Coping with Uncertainty and Change
by Adina Levy
Here’s a question I get asked a lot: How can I help my child deal with uncertainty and changes to plans?
Even for a lot of grown-ups, coping with uncertainty and change can be really tricky.
It’s very common for autistic and neurodivergent people to experience anxiety and anxious feelings. Change and uncertainty can bring these emotions up in a big way.
We sometimes have stories in our mind about what that uncertainty might bring. And we might think about the negatives, the worst possible outcomes, the disasters that might unfold.
Here’s the thing: very often, those challenging scenarios don’t play out. We might spend a lot of time worrying about these scenarios that didn’t eventuate.
So what can you do about it?
Here’s how you can support your child cope with change and uncertainty more calmly and more easily
1️⃣ Highlight the fact that uncertainty and change can feel uncomfortable. That is normal and that is OK
2️⃣ When you notice that you are feeling uncomfortable with change or uncertainty, talk about it with your child
3️⃣ Recognise that uncertainty isn’t a problem itself. The feelings that it brings up, the worries and concerns that it can bring – those are where the challenge lies.
4️⃣ Make a list or think about what might go right
5️⃣ One of the biggest things you can do to support your child through change is to talk about it! Prepare them as much as possible, but leave wiggle room for things that ‘might’ happen.
Here’s an example of what you could say if your child is going to change childcare centres – adjust the language and situation to your child’s level and needs. And add visuals and real life experiences as much as possible!
“You’re feeling worried about changing childcares. It can be hard when things change! Let’s look at some photos of the new centre. We can walk past and play at the park across the road”
Want to learn more about your child’s communication skills and how you can help them develop?
Next week I’ll be sharing more on this topic with my Connect & Grow Live 6-week parent course. If you want to learn more about how to support your autistic (or possibly autistic) child’s interactions, communication and emotional connection, pop yourself on the waitlist by clicking below! Waitlisters will get a special offer when I next launch the program 😊