Moving to Virginia Beach with a child on the Autism SpectrumMy son on the autism spectrum was traumatized when we moved.  

He was about 3.5 – 4 years old and we decided to take the plunge so our kids could attend Kempsville Elementary School – a school that would serve both our boys better.  Their old school could not accommodate my oldest with ADHD, so how could they possibly help my youngest? Nope, Virginia Beach Schools are not created equal. So, we sold our house in Larkspur and bought in Bellamy Manor. The pickings were slim, so we snatched it up the first day it hit the market.

For our youngest son, the change was too great. We simply did not know moving would make him regress that much.  We were just learning about Autism.  To me, he was just my baby.  After the move though, we had to get our PhD’s in Autism. To pull him back out, we did ABA Therapy, Gluten Free/Casein Free Diet, and some Biomedical Treatments. The B12 shots are what helped the most.

I believe, he would have needed treatment regardless of the move, just not to that extent.  

If we had prepped better, our son would not have been thrown into such a different world.  It took him 6-8 months to adjust.  I am writing this to make this transition easier on other families with kids on the spectrum.

In our old house he had a farm scene painted in his bedroom.  It was adorable.

TIP #1:

  • We did not paint his room the same.  He moved into a white room without the farm scene. I am shaking my head right now wondering what we were thinking.  We should have painted the farm scene and arranged his room the same way.

When you are moving, think about your current home.  What is the layout?  Where do they hang out?  Can you arrange the family room the same?  His or her bedroom the same?

Then, we  had the floors refinished.

The people before us rescued dogs  -there were 12 living in the home before we bought it!  Yes, TWELVE. So, naturally we wanted to re-do the floors. We did not know this at the time, but  our son has a huge sensitivity to smell.  So strong, that he used to eat the soap-less hand sanitizer.  You know, the 99% alcohol based stuff??? He loved the smell.  So, needless to say, the fumes from the floors did not help him either.

TIP #2:

  • Don’t refinish the floors and move in with any kind of smell lingering.  Same goes for painting.  We had the whole house painted.  Can you imagine?

Another thing we could have done was brought him by the house more.

We bought while the market was still a little crazy.  We got to see the house once – on their time, not ours – when we first looked at it, then during the home inspection, and then at the final walk-through. So, he only saw it ONCE, during the home inspection.

TIPs #3,4,5&6!

  • Prep, prep, prep.  Let the seller’s know you have a child on the spectrum and you need to bring them by as often as possible.  Have your agent arrange the times.
  • Take  tons of pictures of the house.  Take pictures of you and them in the house- smiling, having fun.
  • Better yet, take a video from several different entries.  Take it from the front door to their bathroom, bedroom, your room.  Take it from the garage door, explore the kitchen.  Show them where their food will be – for some of our kids, food is their world.
  • If they like to draw or just to take it another step, have them draw out the floor plan on paper or on their iPad (app:
If you have any other ideas, suggestions, please share.

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