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Autism Spectrum Message Board

Autism Spectrum Board Index

My son was diagnosed with Autism sometime when he was 1.5 to 2 years old.
He is going to be 5 this month and though he does not talk he has made incredible progress.

I wanted to share some tips I use that have helped him progress.

Early intervention and therapy weekly is obvious and most kids with Autism get this, but I would like to
relay some of the day to day experiences that have helped my son.

Love: Lots and lots of hugs and love from when he was little. He was a light sleeper and had to be rocked
to sleep since he was very young. This slowly became a bonding and I continued to rock him to sleep even up to this
day on some nights. A lot of parents want to put the kid to sleep right away and move them into their own room.
Our son still sleeps in our room and he loves the quiet times before sleep. He still asks me to rock him to sleep with
his hand signs, and he is getting older so I only rock him once in a while.

Hugs, lots of hugs. When I would come home my wife would say to him "Go give Daddy a hug" and after
some time he started hugging more and more. I think it is important to establish this comfort level for
hugging and contact. My son at first would wiggle away and disliked contact. Now he loves it.

Sign Language: Our son was visibly frustrated. Once we taught him sign language he opened up more and really started interacting with us more.

Eye Contact: when my son wanted something or I wanted to give him something I would tell him to look at Daddy.
When I am asking him if he wants a popsicle I say look at Daddy and then proceed to ask him. If he turns away I stop in mid sentence and tell him to look at Daddy. This was a slow process at first but everyday persistence paid off and he now looks at me when I talk to him. At first he was looking through your eyes but now he is starting to look into your eyes like when you speak with another adult.

Be persistent and constant. When your kid wants something like to play a game or a lollipop. That is the time to interact with them. Make them look at you, or ask with signs.

Just recently he is starting to make some words with his mouth. It is apparent he is having a hard time speaking. It really shows the missing connections in the brain. But he is getting better.

Autistic kids are very special. My son was the only kid in pre-school who could read.

Give them a computer but do not use it as a baby sitter too much. Since the age of 2 my son has had a computer.
Right out of the gate I let him do whatever he wanted with it. He plays his games on it but he also explores the computer.

Most important is lots and lots of love. Use time-outs when they are bad and also raise your voice when they have done bad things.
When my son is bad he is more upset that I am mad at him than the fact that he has to time out.

He would sometimes run to his mother and explain with his signs, that "Daddy is mad at me" with tears in his eyes.

I strongly believe my son has progressed as far as he has because of lots and lots of love, interaction, contact and our persistence.

He still flaps his arms and studies things intensely, but other times you would never know he is Autistic.
When he looks right into your eyes and asks your for a popsicle or pizza he seems so normal. We have a long way to go but I think we are heading in the right direction.


[This message has been edited by lbriedis (edited 10-24-2003).]

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