Every child with autism has a difficult path ahead of them. They battle to communicate and don’t fit in with others of their age. They perform stimming actions when stressed and sometimes lose control. The worst outcome is when a child feels that autism is really bad and their self-esteem goes through the floor. Any parent will understand how hard this must be for a child. This article is designed to help parents and carers make their children feel accepted at home and beyond.
Teach the Child About Life
Communicating with others and relating socially doesn’t come naturally to an autistic child. They don’t handle unfamiliar situations as they have no grid for the experience. It was encouraging to learn from the experts of https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/social-stories-for-autistic-children/ that telling the child social stories can help in both these areas. Comic strip conversations are also used as a tool to literally illustrate life situations. They help the child to understand life and human interaction. The more they do this and learn social behavior, the more they fit in with others and experience acceptance.
The child first and foremost needs to know that its parents love and accept him. Words of love should be verbalized. Not all Autistic children can handle physical touch, but it’s important to be physically affectionate if the child reaches out to receive it.
If a child believes autism is dark and horrible and they have no hope for their future, it is important for the parents to step in. They won’t deny that the child is at a disadvantage to other children, but will communicate that the future can still be good. The child has interests and hopes for the future, and it’s important to encourage such things as being attainable. When it comes to hobbies and pastimes, get involved with the child and if possible involve others too.
When a child is very young it would be destructive to laugh about autism with them. As they get older, however, a lighthearted approach on occasion can be literally disarming. ‘There goes that autism again!’ said in the right tone of voice may provoke amusement in the child. It reduces the power and intensity of autism in the child’s mind. It’s like the moments we have where life is tough but we put our heads back and laugh, and say ‘it’s only life!’ It can be a helpful coping mechanism.
Let the Child Speak
This may not come easily for an autistic child. They need to communicate how they feel and how they see the world. Without this emotional release, children blow up and have meltdowns, both verbally and physically. If a child can’t verbalize well, show them a video that is relevant to them, and ask ‘was any of this similar to you? Is that how you see things? Do you feel like that ever? Is that why you react as you do?’
Understand the Child’s Needs
As we’ve already said, sensory stimulation can freak some autistic children out. We need to respect this and honor their desire to protect themselves in situations that challenge this. Stimming behaviors may look odd but it helps the child to cope in a difficult situation. To ask them to stop is like asking a worried person not to talk about their concerns, except with autism it’s like creating a time-bomb before they eventually explode.
Help Them Interact
This starts with you at home. Don’t just leave the child to play on its own all the time, even if that seems like what it wants to do. Be involved in play and encourage other siblings or friends to do the same. It will help the child learn physical and verbal communication. Floortime and RDI are helpful here.
Teach the child about games and sports – particularly the ones other children at school will be playing. The more the child understands the rules and how to play, the more it will fit in with others. If a classmate is talking about football, for example, your child will not be at a loss to join the conversation or game.
For an autistic child to feel accepted, it needs to be loved and understood. The more it is taught about everyday life and interaction the better. Other children are more likely to become friends if they have things in common and if the child understands social queues. There is no doubt that that is a challenging task for any parent or carer, but the future can be good and the child can have lots of fun pursuing their interests and dreams as their lives develop.
Interesting related article: “What is Motivation?“