One of the signals that your child has autism is his slow emotional development. In case average toddlers always ask for their mommy or daddy, your offspring may not even care whether you are present or not. The kid may be aloof around people as well – including you – if he is “in the zone.” For sure, things get much worse if your child has severe autism since even a little skin-to-skin may put him on defense or attack mode. According to Darren Sush, Psy.D., “…with the immense stress and debilitating struggles of navigating the world of autism without appropriate support and guidance, a growing number of parents of children with autism often find themselves physically and emotionally exhausted, and feeling as though they have nowhere to turn.”
What such instances tell you is that your way of showing affection to your non-disabled kids will most likely not work on the autistic one. You are fortunate if he merely ignores your cuddles or kisses. Some parents have to deal with a violent child who may pose a threat to others and themselves.
Thus, you should learn various approaches on how to prove your love for your autistic kid.
Say No To Rushing
When your boy is already five and is still acting quite cold around you, it will not be shameful to admit that you feel exasperated due to it. You ideally live under the same roof, you try to play with him all the time, but the child typically does not respond when you call him or say ‘I love you.’
However, you do know that it is not because you are a lousy parent or because he hates your guts, right? Autism can make its victim emotionally unattached, and neither you nor your kid can reverse it anytime you want. So you may display your affection by keeping your cool and never rushing your baby to become as sweet as his peers who have no disability.
According to Erik Young, MEd, LPC, “When confronted with your child’s difficult behaviors, it is often helpful to ask what it is your child is trying to say with his or her behavior. For example, if you see me get up, go to the kitchen, and make a sandwich, you can safely infer from my behavior that I am hungry. Figuring out what your child is communicating with his or her behavior is a big step in figuring out the function of the behavior (Step 1 in the behavior-change process).”
Identify The Trigger Factors
The disorder has an entire spectrum dedicated to it since the symptoms and triggers that patients experience rarely fall into a single category. That should be your driving force to look closely at your autistic kid and see what actions push him on edge.
As mentioned earlier, a youngster with a mild case of autism may turn away if you tap his arm or caress his cheek. The reaction may become harsher, assuming he has a more grave condition. Nevertheless, your chances of not dealing with meltdowns will increase once you understand all the factors that might trigger the kiddo’s autism.
Inform Everyone Your Child Will Meet About His Issues
Kids with special needs thrive with structure. At home, you may already have a good system working, primarily when it comes to showing affection. That may consist of nods, smiles, pats, and perhaps a quick embrace if your autistic child allows it. The more you exercise that kind of routine with him, the easier it may be to improve your bond as a family.
One thing that might destroy the peace, however, is when friends or relatives come up to the kid with autism and dare to hug or kiss him, unaware of what the little boy may do because of that. You cannot blame those people, considering they happen to switch on your kid’s aggressive side. As the parents, you must protect the child 100%, even if it means that you need to relate his condition to anyone he will meet in the future.
The main point here is that autism is not the type of disorder that you can fight with sheer stubbornness. As Dr. James Pendleton said, “Stabilizing the emotional states of children with autism is an important goal for therapists and parents. When the child is calm and responsive, talk therapy and other interactive activities can be more meaningful and effective.” In case you are unable to hug your child without asking for his permission or triggering his hostile behavior, then you have to use your smarts and work around it. That is the only way to prove your love for your little warrior successfully, to be honest.