Having a child on the spectrum is exhausting , challenging and overwhelming. Though you would not trade your baby for the world some days you would be more that happy to trade the stress. Shoot, I’ll even keep the Autism, just take the stress. For the most part we teach our children Valentines day is a special day for love. It is, it’s nice to have a day dedicated to just say “I love you.” Sometimes we get wrapped up in our everyday lives, and when you have a child with a disability, sometimes you forget to put your pants on right side out. Yes, I have actually done that on more than one occasion…
Know that your love is what will keep your child striving and growing. My love gave Gracie gave her voice, found her a decent school, drove all over the earth to take her to therapy, gave her friends and a social life. I will keep loving her no matter what challenges we face. Your love will give your child the keys to unlock his or her full potential. Happy Valentines day and keep loving!
From the Desk of Ricky Teichman, BCBA
The first time my son said “I love you, too” in response to my oft-repeated phrase “I love you” I was ecstatic! (I would say I cried, but I usually just become energized lol) I called my parents and siblings, texted my friends, let the world know!! Until then, my son had only repeated “I love you” as an echoic, without any reciprocity in his words. I loved hearing him say it anyway, but when it became reciprocal my world changed forever. He was able to understand the abstract concept that is Love, and communicate to me that he feels that towards me as well. He made my day!
Love is a complex emotion for children to understand.
Love is a complex emotion for children to understand. It isn’t something concrete, such as “happy,” where I can show them the expression of happiness, teach them different phrases that indicate happiness, and point out to the the context of happiness. How do you explain love? Every mom has her own way of showing her child her love, and each child has a way to read his or her mom’s love.
I once asked my kids how they know I love them. My 4-year-old said “Cuz you make me the food I like.” 3-year old said, “Cuz you give me hugs and kisses.” But Yoni, who was then only 5, said “because I know that you’ll do anything for me.” (Now that made me tear up finally:)) And that’s what I hope my children understand. As their mom, I will do anything for them, even if it is uncomfortable for me. That means that I will stay up into the morning hours baking that specific cake for his party that he only reminded me about at 9:30pm. It means I will work extra hours around the clock so that my kids can have the therapy they need. It means that I will create social stories, run to teachers meetings, spend hours thinking of which games and toys would help them most in each stage of their lives, and play with them. It also means I will structure myself, so that their day follows a routine and is predictable. It means that I will follow through on a consequence if it is or the benefit of my child, and I will not be swayed by his tears and cries that break my heart. I will hold his arms down for the vaccination, and I will kiss his boo-boo away.
“because I know that you’ll do anything for me.”
There is nothing greater than the love of a parent to a child. Somehow, when said child has a special need, the love seems to grow proportionately, even if it may be difficult to see it in the middle of the meltdown. Whenever you are experiencing a difficult moment, take a moment to remind yourself how much you love your child.