“As a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, you ask yourself: Why is my child on the autism spectrum rigid and controlling? And how can I support my special child in becoming more flexible?
“At the Autism Treatment Center of America® and The Son-Rise Program® we understand that everyone seeks to have a certain level of control and predictability. No one would agree to be a passenger in a car or a bus with a reckless, dangerous driver that seems out of control. What differentiates your special child from their neurotypical peers, in terms of their ‘need’ for exaggerated control, is that your child’s need for control is much stronger and more pervasive (it affects many areas and many of their behaviors).
“Your child on the autism spectrum experiences sensory overstimulation way more frequently than their neurotypical peers, hugely affecting how your child engages with the people and the world around them. They often experience the world around them as chaotic, disorganized, and unpredictable. Hence their exaggerated need for control…
“This is a very important topic because when your child feels out-of-control (overstimulated), they feel stressed and unable to learn and grow.
“So how can you help your special child feel more in control?
“By becoming more predictable and giving them control with things to do with their body and some aspects of their environment
“By saying ‘yes’ whenever it’s safe and reasonable
“By becoming flexible yourself
“When you give your child on the autism spectrum a (safe) exaggerated sense of control, your child can relax (come out of a state of fight or flight). When they relax and notice that they have some control over the environment and the people around them, they are more likely to want to participate in the things you want for them.
“What is one thing that you can give your child control over today? One thing that it’s safe and reasonable to say ‘yes’? Will you do that? 😉
“If your child wants to jump, this is safe and reasonable… allow it to happen.
“If your child wants to talk about roller-coasters or elevators, this is safe and reasonable… listen to them.
“If your child wants to wear a red shirt for three days in a row, this is safe and reasonable… let them do it!”
Camila Titone, Senior Son-Rise Program Teacher