The loneliness of autism: learning to adapt

As a child growing up it is not uncommon to experience times of loneliness and internal conflict. It is quite normal and usually kids will get past it and be fine. For autistic children growing up can be troublesome at times and can lead to many different types of emotions and feelings. I see my son growing and maturing and at times he seems like he is doing fine and at other times he regresses and says without hesitation he wishes he was a baby and he pretends to cry like a baby. In trying to assist your child in getting through their internal conflicts you have to learn to be positive and to encourage them and be very supportive so they can feel trust and can hopefully open up and communicate how they feel and what they are experiencing. It is very important to try to get on their level and to listen and give them the love and support they need.

All children need to be heard and respected and treated as individuals. When I see my son having a difficult time and expressing his frustration I realize how important it is to hold him close to me and talk gently to him and tell him how much I love him and no matter how upset he may feel he will eventually get past it and will start to feel better and when he does he needs to make sure he holds on to those good feelings.

In living with autism you will have your good days and your not so good days just like anyone else. Autistic children are no different. They just have to be guided and given the proper attention they deserve. For my son I know it is very important to spend time together with him and have him talk about anything he wishes to discuss. I try to engage him in conversation to talk about his day at school or his homework assignment or anything on his mind. I don’t want my son to hold things inside. I’d rather he be expressive of his feelings and not to be shy about it. For me growing up was wonderful as I had very loving parents but I kept things inside and did not really open up and talk about what was on my mind. I don’t want Matthew to keep things inside or get upset.

Autistic children find their comfort in familiarity as they tend to be repetitive in their daily routine and they do not like change. This is one way Matthew is able to deal with his situation. He manages well and he always finds ways to keep busy and have fun which is his way of adapting and learning to cope with his times of being alone. We are very proud of him and wish for him to experience more times with other children but know that Matthew is independent and imaginative and can find many ways to have fun and occupy his time and learn.

As Matthew’s parents we are always looking out for what’s best for him and we are trying to find the right approach in helping him grow and experience his childhood in positive ways and to be open to participation in group activities that will enable him to meet other kids and to forge meaningful friendships that will help him develop and grow and experience happy memories. Matthew is a fun loving kid and he is on the sensitive side and he is a wonderful kid who has matured and it is a pleasure to see him smile and having interaction with other kids. That is what I want most for Matthew. I want him to have the feeling of happiness, the joy of friendship and the knowledge and confidence to live his life and do all he wishes in life.

Edward D. Iannielli III

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