Love and Logic and Autism

By Dr. Charles Fay

I’m often asked if Love and Logic applies to children with autism. For years, we’ve been hearing success stories from parents and professionals indicating the answer to this question:

Yes. While it doesn’t solve all of the child’s problems, Love and Logic really helps.

I’d like to share a relevant and much unexpected experience I had bicycling home from work one day. While I was peddling down a peaceful pedestrian-only path, a woman in a minivan jumped the curb, screeched to a halt in front of me, and screamed, “I’ve lost my child! He’s autistic and he ran away from us at the pool! Have you seen him?”

Of course I agreed to help her look for the boy. As I did, she warned, “He’s 13; he’s really big, and you won’t be able to get him to come with you.”
About two miles down the path, there he was. Yes, he was very big, and very agitated! I decided to use one of my favorite Love and Logic techniques, The One-Sentence Intervention.
I said to him, “Look at that watch.” He suddenly stopped and raised his arm to show me his Batman time piece. I countered with, “And I noticed that your shirt has a motorcycle on it.” He looked at his shirt. “And I heard you like to swim,” I continued. He stared at me with a combination smile and “what-planet-are-you-from?” look.
In our book, Teaching with Love and Logic, we teach that relationships are the key to reaching challenging kids. The One-Sentence Intervention involves noticing unique and special things about children.
After noticing these small things about the boy, I said, “Just follow me. I’ll take care of you.” To my amazement, he followed me all the way back to his mother.
This boy gave me a great gift. He reminded me that kids are human beings, not diagnoses. He also reminded me that each of them has the fundamental human need to feel noticed and valued.

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