Moving with children is hard enough. Moving with children with autism is even harder. Autistic children can get far more attached to a home and find it much harder to leave it behind. Regression and meltdowns are certainly possible afterwards. To help your child understand the move and not feel as anxious, you can follow these three tips.
Give Your Child Enough Time
This is a huge change for your child. He/she has gotten into a routine in the current place. Autistic children get used to room layouts, have places to go when they're struggling with things, and have their rooms set up in the way they want. Your child will need as much time as possible to get used to the move.
Discuss the move with your child as soon as possible. The time your child needs will depend on the age and how far along the spectrum your child is.
Get Your Child Involved
Kids will often find a move easier when they get involved. They feel part of it and are able to digest the information much easier. They also have a say on where items go and how everything is boxed up. There's a sense of getting some control back.
You can also get your child involved in making lists of things to do. Another option is to ask your child to research some of the places around the new home. Rather than writing everything down, use visual lists as much as possible. This is especially important for younger children who may not have a grasp on reading.
Make Visits and Take Pictures
Have plenty of visits to the new home and take some pictures. This won't be possible with all moves, but if the journey isn't too much, try to fit it in for your child. You can even stay in the car for the first couple of trips, as your child gets used to the neighborhood and the look of the house. Your child can also get to know the neighbors.
You may not be able to go in to visit the house if people currently live there. Get in touch with the estate or rental agency and explain the situation. Some people will be more understanding than you would think.
Take plenty of photos of the property for your child to look at back home. He/she will be able to get a sense of the living room, kitchen, and bedrooms. It's not as big of a shock when it comes to actually living there.
Your child will need time to adjust and get used to the idea of the move. Just remember to give him/her as much time to adjust as you can. As you can see, preparing for the move as much as possible is the best thing you can do for your child.