2 Steps to Being Thankful for All Things

Tis the season to be thankful for all things, right?

But when you have an autistic child, that abstract concept can be so hard to grasp. You want to foster the attitude of thankfulness but you need to think outside the box as well as be consistent. It really can be tedious but it’s not hard.

2 steps to being thankful for all things

Step 1: Daily Practice of Thankful for All Things

Gratitude needs to be practiced daily with your autistic child for extended periods of time before they will make the new neural pathways to do it on their own. Don’t let this keep you from trying anyway. Working on character issues with our autistic kids is just as important as speech and OT.

It’s important to show autistic kids how gratitude works in our own lives. This is the first step in getting them to notice.

I’m talking over the top, talking out loud about how grateful you are for such and such. When it’s over the top exclamations, your child notices and starts to pay attention. That’s the first step.

Step 2: Repetition

Talk out loud ALL THE TIME. If you don’t feel ridiculous doing it then you’re doing it wrong. Be grateful for everything little or small. Talk about it constantly. Don’t focus on whether or not your child is paying attention. Our autistic kids hear a lot more than they let on.

Talk out loud about things to be thankful for that your child should be grateful for in his life. He won’t be able to recognize those things until you teach him what gratefulness looks like. Remember that you have to help your child make these new neural pathways before it becomes second nature to him.

2 steps to being thankful for all things

Want some examples of how this works?

  • ” Look! Your favorite cereal! It’s great to be thankful for a yummy breakfast.”
  • ” I love this song! I’m always thankful when it comes on!”
  • “You must be very thankful for that soft blanket! I’m thankful Nana made it for you!

It might take years for your child to achieve this higher level thinking skill. Don’t lose heart. As with all things that are worth doing, your efforts won’t be wasted. One day, it will all click and your child will do it second nature.

Want to know the best part?

While cultivating this character trait of gratitude in your child, you’ll develop it in yourself as well. Living in Autismland can have it’s difficult days. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude will make those days appear less often.

Penny is a mom living in Autismland with her husband and children. Based on her own personal and often difficult experiences parenting a child with autism, she hopes to educate other families of children with autism on ways to navigate their own Autismland from pre diagnosis to adulthood. You can also follow her adventures on Twitter, PinterestInstagram, YoutubeFacebook, or in her group, Life In Autismland.


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