Posts Tagged autism

Parenting Tip: Follow your child’s lead

May 28, 2009

Participate with your child in those activities that bring them pleasure, even if it feels strange to you.

Joining your child in their world requires an essential parenting skill-imitate and follow. Don’t make demands, don’t ask them to perform (i.e., “What color is this?” or “What does a cow say?”), and don’t direct the play. While it may sound simple, it’s not! As parents we all want to feel proud of what our children know. We get great pleasure in asking them to show off, especially in front of other people so they can see what great parents we are. However, most children don’t like to be drilled (nor do adults, for that matter), and when too much of this occurs, the child may simply withdraw, or do the opposite, have a tantrum.

Truly joining in your child’s world gives them the feeling that you treasure what comes from inside, not only what you draw out of them. It says “I’m so delighted in you that I’m going to sit here with you and watch what you do, do it alongside you, and wonder with you why this is so fascinating.” Granted, as parents we will always be tickled by our child’s responses to our approaches or our questions, but expecting too much of this will backfire on you. Instead, join in, talk about what you and the child are doing (i.e., “Boy, these rays of sunlight on the floor are really interesting.” or “You really like the sound of that block banging on the table.”). Finally, don’t be afraid to add to the play with your own creations in the hope that your child will someday become interested in you, too.

If your child has limited awareness of others, you can gently create situations in the play to get your child to notice you. For example, if they are building with blocks, you might “accidentally” knock them over then help build them up again.

Today’s tip comes from Dr Sarita Freedman.  This tip is extracted from her excellent article, “Top 10 Tips for Parenting an Autistic Child“.

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Please let us know below.

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