Attachment Parenting and Autism

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Mandy - posted on 03/25/2012

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I started using attachment parenting when my son was born by instinct. At 2.5 we found out he was high functioning autistic. I truly believe it is because of attachment parenting that his symptoms are so mild. I nursed him till the 2.5, practiced extended kangaroo care, we still co-sleep, NEVER used cry it out, tried to never belittle him for his actions, meet his needs as quickly as possible, and tell him every day how amazing he is and how wondrous his gifts are.



When I consider brain research I believe it is because of AP that my son is high functioning. The first way we learn as humans is through touch; this grows the brain and makes more connections that any other learning modality. I also know by meeting his demands quickly, not making him go into distress or cry it out has enabled his brain to develop much better than the typical ASD child. My son read, spells, identifies the states & some countries, adds, and many other amazing accomplishments at age 3.5. He does not throw tantrums and is able to love, kiss, hug, & say I love you to everyone he is close to (sitter, teacher, aunts, uncles, cousins, close friends). My son still struggles with socialization, communication and abstract thinking (all of his learning if from memory; he has a photographic memory), but I will take that! I know with all my heart that AP has helped my son function more fully in society.



*A word of caution: I did find out when my son was 2.5 that I was full of mercury & I was passing this onto him in my breast milk (I was raised on a SAD diet and suffered many side effects, poor oral hygiene & probably my son's ASD being part of that. Our bodies have made huge improvements eating ONLY nourishing REAL food). I had no idea, I had never heard of this. I wish that this information would be made publicly available & hopefully parents intending to have children could detox prior to conceiving. Please pass along.

I do not regret my decision to nurse my son to 2.5. I would do it again. I know the touch helped his brain develop & gave him a milder temperament & hopefully nursing helped his immune system. I do believe that the mercury had a great roll in his ASD. I would have certainly taken all measures to detox prior to conceiving had I been aware of this phenomenon.



Best of luck to everyone. Continue to love and nourish your children mind, body, & soul. We are only here for a little while.



Forget mainstream thinking and stand out from the crowd!!

Denise - posted on 02/01/2011

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my son justin is 11 yrs old,we have tryied all sorts of discipline but the same theory still works for him. he loves to sleep in my room,if he is scared i will hold him to soothe him. and every night we have alone time just him and we talk or watch tv, he now goes to sleep in his room quietly after his good night hugs and kisses.

Miriam - posted on 02/01/2011

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I used AP, at least I tried. My son has asperger syndrome and I really think he'd have had more trouble if I hadn't breastfed him until he was 5.5 years old. It was more or less child-led. One day, though I was very tired and said, "You can nurse and have a grumpy mommy or not nurse and have a happy mommy. Then I explained that his sister was a baby and was nursing and that when babies get to be older nursing gets more difficult. It was true for me at that point. Alex never asked again. I suddenly realized a week later that he wasn't asking to nurse and I asked him why. He said, "You taught me about ages." I didn't use a sling with him because he was unhappy in a sling and I had upper back problems due to gallbladder issues. I had to have my gallbladder out when my son was 3 months old. I always tried to think about reasons for behavior and to help him cope or not fight the battle. I think AP helped me choose battles wisely. I loved the book Raising Your Spirited Child. I chose to move to our current town because the school where Alex was to attend had a very well-thumbed copy of it in their guidance office.

I still try to stay attached though it is more complicated as he gets older. When he's having a meltdown I tell him, 'I know what a great kid you are and I know you don't like to behave this way." You'd be surprised at how effective this can be. Especially if your child really KNOWS you think they're fun to be around. I LOVE to be around my kids. When we go to the pool I always get in the pool, too. I hold Alex by his hands and pull him around the pool. He still hugs and snuggles a bit even though he is 13 and if he's upset he still gets in our bed occasionally. Sometimes I can't sleep with him there but I'll go in another room and let him sleep there because usually he's upset about something and we know he needs it. My husband is fabulously supportive of this. My daughter who is 10 comes into our room at night more than my son. Most nights I lie down with my daughter and read to her. She doesn't have autism but has a few traits that are troublesome for her. She has sensory processing disorder, anxiety and OCD. Last year at school she was having a terrible time and her school gave me grief about being "too easy" on her. I tried it their way a little while and it made us all extremely unhappy. So I stopped that and went with my insticts again. She needs some help getting to sleep at night but if I give her that she's so much more independent in all other areas that it is well worth it!

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Diane - posted on 02/01/2011

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We held all 6 of our children until they decided that being independent was what they wanted. Our oldest is 38 and our youngest is 10. All of them went through times where they needed to be held more than others. We played musical beds for years.. the up side of this is that our adult children are happy successful adults with careers that they love. Our 3 youngest were more intense as they came to us through foster care adoption as infants and a toddler. We used ap with them in order to help them regain the emtional security that they had lost. James and I slept in a recliner for the first 2 years he was with us. I held him until he fell asleep and often stayed there all night because he had a lot of fear. By the time he was four and we knew for sure that he was ASD we had already been giving him skills for attachment. Now he is 13 and will come to us for hugs, is able to yell across the room love you to us. Our 12 year old still needs dad to lay down in the trundle bed until he falls asleep [all 3 boys have RADs]. For years he was not able to tolerate a hug or for us to say I love you but with consistant ap we have made great strides in his emotional IQ. All 3 boys have SI issues and we work with a movement therapist for sensory intergration improvement. It has helped them to make great strides in nervous system regulation and tolerance of environmental stimuli. I always reminded myself that they would not be in my lap when they went to high school and believe me it went by way too fast for all 6 of them.. I always advocate for children to be cuddled, held and breast fed for as long as possible. Even with the bottle feeding of our adopted sons we held them for every feeding..until they were over 2 years old. Just note my oldest sons 34 and 38 and daughter 35 have used ap with their children and my grandkids are happy, well adjusted and secure in who they are because they know that mom and dad are there for them.. their ages are 5,5,2, 8, and9.

Tina - posted on 02/01/2011

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We have been doing AP since way before we knew about our DD's Aspergers. For us it is a natural way of life and a logical way to parent. Treating every child like an individual who has opinions, needs and rights and attending to those needs is the only way I know how to parent.

LeeAnn - posted on 01/29/2011

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I have to agree with the Science Daily article. It is very much the way I raised both my sons one diagnosed as Aspergers. I did encourage independent play but always nearby as I was in the kitchen or in the yard. When my kids were infants I used soft carriers they loved it. I always feel so sorry for the little ones screaming their lungs out at the grocery store I keep wanting someone just to pick them up. My son constantly wanted to be carried up until about 3years and I complied but he just got too heavy so we had to hold hands. Unlike his brother he was not a flight risk and I never needed a harness. I did not allow the kids in my bed as toddlers unless it was movie night or dad was out of town. I did spend almost a year and a half sitting next to my son's bed every night so he could fall asleep this is after having read him book. He had night terrors for a couple of years but they subsided as he got older. I believe we should be a source of refuge for our kids whenever possible.
LeeAnn

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