When we first read the story of the Kauffman Family and their autism-affected boy, we immediately knew that the principles behind their approach and behind their success were universal. And they can still be effectively used with autistic as well as healthy children.
Observe and Follow
What did the Kauffmans do to help their autistic child? The principle was very simple: they Observed their boy and Followed him in whatever he did. It may seem too simple and for many too good to be true, but in fact that’s all you ever need or can do for your own child.
So, first of all you need to learn about their world, and you do it by spending as much quality time as you possibly can with your child. Yes, this means a complete dedication as you need to be focused on your child and nothing else. When you observe your child, you look at everything they do to understand their patterns, preferences and ways of self-expression. This will help you understand their complexity as individuals with their unique ways of being. You have to be genuinely passionate about getting to know your child but at the same time you do not interfere with their inner world.
Gain Trust and Build Bridges
You want them to trust you, to build relationships, and make them feel that you fully accept the way they are. Sooner or later they will start showing you their own world and the way they see it, and gradually they will start to invite you into it. They will do this the way they feel it, and when it’s best time for it. The only thing you can do is to follow, even if it means spinning plates or riding wooden trains back and forth for hours, days and months.
Once you’ve established trust you can start building bridges between your everyday life and their hideaway. This means that you can start showing your child bits and pieces of the world around you. If you do this really gently and gradually, they will start noticing your world and find it interesting and safe enough to cross the bridge and join you in experiencing it together.
To effectively support your children with toys or other resources see “Best Interactive Toys and Games for Children with Autism” (external link).