You are probably wondering how The Boy has done, seeing as autism and any kind of change don’t generally mix well, and moving house is a change in a league all of its own. The short answer is that he has done amazingly well!
Here’s what I think helped:
Grammy and Poppy were there to help ease the transition. The Boy loves his grandparents, and they are a constant in his life. Having them come up to help with the move helped remind him of what he had to look forward to — more time with his grandparents! They are also a little less threatening than Mom, so Grammy helped him pack up his room, which calmed his fears that we were getting rid of all of his stuff!
Preparation. We’ve been prepping the Boy for almost a year, first introducing it as an idea, and then gradually replacing the “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” with “Won’t it be fun when we…?” We addressed each of his fears as they came up, and made sure not to make light of them. We also spent a lot of time focusing on the positives.
The Moving Book. Anytime I heard him start to fret about the move, I made sure to pull out the moving book (or at least made a point to remember to do that at a quiet part of the day). It really did seem to calm his fears, I think because it worked as a visual cue to address his fears and remind him of the positives, and visual cues really work.
Addressing his biggest fear ASAP. One of The Boy’s biggest concerns was missing his ESY program. As quickly as I could, I found a similar program in our new state. Because of the timing of our move, I didn’t think I’d be able to get him into one provided by his school district, and truth be told, finding one that was going to be the right fit was a bit of a challenge. But in a totally coincidental way, we (I say we because Grammy helped a bunch on this front) found a summer day camp for kids with autism and their siblings in our new area that was relatively affordable and got him enrolled ASAP so that he would have a replacement for the program he cared so much about. He went from whimpering about missing ESY to being excited about Camp SMILE. And because he attends daily, it is a new and immediate routine, and provides him with an opportunity to make new friends (one of his other biggest concerns).
His room is still full of boxes, as most of them are, and he’s been wearing his new Spongebob hoodie just about everyday (he tends toward clothing exclusivity when stressed), but he really has made an excellent transition, and I am so proud and happy for him.