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Dr. Jonine Biesman: Avoiding Crises Through Respectful Parenting

Photo of Dr. Biesman from theAAPN.org [Image description: Woman w/beige skin, long curly dark hair, & brown eyes, smiling widely, directly at the camera.] Dr. Jonine Biesman specializes in working with neurodiverse children and adolescents, as well as with their parents and larger family system. She is a training leader and interventionist in DIR/Floortime. We talked with Dr. Biesman about best practices for parents who need help understanding and parenting kids with aggressive or self-injurious behaviors, about presuming competence in children who need communication support, and about the potentially dangerous costs of parent-enforced compliance. Here’s what she had to say: [Best practices] doesn’t just apply to autism. With any child, whatever age, whatever person, who’s having a hard time, the first step really is understanding. What is that behavior really representing, what is it a manifestation of, and what’s really being communicated. As soon as anyone’s needs are better met,…

How Autism Parents Can Listen to Self-Advocates

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.squidalicious.com Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. –Winston Churchill You’d think we parents of kids with special needs — righteous avengers that we so often are — would be extra-invested in listening to the self-advocates who share our children’s experiences, who in many cases used to be our children. You’d think someone like me, who truly believes behavior is communication, would take more time to understand why a self-advocate would criticize something I’d written, would ask for more information before reacting, would understand that a self-advocate can both be articulate and need communication accommodation. You’d think that, knowing how many times even well-meaning people have dismissed my son’s needs or spoken to him as though he was an obedient puppy, I’d understand how self-advocates might have very little patience for parents…