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Building A Relationship With Your ASD and SPD child

 

This month we are focusing on spending at least 5 minutes with your child.  So I thought I would develop a series of posts to help you in building a relationship with your ASD and SPD child.  This post is Part 1.

Numerous parents of children on the spectrum and with sensory processing disorder say to me that they have trouble with developing a relationship with their child because they do not give much feedback or they do not want them to be near them.  I usually ask the question “Do you want them to do something you want to do or are you following your child’s lead?”  Usually it is because we are wanting them to do something we want to do.

Would our child respond to us differently if we follow their lead?

For parents of children who do not give little response or want you to be near them

First, I want to acknowledge the feelings that you might have currently with how your relationship with your child.  Before a child is born we naturally dream about the type of relationship we want to have with our child and sadly for a lot of mums and dads this does not happen.  Over time we can feel discouraged and vulnerable as a parent.

Some children on the spectrum do not like us to be near them but there are definitely many ways that you can be with your child and in time will start to see little things for instance child might look your way, smile.  As an ABA therapist, when we first commence working with a child we simply just be present with the child.  We sit near them but stay at a 45 degree angle, smile at the child and simply be quiet and just watch.  Some children will not like this at the start but we do need to start to build a relationship and by simply sitting there whilst they are enjoying what they are doing, we are acknowledging that we value what they are interested in.

The first task for parents who have this scenario happening, over the next week, I want you to simply sit near the child, do not say anything and have a smile on your face.  You do not have to do it long, especially for those who find their child is resistant to this.  But you need to do it at least once a day.  Over the week write down any changes that you see in your child and feel free to share it here, on the Facebook page or if you want to do it privately do not hesitate to contact me at info@coachingforlifetimechange.com.au.

For Mums and Dads who get some response from their child

For mums and dads who get some response from their child and would like to strengthen their relationship it is important to follow your child’s lead.  In parallel play, children will play beside each other and copy what the other children are doing.  For us parents, we need to do the same with our child.  Once again it is important to be around a 45 degree angle so that you can be in their field of vision.  You need to copy what your child is doing because that is what your child like to do.  It is also one of their strengths and it shows the child that you value their interests.  It could be sitting and looking at a book about dinosaurs, it could be making lines of toys and it can even be flapping.

You might think to yourself hang on there……………………….you are suggesting we flap our hands and that is one behaviour that we are trying to change.  I know it does sound silly.  However, when your child is flapping their hands do they feel safe, accepted and competent?  Yes they do!  By copying your child they are feeling safe because they are doing something that interests them.  They will feel accepted for who they are and they do feel competent.

You do not have to do it long, especially for those who find their child is resistant to this.  But you need to do it at least once a day.  Over the week write down any changes that you see in your child and feel free to share it here, on the Facebook page or if you want to do it privately do not hesitate to contact me at info@coachingforlifetimechange.com.au.

For parents with older children with ASD and SPD

This can be a tough area especially if they are shutting you out.  Even when they are older you still want to have a relationship with your child.  The same principals apply to you.  Find an activity that your child likes to do and share the experience with them.  You still need to follow their lead because we want to foster that they feel safe and valued.  It is important that you do not direct the activity.  Even being in the same room if they are watching a TV show shows your child that their interests are valued.

You do not have to do it long, especially for those who find their child is resistant to this.  But you need to do it at least once a day.  Over the week write down any changes that you see in your child and feel free to share it here, on the Facebook page or if you want to do it privately do not hesitate to contact me at info@coachingforlifetimechange.com.au.

I Have No Bond With My Child

A few mums say to me, especially if this is their first child, that “I have no bond with my child.”  Then after hearing a mum say this, I hear a massive sigh as a massive weight as been lifted off their shoulders.  They usually then go on to explain how they feel guilty and that they are a bad mum because they struggle to develop a bond with their child.

When your child gets put into your arms for the first time, you do not receive a book on your child. We are all left with getting to know their child.  No matter if this is your first child or your fifth child, no child is the same and every parent around the wall needs to get to know their new child.  Your child brings with them their own personality and some do not fit in the text book. I know mine didn’t read the book before the arrived.

One of the first strategies that I give mums who struggle to develop a bond with your child is a simple but very powerful strategy that can happen anytime, any where.  It is simply to touch your child.  Touch around their face, down their arms, around their little hand.  Touch your child and think about what you are touching as you go.  Think to yourself what their eye colour is, skin texture, anything that is special to your child.  Mums come back to me usually with amazement how strong this strategy was as they were able to explore their child.  Even mums with postnatal depression felt a change, even if it was small, towards the light when they do this activity and in time start to feel love and connection with their child.

Give it a go next time you have time with your child if you also think that “I have no bond with my child.”

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