Moving can be challenging for anyone, but even more so for autistic children. However, they're many steps you can take to help them prepare for the move and have a successful transition to their new home.
Bring them House Hunting
Since many autistic children struggle with changes in their environment and routine, getting them involved in the house-hunting process early will help them understand that a change is coming. Talk to them often about the move and make sure they're prepared for any accompanying major changes it will bring, such as switching schools. As you tour potential homes, help them envision what life will look like and reassure them their comfort and needs will continue to be prioritized. For example, if they're accustomed to sitting in a certain chair to eat meals, let them know that they will still be able to sit in that chair when they eat meals in the new house.
Prepare for Moving Day
You'll want to have a plan for when the big day arrives. Don't pack away any items that may be important to your child's daily routine and comfort, such as their favorite blanket or set of headphones.
Another idea is to have a dedicated, familiar caretaker tend to your child on moving day. This ensures they have the one-on-one attention they need and will feel as safe and comfortable as possible during the transition. This trusted adult can also help your child start setting up their room while you take care of other things.
If your autistic child is prone to elopement, it's of paramount importance that you choose a home that provides adequate safety. Look for a home with a fenced-in yard or check with the local zoning ordinances for Denville to ensure you can install a fence on your property if necessary. You'll also want to take noise pollution into account, especially if your child is sensitive to loud sounds. For example, buying a house located along a busy highway or next door to a fire station might not be conducive to your autistic child's safety and well-being.
As for the home's interior, one thing that can be extremely helpful to children with autism is a sensory room. Your child's sensory room can be tailored to their special needs and be filled with items that help prevent or ease a meltdown. The important thing is that the home you purchase has the space for you to make a dedicated sensory room for your child.
Think of the Cost
Buying a home will most likely require you to make a down payment. Depending on your loan type, you could be required to pay anywhere from 3.5% to 20%. Having a down payment helps show the bank you are capable of paying for the house.
Understand that you don't have to accept the full amount the bank offers to loan you. In fact, you might want to think about spending less than you could actually afford on a new home, especially if you have to account for your child's schooling or therapies.
Moving with Autism
Remember that although there may be some additional challenges, your child is fully capable of thriving in a new environment. For more information, visit Celebrate the Children.
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Contributions to this blog are made by Celebrate the Children's highly talented, interdisciplinary team and wonderful families.