Building Self-Esteem in Individuals on the Autism Spectrum
This article appears in the mother-son series "I have autism and I need your help" written by Erik & Teresa Hedley and published in Autism Ontario.
In the world of autism diagnoses, visits to therapists and social challenges, there is often a lot of focus on changing behaviour. Telling anyone over and over again that they need to act differently and they need to change is hard on self - esteem, and individuals on the spectrum are no different.
It is so important to notice the things that people do well, and let them know that you notice their strengths. That is why we love this article by the amazing mother-son duo of Teresa and Erik Hedley. Together they write about the importance of self-esteem, and give you ten concrete, specific ways to help foster and build it. Read the intro below, and the click the link to read the whole article!
"MY MOM SAID that the hand looked royal. The way it reached out
of the car window also caught her attention. There was something
elegant about the movement and the white glove and the sparkly
bracelet, she said. She told me that she stared at it and almost forgot
to move the van up to the window to pay. But she did, and when she
got there, the Tim Horton’s girl looked a bit confused. She said to my
mom, “Do you know that woman?”
“What woman?” my mom asked.
“The woman who just drove away. I thought you must know her
because she paid for your order as well as her own.”
“No,… I don’t know her,” my mom replied, “and why would she
pay for my lunch ...and then just drive away?”
The Tim Horton’s girl smiled and continued: “The woman said you
had been kind to her a few blocks back. You let her into traffic when
no one else would.”
My mom told me that the gloved woman’s deed was a random
act of kindness. She said she would never forget the graceful hand and
the kind act. I liked hearing about this but I wasn’t sure why my mom
was telling me about it. It was her story, not mine. But I guess I should
know better because my mom is a teacher. Most stories have a lesson.
That part was coming."
-Erik Hedley, I Have Autism and I Need Your Help
Pictured above: Factors that Shape Self-Esteem
This article first appeared in Autism Ontario's quarterly publication, Autism Matters, Spring, 2014, Volume 2, Number 2.
Want to read more of Erik and Teresa's articles? Check out the following articles in the "I Have Autism and I Need your Help" series:
Our founder Lisa Fraser also had the pleasure of interviewing Erik & Teresa on Inside the Spectrum this fall. They shared some amazing insights and very specific tools & techniques that can be implemented right away. To watch their interview, click here.