February 12, 2023, WKYC Good Company
CLEVELAND, Oh. (WKYC)-As we all know Valentine’s Day is a day filled with showing each other love. It comes easy to most, but when you’re neurodiverse it might be more difficult to show love in the typical ways of someone who is neurotypical. Joe from Good Company meets with Alli Frazier, CEO of Frazier Behavioral Health, to discuss how to become more aware of this and how everyone in your family can feel loved this season.
Every neurodiverse individual is unique and some may show love in a very traditional way with words and with gestures. But some individuals may be nonverbal or have social changes and show love and affection by getting closer to you, making eye contact, or by sharing a special interest with you.
Neurodiverse individuals might also receive love differently as well. Everyone appreciates when other people take an interest in what we like to think about and talk about. A lot of times a neurodiverse person will spend a lot of time thinking and talking about a very special interest. We can show love and affection by engaging with them in that special interest and learning more about it. At times it can be overwhelming especially if they talk about it constantly, but one tip Alli suggests is to have a visual or a code word to say “Now we’re talking about a different topic and now we’re going to park that thought for now”. But engaging in their interest a little bit each day can help them know they are loved and appreciated.
As an autism mom herself, Alli has advice for other neurodiverse parents to help them show love and affection. “One way I like to show love and affection to my own son is by just sitting quietly with him and not saying anything”, Alli stated. “If I see it’s a day where he just needs decompression we might just sit in his room on a bean bag and watch animal planet quietly.” Alli also suggests going for walks or for a drive. Her son is nonverbal but loves car rides where they listen to music together. He can make sound approximations and match the melody of the music which they crank up and sing and laugh together.
When it comes to nontraditional valentines gifts, Alli says it’s okay to think outside of the box. Think about the special interests and maybe a small token that falls within that special interest. But Alli thinks the best gift you can give is your full time and attention. When they’re older they might not remember the chocolate bar, but they will remember the one on one time they spent with mom and dad.
To request a consult or connect with the experts at FBH, give them a call at 216-446-2944.
You’ll find them at 5885 Landerbrook Drive, Suite 310, Mayfield Heights, Ohio.
To watch the full segment on WKYC’s website please click here.