Ridge Zeller participates in the Autism Speaks Walk every October. As therapists, we meet many parents of children who have either recently been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or who have been on the path for several years. We want to share some insights with you which we’ve learned over the many years we’ve worked with the children and families in the autism community.
Here are five things we want you to know:
- Your child’s successes are limitless. There are no “ceilings!”
- An autism diagnosis will not define your child.
- “Nonverbal” does not mean incompetence or lack of intelligence. Language is not just verbal. There are so many ways children try and do communicate with us: Gestures, augmentative/alternative communication means, forehead-to-forehead moments, etc.
- Little “quirks” your child may have are so much more than behaviors. In fact, they can be comforting in stressful environments or situations. For example, stimming can be an important coping mechanism. Counting, lining things up, putting Legos on the floor to step on for sensory input, or holding the same toys throughout an activity or the day may be calming to your child.
- Your child teaches us about the world in unique and different ways. Each child has a story to tell and a challenge to be tackled, and it’s so exciting that we can do it together!
Thank you for sharing your child with us. We look forward to a fantastic journey.
By Erin Robertson, B.S., SLPA