At Humboldt Storage and Moving, we realize just how stressful a move can be. We also know how challenging this transition can be for a family member who is on the autism spectrum. With a flurry of major changes and disruption of normal routines, relocating can be both scary and exciting.
In an effort to provide useful information for families with members on the autism spectrum Humboldt has partnered with The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism and Ablevision to create this series of videos about moving with autism.
Our first video, “Before the Move” – includes insight on planning and preparations to ensure a smooth move day.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Involve your family member in the new location hunt as much as possible.
- Frame the move in a positive way.
- Talk about your move in their presence and the presence of other family members. Solicit their opinions about the move as part of the conversation.
- Allow your family member to vent their fears or frustrations about the move. Acknowledge their feeling as being valid concerns and feelings.
- Use writing or drawing as an outlet of expression and to let out frustrations.
- Introduce a calendar with moving day clearly marked. Make the countdown to moving day fun & exciting.
- If possible and it is empty, visit the new house. Let your family member see their new bedroom. Ask their opinion on how they want to set it up.
- If it is not possible to physically tour the house, neighborhood, or community – share any photos available.
- If travelling by train or plane, make field trips to the station or airport. So that it becomes familiar.
- Research the local community to find local resources in place. Reach out to build a support network.
- If your family member is a child:
- Reach out to your child’s new school. Arrange a visit to the school and a meeting with their new teacher.
- Research places child will be excited about visiting in the new community.
- Allow child to choose decor and layout of new room. Giving them a say makes them feel more comfortable.
- Use a “Social Story” as a valuable tool. Use visuals to describe the situation in terms of relevant social cues and common responses for an improved understanding of events and expectations surrounding the move.
- Include pictures of your family member and family in your social story and incorporate their daily routine relative to the move. Add pictures of the new environment and read it to your family member every day. Include lots of actual pictures of new home, new yard, new surroundings. Have a positive twist to them.
- Have a special packing experience for those “can’t live without” items. Mark boxes clearly with visuals and make sure they know where the boxes are on the day of the big move.
- Use visual cues & positive reinforcement throughout the move process.
- Consult with family member’s doctor and support network for more tips and information about moving a family member with autism.