Autism: Alienation vs. Extra Attention

(Photo by Juliana Coutinho)

It’s only natural for parents, especially those of children with autism, to shower their offspring with attention. Too much of a good thing, though, can quickly became bad. A lot of children with autism seem to be “too aware” of the fact that they are “different” from other children. An overwhelming amount of attention, therefore, can lead to a greater sense of alienation and incompetence.

Rather than always keeping your child with autism under a close eye, prioritize moments when he can be left alone, or at least, given more space. If you feel that your child might require your assistance or intervention, obviously make yourself available during those times. But be ready to back off during calmer moments. You will help to raise your child’s selfesteem, confidence and independence, as well as diffuse the feeling of being the odd-one-out. This will also help you understand where the boundaries are and at what point your child really needs your help.

What will be a great aid to you, both in such moments and otherwise, is to familiarize the people around you with what autism is and how it affects your child. The aim of this is definitely not to put the responsibility of your child and his special requirements on other people, but rather to help people in your child’s surroundings better understand him and his way of thinking.  The more people understand about autism and its specific effects on your child, the better equipped they will be to interact with one another, regardless of whether they are adults or children themselves.

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