When I ask parents What has Autism taught you? They almost always answer “Unconditional Love” (and “patience”!!!). The very first step in raising a child with or without Autism is to realize that they are perfect as they are. As a parent, you are not here to fix them. You are here to understand them and guide them to become the best version of themselves.
I was once asked by a therapist. So what’s your magic to working with children with Autism?! My answer… Unconditional Love. I shower so much Light on the children that I work with. I accept them as they are. I genuinely enjoy my time with them. This love HEALS!
This is not to say that we don’t work on skills. We work very hard on learning new skills! But I help children learn at their pace, I meet them where they’re at. My agenda is their agenda. I challenge them and help them feel successful. I teach, I guide and I expose them to different experiences. I don’t fix them.
The personal work we need to do when working with children is that they do not need to change in order to satisfy us! The message needs to be: You do not need to stop flapping your hands, you do not need to stop acting differently than peers, you do not need to be someone that you are not in order for me to love you!
Humanity is in need of a tremendous shift! A shift that sees from eyes of love instead of being blinded by the outer shell that our souls inhabit! If we could only see with eyes of soul, we would realize that children with Autism are the true Masters! They are the special souls that have come to be powerful teachers of unconditional love and acceptance! And you as their parent have been chosen to become their voice! Start with loving and raising your child from this place of non-condition so that together we shift the vision for all.
Let’s get practical:
How to practice unconditional love in a practical way?
1. Spend time with your child. Really just spend time enjoying each others presence. Zero expectations. Just enjoying a moment. And if that means stimming together so be it!
2. Understand behaviors rather than fixing them. Question everything your child does with the goal of understanding them. Why do they rock? why do they have meltdowns? why do they repeat what I say?….why? why? Why? For ex: if your child is repeating the same sentence over and over again, instead of using a behavioral approach to eliminating this behavior and telling then to be quiet, try instead to figure out why your child is doing that?! Most likely it’s to reduce anxiety and your goal is to then figure out and reduce the source of the anxiety and not the OUTLET that your child has chosen to reduce this anxiety. Go to the source.
3. Enjoy your child!!!! Lighten up, have fun, find the humor. Most of the time, parents are all wound up and the child is happy and smiling. I am not minimizing that things can get very challenging but I can also see how parents have their guards up so high that they can’t appreciate their child as the sweet, loving, wonderful being that they are.