Teaching Autistic Children: One Professional's Personal Insight
Autism is a disorder that often has parents and professionals working in the field frustrated, but the positives outweigh the negative by far. It may not be easy, and those who are not faced with autism in the family may not understand, but the truth is that a child with autism is pure delight for his or her parents, and often for his or her spouse and children. Fitting into the mold is not easy for anyone, and when one stands out so blatantly, it is quite hard not to applaud them for their brave attitude.
One parent recently expressed her thoughts. I will paraphrase to allow for better understanding. -I understand that we all want our kids as normal as possible but it is what it is and we can't change it.- Her words ring true. A child with autism was born with it and chances are his or her siblings may also be on the spectrum. Of course, a diagnosis of ASD might also be coupled with comorbid disorders, such as ADHD, bipolar, etc.- ... the more time we try to figure out a so call "cure" for them, that is time that you are taking away from you child or children trying to tie their shoes or when trying to learn to talk.- Time passes so quickly, it's impossible to get back what was lost but a moment before. Life is not a movie that one can rewind when necessary. Hence, in the words of the concerned mother, "Cherish every second; you never know how long it will last!"
The Inspiration Series
I began the inspiration series, relaying the stories of those who live with autism day in and day out, in order to help tackle some of the frustration that autism in the family might cause.
The first in the series was about a woman living with an autistic brother growing up, her struggles and the sweetness of the love they share. It may not be easy, but just like you would not change your child with another, their siblings would not want anyone different as well.
The second brought to life the beginning of one of the largest autism support groups which exist today on Facebook, called Autism. Nunu Sanchez gladly shared her experience as a mother of an autistic child and how she found and later took control of the group which helps answer all those burning questions parents of autistic children might have.
The third in the series was the story of the Autism Whisperer, a man with autism and how he managed to live a normal life, raise a family and help raise awareness about the disorder. Tips were shared by him on how to get through the holidays when stimulation overload might be a constant problem.
The fourth in the series presented the struggle and the fun a mother experiences when juggling her life, her family, her children and her job. It is possible for one to work when there are children with autism in the family. One just needs to tailor the career to meet the family's needs.
The ABA Therapist: Fifth in the Series
The Fifth story in the series is an interview with ABA therapist Maria Jones. Parents often need certain assurances that those they place their precious children in the care of are truly doing their job and enjoying their work. Maria Jones gives us a glimpse into her world, allaying fears that those in the care may not be doing things right.
1. What made you want to become a ABA Therapist?
I have worked in the school system with children that have been diagnosis with autism. I wanted to work with the children more on a one on one basis. Being an ABA Therapist has allowed that.
2. When you think back, what was one of the most memorable moments you've had as a ABA Therapist?
I had a client that would not talk to me. He would instead point to everything that he wanted. I would always tell him that he would have to use his words to tell me what he wanted. I constantly had to prompt him to talk to me. One day we were playing a game and he took my game piece and hid it behind his back. I didn't say anything to him, I just pointed behind his back and held out my hand. He smiled at me and said "Ms. Maria, you have to use your words to get it back". That was one of my happiest days.
3. When it comes to having therapy with children with autism, what is it you find most challenging?
I think the most challenging is getting them to open up to me. However, once they realize that I am there to help them, they gradually do.
4. What is it that you find most rewarding?
The most rewarding is seeing the kids do things that their parents thought they would never do. Or having a child that once cried when they saw you, great you with a smile and hug
5. What advice would you give parents when it comes to dealing with their child's therapist?
The therapist has the child's best interest at heart, just like the parents do. However, if the parent feel that want something different to be added to the child's therapy, they should voice their opinions. They are the parents and they are leaders when it comes to their child's well being. They are the best advocate for their child.
6. What message would you love to relay to all autistic children out there?
We know that there are so many thoughts inside your head that you do not know how to communicate with us and we understand that. We will be patient and understanding of this. We will love, protect, and fight to make sure that you receive the best care possible.