When I was neighbors to the Whites, I watched them speak in a whisper to their young children if they misbehaved. It was something I'd never seen before and I was entranced! Rather than yelling at her (typical) child from across her yard, Angela went to him, bent down, and spoke so softly that I could barely hear. Her tone was not angry but calm, kind, and informative. It was amazing to me how respectful this approach was to the child, and how much better it worked than raising one's voice.
When I had children of my own, and one of them turned out to have special needs, it became quite clear that their approach was the only one that worked to calm him. Family members who didn't know this secret and used a stern tone with Hayden were met with rapidly worsening behavior rather than improvement. It was only myself who could calm him, perhaps because I never thought to teach them the secret. Maybe I was never really fully aware of what it was until now.
Thank you, Angela and Dennis, for unknowingly helping me learn one of the most important lessons in raising a child with Autism:
You have to whisper.
The linked article below begins:
"I walked into a fifth-grade classroom and saw a student with autism sprawled out on the floor. The classroom paraprofessional was standing over the boy, warning him, 'Get up now or you won’t get computer time.' The boy began crying and then biting his hand."
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