Michael is a sensitive kid and being that with autism he sometimes misinterprets social cues, there can be difficult moments. He will often think a raised voice means someone is angry and be scared to face the person. He will also think a serious face means that the person may be angry at him, whether that is me or a teacher. We are doing our best to teach him to look deeper for cues, in the person’s voice, words and body language. This is tricky for him. It is tricky for many people with autism. Words and body language are not evident. This is something therapists have talked to me about helping him with and I have increasingly tried to help him understand as well. How was she standing when she said that? Who was he talking to? What words were said? Is this a good time to talk to that person? Do they look busy?
But then I look to myself. I’ve always been a rather sensitive soul, and as a child, I would take things to heart that people said, particularly if they spoke loudly or raised their voice. If I made a mistake and my parents were upset, it took me awhile to get over it . I worried for a few hours afterwards that they were still mad. Of course, they were not. I gradually learned how to handle these feelings. I grew to have more confidence in myself and see I was lovable. I don’t have autism, but still would have these social misunderstandings. We all do. Teaching it is another thing. It requires lots of patience, and last night when I could see Michael was tired and fighting going to bed due to being worried his camp counselor was still upset about something that occurred earlier in the day, I had to remind myself to stay calm and not tell him to get over it. I had unintentionally heard that sometimes, both directly and indirectly from the adults around me, though most of the time I had sensitive responses. Michael deserved this from me too. As he reminded me what I would struggle with, it helped me be sensitive to his struggles.
Exceptional Parents, how do you present social situations to your Exceptional Child? How do they interpret them? It’s important to remember if you struggle in this area, or someone in your family does. Take that information and approach your child gently, with patience, and remember, they and you are both learning together. Life is all about learning how to adapt to our surroundings, whatever our neurological makeup. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.
For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.