autistic childrenParents naturally desire for their children to be healthy and happy. But what if one day your child comes back from school and the look on his/her face says something is wrong, but you can’t get them to tell you about it? This is the most dreadful scenario, one which no parent wants to come across, especially if you have autistic children. This is just one of the many situations a parent could find not only challenging but also emotionally draining. Therefore, it is essential that you, as a parent, find a method to communicate with your child and make them feel comfortable enough to share anything and everything with you.
Give the child a reason to communicate
It is important for a parent to build a strong and warm bond with their child of special needs. Understand that your child, given the circumstances, already feels socially and emotionally withdrawn. Therefore, it is necessary for him/her to have a place where they can be themselves and pour their hearts out. They should be given a reason and enough comfort to communicate with their own parents freely. And this is the sole responsibility of a parent — to listen and understand their children.
Understanding the communication
Children with autism often experience difficulty with their speech and therefore are more comfortable with gestures. Therefore, the parents should observe the method of communication of the child to further develop his/her strengths. The child will often use means like pictures, echolalia, crying, pointing, or using a parent’s hand to point at what they need.
Echolalia, if you haven’t heard of it, is a simple method which children with autism use to communicate. They repeat the words they have heard before. For instance, they would remember what was said to them when they asked for water and then use those words at a later point in a totally different situation. Echolalia, however, is a good sign that your child is progressing with his/her communication.
Let the child ask for help
As parents, we often have a tendency to do everything for our child with special needs — for example, dressing them for school, packing their bags, getting their shoes, and tying their shoelaces. This often does not give the child a chance to do things by themselves. Present the child with a task and let them do things on their own. It is often cumbersome to decide how much help a child with autism needs to do his/her stuff. But give them an opportunity to do it, and remind them you’re there to help if they need the help.
However, it is important to realize too much of anything is bad. So although you should not overpower your child, you should not leave them totally independent to do their own thing. Understand that your child is special and so are his/her needs. Therefore, it is important that there is an adult mingling with and supervising them in their activities, even if it is only playing. This is also another method in which parents can interact and be playful with their children and open means of communication with them. Take the role of a partner rather than a parent while dealing with your children.
When you assume the role of a friend or a partner with your child, you are not only opening avenues for the child to communicate with you but also increasing their ability to communicate. This way, they not only learn to converse easily but also learn to perform tasks without explicit direction. Try letting them ask you for what they want rather than just giving it to them.
Reward the Child
It is necessary that you sometimes follow the lead rather than always being the leader in the case of a child with autism. And it is so essential to encourage them every time they make a fresh attempt at interaction and understanding. This will give them a push to keep pursuing their method of communication.
Even parents who are good at communication with their autistic children often ask themselves whether they truly understand their children. But by paying attention to your child’s verbal and non-verbal attempts at communication, you’ll readily develop a much deeper rapport with your child. This is how super parents learn to speak their child’s language.