House hunting and moving are rarely simple activities, but when you’re moving into a new house with a child who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), you need to be prepared for an additional set of challenges. Children with autism thrive on daily routines, and any type of change — especially those that are unexpected — can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and discouragement.
Whether you’re moving for a job, financial reasons, or to seek out autism-friendly schools and programs, there are many instances where moving is the best option for your family — despite the challenges and difficulties you may face along the way. And with advice from the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) professionals at Blue Minds LLC, you’ll learn how to make your house hunt and move go as smoothly as possible.
Give Your Child Ample Time to Prepare
Before you even start looking for homes, meeting with a real estate agent, or applying for a mortgage, it’s important to give your child some time to process the idea of moving. Older kids with ASD may need a month or longer to mentally prepare themselves for a move, while a few weeks may suffice for younger children.
As you talk to your child about the move, the following tips can help make the discussion go more smoothly:
● Discuss the benefits of moving into a new home, like having a larger backyard and bedroom to play in.
● Highlight some of the attractions your child will enjoy in your new city or state, like libraries, parks, swimming pools, and nature trails.
● Create a visual schedule of events to help your child understand the moving process.
When preparing your child for the move, you may also need to talk about the different items that will remain in the home (like the sinks and bathtubs), as well as those that will be moved into the new house (such as toys, clothing, and furniture). If your child is attached to a certain home feature (like a built-in nook by a window), do your best to find a new house that fills this void.
Look for an Autism-Friendly Home You Can Afford
After you’ve given your child some time to process the idea of moving, you’ll need to set your home buying budget, hire a real estate agent, and begin your search for a new house. When setting your budget, however, be sure to consider home prices in your desired location and other things like your annual household income, monthly expenses, and down payment requirements. You may need to budget for future home modifications as well, depending on your child’s accessibility needs.
Once you’re ready to begin the house-hunting process, it’s best to enlist the help of an experienced real estate agent. Your agent can help you to search for a home with the following types of autism-friendly features:
● Soft lighting
● A dedicated playroom
● Rounded countertop edges
● Quiet appliances
● Stairlifts (if your child has mobility impairments)
After finding a new house for your family, be sure to share photos of the home with your child. Better yet, bring your little one in for a tour of the home, neighborhood, and local area.
Pay for Professional Moving Services
Once you’ve found the perfect home for your family, you’ll need to prepare for the move. To keep your child calm and comfortable on moving day, start by putting together a detailed moving itinerary and sharing it with your little one. Then, get them involved in the packing process as best as possible.
Next, look for professional movers to assist you on moving day. By hiring movers, you’ll be able to devote more time to comforting your child on moving day — and you’ll experience a safer, smoother, and more efficient move into your new home.
House hunting and moving pose some unique challenges when you have a child with autism, but a little bit of planning and preparation can go a long way. The more you’re able to involve your child, the more comfortable he’ll feel as he adjusts to these environmental changes.
Do you have a child with autism spectrum disorder? Contact Blue Minds LLC to learn about the applied behavior analysis (ABA) services on offer and how they may benefit your child. 786-356-8161; firstname.lastname@example.org