Usually parents are a child’s first teacher and supporter. Your faith in them is undoubtedly the icing on the cake. For children with autism, dispelling the notion that a diagnosis defines them and declaring from the mountain top who they really are is the push they often need to be brave enough to stand on your shoulders of love and finally feel absolutely invincible. Not arrogant. Just positive, poised and sure. I’ve learned these children gain confidence when their weaknesses aren’t judged, their strengths are recognized, their tries are praised and their accomplishments are rewarded. They’re no different in wanting to be treated with the same importance and respect as everyone else. But they also need your endurance. Their confidence relies heavily on you. Consequently, it is vital for them to see your enthusiasm about learning and your excitement over their achievements. Let them feel your calmness and not panic when something goes incredibly wrong. Let their falls, their setbacks and frustrations be lessons and not criticism or facial expressions of disappointment. Life is full of road bumps (some expected & some by surprise) but for our children, that fact may be hard to convey. So we have to cradle their hearts. Speak life to their broken spirits. Surround them with so much love that all won’t be lost and they won’t have a choice but to rise and aim for more. . .again.
I tell my son A LOT that he’s “very smart, very gifted, very special & very brave. You can do anything.” Most times, he repeats me even though he does not fully understand my words. I do believe however that there is a will in him that refuses to die. He has held onto my words without the comprehension, intuitively realizing that these few words have meaning & are the foundation for which he stands. Therefore the more he repeats, the more hopefully he accepts what is said to be true, dependable & safe. Strength & courage become his backbone & no matter the challenges he may face, he continues to strive for the opportunities ahead. He’s amazing to watch. Day after day, he seeks. He tries. He falls. He cries. He learns. He stands tall. . .positive, poised and sure. . . on love and the never ending belief that anything is possible…..as I sit back & watch his wings brace to soar.