I was struck by a comment from Ellen Notbohm recently:
Do you talk about your child or student with autism in front of him as if he’s not there? Think he can’t hear? He can. Think he’s not listening? He is.
This thought totally resonated with me. I believe it with my life.
But this isn’t about me. It’s about you.
Do you believe it?
I see you nodding. That’s good.
Let me reframe that.
Do you believe this even if your child is non verbal or has limited vocabulary?
Do you believe this when he engages in self stimulatory behaviors?
Do you believe this when he appears to be spaced out and in his own world?
And do you believe this even if he can’t read or write?
Hold your thoughts while you watch this video.
There you heard it- straight from an autistic individual.
We’re conditioned to look at life in a certain way.
But this person has challenged every belief system of yours.
As if he’s saying, ‘Wake up! How long will you continue in this slumber of ignorance.’
It’s time to awaken to the depth of life.
It’s pay back time, my friend.
Our children have opened our eyes to a different reality.
It’s time to support them in thought, word and action.
Believe in your child’s potential 100%.
Think of him as a competent individual.
Don’t pity him or yourself.
Address him directly.
Speak to him in 1st person.
Check yourself. When you address him, do you say-
“How was Rohit’s day today?” or do you say, “How was your day today?”
Speak to him as you would a person of their age. Drop the baby language.
Speak up for him when required.
Treat your child like you treat your other children or the way you would treat a child of the same age.
Set limits appropriately. Having an autistic child doesn’t mean you don’t set limits.
Check your teaching material and activities. Are they suitable and authentic?
Introduce appropriate reading material- even if your child ‘cannot’ read. Imagine reading a story book for 5 year olds to an 18 year old. But going through a travel magazine is absolutely appropriate.
Give your child responsibility and expect him to fulfill it.
Dear Friend, I know what your journey’s like.
We’re walking along the same path.
Life goes by in a flash. Make a start today.
Wake out of the slumber state. Youngsters like Ido are here just for that.
Determine that you will respect your child in thought, word and deed.
Only if we ourselves implement this, will the world sit up and take notice.
Change starts with one person at a time.
Let that person be you.
[…] People with autism are different, but not less. […]
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