The moving process is usually quite stressful but can be even harder if you have a child on the autism spectrum. For families with an autistic child, there are several ways to make the process easier, whether it’s hiring a cleaning service or finding movers that can take care of the heavy lifting for you. It’s also a great idea to seek out family therapy for helpful resources and coping mechanisms—Mandy Squires can help.
Searching for a new home
House-hunting can be tricky with a child who is on the autism spectrum, but luckily, many homes can be found—and even toured—online. As you’re doing your initial research, be sure to compare property prices in your area of choice. Keep in mind that your child will likely need their own room, while open floor plans are best for people on the autism spectrum. Minimalist home designs will also help your child feel less anxious, as will simple home decor.
How to prepare for the move
Parents of children on the autism spectrum know firsthand how hard it is for their kids to handle change. While change is inevitable in a move, there are ways to help prepare your child for the transition so they know what to expect throughout the process.
When you know the move is coming, talk to your child about what will happen. Tell them why the move is necessary, and use a calendar to map out the timeline for the move. Autism experts say that continual communication and patience are vital when preparing your child for a big change.
Along with using a calendar to help your child understand the timeline, make use of visual aids such as photos of the new house and, if possible, an image of their new bedroom. You can get creative by printing out a map and drawing the route to the new house. If possible, visit the new home with your child so they can prepare mentally for the change.
Packing up could be hard for kids on the autism spectrum, so make it a fun process by allowing them to pack their own items. You could label different boxes and allow them to organize their belongings, which will help ease any anxiety on whether or not they’ll have their favorite items at the new house. Try to pack their room last to maintain normalcy for as long as possible.
It’s also helpful to reduce the number of tasks you take on yourself. If you have stubborn stains on your carpet, hire a professional carpet cleaner to help. Be sure to ask what cleaning method they use, how long it will take, and if they’re insured. You can expect to spend somewhere between $120 and $230 for the full house—most will charge either flat rates per room or around 20 to 40 cents per square foot.
Tips for moving day
Moving day will present its own set of challenges, but with some preparation, it’s likely to go well. One great idea is to hire movers. Not only will they make moving day smoother, but it will also free up your day to spend more time with your child to help them stay emotionally grounded.
It helps to have an itinerary for moving day so your child knows what to expect. It’s also great to put together a comfort kit for your child so they have what they need on moving day to feel comfortable and secure. Include a couple of their favorite items to help ease anxiety. Take breaks throughout the day, and have a back-up plan—a caregiver, babysitter, or friend—in case your child has a meltdown or you need some help.
While moving might seem like a stressful undertaking, these tips and resources will help ease anxiety for your child and make the process much smoother. Prepare your child for the move with plenty of information and visual aids, and prepare for moving day by hiring movers and creating a comfort kit for your child.
Do you need support caring for your child on the autism spectrum? Mandy Squires with Interconnections Therapy offers telehealth visits for individuals, couples, and families. Book your appointment now.