New Baby on the Way: Your Autistic Child and Baby Preparations
This is not an easy thing to do, even with children that are not on the spectrum. Some kids are excited and great when they hear they will have a little brother or sister. Others, not so much. Children on the spectrum are the same way, whether they can verbalize it or not. Here are some helpful hints to aid your ASD child with the coming of the sibling.
If your ASD child is high-functioning and/or affectionate, tell him or her as soon as possible. Spend more time with him or her. Let your child snuggle up to your belly and talk to your belly. Sometimes if you can get your ASD child to formulate a bond with the yet unseen baby, he or she will be less likely to try and hurt the baby when you bring the baby home from the hospital.
If your child is on the other end of the spectrum, you could try to encourage him or her to touch your belly late in your pregnancy, when the baby is moving or kicking. The movement and sensations might be fascinating to him or her and then you can quietly talk about what is going on with Mommy’s tummy. If your child attempts to strike your belly or climb all over you, remove him or her and tell your child that that is not allowed now and will not be allowed when the baby comes.
Other things you can do to prepare your child with autism for a new baby is to engage him or her with the baby preparations. This would include decorating the baby’s room, making up the crib, showing your child how to wind the mobile to make music, etc. Also, give your child a pretend baby doll and his or her own baby doll crib or cradle. Show him or her how to hold a baby, rock a baby, feed a baby, change a baby, dress a baby and in all other ways practice taking care of the baby doll so it looks completely normal when you do it with the new baby. If you make it all routine, then your child on the spectrum will expect all of these behaviors in the house when the new sibling comes home.