Connection with another is the most natural occurrence in a human life. From the instant a child is born, we talk about ways to connect, laying upon his mother’s bosom for skin to skin contact, for the mother-to-child bond that is so crucial. When we’re sad or elated, even going about the normal routine of our days, connection is sought after through the small smile given to a stranger, the wave to the person who allowed you in line, the touch we give our children as we usher them into school.
Yet, connecting with our kiddos is one of the toughest things to do when there’s a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder, and in many other neurological disorders. The questions of, “Does he know I love him”, “Does she love me”, “Does she feel hurt, sad, happy, have a stomach ache or want to swim in the pool”? They all seem like somewhat easy questions to answer for a neurotypical relationship, but they are the questions that seem to get in the way of connection in an ASD.
However, the perspective of connection can be seen a different way. Quite possibly connection can come in the form of empathy. Of understanding. Of having as clear a realization of influences on a child as possible. For instance, I’ve talked about the understanding of Sensory Processing Disorder that’s made available through the use of videos as examples.
Certain videos explaining what’s happening during a sensory meltdown give me the ability to understand what J is going through. Since I’ve seen one video in particular, I am better able to find a connection with J during his meltdown times because I have that better understanding. This lends our connection to be, in a way, the experiencing of the same thing and working together to get through it.
My perspective of connection has changed because of this. It’s no longer a matter of does he love me or not and having the verbal answers to my questions…although those are the ones yearned for, for clearer communication…the ability to connect now comes to us at a new level.
What are your thoughts?