Over the past 35 years, many parents have shared with us, that there can be times they feel disconnected from their children with Autism. They want to find a way to reach them in these moments, and often don’t know-how. We understand how much you love, and want the best for your child, so here’s what to do, to get connected during these times.
Our children with Autism, are often engaging in their isms (repetitious activities). Maybe they are focusing on moving a piece of string and looking at it from a certain angle. Or they are repetitively rocking back and forth. Perhaps your child repeats the lines of their favorite movie over, and over again. It’s during these times that parents tend to feel disconnected. Their special children are not looking at them, not responding to them and appear to be in their own worlds. Doing the best we can to help, it’s common to attempt to get our children to interact, or talk to us. This makes perfect sense because this is how Neurotypical children get connected. However, our children with Autism, respond to us differently, and learn differently, from their Neurotypical peers.
When our amazing children do their isms, what they are actually doing, is taking care of themselves. They are creating a soothing, calming experience in a world that is unpredictable and random. What can feel like disconnection, is actually them doing the best they can to cope with the world. They are showing us, that their brain is in a state, where they simply cannot take in any new information.
So how do we get connected during these times?
We JOIN IN with their repetitious activities.
We create the most loving, nurturing bond with them, by doing the exact same thing as they are doing, right alongside them. So, if your child is holding an object, get a similar object to hold yourself. If they are flapping their hands, flap your hands. If they are flipping through the pages of a book, flip through the pages of your own book. Try to do this with a sense of fun and joy.
The idea here is to let them know, “I love you exactly as you are,” through your actions. In fact, the message is, you are so interested in their world that you want to attempt to experience it for yourself. You want to do this with excitement and sincerity. Enjoy this time with your child. Know that you are taking time to connect with them through a common interest. You are taking action to relate to them, and understand them more fully. This act of joining, with love and acceptance, is going to give you a tool that you can pull out and use, whenever you are feeling that sense of disconnection.
Additional benefits to joining:
· You will learn more about your child’s world and discover interests they have. You can use these interests to interact with them when they are ready.
· You will always have a way to deepen your relationship with your child, no matter how they are showing up with you.
· You will demonstrate to your child that they are OK the way they are.
· You will be showing your child how to be a friend (by doing what they love to do,) which is how friendships begin.
Try joining your child today and see how connected you feel to them.