Ten Things Your Autistic Child would Want You to Know: Part II
A child with autism is just like any other child, but communicates their needs, wants, feelings and desires in different ways. Maybe they can never tell you directly, but there are still things they would want you, the parents, to know. Below is the continuation of a list of things that your child would want you to know.
5. Please listen to my own way of communicating: It is difficult for me to tell you my wants and needs because I may not have the verbal capacity to do so. I still have feelings and can be frustrated, scared or confused but I just cannot find the right words. Watch out for my body language, signs of agitation and withdrawal. If I am able to speak, you may find me telling you things in scripts that I have memorized from books, films, TV or the speech of other people. I may not know what I am saying, but at least I am trying.
6. I’m visually oriented: Instead of telling me, show me how to do something. Be prepared to repeat yourself and show me many, many times. I’m sorry to try your patience, but it helps me learn. I need to see something in order to learn it. Speaking alone does not help me much. If you give me instructions, make sure to use visual stimuli as support.
7. Focus on what I can do rather than what I can’t do: Even if I can’t communicate my feelings and thoughts very well, I still do not like feeling that I’m not good enough and that I need fixing. Focus on my strengths: There are many things I can do and I’m waiting for you to find them.
8. Help me with my social interactions: Teach me how to play with others. Encourage others to play with me instead of asking me to initiate – I have difficulties doing so as it’s hard for me to read facial expressions and body language and decipher emotions. I do best in structured play activities so give me a game that has a concrete beginning and ending.
9. Identify my triggers: When I have an emotional meltdown, it is very devastating for me because one or more of my senses has gone into overload or I have been pushed too far. Keep an eye on my behavioral patterns and you may see ways to prevent this.
10. Love me just the way I am: I am just a child. I need your support and unconditional love. Please do not expect me to fulfill your every expectation, but with your guidance I will do able to do a lot more.
Every child has different abilities and it would help your child to remember this rather than characterizing your child by their disabilities. Look past their limitations and see their strengths. If you are in need of a Edmonton-based psychologist to give your child an assessment, please take a look at my services.