Category: General guidelines when dealing with autistic children
Suggestion #28: A young autistic child will strongly associate their feelings about you with what you do with them and for them.
We all do this to some degree, don’t we? Both my sister and I love to plan things. I believe that because of this, when they were little, my niece’s and nephew were always sooooo excited to see me! And, why wouldn’t they be? We always meet up with my sister at amusement parks, play grounds, swimming pools, pony rides, you name it! Because of what we did together, it was easy to be the “fun” adult!
I believe that this connection between what you do with someone and how much you like them is even stronger for a young child with autism. Please give me a moment, and I believe that I can explain why. When you were a child, and your mother introduced you to someone she respected, you noticed how she treated that person, how she defered to that person. Think of when she introduced you to your kindergarten teacher; you just knew that it was important for you to do what this teacher wanted.
Now, imagine that you are oblivious to social cues, and imagine the same meeting. Imagine that you had no clue that your parent wanted you to respect this person, this teacher. Now imagine that this person starts asking you to do this, to do that. What has this person ever done for you? Why should you stop playing to come inside, because they said so? Why should you stop playing with these fascinating blocks and sit quietly and listen to the story? Really, who does this person think they are?!? I want to go home!!!
So, remember, there is always a connection between what you do with a person and what they think of you. The younger the child is, and the less they understand social cues, and the less time that they have to know and respect you for other things, the more important it is going to be for you to establish a relationship with them through fun activities.