Dear Stacey,

My 12-year-old daughter has been diagnosed autism. I am perplexed about the best way to help her. She does not seem to respond to me or other family members when we talk to her calmly. She reacts harshly when we are sweet to her.  She is calmer when we speak harshly. This is the opposite of others I know who are diagnosed with autism.  Is the diagnosis wrong?


Shirley, Michigan


Hi Shirley,

Your daughter has a kind of autism that is uncommon. There are similar factors involved even though she responds differently. She came in with a very low self-esteem and does not think she deserves to be treated well. Deservability is a common issue for everyone but even more so for autistic children.

The main beliefs to shift are, “I don’t deserve to be treated well” and “I don’t deserve love.”  This should help her to respond better to your kind words and allow in your love a little more.

It would be good for her to eat a banana every day. This will also help her to be a bit calmer.

Autistic children are very bright and came to help others understand a lot about human nature. She is teaching you a great deal.





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