Autism Awareness Tips and Inspiration – Days 1-5

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, you can visit this page for 30 days of tips, strategies, and inspiration, also known as the Piece of the Puzzle Series!

Days 1-5

    1. April 1st – You and your child have superpowers! Life isn’t easy. Raising a child isn’t easy. Autism is certainly not easy. Yet, every day, you get out of bed, you put one foot in front of the other, and you face the world. Your strength, bravery, and commitment to progress is astounding. You work hard, and it doesn’t go unnoticed.
    2. April 2nd – Today is officially Autism Awareness Day! In the inspirational words of the incredible Dr. Temple Grandin, people with autism are “different… not less.” This is such an amazing quote and really sums up a beautiful outlook. Everybody is different, and this does not mean that they have less to offer the world. Your child, student, or client just sees things through a different lens, and let’s be honest…who doesn’t? Let’s embrace diversity, encourage others to do so, and celebrate our differences.
    3. April 3rd – You may have noticed that your child enjoys participating in the same activity or movement over and over again (i.e. constantly rewinding a DVD or your DVR). Sometimes, it seems like he is stuck in a loop. Your natural reaction may be to stop him in mid-track and redirect him. This repetitive behavior can make you feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and may also look a bit odd to others. However, it does serve a purpose. Your child may actually find this behavior calming. As long as he is not hurting himself, others, or property and the behavior is not getting in the way of his quality of life, I don’t see the harm in allowing repetitive behavior in moderation. Click here to read a full blog post on the subject.
    4. April 4th – Just because a child doesn’t speak, it does not mean that he has nothing to say. Respecting the concept that words are not the only way children communicate, has taught me that there is an entirely new level of listening available to us as educators and parents. My clients are constantly communicating through their smiles, laughter, hand-flapping, feet-stomping, refusals to participate, fixations on their favorite activities for hours on end, hugs, kicks, jumps, screams, random eye-contact, squeals, and squeezes. Some children do speak, of course, and yes, that’s such a gift. But for those children who don’t use words that we can hear, they are still speaking to us in a million other ways. WE JUST NEED TO LISTEN.
    5. April 5th – Let’s focus on the importance of challenging your child. Often, we may not want to rock the boat and challenge a child for fear of a meltdown. However, if we don’t give a child a chance to try new things, or stretch him beyond his comfort zone, we may actually be doing him a disservice. We need to teach children how to handle difficulties, and give them a chance to fail, in order to help them succeed. Today, I challenge you! Do one thing to gently challenge your child.

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Jennifer Lingle, M.Ed.

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