Should You Allow Your Autistic Child to Watch TV?
Some parents wonder whether they should allow their autistic child to watch TV. They worry about the appropriateness of allowing their child to watch TV especially since they know that their child needs constant therapeutic interaction. The fact that their child’s physician has advised them to spend hours of therapeutic interaction with their child makes them doubt their decision even more.
And because watching TV and videos are not interactive, there is a tendency for some parents to feel bad every time they allow their child to engage in this activity. Yes, they enjoy the short break they get when their child watches TV however, they cannot help but feel guilty. They feel bad that they are enjoying their break and they feel bad that they are letting their child down by not engaging him in an interactive activity.
You should not be feeling this way. You must keep in mind that you need your break too. You need some down time to help you recharge so you can take care of him better. Having this break is not just for your own good but for your child as well. You just cannot be physically and emotionally available 24 hours a day even if you really wanted to. At some point in time, you will need to recharge and you should never feel guilty about doing so.
When you allow your child to watch TV, choose a TV show or video that is appropriate for your child. What is your child interested in? What would he enjoy watching? For example, if he loves animals and enjoys learning about them, the Animal Planet is a good program which he will surely enjoy. It is educational and will definitely spark his interest.
You can cuddle on the couch with him while both of you watch the TV show together. Keep in mind that these quiet, physically intimate moments are just as significant to your child’s development. The important thing is not to use your TV as your child’s baby sitter. As long as his TV time is offered in a structured and limited manner, you should be okay. Keep in mind that moderation is key and that anything excessive is not good.