by Inna Selipanov
Being a parent isn’t easy, and neither is being a child. Matters are complicated tenfold for parents of autistic children, and the children themselves. Autistic kids are often ridiculed in school, and are made to feel even more isolated than they already are. Parents, in turn, struggle to cope with these difficulties and to help their children understand the world around them. There is something you can do, however, on a particularly bad day to help your child feel more at ease.
Create a miniature world, in which your child can take refuge. Be creative with this, or let your child make some suggestions. For example, have a set of toys/dolls reserved only for this purpose. Give some of the dolls imperfections, both physical and emotional. Or create an imaginary world on paper. Help your child draw different characters, and give them all names. Another idea could be to create a separate corner in the child’s room, using a tent or fabrics and cloths. This should be a safe place where your child can go to get away from the hardships of the real world.
Whenever your child comes home from school and has had a bad day, you can take him to the imaginary world you have both created, regardless of what form it is in. Make sure the child understands that this other world is free of ridicule and problems, and all things work as one expects them to. Give this to your child as an emotional tool to use against all hardships.
This idea is actually inspired by an autistic man, who is now making a living from this. When he was a child, he created an imaginary world for himself, made up of many different characters. They became his “friends” and helped him deal with difficult times in his life. These characters have stayed with him into adulthood and continue to serve great purpose in his life today.