Your child is a miracle

Autism has become one of the most common neurological conditions in children. About 1 in every 110 children in the US has autism, and there are many more individuals who have yet to be diagnosed. It has been linked to many causes, ranging from the mercury in vaccines to our diets, antibiotics, pollution and genetics. However, as of now no one is really sure why it occurs.

Whatever the reason may be, having your child diagnosed with autism or autism spectrum disorder doesn’t decide his future. It is possible for him to overcome obstacles and reduce the impact that his condition will have on his life later on. This is especially true when you address these issues while your child is still at an early age.

Alex, a four-year-old boy with autism, was brought into our clinic for treatment. When I spoke with Alex’s mom, I asked her if Alex communicated with her and the rest of his family. She responded that she really didn’t know. He did not respond to his parents when they tried to interact with him. To be honest, Alex’s family had no idea what he was trying to say, or if he was even trying to communicate with them at all.

With all of these characteristics becoming evident in the early stages of a child’s life, there are many parents who don’t know how to handle this kind of behaviour. Like with Alex’s family, one of the main obstacles that you may encounter is a lack of communication and understanding between you and your child. A child with autism often concentrates on himself and what is happening with him. He forms his own little world, and since he does not know about what is outside of it, he cannot reach out to others and discover what is around him.

As a result, many autistic children have not developed their motor and/or sensory skills. A child may experience difficulty walking or changing from lying down to another position. As well, if he touches something he may not be able to understand what it means. When a child’s sense of touch is not developed, he will not learn to pick things up, be able to identify textures or recognize items from his surroundings. He may turn to licking and sensing things with his tongue or mouth instead. With these hindrances, he limits his exploration of the world and does not learn new functions. He becomes “disabled” as he is unable to perform certain tasks.

To address this problem, the first thing that needs to be done is to teach him how to communicate, how to process information, how to use it and then how to act accordingly. Like I’ve said before, if a child can move, then he can learn. When working with your child, teach him in small steps and repeat them over and over again. Consistency plays a key role in the developmental process.

A big mistake that people make is that they assume therapy is separate from the rest of a person’s daily living, and this is not the case. Yes, therapy will help your child achieve developmental milestones. But, for it to truly be effective you need to connect each therapy to one another, and form a bridge between your child’s therapy and his life at home. When teaching a patient at our clinic, all of the therapists are united under one concept and we try to incorporate what a child has learned into each session. We reinforce new actions and functions, and repeat steps again and again. When there is no disruption in a child’s learning, he is able to grasp concepts quicker and learn more from the world and the people around him. As a parent, you can do the same as you spent way more time with your child than any therapist, doctor or health practitioner.

I always say that there is no therapy, only life; no exercise, just function. Every moment of a child’s life is an opportunity to learn and grow. You are there to guide them along the way.

So, watch and respect your child. Give him his own space, and guide him when it’s needed. When you say something, ask, and wait for him to answer. If there is no response, initiate one. Finally, look at what your child has been able to accomplish. Every bit of progress is a good one, and with this he can slowly be guided through to independence.

If your child has been recently diagnosed with autism, don’t look at what he can’t or will not be able to do. Be proud of what he has been able to accomplish, and believe in what he will achieve. Every day is another beginning, filled with new wonders and experiences. Remember that your child is one of them.

Natan

About the author

Natan Gendelman has written 180 articles for Enabled Kids.

Natan Gendelman is licensed as a physical therapist in Russia and Israel. After moving to Canada, he was certified as a kinesiologist and osteopathy manual practitioner. Natan has more than 20 years of experience providing rehabilitation and treatment for conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, pediatric stroke and acquired brain injury. He is the founder and director of Health in Motion Rehabilitation, a Toronto-based clinic whose main objective is to teach their patients the independence necessary for success in their daily lives.

5 thoughts on “Your child is a miracle

  1. Excellent letter – as the parent of a 22 year old son with Aspergers disorder i am well aquainted with not only the challenges but the joy our son has brought. The article mentions several important points. Believe in your child, notice the steps they make not what they can’t do. Coach your child but give them safe challenges. As the article mentions, these children learn by repetition. If children are wrapped in a bubble they will not have the opportunity to practice what needs to be learned.

    I used to be guilty of worrying about what will happen years from now to my son. I have learned to take joy in the baby steps. For all you parents who have small children on the spectrum. Know growth will occur if as the article states, you combine what is learned in therapy and incorporate into your home. I always said the therapy is only as good as the effort the family expends in accessing and applying what is learned.
    I wish to give hope to all of you with young children. We thought our son would never tie his own shoes, he learned in his own time.

    We thought our son would never get through high school. He did. We thought he would flunk out of college. He did not. After two failed jobs we thought our son would never hold down a job. He is doing so.

    My son told me the other day, “Mom, I do not want to be identified by a disability, but just for being me”. (Food for thought)

    My favorite household phrase has always been, “never say I can’t, say I tried”. Happy holidays to all and embrace your childrens talents of which our special kids do have.

    • Thank you for your inspiring story Mari! Should you have any questions or concerns, know that we’d be happy to help you in any way we can. You should be proud of what your son has achieved. I hope you have a great holiday season, and I wish you all the best for the new year.

  2. Yes, communication with a child is the most important thing to develop. The parents should find innovate ways to communicate to the child and moreover they should show love to the child with disabilities.

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