Self-Identity And Self-Esteem For teenagers With Autism – What YOU CAN DO To Help?

Many times as we grow up that we tend to look for a lot of experiences, fun and experiment with everything in our lives.. We all have that dreams, goals, purpose and vision in life and it’s up to us to make that change and create the very first chapter in our book of life.

As we know that as we grow up at this point of time as we transition from a child to an adult that we fully rely on our parents as they’re the first one that are in our lives and that they’re first in contact with us.Our parents should be our role models, mentor, guide and all these other labels in front of it based on what we go through in our everyday life.

One of my proudest moments in life of graduating with support of my parents. (Taken at UCOL New Zealand, March 16, 2016)

We should be able to trust our parents and what not to actually share our problems too or what have you. It’s all about trust and communication, I believe also.

During adolescence, your child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is forming an independent identity. This is a normal and important part of becoming an adult, and you can do a lot to support your child and build his self-esteem along the way.

As an autistic adult, I can tell you if you let me tell you that without hesitation, that I wasn’t always confident and had great self esteem as this took time and patience with people around me along with basically having to have the right people around me. Young children and adults with autism have self-esteem problems. (In my video, I talked about my life growing up from a child to a young adult to who and what I’ve become based on my experiences and some life lessons I’ve learnt).

When you are critical of your child’s behaviors or social interactions with their peers or with you or whoever they are, they often feel hurt. They feel like that you’re judging them, you’re criticizing them on how they should be living or whatever. It’s just how you come across as an adult when you’re actually
teaching your child especially about self- identity and self-esteem. I’ve noticed that sometimes in saying this that some adults tend to what I’ve witnessed just bear with me and don’t hit me hard in the comments in the comments or what have you to what am about to share about this as this is based on my own experience and what I’ve seen and heard basically in my lifetime that many you know parents tend to bully or just make the child so small to the point that they don’t want to come out of their own shell. They already feel as if they are under a microscope because of the doctor visits, occupational therapist sessions, and the stream of interventions we try. I’d feel like everybody was trying to fix me in the same set of circumstances, and it would hurt my self-esteem, too. (I have enough problems feeling good about my cooking when my anyone who comes in my circle criticizes me.)

Kids with autism don’t understand subtle jokes very often, and social interactions often turn out badly for them, which erodes their self-esteem even more. Combine all this with the expectations of siblings and the all-too-frequent bullying, and it’s easy to understand how devastated a child with an autism spectrum disorder can feel.

So, the big question I ask is, “What can we do?” It’s crucial that family members, educators, and professionals learn strategies and techniques to build self-esteem in kids with autism and Asperger’s. Everyone needs a reminder now and then of just how precious they are, and our very special children
need those reminders every day. For example, “Sammy, you are doing a great job cleaning your room. If you pick up those clothes over there, it would look even neater.
Boy, you sure are a good listener.”

It Starts with You as a Parent

In order to build your child’s self-esteem, you need to believe in your child’s inherent value and convey that to everyone else before that child’s self-esteem can begin to improve. These kids know when we’re faking our compliments, and the therapy books say we should give five positive comments to each correction. We have to walk in our child’s shoes and empathize with how they feel. We need to look for these special gifts, tune in to the child with our hearts, and find ways to bring out their precious essence.

It helps when you go to conferences, read books, research and share information. Teach extended family, educators, and other professionals to help your child integrate into groups. Be intuitive when advocating for children, and be persistent, not abrasive or not abrupt.

Emphasize the Positives

In addition, keep a positive attitude. Children with autism oftentimes have an incredible sense of humor. Say what you mean and mean what you say. So, what you say we are usually black and white thinkers.How you speak to us is important and avoiding any misunderstanding or conflicts as this is crucial here. I already have spoken about how you can speak to your autistic child as well as literal language which you can click above me or look into the description box below me.
Look for the good in every child, even if you don’t see it at first. Many people don’t get it as they think that autism is a disease. Autism is a curse. Autism whatever the label is going to be for many of us. We are not broken. We don’t need to be fixed. I don’t believe that we don’t need a cure. We just need to be treated like a human being because again we are still humans. We still have feelings.
Model a mental attitude of “things are great.” Express yourself in the positive, rather than the negative. Kids with autism/Asperger’s are masters at copying what others say, act and do
so make sure they’re hearing things that are good for them to copy. When we say, “You are great!” to a child often enough, he/she, too, will believe it and feel valued for who he truly is. Also, encourage children to share their thoughts and feelings. This is so important, and it often sheds new light on existing situations.

Balance the Physical with the Mental and Spiritual

Like most people, kids with autism feel better about themselves, when they’re balanced physically, emotionally, and spiritually. These are all great areas in which to build self-esteem.

Since your child may have digestive problems, which often makes him or her a very fussy eater and likely to gravitate towards junk food, most doctors say it is important to try supplements. However, be sure to check with your child’s doctor first. Also, provide regular physical activity, when possible, to
relieve stress and clear your child’s mind.

Set the stage for success by acknowledging their successes, however small, and reminding your child of their previous accomplishments. Keep their life manageable,
and don’t overwhelm your child with too many activities.

*MENTIONED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MAKING LISTS SO THAT IT DOESN’T OVERWHELM THE CHILD WHEN YOU GIVE THEM SET TASKS TO DO THROUGHOUT THEIR DAY. LISTS ARE GREAT AT LOOKING AT WHAT IS NEEDED TO BE DONE AND WHEN TASK IS DONE WE CAN MARK EACH ONE OFF AND THAT WE CAN SEE HOW MUCH WE DONE IN WAY OF PROGRESS. ADVICE TO THE PARENTS:
DEPENDING ON THE AGE OF THE CHILD AS A SUGGESTION THAT YOU CAN DO A VISUAL TO DO LIST OR SCHEDULE OF THE DAY OF WHAT IS NEEDED TO BE DONE AS WELL.

Provide choices frequently, so they understand they have a say in their own lives. You might want to try to give them a whole day in which to be in charge of something.

Give your child every opportunity to connect with their spiritual side, through religious avenues, or by communing with nature. This can help them feel purposeful and that their lives have meaning. One strategy that helped raise my Jonny’s self-esteem, especially when it came to overcoming his victim thoughts and feelings, was to employ spiritual affirmations. Using affirmations took some time, but we found that it brought calm and peace to Jonny and our family.

Dr. Gerald Jampolsky, author of Love is Letting Go of Fear and founder of California’s Center for Attitudinal Healing, offers many principles I find helpful in teaching us to love ourselves, thereby enhancing our own self-esteem and that of others. Some of his principles include:

  • The essence of our being is love
  • Health is inner peace
  • Live in the now
  • Become love finders, rather than fault finders
  • Learn to love others and ourselves by forgiving, rather than judging
  • Choose to be peaceful inside, regardless of what’s going on in the outside world around us.
  • We are all students and teachers to each other.

Part of Dr. Jampolsky’s message is that, by focusing on life as a whole, rather than in fragments, we can see what is truly important. His concepts, when embraced, positively affect how a child with autism thinks and feels about him- or herself. Anger, resentment, judgment,
and similar feelings are all forms of fear. Since love and fear cannot coexist, letting go of fear allows love to be the dominant feeling over fear for us.

Look for the Miracles everyday

Every day, there are miracles and good things happening all around us. Be on your child’s side by tuning into who they truly are: unique expressions of divine light. Empower your child to be okay with who they are. Do this by loving your child not for who you want them to be, but for who they are.

Consider that children and adults with autism/Asperger’s are wonderful beings, here to teach us empathy, compassion, understanding, and most importantly, how to love. Do whatever it takes to authentically include your child in your life, rather than merely tolerate their presence or exclude them once and for alls.
.

Explaining Autism to Others

Autism can seem like a life sentence one moment and a spiritual celebration of life the next. But, however we see autism, we should see it in a positive light, I believe.
Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability today to date. We constantly explain our children to people who don’t want to understand via through social medias, books and whatever other resources that are readily available. We define autism continually to educators who oppose us. We speak out, because many of our children do not have a voice.

Unity and fellowship seem to elude our movement. Some of us search for treatment, some for a cure, and some ask simply for adequate programming. Nonetheless, it should be all about the children.

According to an article by the American Academy of Neurology and the Child Neurology Society:

Autism and pervasive developmental disorders encompass a wide continuum of associated cognitive and neurobehavioral disorders, including the core defining features of
impaired socialization, impaired verbal and nonverbal communication, and restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior . . . .

There are several hundred different treatments offered for autism, with many viewpoints and a wide variety of theories. So how, with all this information around you, can you explain the sense of loss you feel when your child stops being who he was? It is like he’s there, but he’s not there. He is disconnected.

How do you explain the sensory issues, the outbursts, and the pain your child wrestles with every day on a daily basis? How do you explain that autism is unique and unpredictable,
but not horrifying? How do you explain the undying love and dedication we have for our children?

Look into your child’s face, watch him or her smile, and you’ll understand. No explanation is necessary.

Teenagers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can find it harder than typically developing teenagers to work out who they are and what their values are. They might also find it difficult to build self-esteem – that is, seeing themselves as valuable members of society with skills and strengths.

Your child might find these things hard because she has trouble recognizing and controlling his or her own emotions. This can make it difficult for him or her to work out how he or she feels about herself, how she feels about certain issues and what his or her values are truly are.

Also, typically developing teenagers often learn about themselves from their peer group, but your child’s ability to do this might be more limited. For example, he or she might be unsure of how he fits into and relates to his or her peer group. Or he or she might notice for the first time that he understands or interprets things differently from his peers. He or she might be cut off from his peer group, or just not interested in his peers.

And then there are the usual adolescent ups and downs. Your child might just be feeling more ups and downs than they’re used to. This could be for many reasons – physical, emotional, social and psychological – and not for any one reason in particular. Often you can’t pin it down.

Autistic children often struggle to understand or talk about emotions. There are some therapies that are available for your autistic son/daughter at any age. This will determine where you are and what type of therapy you feel is right for your child. Remember that not all therapy will work for any of us that goes through it so it will again vary from person to person.

I’ve mentioned some therapy types of what they are and what they do for people which you can find here above me. Emotional development happens according to your child’s cognitive or developmental age rather than his age in years. For example, your child might be 13 but be more like a 9-year-old in emotional development and behaviour stage. Building your child on the autism spectrum is important.

Talking about being different

Talking with your child about how everybody is different – which is what makes us interesting – can help your child see himself or herself as a valuable part of society.

You can help your child understand that people can look, speak, think or act differently from each other – and this is OK. Although your child might feel different from other children at school, or people might tell him that he’s different, she/he is not the only one who is different.

Meeting others

Joining an activity that she enjoys, like a sports club or a band, can help your child build a better sense of her strengths,
what she enjoys and where she fits in. It’s also a good chance for her to develop and practise her social skills
and mix with teenagers who don’t have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Getting involved with other teenagers who do have ASD can help your child to understand more about ASD and the different ways it can affect people.
They’ll be able to share his own experiences with an understanding audience. Your state autism association or local council can help you find a local group.

Thinking about ‘me’

You can encourage your child to think about:

what he or she likes and doesn’t like his or her personality – for example, whether she’s generous, artistic, polite and so on what words she would use to describe herself to others.
One way to get your child thinking about themselves is to help him or her create an ‘All about me’ book. This might include pictures of things your child likes, pictures of friends or things about their hobbies and achievements. Drawings or craft creations from when your child was younger can remind them of past experiences. Things like school reports can help your child think about past and current achievements.

When your child comes up with a list of words to describe themselves, these can go into their book.

Knowing about family

Your child’s self-identity also comes from knowing about his family. You could show your child things like family photographs and include them in the ‘All about me’ book too.

It might also help your child to hear about your experiences of growing up and being a teenager,
especially if your child doesn’t have a lot of support from peers and friends.

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