Parents are the cornerstone of a child’s development.

“Just like any other child, a child with autism wants to play with their mom or dad. Just as all children love praise and affection from their moms and dads, children with autism love encouragement and respect from their moms and dads.”

Every parent of a child with autism is shocked when their child is suspected or diagnosed with autism. No parent foresees this in advance. Parents panic; they don’t know what to do, get frustrated, and start to turn to so-called “experts.” It’s common to listen to the advice of someone with specialized knowledge or experience and follow a program to help your child.

But before doing so, parents should remember that they are the ones who are responsible for their child’s overall development and happiness, and they are the ones who play the most critical role in their child’s development. For parents of children with special needs, there is a tendency to rely on outside experts for many things. Of course, raising a child with autism can be more complex and demanding, but the things parents need to do for their child’s development and happiness are no different from those with typical development.

Like a typically developing child, an autistic child wants to play with mom and dad. Just as children love praise and affection from their moms and dads, children with autism love encouragement and respect from their moms and dads. Understand that when your child seems to want to play alone and doesn’t want to engage with others, that’s just how they are on the outside, not how they are on the inside.  Once you understand your child’s sensory processing difficulties, you’ll know the meaning behind their outward behavior and understand much about them. Try to understand your child before you make judgments. Some academic information or learning can be helpful. The more you know your child, the better you can support them.

Find the best ways to communicate with your child. Words aren’t the only way to communicate. Gestures, facial expressions, and sounds can be communication vehicles to help us connect with the child. By finding a way to communicate with your child, you can spend more time with them, motivate them to initiate, and create communication circles. Be patient and curious. You’ll find faces you never knew before.

Instead of looking at what they can’t do, look and think more about what they do well and what interests them, and you’ll find moments when you can encourage them even more. Affectionate praise and encouragement are the elixir of childhood. Try to see the positive on the other side before you point out their worries, concerns, and things they’re doing wrong. Children who receive praise and attention thrive. 

Children with autism and other developmental delays are unique for their reasons, so the approaches and strategies that work can vary widely. Watch your child with an open mind, continually looking for what works best for them and being the person they feel most secure and comfortable with. These are the most fundamental things you can do for their development. The cornerstone of a child’s development, you can lay the strongest foundation.

Subscribe DR-TOMATO newsletter