Kids with autism, especially high-functioning ones, struggle with interpreting the world around them. They have some very volatile emotions, from meltdown anger and frustration, to extreme sadness and overwhelming anxiety. These kids can benefit from seeing a counselor or therapist. Here are three good reasons why you should take your high-functioning autistic child to a therapist regularly.
The Therapist Can Provide and Teach Body-Calming Strategies
As children with autism get older, they can no longer rely on the same objects or methods of calming or soothing themselves. That "calming canoe" they used in kindergarten and first grade cannot paddle up into middle school with them. The pressure massages provided by special needs teachers or the vibrating toys cannot go there either. As such, your child will need other methods and techniques to self-soothe when things get overwhelming. The autism therapist and counselor can teach your child these methods and techniques. You can learn them too, so that you can use them at home with your child.
Interpreting Others' Facial Expressions
There are basic facial expressions that are universal to every culture and every person. Happy, sad, mad and confused are easy enough to learn for most children with autism, but other emotional expressions are not. While your child's teachers are probably proactively teaching these numerous expressions to your child, it helps to have a therapist explain and illustrate them too. It also helps to have someone train your child to focus on people's faces, since eye contact and looking at other peoples' faces is very difficult for these kids to do.
The "What If/What Should I Do" Scenarios
Social situations are a veritable mine field for kids with autism. It is so easy for them to misinterpret what others are saying and/or doing. This also presents a certain level of personal danger, since many are unable to read the situations as anything other than "safe" or "okay." As a parent of a child with autism, this is quite a terrifying thought, since you cannot be around all the time to protect your child.
The counselor/therapist can help teach your child about social scenarios and how to watch and interpret social cues using the "what if/what should I do?" technique. The therapist will present a social scenario, ask your child what he/she thinks is going on, then ask what he/she thinks they should do. If your child gets the answers right, praise is given to reinforce this scenario and interpretive action, in case it should ever happen in real life. If your child gets it wrong, the therapist explains the scenario and helps your child understand what is "off" about his/her interpretation.
Contact therapists in your area, like one from ABC Pediatric Therapy to start searching for a therapist that is a good fit for your child.Share