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It’s tempting to view autism as a problem to fix - but is it? Admittedly there are challenges - if someone can’t speak, poos their pants, has tantrums...

then yes life is going to be difficult for them and those around them. But these challenges can be addressed over time. The autism itself, with its intact intellect, amazing memory and almost preternatural lack of ego is a personality type with many gifts. Not a problem.

And how helpful is it to look at a child and say - however unconsciously - 'you my beautiful child - are a problem.'

Certainly it’s a great way to create a problem person...

And if we put pressure on ourselves to 'fix' the unfixable, and what doesn’t even need fixing (if it ain't broke, don’t fix it) then imagine the pressure we put on the child...

But what if we can say - 'wow - you’re a very cool kid. Ok there are some skills I’d like to help you acquire that will make life easier but you yourself are amazing' - imagine how that will inform the child's subconscious - and your own.

So start where they are - autistic, and make friends with the autism. Learn to like the autism. To DIG the autism. Because it is so darned cool. If the child wants to bounce on the trampoline, go straight to the trampoline - or other activity that he/she is showing you that they want. Don’t say ' if you do this boring therapy thing then I will reward you with the trampoline'. That makes zero sense to the autistic mind. Honor all communication, even negative communication and the trust and therefore the deeper communication, and then the building of kind and social skills, will inevitably follow.

Never break an activity the kid is already absorbed in to make them do something else. Rather enter into their activity and gradually - stealthily - roll little ideas out and see which they pick up and run with and which they ignore. Let them teach you what interests them, show interest in that, and the way forward will become clear.

Perhaps the best way to think about it imagining that you were dropped in china. You’d better learn to speak Chinese. But you wouldn’t stop being the nationality that you are. Nor would you need to be. If we have to teach these kids Chinese so be it. So they can swim in the shark infested waters of neuro-typical humanity. But their autism - man, that is cool. And because of their lack of ego, when you hang out with them, they heal you by not pressing your ego buttons, which temporarily at least, halts our own psychological suffering. So who is the therapist here?

By starting where the child is and now where we want them to eventually be - we and they will get there together. And perhaps in the process that child will take you where you need to be too...