One of the things I learned while pursuing my Certified Professional Coach Designation, is this; a powerful question can change how we look at things.

sign that says "involve me and I'll understand"So, I’d like to ask you a powerful question. Here goes:

As a parent to your ASD child, what is your intention? What are you committed to providing? Take a moment to contemplate your thoughts.

Many of us live our lives on “auto-pilot.” If you intend to shift something significant in your child’s life, it’s time for you to say goodbye to auto-pilot, and hello to self-awareness! “I thought this was about my child,” you may be thinking. Here’s the connection. In order to impact your child’s ability to think and relate to others, you need to be aware of your own thoughts and actions. It’s not hard, but it does take practice.

As a parent to your child, you’re the ideal person to impact your child’s challenges. You love your child more than anyone; you spend ample time with your child; you have a vested interest; and, your child will always be in your life! So, what is your intention as your child’s parent and caregiver? There’s no time like the present to take stock, examine your current challenges, and establish how you will put your intentions into action.

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Most of you will have heard the term “neuroplasticity.” Since 2006, when I first started my practice, I’ve been witnessing neuroplasticity in action. I’ve worked with many families that have seen their child blossom before their very eyes. Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®) has always been on the leading edge. Now, thanks to the fact that neuroplasticity is a commonly understood term, people have come to realize that the theory and research supporting RDI just make sense.

cartoon of boy wearing a "thinking cap"How many of you have heard ads for Lumosity, the company that offers “brain training” exercises? If so, you’re likely comfortable with the fact that your brain can change. If you do “brain exercises” that are appropriate for your challenges; not to simple, but not too challenging, you can improve your ability to problem solve. Now, how about about your child’s? It’s quite similar, actually, but there’s a twist that makes RDI’s approach even more exciting.

In order to “stretch” your child’s thinking (regardless of age) he or she needs to be “guided.” Our first goal is to rebuild your capacity to do this. This is where my expertise comes in. Through slow, bite-size increments, you’ll be guided yourself; you’ll learn to “think about thinking” and to analyze your child’s thoughts in relation to your own. You’ll learn to keep your child with you; to manage through the difficult spots; to feel competent! This is an incredibly empowering process for both parents and child.

Once the “guiding relationship” is in place, life at home is happier for everyone. Both child and parents enjoy a new connection, and finally – as a parent – you can enjoy feeling competent, knowing how to manage and keep your family ship on course. The best news? By this time you will have built a solid foundation for your child’s cognitive growth. Your child will have dramatically improved in the areas of self regulation, and will be “tuned in” to your emotional state. You’ll be emotionally connected in a genuine, give-and-take fashion.

The next phase? Using simple, ‘round the house activities to “stretch your child’s thinking” in the right measure, with the right developmental emphasis. Together, as a team, I work with parents to choose age-appropriate ways to get your son or daughter involved at home. Your child will experience moments of success with you; and you will learn to fuel their thirst for learning and competence! One thing I know for sure, is that competence is addictive. Once you’ve tasted it, you want more.

With the right guiding, you can have the satisfaction of knowing that your child’s social, emotional and cognitive growth is moving in the right mother and child holding hands
direction. Oh, what a feeling.

In the next issue of “To the Spectrum and Beyond” I’ll share the growing evidence to support parent involvement in your child’s autism treatment.

If you’re interested in talking about your family’s challenges, and how you intend to shift things, email me at equinox@bell.net, or call me at 705-875-4605.