Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Make Moving Easier for Kids with Autism

Moving is about as much fun as cleaning toilets. I love the idea of a new home and getting to set up shop in a new space. The decorating and the putting things in there place is fun for me. But when you have a child or two on the Autism spectrum, change can be monumental. Even if you are only moving two miles down the road. Transitions of any kind – especially those that are unpredictable – are unsettling and can cause a child to become totally undone.

Knowing how to support your child with Autism through change in order to make a successful transition is crucial. Helping with transitions is especially important during childhood “life event” changes ( attending a new school, death in the family, divorce, going to college, moving, etc.).

Here are some helpful tips we learned while moving with our two boys who are on the spectrum: 

1. Wait till after you have settled in to downsize their belongings. Yes they have tons of toys, collections of FastFood Toys, broken necklaces, a harmonica or two that don't work. But getting rid of them before you move will place more stress on them than they need. Wait till all the boxes are unpacked and their rooms are the way they want them. You never know, they might surprise you and come up with a box or two of items they realized they don't need or want. 

2. If your new home is close by take them to visit once or twice a week if possible. Take them for a walk around the area and introduce them to the other kids near by. That way when moving day is finally here they have friends around that will help make the transition easier and they won't be stressed over having to make new friends to play with. 

3. If you have a wonderful real estate agent like we did, ask to go inside a week or two before moving and let your kids map out where there furniture is going to go. Having them involved in the decorating process can help with the "change". 

4. Keep in contact with teachers! If you are moving schools, like their former teachers on Facebook so they can keep in contact. Being able to see pictures of their teachers can be especially helpful. Also, inform teachers early on your intentions to move. They can help make the transition easier by asking them questions, suggesting books about moving in the library etc. They can also keep you informed on how they are doing so that you can work together to keep them calm and happy during this crazy time. 

Moving with Autism

5. Pack their everyday can't live without it stuff in their own bags to carry in the car. They know right where their items are. It will help comfort them on Moving Day. 

6. Try to keep their routines the same. Wether it's story time, bedtime, when you eat your meals etc. It's just another way to help with the stress of moving to a new home, new town, etc. 

7. Do your best to stay calm when interacting with your child. You are under a ton of stress and everyone is asking you 50 questions about 50 pieces of furniture at once. But take the time to focus on your child when they need you. 

8. Praise!!! Give extra praise and encouragement. Thank them for helping and most of all lots of hugs (if they allow it). They need to know you are proud of them that even though you are stressed beyond measure that you love them and they are needed. 

I hope these tips will help  your child on the Autism Spectrum transition to their new home without meltdowns. No move is ever perfect. They still may have issues at school. Keep your routine,  give lots of praise, and keep in contact with their teachers. They can be a great help over the next few weeks after you move. 

Happy Moving Day!!!


  1. We used to move a lot before kids, but luckily haven't had to deal with it lately. I really love the tips here and appreciate how the kids' feelings are just as important. I think moving is already so stressful on the adults, there's no need to compound that or spread it to the kids beyond how stressed they'll already be.

  2. Oh I really like the idea of keeping in contact with their teachers. That's pretty clever and it will make the transition much smoother.

  3. These are great ideas and ones that parent's without kids on the spectrum can benefit from as well. #1 is brilliant- one I wish I'd thought of during our many moves. A move is so disruptive to a child anyway, why not allow them to keep their things until after they're settled?

  4. I think lesson #5 is great! Having your favorite items at fingers reach can help an overwhelming situation feel much more comfortable.

  5. These are such amazing tips! We are potentially moving to a different state next year, so I will keep many of these in mind.

  6. These are great tips. We sold/purchsed last year and it was quite tough with 2 kiddos tagging along.

  7. Great tips! Moving is always stressful on everyone tips like will definitely help ease the stress

  8. Those are some really great tips! i think most of these would be great for any kids really as change can be hard!

  9. These are excellent tips even for kids who are not on the spectrum. Earlier this year we thought we might have to move and our 8 year old got all anxious about it. We've been in the same house since before she was born and she could not imagine being anywhere else... She also could not stand the thought of not having our neighbors. They are such a blessing and she is so used to walking or calling over to ask if her friend can come over to play... Moving is hard on kids but your tips should bring a lot of comfort to a lot of families :-)


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