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  • Writer's pictureErica Livingston

Moving with a Special Needs Child… Pt. 1

Hey y’all!

Can you believe its August? Mid August at that. Where has this year gone?! One thing that 2021 has brought us is our very first (well, mine and David’s first) out of state move. Anything new like this makes my anxiety sky rocket! One of my biggest worries has been how David will handle all of this.

This is just part one because we don’t move until next week. However, we have been pulling pictures off of the walls and getting stuff ready. Luckily for me, we moved a year ago to our current apartment, so David has been through a move before. I strongly believe that has worked in my favor. He is only 3, which is when long term memory usually begins to set in. He‘s autistic, though, and some autistic children have wonderful memories. I think he remembers. He keeps trying to help me and help pull stuff off of the walls. I’m so proud of him!

It’s not all easy, though. He keeps getting into his own head. Any of my autism parents feel me on that? He just keeps internalizing, cracking up at stuff only he understands and obviously not connecting with his outside surroundings. I think this is really helping him, though. He has been in good spirits! But I have to wonder if he is more stressed than I personally can tell.

I think him staying in his head is his coping mechanism with all the change going on in his surroundings. I’m hoping that when we move and get settled, he starts coming out of his own head for a bit.

So, since this is only part one, I only have a few tips. I’ll add a part two when we are settled! But here are my tips for moving with a special needs child:

  • If your child is acting out, try to be patient. Moving brings out all of my biggest mental health triggers, so it’s hard for me to remember when David is acting out, that he is being triggered by all of the change as well. Our kids are human, too. Just because they are little doesn’t mean their emotions are.

  • If your child is set in routine and resistant to change, try to make a safe space if possible. For example, maybe wait until the last minute to pack up the majority of the child’s favorite room. Also, keep their normal routine as normal as possible. Continue with therapies, schools, actives, whatever you can! It’s hard, but may make the transition a bit easier!

  • Have open dialogue with your little ones. I recommend this for every parent, not just special needs parents. I have been trying to tell David what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. He was trying to get me to re hang a picture, I told him we could not because we were moving. I reminded him of the place we visited last month and explained how we are going to be living there. Now in my case, my son is nonverbal and only 3, so I have no idea how much he understood. However, I figure if he understands any of it, it may help!

  • Plan to have your child’s comfort items close, so they are easy to unpack. David loves Curious George. We are planning on packing one of our tvs ourselves so when we arrive, he can have his comfort show while we await the rest of our furniture to arrive. Also, if you have a picky eater, consider packing or having some safe foods for them so they don’t feel like everything is different.

  • Get the not so fun things done before the move if possible. What I mean is David hates haircuts. His hair was getting kind of long, but not quite in need of a haircut. However, we went ahead and gave him a haircut so he doesn’t equate the negativity of the haircut with the new home.

I hope these tips help even just one person out there! I’ll be back with an update in about a week or 2! Wish me luck!\


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