Talking to Your Child About Autism
They say that what you say to your kids when they are little becomes their inner voice when they are older. The message I hope to convey to my daughter is that your differences make you unique and interesting, it is okay to be who you are, and I love you unconditionally.
When a child hears a lot of negative things about themselves and there is a focus on what they need to change, the message they may be getting is that there is something wrong with them. They may label themselves as a bad kid, dumb, or feel like a failure. They may feel that they are only worthy of love when they are doing what we want. Did you know it can take five positive messages to counteract one negative one? I tell my daughter she is strong, brave, unique, creative, fun, and silly. I tell her that I love her always, even when I am frustrated.
Different does not mean less than. Ultimately, I want my daughter to learn how to live a fulfilling and meaningful life in spite of her challenges. I believe that each person has something to give to this world and the world needs diverse and varied voices. I hope to empower her with my words and actions. If we want our kids to rise to meet the challenges of their disability, they need to first believe that they can.
For another perspective on this topic, click here.