It has been a little over a month since my daughter was diagnosed with autism. I was dubious at first and pushed back on her being tested. Why? I didn’t think anything was wrong with her. She hasn’t been saying any words but she understands what you’re saying. She isn’t social but I thought that was just her unique personality. She’s my daughter and I didn’t want anything to be wrong with her. I wanted her to be like everyone else. “Normal”
Once there was a possibility she could be diagnosed with autism I thought I’d look for information on what the signs were for those living with it. Here is the video I watched:
While watching this video my eyes were opened as I saw pieces of daughter in these kids. My wife was right. Something was different about our daughter and because she was tested we were empowered by her diagnosis. We were given a new picture of what was normal for her and that was okay. She will be the best she is and that’s good enough. So along those lines one of the many successes that we’ve seen since she started receiving the support she needs from us and the community is that she’s learned to connect with her siblings especially her baby sister.
One of our family rituals before we go to bed is that we pray and give each other kisses. In the past, my daughter would be disconnected with us. She’d be playing with her toys or jumping on the bed. She isn’t aware or seemed to care about what was going on around her. That has all changed ever since we started praising the good behaviors she was doing, which is what we were encouraged to do by a professional we’ve been working with.
So in the beginning we’d praise ever small behavior that we wanted her to do. When she’d sit still for a second before we prayed we’d make a show of this accomplishment which she seemed to love. Her face would brighten up as we heaped encouragement on her positive actions. Through this constant praise, which by the way was hard for me since that was the opposite way I was raised she started to connect with us during our bedtime ritual.
She slowly started to sit still and now at times will cross her arms like we do as we pray but that isn’t the most amazing party. What is most satisfying is that she has started to give kisses to her baby sister when she’d never let her get near. She seems to look forward to it and as she kisses everyone we cheer and she can’t help but smile.
I finally feel a deep connection with my daughter and because of the small victories or kisses I’m excited to live and see how much potential my daughter holds.
Video Credit: behaviorfrontiers