The well-known Autism expert Tony Atwood is fond of explaining it this way: “Autism is anxiety looking for a target.” Autism and anxiety are inextricably linked. Autism can affect a person’s capacity to connect with others and to perceive the world around them, and this can cause anxiety and sometimes panic.
Anxiety can become even more severe when there is a change to the routine of the child with autism. Changes that are positive or “fun” changes, like the school field trip or a trip to the zoo, may cause anxiety and even aggressive behavior.
Parents, the most effective option is to be aware of the changes coming and assist your child in preparing for the changes. A lot of parents find it beneficial by using tales and photos to prepare children for potential disturbances. If it’s a excursion to the zoo for instance, use images to explain to your child what they will see at the zoo. Also, show what the zoo’s atmosphere will be and what kinds of activities to anticipate. Make this a habit for three to four days prior to the date of the trip. This way when the trip is actually happening the child will not be totally out of comfort zone, but will recognize and be aware of what’s going on.
The other changes in routine may be less appealing, however they are still essential. The transition to a new teacher could be stressful, as is moving into a new residence. If possible you should try spreading the big changes. If you’re moving to a new home Try to move in the summer months, to ensure that your child doesn’t be faced with the additional stress of settling into the new school and teacher at the beginning of the year.