How to Start the New Year with a List of Positive Intentions
New Year’s resolutions can seem motivating or daunting. We believe in making positive, healthy choices in any season, but to start January off on the right foot, we came up with a few easy yet meaningful intentions to add to your life for the months (and years!) ahead. Here are five New Year’s resolution ideas for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and developmental disabilities to try for 2022.
Positive Intentions for Parents of Kids with Autism in 2022:
- If your child needs help with developmental milestones, act on it now.
What this means for you depends on where you are on the autism journey. If you believe your child is missing developmental milestones or displaying signs of autism, ask your pediatrician for assistance in screening for autism or seek a formal diagnostic evaluation. Maybe you already received the autism diagnosis, but have yet to choose a provider for applied behavior analysis (ABA therapy)…then now is your time. If your kiddo is already with us at a Hopebridge Autism Therapy Center, think about how else you can help him or her. This could mean working to gain more from parent training or partnering with the BCBA to set new goals for your child this year. Think about what “getting help” means to you and go for it.
- Add layers of safety to your home for your child.
There are a number of changes, both big and small, that you can make in and around your home to enhance the safety for your child. While this is especially important for children who have challenges with wandering and elopement, there are safety measures all parents of kids with autism can take to benefit their families. From keeping pertinent emergency information on hand to communicating with neighbors, get started by reviewing the preparation tips for adding layers of protection that were recommended to us by the Indianapolis Fire Department Chief of Special Operations. One of our own Hopebridge BCBAs, Lynette Rorer, also shared some suggestions for securing the home that you can put in practice right away.
- Make your own happiness a priority.
If you are stressed, those around you will sense it. Do not neglect your own needs. Make sure to add in healthy choices that focus on YOU too. Beyond benefitting your own physical and mental health and well-being, some simple self-care can also have a positive impact on your kids, spouse, parents, and even friends or co-workers. Need some ideas on how to put this resolution into action? We came up with 10 quick tips for coping with stress while caring for a child with autism.
Family time will help you connect with your kiddo.
- Connect with your child through his or her interests.
License plate numbers, various species of insects, types of airplanes, road signage, and Marshall from Paw Patrol might not interest you, but they could be a big deal for your kiddo. All children have special interests, and while some might be restricted interests that can cause challenges at times, they are all valid. It is easy to push them aside, but make a point this year to get involved in something that gives them pleasure and help them harness their interests. Hopebridge programs incorporate parent training that can help you with this. For example, work with the therapist to set goals for a museum visit to view fossils for the kid who loves dinosaurs. If your kiddo is obsessed with rocks and their shape, color or placement, read books about rocks and minerals together at home. An interest like elevators might be a bit more difficult, but you could arrange to have your child meet an elevator technician or take a trip to a local destination that has a fun elevator he or she has not seen before.
- Write down one thing you are grateful for each day.
Even on days when it feels like the world has thrown everything at you, this simple act can provide a new outlook. Some people like to write it down in a private journal while getting ready to lay down at night, others like to wake in the morning and plaster it across a chalk board in the kitchen so everyone can see it before they start the day. Do what works for you, but be honest with it. Maybe your kiddo sat down for breakfast for an extra 30 seconds today, or a spouse handled therapy drop-off so you could enjoy a cup of coffee to yourself. It could be a stranger at the store who offered to help. Do daily notes seem too overwhelming? Start with one thing you are grateful for each week.
We provided the ideas, but Hopebridge can assist you even more. Let us help you get started on the first intention right now by contacting us to schedule a diagnostic assessment or evaluation for ABA therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy. What other intentions have you set for this year, whether for yourself or your children? Let us and the rest of the community know on the Hopebridge Facebook page so we can support each other!