Autistic child development

‘My Self, My Space: Building confidence and control in young Autistics’

Stiof MacAmhalghaidh will present at our Parents Autism Conference on Sunday March 21st. Stiof MacAmhalghaigh is our Subject Matter Expert at AUSome Training. Stiof is an Autistic theorist, trainer and campaigner with decades of experience supporting neurodivergent students. Self-identified as Autistic at 12, they gained clinical confirmation at 30. Stiof has worked on developing a comprehensive theory of Autistic living for over a decade, publishing, presenting and training on this work internationally via conferences, Autistic Union, and most recently through their Infinite Diversity blog and Ausome Training webinars.

‘My Self, My Space: Building confidence and control in young Autistics’

The ability of many Autistic parents to raise their Autistic children while avoiding a lot of the common struggles non-Autistic parents experience is a curious phenomenon that has become more and more obvious. When you ask, the answer often amounts to “you just know” and that’s the clue we start from.

Growing and developing a sense of your self, your space and your boundaries – and those of others – is at the heart of childhood development. Our cultures are designed to guide and support this process, and parents are themselves raised to internalise many skills subconsciously, know how to pick up on cues, have an instinct for interacting with their little one. They just know. It feels right.

But if the child is Autistic, a range of factors get in the way and slow or halt this development, throw parents off, and makes it all confusing.It also can result in far too much stress for everyone involved, and leave children growing up feeling unsure of their boundaries, lacking confidence in their own senses and understanding, anxious of failure and unable to spread out and fill their space in the world.

Our world is just not set up for Autistic people, and that starts from day one. It is not set up to support parents of Autistic kids either. Understanding how and why that happens and what the impact is over time helps us adjust how we interact with children from newborn to adulthood.We will discuss the idea of the extended self, and how each of us builds our sense of who we are around many overlapping ‘personal spaces.’

We will look at how knowing where your boundaries lie and feeling in control of the spaces within is the foundation for lifelong confidence and quality of life.

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