The Dos and Don'ts of having a Child on the ASD Spectrum

The Dos

  • Do: Hold a balance of your child's strengths and areas of potential growth to be more effective and healthy.

  • Do: Learn the skills your child is learning, have a thorough knowledge of skills.

  • Do: Plan on your child using resistance, develop skills to help them through.

  • Do: Coach and encourage for effective skill implementation.

  • Do: Be comfortable with ambiguity, help your child see possibilities rather than promises. Focus on how they can make the possibility a reality.

  • Do: EMPOWER your child.

  • Do: Avoid viewing your child or talking about your child in pejorative (disparaging, derogatory, denigratory, deprecatory, defamatory, slanderous, libelous, abusive, insulting, or slighting) terms.

  • Do:Accept your child as he is and encourage healthy and effective change. Dialectical Dilemma of Acceptance vs. Change.

  • Do: BE CENTERED and FIRM with Rules and Family Culture, while being flexible (not changing the environment, rather help your child adapt to environment) when appropriate.

  • Do: Be CENTERED while helping your child see more than one possibility.

  • Do: Establish clear limits of acceptable behavior.

  • Do: Adopt a NON-DEFENSIVE attitude.

  • Do: Relate to your child in dialectical styles like acceptance and change.

  • Do: Help your child analyze factors (processes) that seem to be interfering with effort and motivation.

  • Do: When your child is in crisis: ENCOURAGE AND BE HELPFUL. (Don't do for, and no commiseration.)

  • Do: Help your child manage through transitions of all kinds with understanding and patience.

  • Do: Practice GOOD SELF CARE so you can give your child your best.

  • Don't: Call your child a manipulator or any other name that pigeonholes him into the behavior and creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Don't: Communicate to your child how to feel, act, or think; accept them as they are in the moment and encourage them to be more effective and healthy. "My hope for you is..."

  • Don't: Communicate others (other parent, teachers, therapists, etc.) should be different when your child complains about them. Help your child focus on what he can control.

  • Don't: lnsist on your perceptions of your child's feelings, motivations, or intent.

  • Don't: Criticize your child's feelings or minimize them, (they do not choose feelings, but they can choose how to manage them) help your child face emotions in healthy ways.

  • Don't: Reinforce attempts to escape or avoid emotions. (lt is okay to delay facing the emotions if your son/student is overwhelmed with the understanding that it will be faced and embraced in the near future. )

  • Don't: Use your interpretations, preferences, or biases to attack, blame, or punish yourson/student. Don't: Respond to painfulfeelings or emotions as "something to get rid of".

  • Don't: Tell your child that their problems are all in their head, mind, or imagination.

  • Don't: Over-simplify your child's problems, implying that all will be well. lt takes effort in facing reality and working through issues. Make encouraging statements in terms of "My hope for you is that..."

  • Don't: Push a particularset of Values or Philosophies on reality and truth.

  • Don't: Present or demonstrate rigidity or inflexibility in word or deed with your child.

  • Don't: Present a rigid view of events. Seek understanding of your child's perceptions and acknowledge their reality. Acknowledge does not mean agree.

  • Don't: Be judgmental about your child's goals, commitments, and preferences.

  • Don't: lmpose your goals on your child. Encourage healthy and effective behaviors. (They need to find interna I motivation/self-determ ination.)

  • Don't: EVER BE PUNITIVE. (Does not work on any person with ASD.)

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