10 ways to engage your child
You are the most important person in your child's life. Your child will learn to relate and communicate from you. If your child has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, you may need to adjust your interaction style to accommodate your child's individual differences. If you would like support and coaching in this area, I am a Speech Therapist Trained in DIR ®Floortime andProject Impact andcan assist you in discovering how to connect to your child in a meaningful way. In early intervention, the most effective Speech Therapy is parent coaching because the parent is with the child throughout the day and the child is more likely to absorb the nuances of relating and communicating in the context of meaningful daily routines. As you select a routine like meal time, book time, play time, bath time, etc. think about your child. What makes your child feel calm and supported, what is upsetting and what do you notice that your child gravitates toward. Being a good observer can help you identify supportive strategies for your child. When a child is in a calm alert state, they are ready to relate and communicate. Here are a few strategies you might find useful.
1. Observe your child to see what they are interested in. Notice their activity level, interests and their affect.
2. Follow your child's interest by slowly joining and taking an emotional interest in what they are doing.
3. Imitate with intention and joy, what the child is doing. Pay attention to their non verbal cues, gestures, gaze and affect.
4. WAIT up to 10 seconds for your child to respond to give them time to process and initiate.
5. Allow your child to initiate and show their intention.
6. Amplify your own non verbal cues by adjusting your affect and gestures and using less language.
7. Create playful routines that have a calm and organizing rhythm.
8. Once you have a regulating routine, gradually create drama by giving your child a problem to solve. Wait longer, hide something, pretend you are not sure about what to do next. Allow your child to try and pull you up for more swinging, or grab your hand for more tickles. Play the where's ______ ? complete with gestures.
9. Offer choices to allow your child to show you what they desire.
10. Have fun!!! Pleasurable interactions are emotionally uplifting for the parent and the child. Pleasure creates strong and meaningful connections .