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Some tips to help boost self-esteem of a child with autism

Self-esteem is a person's opinion of themselves. It is extremely important to have good self-esteem so that you can face the world with confidence and determination. You can complete any desired task with a positive outlook towards yourself and life.

In the case of children with autism, parents and teachers have a crucial role in developing self-esteem in the child. Since they lack social skills, chances are high that they might feel a wee bit different from others. With correct guidance and support, children with autism can develop positive self-esteem.

Dr Moona Sumalatha, co-founder, Chaarana Centre for Special Children in Bengaluru, believes that parents are critical to this feeling.

Parents must always believe in the child because the child can sense that. You must praise them for even the small efforts that they take. Always make sure that they are involved in basic chores because it can help them in different ways. Try and take them out for outings, but ensure that the place is safe for the child. Encouraging your child to play with other children, never giving up on them and being patient can help you child build self-esteem and confidence. - Dr Moona Sumalatha

Here are a few tips to help increase self-esteem of children with autism

  • Praise them frequently - Every human being loves to hear praises. We are social animals who crave to hear positive things about ourselves. If you have a child with autism, try and praise them when you see them doing good things. For instance, when they clean the room or helps you dust the living room, tell them that you are proud of their gesture. You can even reward them with a chocolate when they finish their homework on time!
  • Promote independence - It is always great to see your child being independent. This is applicable to every teacher and parents. So when your child with autism is able to stand on their own feet, nothing like it! Ensuring that a child with autism is independent is quite a tedious task. Since different children have different needs, you must understand what helps them the most. In case they do something on their own, praise them. This way, they will learn the importance and beauty of being independent.
  • Spend time with your child - Usually, it is hard for a child with autism to trust people. But they trust their parents and teachers a lot. They shower you with unconditional love. Hence, it is your responsibility to spend quality time with them. This will help increase their confidence and social skills as well.
  • Accept them for what they are - Every human being is unique and different in their own ways. It is extremely important for parents and teachers to know that. Accept their flaws and trust them for what they are. When a child with autism understands that you love and trust them, they feel great!

Vijaya Gomathi is a member of Special Child Assistance Network (SCAN), a parents' group in Chennai. She has a 16-year-old son who is on the autism spectrum and is non-verbal.

"Since my son is non-verbal, he cannot express most of the things. Make sure that you do not keep giving your child instructions on what they must and must not do. They get anxious, aggressive and irritated very easily, especially teenagers. Let them do things independently. That is the best way to learn things on their own. They must not feel that they are dependent on us. That helps in boosting their confidence and self-esteem", says Gomathi.

ALSO READ: Some indoor fun options for children with autism

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