We are a military family and have moved often in my son's five years of life. At 3 1/2 yrs old we moved from Germany back to the States and I found it worked really well to buy one of the small kid tents to use during the transition since our household items would be in transit for a lengthy period of time. I introduced the tent before we actually started the move so that it would be a familiar place for him no matter where we were sleeping (my son got most upset about missing his room/his bed at night). It worked great though and also made it into more of a fun adventure for him. The transition was still difficult, but once we unpacked his room and the familiar surroundings in his new home it began to get better and put him more at ease.
My suggestion would be to show the child understanding. Moving is a huge change that is difficult for any child to adjust to, but even more so for our spectrum kids. Expect regression is very likely to happen and show your child understanding and love while they get used to all of the new sights, sounds, and smells. This can be a very scary experience for them, so offer them extra patience and extra reassurance. If at all possible, try to plan the move at a time when the child has a break from school so that they can get used to the new home before they have a new school as well. Or, start them in the school before the move. (It depends on the situation and how far you are moving) Like another member brought up, a move is a great time to introduce other transitions or establish a new rules. (as long as you don't change too much too soon) You should try to keep as much the same as you possibly can so that the children do not become overwhelmed with too much change. But for one example, when we moved we started enforcing a new rule that in the new home we could only keep food in the kitchen. We had gotten bad about letting our kids run around with snacks and it got too messy.
And lastly, but certainly not least. Take care of yourself!! Try to keep your stress level down. Do not try to accomplish too much all at once with the packing and unpacking. Realize that this should be a slow process. Make sure you take the time to eat right, sleep right and get the rest and relaxation you need. If you are stressed, even if you don't think it's noticeable... trust me spectrum kids are very in tune with our stress levels. They are very observant and pick up our mannerisms, tone of voice and other clues we put off that other children might not notice. Controlling your own stress levels will help your child feel comfortable and at ease with all of the new changes. Unpack the necessities and take your time unpacking the rest, or if possible, have someone help you have all the unpacking done ahead of time so that once you move you can just focus on your child. We are not super humans and we cannot expect too much from ourselves. Hold reasonable expectations on how much can get done each day and remember the priority is helping your child to transition, not getting the house in perfect shape.
allow your child to explore the new home, prior to moving in. Maybe include visiting the new neighborhood, also.
Former military family here as well, DOZENS of moves....
1. The suggestions to take pictures of the "old" places and faces is VERY GOOD. DO THAT.
Also, try and get a map putting pictures of the "old" place on the former residence and putting pictures of the "new" place on the new residence on the map. It will help them place things in their head. The more visuals you use the better.
2. Also set aside their favorite toys. Make sure they are accessible right after the move.
3. Most importantly.... give them a little time to adjust before throwing in a new setting (like school) on top of their new home. It helps them take things one step at a time.
Because we were able to paint at our new house we let our HF guy pick the color for his room, he got to choose his room and he helpedin the packing process. We made it as exciting as possible and made sure to point out all the exciting things that would happen in our new town.