Are You Missing All The Good Things Your Child Is Doing?
Please note: This thoughtful article was written by one of our BCBAs who also has a child with autism.
Parents of children with autism can often feel like they’re constantly moving backwards. We forget to see the small things our child does, the small glimpses of progress our child makes, and instead only see the meltdowns or the inability to communicate or follow instructions.
We overlook simple things, like our kid washing their hands or putting a toy away when they’re done. We don’t hear them whisper a new word or sound, because they’re unsure how to communicate. We get more frustrated with the things our kids are doing. If this sounds like your household, you’re not alone. We miss the little things every single day.
When you’re feeling frustrated with your child or sad about how slowly they’re learning something or upset they aren’t interested in something you thought they were going to love, think about what they were doing a month, six months or a year ago. Instead of thinking about what they’re doing when they meltdown, think about what they’re trying to tell you during their meltdown.
In my house, progress is:
- My child eating his dinner without throwing it across the room or trying to hit someone.
- My child getting his shoes the first time he’s asked when he wants to go play outside.
- My child accepting being told we can’t go outside when it’s cold or raining or that he can’t have the iPad when the battery needs to charge.
When you change your mindset from what they can’t do or aren’t doing and start looking at what they are doing, your whole world changes. You’re no longer focused on the negative. Every little sound or new word or a meltdown that only lasts 9 minutes instead 10 minutes makes you see the progress they’re making – regardless of how big or small that step is.
Sometimes you will be going backwards and that’s okay, too. Everyone has setbacks. It’s how you react to them is what matters. Look for the silver lining, even if you have to look really hard.
By Arthur Czarboski, BCBA at The Behavior Exchange