Parenting a child that is Autistic or has sensory needs can be hard! What is a parent supposed to do when their child experiences the world in a way that is different from yours? It’s time to find out! Listen in to hear the whole interview with Dr. Laura Froyen.

Welcome to another episode and be prepared to want to listen to this interview more than once, because there is literally that much great information packed into this episode.

In this episode, I interview Dr. Laura Froyen.  I beyond love her perspective and whole heartedly agree with how she speaks about viewing and responding to our children.  Having this perspective shift is something that will make such a dramatic impact on how we parent our child and how our child functions within their world. 

To some, it might be a dramatic change, because understanding your child and their responses to stress and expectations goes so much deeper than just looking at your child as if they are just trying to get attention or avoiding a situation.

When our child first enters this world, we need to learn how to parent that specific child. 

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The way that we see the behaviors will affect how we try to support and raise our children.  She speaks worlds of truth when she says, kids want to do well and they do well when they can.  If they are having a hard time, that means that they don’t have a skill they need to meet the expectations.  It’s not because they are trying to be bad.

In this interview, Laura will talk all about our children’s responses to difficulties, how we can adjust our own responses as parents, and what is going on when our child is having a meltdown.  She even gives some great strategies on how to recognize and manage our own triggers.

“I think they tell us what they need…if we are listening, observing and trusting them, they are giving us a lot of information” Dr. Laura Foryen

Meet Laura

Dr. Laura Froyen has her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies with a specialization in Couple and Family Therapy. She is a peaceful parenting and respectful relationship coach and a self-compassion advocate. She empowers parents to let go of the obedience model, embrace the idea that kids (and grown-ups) do well when they can, and begin parenting from a place of connection & collaboration, rather than control. 

Top 3 takeaways when Parenting Your Autistic or Sensory Child

  1. Kids have “lucky” responses (has a pleasant response that makes it easy to respond, maybe they get sad and want cuddles) and “unlucky” responses (has unpleasant responses that might be explosive) when bumping up against our expectations.  The reality is that both kids are responding to stress and difficulty with certain expectations.
  2. When a child is having a meltdown, keep in mind how our brain works and the child is moving down the “levels of the brain”.  In one model, we can think of a child’s brain in 3 stages.  The executive brain (green light), The emotional brain (yellow light), and the survival part (red light) of our brain.  When they are in the survival part of the brain, they want the question answered “am I safe”.  In the emotional brain, they are asking “am I loved and accepted”.  In the executive part of the brain, they are able to process how to solve a problem.  Because your child has difficulty processing sensory information they might be in the emotional and/or the survival part of the brain the majority of the time.
  3. If there is something your child does consistently or if there are behaviors our children have that trigger us, we can be proactive about how to handle situations.  We can use what Laura called her triple P method to respond.  The three P’s are prepare, plan, and practice.  We can pause and recognize what our thoughts are and then ask if they are true.  Then we can reflect and think about how we can change how our thinking to mirror what is true.

Bonus: Saying what you see your kids doing and first asking, “what’s your plan” is a great question to ask your kids, instead of asking them to immediately stop.

Recommended book:

The Explosive Child by Dr. Ross Greene

Beyond Behaviors by Mona Delahooke

You can find Laura at:  @laurafroyenphd

Candice Curtis is a licensed Occupational Therapist and the founder of Integrate Family. She is passionate about helping and empowering parents and their children.  Candice has advanced postgraduate training in theory, assessment, interpretation and treatment in Ayers Sensory Integration.  She is a Certified Autism Specialist with expertise in sensory processing, coordination disorders, learning disorders and executive functioning.  Candice also has 2 boys of her own at home, one of which has a developmental disorder. Learn more about her here.