What if I was to say to you, that each group of difficulties you have with your child could be dealt with effectively in simple, digestible brain games?
Sounds too easy?
OK, that’s the answer I was expecting and to be honest, I would have said the same thing 2 years ago. We have all spent long hours searching the net, being talked ‘at’ by professionals and therapists telling us we should do this and that but not really caring about your plight and our children. After all, every kid on the spectrum is different. I know that, you know that, and the reason why we know that is because we are parents, and we care about our children. We want them to thrive just like any other kid on the planet. Why should they not have the chance to lead rewarding lives? This isn’t have to be a ‘best dog wins’ world. We know we have the best kids because of their Autism, right?
So, today, you’re going to hear a mum talk. Today, I am going to tell you how I work with my son, Jon; the strategies I came up with that work because I have 15 years of bringing up my child who has Autism, PDA and Scoliosis, so yes, I know what I’m talking about, and what’s more, I understand your needs, worries and fears too.
OK, today, I am going to walk you through the plan I came up with, how I implemented with my son, Jon and saw it work, permanently.
I called it ‘The Progress Pentagon. (Catchy name, huh?)
I took each problem I had and parents I asked around had and divided them up into five categories (making up the pentagon shape.) These are;
I found that after studying Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Neuro Linguistic Programming, we could take the principles behind these alternative methods of adjusting thought processes, and tailor them into methods we could use to help our children. NLP and CBT has been proved across the world to help people with depression, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, anxiety and a number of other psychological and cognitive disorders.
Take for instance, shifting mood.
We know that we can shift our current mood by shifting our physiology. That may sound all well and good for a Nero typical person but what about a person on the Autistic spectrum? We can still help our children to shift their ‘state’ into a ‘state’ which is more appropriate for them. We can also use these methods to help with your self-image, self-esteem and confidence in communication.
We can use a simply NLP method called Anchoring. You might have come across this before but not worked with it in terms of helping someone with Autism. We ask them to remember a time when they felt happy/confident/excited/motivated and when we recognised they are at the peak of that state in remembering, we anchor that feeling for them by touching the back of their knuckle, for example, on their hand, so when they need to feel in that state again, they can either anchor the state required themselves or you can do it for them.
The kind of technique is hugely powerful and highly useful to young people who need to get through something which is causing them a state of anxiety, such as taking an exam, going to a new school, starting a new job, attending a social gathering and so on. Anchoring can be an effective way of dealing with states of anxiety.
A word of caution needs to be added here; if your child is in a heightened state of meltdown, you won’t be able to simply trigger the happy state by touching their knuckle (if that’s the place where you anchored the positive feeling.) Once a child or young person is in meltdown, they are usually unresponsive and need to come down from that state of stress themselves by taking themselves away from the stressful situation. What anchoring can do is help a child get through something before the anxiety has time to set in. It is a means to use prior to a stressful event and not to get out of one quickly.