How do you make a connection to a child that does not talk? What about a child that will not look you in the eyes? How do you connect with a child that cannot always tolerate being touched? These are questions that my family has had to wrestle with.
Every child is different. There is a reason for the term “Autism Spectrum”. Autism covers a very broad range of things. You may have heard the quote “Once you have met one child with Autism, you have met one child with Autism.” How true!
Doctors have told us that our son has “severe” Autism. Whatever that means? But, instead of focusing on how severe, not severe, or where on the spectrum our child might be, we just focus on our child. Autism is not who Ezra is. We focus on capturing the heart of our little man.
This is easier said than done. I cannot connect with Ezra the way that I do with our daughter, Grace. We have had to learn how to Love in a Different Language.
I can tell you this, you will not make a connection with Ezra by standing over him, sitting in a chair above him, or from calling his name from across the room. If you sincerely want to connect, you need to stop, drop, and play!
Try to get into his world. Do not expect him to get into yours. Make yourself available. Do not expect him to seek you out. Try to be open and go-with-the-flow. Do not have preconceived ideas about what this connection should look like. Sit patiently and wait. Do not push yourself into his play. (Even if he NEVER makes eye contact with you, he KNOWS that you are there.) You will build a connection simply by sitting quietly near him and patiently making yourself available.
In a way, it really is the most simplistic of ways to connect that reaches Ezra. So many children want to be entertained. Many adults feel the pressure of competing against the gadgets and things that hold their children’s attention and interest. With Ezra, there is none of that. Come in your sweats, come without an agenda, come with no makeup, come without the biggest and newest toy. There are no prejudices here. Come wait patiently, come wait quietly, make yourself available, watch his mind at work, study what he is studying, and stop, drop, and play!
…and if you patiently pursue him, you will make a connection.