Praise an Autistic child

I have always enjoyed feeling the gentle pat on the back from the sturdy hand of my father or hearing my mother say “I am so proud of you!” in her sweet angelic voice when I was growing up. It seems we all need words of encouragement from our parents, our teachers and those we look up to. How else can we measure our accomplishments if we don’t have positive feedback? It is essential in developing our confidence, in raising our self awareness and in promoting our self esteem. If we are to set goals and have dreams we must be praised for the things we accomplish. I believe it is psychological but it really makes a difference when you receive a “gold star” on your homework assignment or your manager celebrates a team victory with an outing to the pizza place where he not only buys your pizza and soda but he also gives a team winning speech and makes every team member feel great for the win as he praises one and all.

As a parent of an autistic child I know how important it is to reach my son and help him to feel good about himself. I have learned from experience that it is not so easy to give him praise and complement him for his good deeds. I have sometimes asked my son why he does not like to be complimented when he does something good and he simply says that if he is to be complimented at school he believes all his classmates should be complimented and not him individually. I thought that was quite noble of him and I realized how special he is. He seems wiser beyond his years and he has taught me about being empathetic and kind hearted in his sweet way. I can now relate to my mom as I think how proud I am of my son for the compassion and good will he feels towards his peers.

One effective way of praising my son for the good things he does is to reward him with something he likes. Every child likes to receive a gift and if your child is rewarded with a gift for doing good I believe it is a very positive way to show your praise and in helping your child in their development and in the learning process. If you are consistent with rewarding your child for good behavior and in achieving success you are helping them build their confidence and in teaching them to strive to accomplish and fulfill their goals and dreams. Every parents wish is to enhance their child’s self esteem and have them feel good about themselves.

Autistic children may encounter difficulty with verbal communication so sometimes praise may not always be effective if it is said with words. Sometimes actions do speak louder than words and with children on the spectrum this tends to be very true. We as parents have to find more creative ways to praise our autistic children and we must never lose sight of this very important aspect that is so important in their development. As good as I felt when I received praise I feel ten times better when I give praise and I realize now how important it is to recognize our children’s accomplishments and to properly reward them for it.

It is nice to know you have someone looking out for you and teaching you the ways of life. Autistic children also need to understand the “rules” of life and they can only learn this if they are properly informed and given the opportunity to explore, learn, understand, evaluate and act. When they act they will be doing something that we all take for granted. Autistic children tend to live in a “vacuum” where they have very little interaction with others so they tend to lack the social graces and are unable to connect with others as most do without thinking twice about it. The beauty of an autistic child is their view of their surroundings and the many special qualities they exhibit in their day to day life. If we are to help bring an autistic child out of their own “little world” we have to first make a proper connection with them. We then have to gain their trust and help them to believe they are special and can do anything they set their mind to do. When we praise a child we help them to start believing in themselves. When we praise an autistic child and they understand we are helping to change lives. An autistic child that starts to believe is the most exciting thing you can ever hope for. I am in awe of the tremendous potential my son has and I want him to remain focused and to believe in himself because I believe in him and I know he can do anything he sets his mind to do.

We must all learn to praise an Autistic child so we can help to change their lives for the better!

Edward D. Iannielli III

 

Finding meaning and learning to accept

As I sit here writing to try to find inspiration and purpose for what I do I can not help but think and reflect quietly on life and my family , work and my responsibilities and the dreams and hopes I envision for myself, my family and for our son who means everything to us. I don’t have a crystal ball and I can not see into the future but sometimes I feel like I would like to feel more in control and I don’t always feel this is the case. It seems there are so many things happening for which we have no control. There are many challenges we all face and we have to learn to grow and adapt and face each and every day with eagerness, joy, a love for life and a complete acceptance of who we are. We must come to love our self and accept the fact that we are not perfect but we have God given abilities and we have a right to be here to enjoy our life and do all we can so we can have a feeling of accomplishment, acceptance and establish relationships with all who come into our life.

We all need to find a way to earn our way and to provide for our family. It is our drive and ambition that helps us to achieve and guides us in our life and we must always stay true to our dreams and believe in our self so we can accomplish the goals we set as we learn and develop as individuals with our own vision and ideologies. I sometimes find that life for all its beauty and charm can also be disappointing and full of sad and difficult times. We all are preoccupied with financial concerns and we feel that we will be able to weather through these times but realistically it is not easy and it can bring us down and affect how we look at the world we live in. We have to understand that life is precious and we should always be grateful but it can sometimes be a bit stressful and that is when we have to learn to cope and adapt.

I know from seeing my parents in the days when I was a kid how hard they worked to provide for us and give us a good life and I realize that they did a wonderful job in raising my sisters and I but I also have come to learn that they did succumb to the stresses of life and had to weather through disappointment and heartbreak. I don’t know why life sometimes has to be so hard and why so many good people have to endure pain and sadness. It seems the hardest part of life is the not knowing and the fact that we are only here for a brief time in the scheme of the universe. We don’t know how long we have here and as we age it does get to be more difficult but we must be strong and hold on to all that is important to us.

In our life we all want to enjoy positive and happy times and we want to see the rewards for all our hard work. Sadly many people work very hard and in the end they find they have nothing to show for it. You always wonder why if you work so hard why in the end there is no true feeling of accomplishment. As I look upon life I feel that we all have accomplished great things but our disappointments seem to overshadow all the good things we have done. Is it human nature that we feel this way? We all must realize that we are not perfect and though we have experienced disappointment at times we have also experienced joy and tremendous accomplishment.

As I look back on my life I realize I am truly blessed and would not trade places with even the richest person in the world. To me life should not be measured by wealth but by what you have learned as a person and how you have grown and become an integral part of other peoples lives and how you have become a better person for it. We all learn and grow as human beings by our own personal experiences and by the friendships we develop and we can make a truly positive impact and make a difference if we believe, have hope and are not afraid.

My most proudest moment in life was watching the birth of our son as I gained a deep love and respect for my wife and all she endured and a deep appreciation for being responsible for a precious human life. I had gone through so many emotions that very special day as I felt total joy and excitement on one end of the spectrum and a feeling of fear and uncertainty on the other end. When you bring a child into the world your whole perspective changes because you realize that precious little baby is totally reliant on you and you must be there for them always. I gladly and proudly accept that responsibility and I felt as I still do today that I want everything to be perfect but we can never guarantee perfection. I wish I had no financial worries but the fact is that most families do have financial concerns. It would be nice to have so much money that you did not have to worry but for most of us this is just a dream. We just have to make the best of it with what we have. We can strive for more and work to achieve it but we also have to be realistic also.

My main purpose in life is to work to help others, to provide for my family and to hopefully share with them the experiences of fun and exciting things and to teach our son to do his best and to provide him an education and support him in every way we can. I also would like to be around to see him grow up and accomplish great things. I promise to be his biggest supporter along with my wife and to let him know that we will stand by him every step of the way for as long as we can. As I said before I do not have a crystal ball and I can not see into the future but I have love in my heart and I have hope for the future for him to grow into a fine person with all the special qualities he shows. I will always look at him as our precious little baby. He is our greatest joy and he always will be.

I love you Matty and your mommy too!

Edward D. Iannielli III