Parent/Guardian Tip Sheets

Parent/Guardian Tips

Managing Aggression

  • Set clear expectations prior to behavioral escalation
  • Identify triggers and patterns to aggressive behavior and plan ways to circumvent dangerous situations
  • Focus on SAFETY issues over all else
  • Modify the environment to reduce risk
  • Create a support team (family, friends, neighbors, therapist, local crisis assistance, psychiatrist, case manager, etc.)
  • Make a crisis plan with your team
  • Call 911 is the situation is imminently dangerous

Sleep Difficulties

  • Set a regular schedule and stick to it 7 nights a week, bed time is bed time
  • Create a winding down ritual that is the same each night (bath, brush
    teeth, read story, nightlight, etc.)
  • Avoid energizing foods 2 hours before bedtime
  • Brainstorm with your child during the day as to when sleep is difficult and what
    might help (cup of decaf tea, stuffed animal, etc.)
  • Talk to your doctor if the condition continues or worsens

Healthy Eating

  • Make healthy food choices and look at the food pyramid
  • Avoid fast food or highly processed foods with ingredients you cannot pronounce
  • Remember that exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle
  • Eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods
  • Enjoy plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables
  • Eat moderate portions and eat at regular times
  • Balance your food choices over time and make changes gradually
  • Remember, foods are not good or bad if you keep portion sizes reasonable

Creating a Safe Environment

  • Remove sharps (knives of any kind, scissors, etc.) to a secret location, or use a padlock with a code
  • Be aware of fragile items or items that may be used as a weapon and put in storage out of sight
  • If needed, put a lock on the door to your bedroom (parent or guardian) to keep child out of your space
  • Create a safe space in your home where your child may go when deregulated or upset
  • Talk to your community therapist or crisis team to co-create ideas for how to improve safety

Running Away

  • Work with your child's therapist to determine why your child is
    attempting to run away (anxiety and anger are 2 common reasons)
  • Identify if they are "running from" or "running to"
  • Agree on a safe location to "run to" such as a tree fort or a child's room
  • Create a 1-10 scale where your child tells you how much they feel like
    running away, check in regularly
  • Make a list of why running away could be dangerous


  • Using positive language praise an act of honesty however small
  • Use teachable moments to illustrate the benefits of honesty
  • Co-create a list of people your child can look up to who are honest and upstanding
  • Instead of using words like "lying" or "manipulation" work on "giving accurate information" or "expressing your needs in words"
  • Say exactly what happened if you’re asked to provide information
  • Being honest does not mean that you have to confront all of your issues at once
  • Admit to mistakes or errors if you made them
  • Being honest lets other people know they can trust you
  • Being honest with yourself is the first step to rebuilding relationships

Autism Spectrum Resources in WA