House-hunting and moving when you have a child on the autism spectrum requires extra
planning and forethought. It’s vital to help your child understand the process of finding a new
home, from showing them photos of potential houses to helping them grasp the steps necessary
to move. Use this guide for advice on how to help prepare your child for the whole process, from
house-hunting to moving day.
Finding a new home
When it comes time to look for a new home, remember to look for features that will help your
child thrive. For children on the autism spectrum, it’s a good idea to find houses that have more
open layouts with minimal decor. Some children with autism have a sensitivity to light, so finding
a home with dimmable lights will help soothe your child when they’re feeling anxious.
Another consideration for an appropriate home is outdoor space. Having a yard can help create
a safe outdoor play area, but be sure to find a home with fences — or have them installed — to
keep your child safe. It’s also wise to find a home in a quiet area away from busy roads.
Make sure to discuss your options with dedicated and skilled realtor Myke Leatham who has
expertise in the College Station area.
Talk about your plans
One way to make the whole process easier is by preparing your child for the move well ahead of
time. For older children, as much as a month or two of warning can help them adjust to the idea.
If your children are under the age of 10, a few weeks could be enough warning.
Use a calendar to help them understand the timeline, and include as many visual supports as
possible. Be open and answer as many questions as you can leading up to the move. It may be
helpful to focus on features of the new house that will make your child excited, whether it’s their
new bedroom or backyard.
If you’re still in the house-hunting phase, consider doing online tours of potential houses to keep
your family safe during the pandemic. You may want to include your child in the online tours so
they can be involved in the process. By seeing photos and videos of a new house, they’ll be
able to better understand what’s happening.
Packing can be really disruptive for the whole family and could bring up some negative emotions for your child. You can mitigate the stress by packing your child’s room last and involving them in the process.
Try to make it more fun by using colored boxes and labeling everything — your child will likely feel better if they’re more in control and can understand what’s being packed in each box. Remember to pack a few things in an overnight bag, including a comfort kit that will help them feel calm and grounded when anxiety arises.
The most challenging part of any move is usually moving day. This could be a hard day for your child, so think about ways to make it easier. A comfort kit full of their favorite items or toys will make the day more bearable. If possible, it could help to have your child stay at a friend or family member’s house on the day of the move to protect them from the stress of the day.
While moving is a tough process when you have a child on the autism spectrum, these tips will help you make it through. Give your child plenty of warning and use visual supports such as photos and videos to help them visualize their new house. Make packing day fun by using colored boxes, and consider a back-up plan for moving day if things go awry.
Written by Jenny Wise
Are you in the midst of house-hunting in College Station? Contact Brazos County Realty today to find homes that will be perfect for your family’s needs! 979-693-0201