Moving with an Autistic Child: A Parent’s Guide February 23, 2021
If you’re the parent of a child with autism, the idea of moving might seem like an unwinnable task. But, when your earnings ability is greater in another part of the state (or country), moving may have to happen. Fortunately, with the right preparation, you can make this stressful time a little less so for all members of your family.
Starting with You
Well before you make the decision to relocate, you’ll want to put some work into evaluating your financial situation. Start by determining how much home you can afford. You will need to calculate your current income and evaluate how much money you have available for a down payment. If you are moving to a new state, it’s best to pay attention to the cost of living, which can affect your monthly expenses, including your utilities. Since home prices can fluctuate greatly from state to state and county to county, look ahead to the type of home you can afford based on your previous calculations.
Understanding your potential housing expenses is also important when negotiating your salary. By having this information on hand and being prepared, you will eliminate some stress on yourself, which is better for your entire family, as parental stress affects children of all ages.
For children with autism, it’s best to talk about the move early. Give your child at least a week to prepare, a tip generously provided to Autism Speaks. Even if your child is nonverbal, talking to them about this on several occasions can make it easier for them to grasp that their surroundings will change.
What to Look For
Buying or designing a home when you have a child with autism requires patience and dedication. You not only have to consider the number of bedrooms and bathrooms but also how these rooms, as well as your living space, interact with each other. A home with lots of natural light and the ability to create an acoustic barrier around the child’s room is essential.
Ideally, your child’s bedroom will be large enough to be functional for sleep and also provide an area where they can retreat if they have a sensory processing disorder. For example, you may want a space large enough for a crash pad behind a partition. Your new home should also be laid out so there is a clear divide between spaces. A separate dining room, for instance, instead of an eat-in kitchen.
Managing Moving Day Madness
As moving day nears, remind your child of what’s happening. You can also pack a sensory box, which Kid Companions explains should be customized with your child’s personal sensory needs in mind. This may offer a distraction during what is sure to be a very sensory-heavy day.
To further minimize disruptions for your child, have a moving company in place early on, and explain to them how to interact with your child. A professional moving company will know how to get in and out quickly and efficiently, and this will free you up to provide constant reassurance to your child.
Moving is often not optional. If you’ve lost your job or need to seek better opportunities to provide greater financial support for your family, relocating is a smart move. But, when moving with a child with autism, preparation is paramount to keeping disruptions to a minimum. There will still be hurdles to overcome, but with patience and a positive attitude, you can get through it together.
TYGES is the go-to professional search firm for leaders in all areas of Behavioral Health. When you’re ready to relocate, let TYGES sort through the opportunities available and match you with a leadership position that meets your needs.
Written by: Jenny Wise at SpecialHomeEducator.com
Jenny is a homeschooling mom to four children. She created SpecialHomeEducator.com as a forum for sharing her adventures in homeschooling and connecting with other homeschooling families.
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