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    What I Wish I’d Been Made Aware of When My Daughter Was Diagnosed With Autism

    3. Presume Competence. (This post helps explain what presuming competence means.) If a therapy and/or professional does not approach your child with a presumption of competence, please consider finding one who does. Tremendous long-term damage can come from not presuming competence. Rethink how you view communication. Listen to your child, not just to words, but to body language, facial expressions. You may be surprised by the ways your child is communicating despite not being able to do so verbally. Teach her to point with her index finger, first with support if needed and as time goes on, fade the support. Give her the appropriate tools and support so that she can learn to type or communicate by pointing to a letter board. There are many wonderful iPad apps that can help with this. Begin with sequencing games and colored tiles, or if she’s musical, notes. Join them together to make patterns. Show her first, have her mimic.

    4. Do not speak of or about your child as though they cannot and do not understand or hear you (read Barb Rentenbach’s book for more on this). This is something we did without thinking for years. Sadly it is not the only regret I have, but one of many. Still it is worth repeating. Chances are your child can and does understand what you’re saying even if they do not show any signs that you recognize.

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