Does your child with autism spend most of his time on his own, disengaged with others? Would you like to see your child approach and interact with others more often? If so, there are some things you can do to help your child!
In order for a child to want to seek out others and interact with them (for example, play with them, talk to them, etc.), he needs to view others as fun and exciting. Here are some strategies that can help the child develop this perspective as part of our autism training for parents and caretakers:
Take time to play with your child. Follow his lead and do things that he wants to do. Then, make these activities even more exciting than they are without you. For example, if your child likes to jump on the trampoline, help him to “jump” higher. The activities should be more exciting because you are involved in it.
Do not place any demands on the child. Doing so may show your child that the presence of yourself and others is “work,” which can be stressful, and not fun—the polar opposite effect that you are aiming to achieve.
If you are attempting to engage with your child and he appears to become upset with what you are doing, it’s best to discontinue your actions and try something else. The last thing you would want is for your child to view you as one who upsets him! Remember, you want to develop a positive relationship with your child, so that in time, he will seek you out in order to have more interactions with you.
If you are trying to get your child to engage with a same-aged peer, exercise caution when selecting his “play-date.” We recommend having a child with autism interact with a friend who is flexible, patient, fun, and sensitive to his needs. Your child is more likely to have fun and enjoy interacting with a friend who possesses these qualities.
By helping your child to develop a positive relationship with yourself and others, he is more likely to seek out people and have interactions with them. In behavior analytic terms, we refer to the technique of developing a positive bond with the child as “pairing.” To learn more about this technique, including how it can be used to get your child motivated to interact with others and learn new skills, we recommend the book, Success on the Spectrum: How to Teach Skills to Individuals with Autism.
For additional information related to autism in children and ABA programs, view our products and services above.