to meet your movers in advance. One of the most stressful aspects of moving day for autistic children is seeing strangers marching into the house to take away the things they have grown attached to.
By arranging a meeting and even requesting a picture or two of the removal team, your child won't be so flustered on moving day.
Involve Your Child on Moving Day
Many autistic children favour repetition, and may carry out ritualistic behaviours. This is especially true when their possessions and toys are involved. On moving day, let your child pack and arrange their own things the way they prefer.
Of course, this may take time, but that gives your movers a chance to pack the rest of your things first.
Place Your Child's Things on the Moving Truck Last
Once your child is done packing, place their things on the moving truck last. Let them see what's going on as you do it, and even let them assist your movers as if they are one of the team. Doing this will reassure them that their things are safe and build more trust with the movers.
Keep a Comfort Kit Close at Hand
Your child may also have certain items that they treasure dearly. Pack these things into a comfort kit that your child can keep close at all times. Perhaps your child can carry these items in a backpack on their back.
Prepare Your Child's New Room First
If you have been visiting your new home regularly with your child to help them adjust, they will already be familiar with their new room. Ideally, you should have also painted and decorated it with your child's help in advance. Give the movers specific instructions to set your child's new room up first. This is another reason why packing your child's things last is important.
Arrange an Evening out on the Day
Such a huge change may leave your autistic child somewhat on edge. Once the move is complete, spend the evening together as a family, eating out, bowling or simply going to the local park in your new area. If you included visits to these areas before the move, and added photos or brochures from these locations in your social story, your child will be able to relax and enjoy the evening.
Although such a huge change is never easy for an autistic child, by gradually preparing the way in advance, you can greatly reduce the inevitable stress of moving day. Autism affects 1 in 68 children, so your removalists may already be familiar with your unique situation. Regardless, let them know in advance so they can plan accordingly in terms of who they select to move your things.Share