The Interactive World

Techniques for helping your autistic child and the latest news about autism.

Why Your Child Cries

Why Your Child Cries

I've been away for a while, I apologize. Much of the reason is because I've been working on a DVD that demonstrates techniques for working with autism.

After I finished a segment on dealing with a crying child, the director said something I've heard many times before:

"Wow. Seems like I could use those techniques with my kids. And they don't even have special challenges."

While it's not true for every technique, I use many of the same approaches when working with non-autistic children. Crying is probably the best example.  The vast majority of autistic kids cry for the same reason that non-autistic kids cry: they get what they want much faster.

(Of course that is not the only reason why kids cry, however, with many of them, it is the primary one.)

The main techniques I teach to a mother of a crying autistic child are nearly the same as the ones I teach to the parents of a neurotypical child:

Move slowly.

Explain that crying isn't going to get her what she wants.

Explain what behaviors will work (If any will. Sometimes what the child wants is off the table.)

Feel peaceful. A wound up parent is an ineffective parent.

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There is much more of course, and many situations (like when the child is physically hurt) where this approach does not apply.  Having said that, most of the kids, autistic or not, cry mainly for one reason: it works.

 

Jonathan Levy has worked one-on-one with over 800 children with autism, ranging from the severely autistic to the mildest forms of Asperger's syndrome.

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