FEATURE ARTICLE – AUTISM

I decided that when my son was a little boy, mealtime would be my daily teaching format. Awkward social skills were his weakness. I felt the routine of nightly dinner with his family would help him to improve his conversational skills and learn how to pick up on social cues. So, at dinner each night, we would talk about our day, discuss any issues and move on to topics that fascinated him. He would grow with each conversation. The time together help him bond with his siblings and his parents.This love connection gave him more confidence to speak with his heart. He would sometimes repeat in a way we called the loop. We told him when he repeated himself, so he would learn to move forward with his next thought. Sometimes, he would converse and then get stuck, like a record that skips. He would be so excited that the subject was just too stimulating to move on. With awareness, he has improved in this area.

Your child of autism can benefit from the dinner table classroom. Inclusion is key. Interaction and overcoming social obstacles begin at home with loved ones.

Don’t turn away from one of the most valuable lessons you can give. Give your child a variety of people to talk to in a given day. Perhaps, their siblings, friends, grandparents and new acquaintances. Open their world to the art of conversation. Teach them to be a good listener as well as a conversationalist. Kids of autism shy away from these situations. They tend to be loners; often enjoying the company of computers and games.

Encourage them daily to join the family at dinner.Put all tech devices away; put some pleasant music on in the background and just talk. You will be inspired to hear what interesting stories and insights your child shares with you. Enjoy the time together! Life is a series of moments that can inspire and make life very worthwhile!

Happy Dining!