Increasing Confidence in Children With Autism

March 30, 2018

Children of all abilities can struggle with issues of self-esteem and confidence as they navigate through life, and the environments they’re exposed to can be unkind. Bullying happens within school and other social activities, and when your child has autism a big flag can wave targeting them as different and subjecting them to the shame, poor self-esteem, and unhealthy confidence levels.

As a parent or caregiver, you want to shield and protect them from ever getting hurt especially when they’re exploring life with autism. So, is there a way as a parent or caregiver to help boost their self-esteem and confidence? Follow along in today’s post as we tackle the very emotional topic of self-esteem and confidence in children with autism.

Supporting Your Child With Autism and Fostering Confidence

As a parent or caregiver of a child with autism, you’re doing everything in your wheelhouse to help support your child. Whether it’s modifying their diet or enrolling them in ABA therapy, you are doing your best and that needs to be recognized. No one wrote a manual on how to navigate life with an autistic child, but it’s helpful to have resources and that is why we’re here. If you’ve noticed your child struggles from poor self-esteem issues — because a lack of communication skills — it may be difficult for your child to express that they’re hurting. Poor self-esteem can manifest in the following characteristics:

  • Trouble making decisions for fear of making the wrong choice
  • An over willingness to please
  • Perfectionism
  • Mood disturbances
  • Negative feelings towards life

The way these characteristics manifest in your child will likely appear differently, so pay attention to how they’re acting around their peers.

What is self-esteem anyway and why is it important? Self-esteem is how your child thinks of themselves. Positive self-esteem brings a sense of worthiness and believing that goods thing will happen. Your child believes that with effort, they can accomplish and complete any task. A positive self-esteem is imperative for kids with autism because research has found that positive self-esteem aids in interpersonal relationships, learning, and behavior. If your child is working in ABA therapy, a positive self-esteem will directly affect the success of their progress! Confidence is then built upon self-esteem and is cultivated through how your child experiences success.

Set Your Child Up For Success and Watch Their Confidence Blossom

As a parent or caregiver, you hold the key to their self-confidence! No one knows your child better, so creating an environment that fosters confidence will help in the other environments they’re exposed to.

  • Play to Their Strengths – A perfect way to build their confidence is to praise them for what they do well and identifying their strengths. You can watch what their interests are and compliment them about the puzzle they put together or the dance moves they perform so well. In settings outside the home, watch them in social settings. If they are caring towards a schoolmate or make eye contact with the store clerk, give them an applause.
  • Encourage them to try new things – Part of self-esteem and confidence grows from their ability to try new things and see success with them. Choose activities that you know they’ll prevail in such counting the cars that pass by on a car trip or following their structured schedule for a day. The more than can be exposed to new things and overcome what is required, the more it builds confidence for them to try new things on their own.
  • Practice and Discuss Difficult Situations – Depending on what type of sensory issues your child struggles with, you can build confidence by talking through certain scenarios. You can talk with them about the noisy grocery store they’ll visit later in the week with you, or the bright lighting they’ll encounter at the restaurant. Whatever situation is difficult for them, work through it prior so they can face it and do it with confidence.

As we’ve journeyed together today, we’ve identified what characteristics to look for in kids with low self-esteem and how healthy confidence will help them in every area of their life. We also looked at the ways to help foster confidence in your child including building their strengths, trying new things, and practicing difficult situations.

As a parent or caregiver, when you foster a sense of self-esteem and confidence in your child, you not only help them be able to cope with hurtful situations, but you also give them the opportunity to blossom and thrive in learning, relationships, and behavior.

For more information on how ABA therapy can help your child, connect with us at Pinnacle Autism Therapy today!

Diet and Autism: Part OneDiet and Autism: Part Two
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