The Importance of Connecting Before Requesting

“Your child with autism experiences many different requests and demands daily. It happens in school, in therapies, with their peers, or at home with their family members. As a parent, it is understandable to make requests of your child. After all, you want to see your child become social and be able to relate to their peers, right?

“Why connecting before requesting will help your child.
“For someone with autism, relating to people is a considerable challenge. The technique of connecting before requesting will allow you to support your child in the socialization process without any push or pressure. When we prioritize connecting with our children before putting any demands on them, we make ourselves more relatable and appealing. When we are relatable and appealing, our children move toward us more easily. Once our children experience us to be less demanding, with fewer requests, there are more opportunities for them to learn from us and therefore grow in all areas of challenge.

“So how do you do this?
“To help your child find social interaction more accessible and appealing, you want to become as easy to be with as humanely possible. Putting aside your usual requests and focusing on connection supports your child’s ability and desire to connect with people. What this looks like is to let them become the leader of their interactions with you. For example, if your child talks to you or makes speech-like sounds, respond quickly to their sounds or words instead of asking for more. Suppose your child loves to talk about Spiderman; delightfully listen to your child instead of asking questions. If your child likes to play with cars, become a fun car yourself and ‘drive’ around the house making beep/ horn sounds.

“Once you prioritize connecting with your child in what they want/love to do, you will have a stronger bond and, therefore, more leverage to help them grow.”

Becky Damgaard, Senior Son-Rise Program Teacher

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