Connecting with your child is one of the best experiences as a parent, second to none.
When you develop an understanding, spoken and unspoken, with someone you love, you feel content and as though you are a great parent.
Such connections are much harder with autistic children, which is why ABA therapy for autism and other strategies may be helpful for parents who are struggling to understand their kids.
Rather than giving up and thinking that you will never have a great relationship with your child, you can try different ways to form a connection. Below are some ways that you can better understand your autistic child.
Different Modes of Interaction
One of the most important ways that autistic children differ from non-autistic kids is how they interact with other people. Autistic children sometimes do not respond to their names or reciprocate socially acceptable behaviors.
When you are in the same room as a non-autistic child, and you call their name, they will respond. If you smile in their direction, and they know you, they are likely to smile back. Such interactions are not always possible with autistic children, which can leave parents feeling hurt and confused.
Rather than forcing your child to behave in such a way, you have to meet them at their level. Understand what they see as great interactions, and go from there.
Attention to Detail
Autistic kids are known for becoming fixated on the smallest detail, whether they are looking at a math problem, watching a television show, or reading a book. The same can be true when they have conversations with their parents or other people.
You may be having a conversation with your child when they start ignoring you and fixate on a specific part of the room. A non-autistic person behaving in such a way is rude, but autistic children do not understand social norms in that way.
Rather than getting upset, you should ask your child what they are staring at. You can bond with your kid in this way by indulging in whatever they find fascinating.
Embrace Their Hobbies
When you move to a new city, you often get advice from family to make friends by engaging in hobbies. Perhaps you like going to the movies, playing recreational sports, or visiting museums. Such events allow you to mingle with other people and connect.
Autistic children are likely to have many hobbies and often become very passionate when they appreciate a particular activity. If you feel disconnected from your child, you may want to embrace their hobbies as well.
Say you have an autistic child who loves to collect insects or dry flowers. You can talk with them about their hobby, learn why they find it so fascinating, and even participate in the processes related to that hobby.
Accept Limited Interactions
Autistic children are very rarely social in the same way as non-autistic children. You could spend 30 minutes having an incredible conversation with your autistic child about one of their hobbies before they quickly lose interest and want to be alone.
Do not think you are missing out on more time with your child, but instead appreciate the moments you are getting. Your kid may not be the most social person in the world, as they prefer quiet and solitude, but that is not necessarily a problem.
So long as you are interacting and connecting with your child, even if those interactions are brief, they are still very meaningful.
Never Give Up On Your Kid
Even if you are going through a very tough time with your autistic child, you can never give up on someone you love. Your child is a unique, wonderful person who has a hard time connecting with other people, even their parents.
As you develop better skills in dealing with autistic children and begin to understand why they behave in specific ways, you will find it a lot easier to connect with your kid.
You may never have a so-called “normal” child, but you can have an incredible relationship with someone who is so dear to you. Autistic children are very funny, creative, and inquisitive. As you learn more about your child’s personality, you can connect with them in a much better way.