One of the most challenging things for any child is how easily they can become overstimulated. Think back to when you were a child and your parents asked you to clean your bedroom. The younger you were and the messier your bedroom was, the more overwhelmed you felt. Now think of your child with special needs. They have to deal with all that you did, but also have trouble filtering out the colors, shapes, sounds, smells and the texture of their toys. Here are some tips for helping your child with autism clean their bedrooms.
- Patience is Key
The number one tip is to be patient. Try to put yourself in their shoes. If you are frustrated, then try to remember your child is probably just as frustrated. They want to make you happy and proud of them. If they cry or scream, they are not doing it to hurt you. They are just frustrated and overwhelmed.
- Be Flexible
Be flexible with your child. Some days are better than others. Some days your child will do fine cleaning, but other days will be very difficult. A number of factors go into whether your child can clean his or her bedroom without trouble. Some factors include:
- If there was a change in their routine.
- If they have plans to do something that is very stimulating later in the day.
- If there were more or new noises, people or objects at their school or throughout their day.
- If they have a lot on their minds.
- If they were frustrated earlier in their day.
These are not all the factors, but keeping them in mind will help you understand what your child is feeling. Consider helping them more on the challenging days.
- Put Everything in a Pile
As strange as it is, some children can organize better when all the surfaces and the floors are clear. Try having your child put everything that is on their floor in a pile on their bed. Then direct your child to put one thing at a time away. Clearing the floor and putting everything in one place gives your child a space they can look at while they clean that is not so stimulating.
Cleaning up is hard for everyone, but it is especially challenging for children with special needs. Being patient, flexible and creating a less stimulating environment helps you and your child feel calm in the challenges.