Divorce is tough for everyone who’s getting through one, but the children more often have a harder time dealing with the emotional upheaval that comes with the process. For families with autistic children, there need to be special steps to be taken to help their child cope.
While your children do need honest and objective answers to their questions pertaining to your divorce, they don’t need to know every single detail behind your decision to separate ways. They don’t have to feel like they have to pick one parent over the other. What they need is to get used to the schedule changes, how much time they’re going to spend with each parent, and how to feel safe, warm, and loved despite all the changes.
One thing that you can do to help children with autism syndrome deal with divorce, though, is to engage them in some interesting, distracting, and fun activities. Kids with autism often have to deal with neurological and developmental symptoms such as difficulty in interacting and communicating with others and focusing on limited and repetitive interests. But there are still plenty of fun activities that you may want to try with your own child such as the following.
Using Distraction to Help Your Autistic Child Handle Your Divorce:
Making edible jewelry. What’s more fun than being able to a piece of edible jewelry? Just prepare some licorice candy sticks and colorful cereal or candy with holes right in the middle. Use the licorice to hold the cereal pieces together and wear them as a necklace, with knotted ends.
Laser Engraving Projects
Laser cutting and engravings. Customize plenty of objects that your child might be interested in using a laser etching device. Ask your child about the designs they want inscribed on their objects and quickly photoshop or even find the ready design on Google, hookup the machine to your computer to finish the task. You can create printed customized t-shirts, engrave a bottle or you can even make and cut puzzle pieces from your family portrait and use those pieces to play with your child. Other things you can try making is cutting wood earrings with fun, unique designs, making personalized key chains, cutting cute memorabilia pieces like people’s names, or creating any other things your child fancies. As your child focuses more on the process and the fun outcome of these fun customization process, it distracts him/her from the negative aspect of your divorce.
Painting with Q-tip
This activity can help autistic children develop their fine motor skills as they try to paint controlled lines, dots or squiggles while keeping the mess to a minimum. Depending on your child’s creativity, you might want to add a background picture and use the Q-tip painting to add people, shapes or landscapes to the picture.
Making paper plate crafts
Something as simple as a white paper plate can serve as your child’s blank slate. Together, you can turn the paper plates into flowers, animals, rainbows or cute caterpillars. Be prepared for some cutting, coloring, and gluing.
Creating sensory collages
Deal with your child’s sensory challenges using this game. Gather some sandpaper, aluminum foil, glue, rice grains, thin strips of paper, and printouts of image outlines. Think about the images that your child quickly responds to. Spread glue within the outline of each image. Give your child any of the textured scraps to be pasted onto the glue-covered sheet until everything is covered up. This activity should help them feel the different textures on the sensory collage.
Aside from painting or gluing sensory materials, you can also use these materials to make music. Get some beads, rice, pasta, and rubber bands. Put them inside a cardboard tube and roll or shake it to get some auditory feedback. Creating music is an excellent way to keep your child engaged.
A Cardboard Box
A cardboard box is not just a box. You can turn it into various fun things, such as a police car, firetruck, camper, or anything that you can imagine. Ask your child to help polish your creation by painting it, adding details to it, or drawing windows, something that will make your playtime more interesting.
Engage your child better through arts and crafts. Remember that whatever you do, the process itself is more important than the end product of your playtime. It also helps in keeping your child distracted enough to deal with the effects of your divorce.