Presenter: Griff Doyle, PhD
There is an inherent dilemma for parents, teachers, and therapists encouraging autonomy with ANY child, and especially for parents of children with autism and sensory processing disorders. These parents often take higher risks of meltdowns, fear, resulting in overall retreat, regression, or self-absorption. They can ignite not only a momentary calamity but dismantle hard-fought, developmental progress to maintain regulation and engaging contact. The process of Separation-Individuation in typical children is highly applicable to children whose sense of growing independence is compromised by developmental delays. This presentation will focus on how to establish, nurture, and solidify DIR’s Functional Emotional Developmental Levels to advance towards security, exploration, intention, and beyond. At every moment along this road, we all face the dilemma of whether, when, and how to try to do less and have the child do more. Emphasis will be given to when to risk encouraging/not autonomy, moving at one’s own pace, tolerating anxieties that come with these steps, and trusting newfound competence.