How to Let Your Love Show

Expert ideas for expressing love to your child with autism

This time of year we make sure to express our love for the people closest to us. Each relationship is unique, so communicating love can take several forms. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, author of “The 5 Love Languages®”, everyone expresses and receives love in a unique way. Children with autism are no different!

Expressing love to a child with autism is just as important as expressing love to any other child, although it may require a different approach. They may have trouble showing their feelings, but just like any child, they need to know they are loved.

Showing your love can be as easy as giving them their favorite toy. For other kiddos, it may require months of hard work and exhausting play just to evoke one heartfelt giggle. The most important thing is to find what works for your child and to continue to show your love in a way that is meaningful and special to them.

Below are some tips for expressing love to a child with autism, inspired by the wisdom found in “The 5 Love Languages®” guide. For additional help, reach out to our autism experts. You’ll love what accredited, fun, and caring ABA therapy can do for your child and family!

Tips for Expressing Love to a Child with Autism

Words of Affirmation

Many children with autism are visual learners. They respond more to pictures, videos, and written words than spoken words of affirmation. Consider creating a photo book with pictures of significant memories with your child, along with a few words to describe each memory. They usually take things literally, so take care to say exactly what you mean. Keep in mind children may get easily overwhelmed and only be able to handle one thought or idea at a time. Be patient and keep conversations focused and simple.


Physical Touch

Children with autism seek sensory input in a myriad of ways. Some respond well to physical touches, like hugs and holding hands. Often kids with autism need a hug even more than other children. Your child may not like any type of physical touching and find more enjoyment in sensory input from the physical environment around them. Either way, remember to be respectful of their space.


Quality Time

Children receive demands all day long. Get dressed. Clean up. Do this. Do that. It can be a challenge spending time with a child without placing any demands on them. But perhaps this is a gift in disguise and a way to express your love. Intentionally plan for one hour of praise, imitation, attention, and freedom, allowing your child to be exactly who they are in the moment. Find common interests and spend time doing things that your child enjoys. This could be playing games, watching a movie, or going for a walk. Children with autism often thrive on routines and predictability, so incorporate love and affection into their daily routines, like reading a bedtime story or giving a goodnight hug. These shared experiences can help build a strong bond between the two of you and help your child feel loved and secure. 


Receiving Gifts          

Although a new toy or stuffed animal may be the perfect gift for some kids, there are other options, too. A beautiful gift for any child could be the gift of a new experience. Again, keep their interest and preferences in mind, but some ideas to consider include going to a sensory-friendly movie, baking cookies from scratch, completing a science experiment, visiting an indoor trampoline park or local museum, or exploring the outdoors. Remember your child may see things differently than you do. Ordinary sounds, tastes, touches, smells and sights may be physically painful to your child.


Acts of Service

This is an indirect way of showing your love, but it’s no less impactful. Parents and caregivers of children with special needs spend almost all of their time caring for others. In order to provide the best care for your child, be sure to take care of yourself. It’s OK to take a break. Try scheduling time for self-care. As little as 10 minutes of meditation can revive you. Join parent support groups or ask understanding and trusted family and friends to care for your child so you can recharge.


It may take some effort, but be patient and go out of your way to express how much you love, care, and support your child. When you put in the work, they’ll return the love tenfold in their own special way.


A brighter future is possible for you and your child at The Behavior Exchange. We’re a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence® (BHCOE) with the highest accreditation possible in the field of ABA therapy, the gold standard care for kids with autism. For more than 20 years, we’ve helped children with autism and their families throughout North Texas and Boulder, Colorado reach their full, meaningful potential. Contact our experts today or find an accredited BHCOE provider near you!





Ashvina attended University of Bombay and graduated with a Bachelors of Commerce. She got her Montessori Diploma in 1985 and taught ever since. Ashvina came to TBE in January of 2016 as Admin Assistant. During the years she got the opportunity to learn and work in different departments such as HR, Finance, Office Manager and Executive Assistant. Last summer TBE bought billing in house and her current focus area is Revenue Cycle Management. She is detail oriented and enjoys working with people. Ashvina volunteers to deliver meals to seniors and local shelters on the weekend. She loves to spend time with her family and grandkids. Ashvina loves her job because she enjoys hearing different points of view, and she feels her contributions help fuel the direction of our company.

Working with children comes naturally to Angela. Her mom was a special education teacher for 30 years and often had Angela join her for Take Your Child to Work Day. And in high school, Angela spent every summer as the nanny for a little boy with an autism spectrum disorder. It was this experience where her passion for working with children with autism started to blossom.

From there, she went on to graduate from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences. She learned about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in a non-normative development class and from that moment knew that ABA would be her life’s work.

Angela moved to the DFW area shortly after and began working at The Behavior Exchange as a therapist. She worked on her Master’s in Behavior Analysis at the same time. A year after graduating, she earned certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Now, as a Clinical Director at The Behavior Exchange, she brings a life-long passion to her work, holding a special place in her heart for children with limited language skills and working closely with families to develop healthy sleep habits.

Danielle’s passion for working with families is deeply personal and from the heart. Her younger brother has an autism spectrum disorder, and through their journey as a family, she found her purpose in life as an advocate for individuals with special needs.

After graduating from the University of North Texas with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies, Danielle began volunteering at The Behavior Exchange. She saw passionate therapists, meaningful change for clients, and families with hope for the future. After a summer of volunteering, she officially joined the team as Director of Admissions and found her home with The Behavior Exchange family.

With her extensive experience working as a client advocate with insurance providers, Danielle perseveres to help individuals of all ages and abilities receive the services they need to reach their full potential. She feels truly honored by each and every family who entrusts The Behavior Exchange to be part of their journey and is committed to the organization’s core values, mission, and goal of being a beacon of hope for the community.

Adam has always had a passion for helping individuals of all ages thrive and reach their full potential. He’s also an enthusiastic musician, songwriter, leader, and devoted family man, who has been helping children and team members grow with The Behavior Exchange since 2010.

Prior to joining the team at The Behavior Exchange, Adam was a mortgage loan consultant and grad student, pursuing his master’s degree in Education at the University of North Texas. He graduated in 2013 and also earned a graduate academic certificate in Autism Intervention. The following year, after years as a Behavior Therapist and seeing first-hand the power of ABA and the meaningful impact it can have on children and their families, Adam became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. He then commenced from the Stagen Leadership Academy after completing the Integral Leadership Program (ILP), a 52-week practice-based program designed to develop executives serious about transforming themselves, their teams, and their organizations.

Adam is truly grateful to be a part of a dynamic, inspiring and compassionate team, and he’s dedicated to bettering the lives of all children and their families through the delivery of the highest quality of ABA services, while supporting the amazing team at The Behavior Exchange.

Soraya is from South Africa and moved to Texas in 1996. She graduated from The University of Texas and pursued a career, at that time, in Education. Soraya taught at a Montessori school for a few years and then took on a leadership role.

During her time in the education system, Soraya realized her passion was to assist children with special needs. So she joined The Behavior Exchange as a therapist, transitioned into a supervisory role in 2017, and a year and a half later, was promoted to Clinical Operations Manager.

She quickly learned the ins and outs of ABA operations and scheduling and successfully collaborates across departments to ensure The Behavior Exchange continues to provide quality services to clients and their families. She’s thankful to be part of such an amazing organization and excited to see what the future holds.

You could say Walter’s career started when he spent hours as a young child drawing superheroes and coloring maps. This passion, along with extraordinary swimming skills, landed him a full swimming scholarship at Texas Christian University, where he graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Graphics.

During the next 13 years, his design and art direction skills, conceptual-thinking abilities, and marketing-savvy know-how were honed at a few prestigious advertising and marketing agencies around the Dallas area. In the mid 2000s, he helped his wife Tammy Cline-Soza (founder and CEO of The Behavior Exchange) create a unique and concise brand for her new business. From logos and websites to uniforms, brand voice and visuals, Walter has been the main creative force for all things The Behavior Exchange.

Aside from giving birth to The Behavior Exchange brand, Walter is helping Tammy raise two amazing, beautiful children, River and Sierra. In his spare time (the two minutes he’s got per week), you can find Walter illustrating iconic landmarks of Dallas and Texas or looking around for this next open-water swim. Once he gets back in shape.

After 20 years of building The Behavior Exchange, literally from the ground up,
Tammy couldn’t be more proud of the team, culture, and organization that it has become.

As a family helping families, The Behavior Exchanges looks for opportunities that will make the biggest impact and produce life-changing outcomes – for clients, families, and even for team members. Tammy believes that if a team, a family, a community takes care of each other, the possibilities are endless and the relationships built along the way can make life more enriching and challenges easier to navigate. You could say her goal has been to build a kind of utopia full of support, love, and expertise that brings the best services possible to the community and ensures more families have access to those services.

Tammy and her family have dedicated their lives to the mission of The Behavior Exchange and continue to grow, learn, cultivate, challenge, support, and create better models for success. To that end, she is committed to her own leadership development and actively participates in advanced training, mentoring, and deep self-exploration on how to live out her purpose to love and support her family and help others reach their full potential. She takes her position very seriously and tries to serve as a channel for what the universe wants to come to fruition.

She also loves travel, gardening, being creative, MUSIC!, tennis, yoga, meditation, journaling, reading, being in nature, adventures, and more than anything, spending time with her husband Walter and their two beautiful children, River and Sierra.