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The Ins and Outs of Early Intervention

Autism Reveals Mother-Child Connection

Published April 9, 2015 2:16 PM by jasna cowan
After working with thousands of young children with autism, I have noticed something extremely difficult to explain. Young children that do not say one word, yet have such a strong connection to their mothers that they quickly develop an intuitive understanding of how they are feeling. It is a phenomenon that I have seen time and time again.

Many times when I work with such children, I have to share my observation with the mothers to make them aware of how their child's temperament and feelings mirrors their own.

When I see a child in despair with an unusual amount of anxiety and fear, I usually look to the mother to see what might be going on for her in that moment in time. Almost always the mother shares something like, "I haven't slept," "I am sad for my child," "I am depressed," or "I just can't cope." 

When a mother says these things to me, I usually have to share the special connection I see between a mother’s feelings and her child's reactions.

When I work with young children and notice that there is this kind of strong non-verbal but emotional connection with their parent, I often need to coach the parent into performing some self-care and work on ways to manage their feelings for the sake of their child. This bond is so real and so strong that it can affect the child's progress and heighten sensory disregulation.

When the mother starts to see this connection is when the mother realizes that she cannot pour her heart and soul into only caring for her child. But for the sake of her child, she must care for herself so that she can be in a balanced and truly centered place to communicate to her child that things will be OK.
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