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Autism news: How to Make Your Child Feel Important and Valuable
June 19, 2019

Sometimes you can learn something new when you least expect it.

We were attending a celebration at a friend’s house when my husband got into a long conversation with the host. Unlike most people I had ever seen before, the man stopped during the conversation to give his full attention to his children whenever they wanted to tell him something.

We didn’t yet have children at that time, but I was used to seeing people ignore their kids in favor of continuing their conversation with an adult.

The message I (and his kids) received from the man’s behavior was this: “My children are vitally important to me; therefore, what they have to say is vitally important to me.”

For years afterwards, I kept that lesson tucked away and resolved to give my children that kind of love, respect, and attention.

I realize we can’t always comply with whatever a child wants immediately. And I certainly don’t believe in giving a child everything she wants.

What I’m talking about is listening to her and giving her the attention she needs.

Sometimes C’s brother is trying to tell me something, and he needs my attention, too. So in that case I have to say, “Just a minute C, we’ll talk about what you’re asking about after your brother finishes what he wants to say.”

It’s important to address my son when he speaks. If I’m in the middle of cooking dinner and I hear that little, soft voice in the background, I need to stop what I am doing to find out what he wants to tell me.

I believe this is essential for regular kids, but even more so for our children with autism. Children who have a low view of themselves and who may not think that their concerns are worth addressing need to know that we care about their world.

It’s all about sending the message to our kids that we value and cherish them, and that they are a priceless member of the family.

And of course, nonverbal kids desperately need that attention, too. It just takes a little more effort to find out what they are concerned about.

For example, years ago when my son was nonverbal, his way of communicating his needs was to grab my hand and push it toward what he wanted.

Knowing that communication was so much more difficult for him than it was for others made paying attention to his concerns even more important.

As David W. Augsburger wrote, “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”

Warm Regards,

Kay Donato

Discover Autism Help, LLC

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