How to Make Moving Easier for a Child With Autism – This is a guest blog. The opinions expressed by the author in this and all guest blogs are not necessarily those of Ocala Screen and Patio.
How to Make Moving Easier for a Child With Autism
Buying a home is always stressful, but life changes are made all the more complicated when you have a child with autism. Kids with autism have really specific needs, and often this includes stability and consistency. Moving is inherently inconsistent, but there are still things you can do to make the process easier on your little one.
Ocala Screen and Patio understand the importance of facilitating a smooth transition for your family, and we offer the following tips on how to manage your move.
Applying for a Loan, and Securing Pre Approval
The financial portion of buying a home comes with numerous complexities, many of which are just part of the process. If you can limit complications here, it will make the rest of the process easier. Once you set your budget, shop for a loan that fits your circumstances. A seasoned, financially established home buyer might opt for a conventional 15-year fixed rate that allows them to pay off their home sooner, while a first-time veteran home buyer will do well to apply for a 30-year VA fixed loan that doesn’t require mortgage insurance or a down payment. Whatever your situation, shopping for the best loan and getting preapproved ahead of time will better position you to make your offer and move more quickly.
Finding Your Home
All house hunts start with researching the market and securing financing. Take time to investigate the market to determine your ideal budget. See what kinds of homes in the market have the space and features your family needs to get an idea of what size loan you should consider.
You might be tempted to bring your child on tours with you, but this can make the process more complicated than it truly needs to be. Children — autistic and allistic alike — are not good at judging properties. It’s hard for adults to not get attached to homes that won’t work, or which fall through at the offer stage — keep kids out of the tour and they can avoid that heartbreak.
Prepping Your Home
Once you’ve closed on your home, there are some steps you should take to ensure it’s move-in ready. Have any carpeting professionally cleaned to reduce dust and other allergens in your home. If the yard isn’t fenced, consider having one installed to prevent elopement. There are a ton of other autism-friendly renovations you can consider (such as a screened-in patio from Ocala Screen and Patio to help protect your child and keep them from wandering), but budget ahead for these upgrades.
Try to get as much of this work done as possible before you move. Not only will this keep your home safe and consistent from the start, but house repairs and renovations can be noisy and overstimulating for some children with autism. This will only make the transition harder, especially at the beginning.
Prepping Your Child
You can start preparing your child for your move as soon as you know it’s happening. Start explaining the process to them as clearly as possible. If your child is very little, you might consider getting them a picture book about moving to help them understand the process. Have them visit the home once you’ve closed so they can start getting familiar with the space.
You can also talk to your child’s OT or speech therapist about your upcoming move. They will be able to offer suggestions on how to communicate with your child about these changes, in addition to discussing this in your child’s therapy sessions to help lay a foundation for this significant transition.
It’s important to accept that, no matter how well you prep, this still might be very hard for your child. Encourage them to use effective coping tools, and remind them (and yourself) that the stress will pass. Soon, you’ll all feel right at home.