How Parents can help children with ASD find their passion
Parents with children on the spectrum work exceedingly hard to help their children find their calling. It is common to closely observe their child’s actions in order to identify their child’s interests and passion. If you’re currently in this phase, you have come to the right place.
Firstly, how can a parent differentiate between a passion versus what your child likes to do during their pastime? When your children are enthusiastic about what they are doing, the activity can be deemed as a passion. It is a source of interest which can be unique to each individual and evolves as the child grows, with no compulsion from outside forces.
Give your child ample time to explore their strengths and weaknesses without any pressure and limits. This time plays an important role in their life as children learn how to make new friendships, play around with ideas, overcome boredom and most importantly, learn from their mistakes and gradually find their passion.
In this blog, we will discuss how parents can help their children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) find their passion without taking away the joy of parenthood.
Try to understand what your child isn’t saying:
It is important that parents understand participation is important and it is not about “winning.” Encourage your child to do what he likes and help him excel. In school, where many competitions take place, children are often plugged into the same activities as their peers and with the competition being fierce, children may experience anxiety. Break this stereotype! Instead of making your child do what other children do at school, make time for your child, cook a meal together, or plan any fun activity together every day and get to know your child’s interests and passions. Observe your child during his play, ask open-ended questions on why they aren’t able to perform well, as you help your child open up about their dreams.
Think outside the box (way outside):
There is passion in the smallest things we do. Though the world perceives few activities as ‘small,’ it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Most parents would want their child to excel in music, acting, education, sports, etc. which are perceived as conventional career options.
However, when you keep your mind open, you will know what truly interests your child. Passion can start right at home from small activities like building Legos, knitting, cooking, writing, painting, etc. If your child is interested in doing any of these activities, let them. Don’t try to deviate their interests by making them do other “common” activities. When parenting focuses less on resume-building activities for your child and more on their unique interests, it makes it easy for children to excel in what they do.
Nurture your child’s optimism:
As discussed, we live in a competitive world that constantly pressurizes us to win. Children experience a significant amount of pressure to perform better than their peers and when they fall short, they tend to feel defeated. When your child fails, help him understand it is perfectly normal to not excel at certain things and that all of us are growing and learn gradually. Nobody is born intelligent, they become intelligent. Protect your child’s optimism, assure them that they can win, eventually. This way, you raise a “can - do” child who is willing to work through failures or challenges and come out stronger. Help your child start their day on a positive note to make them feel confident about their abilities.
Eliminate discrimination and judgment:
Parents should never try to force their own interests onto their children. You may be interested in music and looking forward to making your little one perform when relatives or friends pay a visit. But maybe, your child just wants to hang out with them and play building blocks. Never force a child to perform a certain task unless they are comfortable with it. Always support your child in whatever decision they make and take a step back from your own needs.
Parents, always remember to provide complete support to your children and give them the freedom to carve their own path towards happiness. Most importantly, do not hesitate to consult a behavior therapist to ensure that you are able to properly support your child in both words and actions.
For more information regarding sensory therapy, cognitive skills, behavior therapy, developmental disorders, and early intervention, please contact Stepping Stones Center. We emphasize on acquiring new and appropriate behaviors, while also working on helping the child achieve developmentally age-appropriate milestones through evidence-based practices.