Moving with Children on the Autism Spectrum: What to Expect and How to Prepare

Moving with Children on the Autism Spectrum: What to Expect and How to Prepare

Moving to a new home can be overwhelming. But moving with children with autism can add an extra layer of complexity to the process.

Children with autism often thrive on routine and predictability, and the disruption of a move can be overwhelming for them. To help your child navigate the transition and feel more comfortable in their new home, you'll need to plan carefully.

In this article, the professionals from Raintown Realty discuss what to expect when moving with children on the autism spectrum and provide tips for preparing for a smooth transition.

The challenges of moving with children with autism

Children on the autism spectrum often have difficulty with change and transitions. They may become easily overwhelmed by new environments and routines and may struggle to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings.

Moving can be particularly challenging for children on the spectrum because it involves so many changes all at once. They may have to adjust to a new home, new school, and new community, all while saying goodbye to familiar faces and routines.

Additionally, the sensory overload of a new environment (e.g., sights, sounds, and smells) can be overwhelming, making it difficult for them to feel comfortable and settled. This can lead to increased anxiety and behavioral issues.

6 ways to prepare for a move with children on the autism spectrum

Despite the challenges of moving with children with autism, there are steps you can take to prepare your child for a smooth transition. It's important to plan ahead and create a sense of predictability and structure around the move.

Here are some tips for how to prepare for a move with children on the autism spectrum.

1. Involve your child in the process

Children on the spectrum often do best when they have a sense of control over their environment. Involve your child in the moving process as much as possible by giving them choices and opportunities to participate in the decisions.

Here are some effective ways to achieve this:

  • Let your child help with packing, even if it's just putting their own toys and clothes into boxes.
  • Have a garage sale and let your child help organize and price items.
  • Give your child a say in their new room. For example, let your child help choose the color of their new room or decide where their furniture should go so they have a sense of ownership over their new space.
  • Take your child on a tour of your new neighborhood and let them become familiar with it ahead of time.
  • Make moving day a fun event to help your child associate positive memories with the move.

2. Create a visual schedule or calendar

Many children on the spectrum benefit from visual aids to help them understand and navigate their world. Create a visual schedule of the moving process, with pictures and symbols to represent each step of the process. This may help your child understand what will happen during the move.

For example, you can use pictures of the new house, the neighborhood, the moving truck, and packing boxes.

3. Keep your child's routine as consistent as possible

Try to keep your child's routine as consistent as possible during the moving process. Stick to regular mealtimes and bedtimes, and try to maintain a sense of predictability around your daily activities. This will help your child feel more secure and settled during the transition.

Also, be sure to pack your child's favorite toys, books, and other familiar items to help them feel more comfortable in their new environment.

4. Use social stories

Social stories can be used to help children with autism understand and cope with new situations, and they can be especially helpful when moving to a new home.

A social story is a short narrative that describes a situation clearly and concisely using words and pictures to help the child understand what is happening and what they can expect. When moving to a new home, a social story might include information about packing boxes, saying goodbye to the old house, and exploring the new house.

This can help your child become more comfortable with the idea of moving and can be better prepared for the transition, as well as manage anxiety or other emotions they might feel.

5. Prepare your child for the new environment

Before you move, take some time to prepare your child for their new environment. Take them on a tour of the new home. If possible, take a tour of the new school or visit the new neighborhood before the move to help your child familiarize themselves with their new surroundings.

Also, set up a special area in the new home just for your child, with familiar toys and items from their old room, so they can feel more at ease in their new environment.

6. Pack a comfort kit

Children with autism often have comfort items that help them feel safe and secure. Here are some comfort kit ideas to consider:

  • A backpack or small bag that your child is comfortable carrying.
  • A few of your child's favorite toys or comfort items, such as a stuffed animal or sensory toy.
  • Noise-canceling headphones that help your child block out any loud or overwhelming sounds during the move.
  • Favorite snacks or drinks to help keep your child feeling nourished and hydrated throughout the moving process.
  • A change of clothes and any necessary toiletries to help your child feel clean and comfortable throughout the move.
  • A tablet or other electronic device with your child's favorite games or videos to help keep them calm and occupied during the move.

Let an experienced real estate team help you with your move

The agents at Raintown Realty understand the challenges of moving with children with autism. They understand the unique needs of families with children on the autism spectrum. He can help you find a home that meets your family's needs and provide support and resources to make the transition as smooth as possible. Let them take the stress out of your next move and help you start your next chapter in the perfect home. Contact him today to learn more.

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