Am I Allowed To Be Sad
Just because I experience sadness over a specific skill Charlie doesnt have or that he doesnt show me love doesnt mean I dont love Charlie. My posts are full of love, hope, and pride for Charlie. It is awful that other mothers have guilted me for my feelings about having a nonverbal autistic son. I get messages all the time from parents thanking me for my blog who relate to my life. These parents find solace in my words, and they feel less alone because of how I open myself and my life to them. Thats what makes it worth it for me.
Know That Medical Issues Can Be Involved
I wish I had known about the invisible medical issues of autism right from the start. For years, I had no idea that gastrointestinal dysfunction, including constipation, acid reflux, inflammation and pain, could dramatically affect my sons sleep patterns, mood, irritability, aggression, attention, and even communication. Our son had to power through those problems all by himself on a daily basis, and it breaks my heart that we never suspected the cause of many of his struggles.
Janet Lintala, West Virginia
Assume That Most Of Their Identity Is Down To Autism Rather Than Personality Choices
The phrase yeah, thats his autism is one I have heard far too many times. Even in professional circles.
Yes, our autism influences us. Yes, it often gives us particular habits or interests unique to us. But to say its just his/her autism is implying that we dont get any say in the matter.
I remember when I was running a chess tournament in a special school . One crucial match was scheduled for a day when the school was doing a special event. Throughout the day there was only one opportunity for this game to be played and ten minutes before the start, one of the students got a migraine and had to go home.
This stressed me out because I was relying on that matchs result so I could drive straight to the trophy centre after work and have the prizes engraved . And Im fairly transparent, so people could tell I was bothered by something.
When I told one of my colleagues I was feeling stressed, she immediately asked me oh dear- is it because todays been a break from routine?
No, it wasnt.
Some other examples:
That said, there is a balance. Like I said, autism does have an impact on us. I used to watch Independence Day on video over and over and over and over again when I was twelve, and you could validly say that this habit was influenced by my Aspergers. But the main reason it happened was because Independence Day was an awesome movie!
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Hating Autism And The Damage It Does
If this article challenges you, it may be a good thing. Id encourage people to read this with an open mind, even if your instincts are telling you to oppose it.
I used to have a love/hate relationship with my autism, especially in the early days of knowing I was autistic. To this day, I have followers on who hate their autism too. And in most cases, that hatred was taught. By society, by fearmongers on the internet, by people closer to us, whoever.
But for a moment, Im going to ignore the historical hatred directed at me for being autistic . Instead Ill concentrate on a former student of mine: a 12-year-old boy who was the perfect poster child for the type of autism that suffers the most hatred.
During my time with this boy, I changed his soiled pads more times than I can count. I had to deal with physical attacks, which he couldnt possibly have known would hurt . I had to physically stop him putting himself in danger, and catch him when he ran away. I rode in the back of an ambulance with him when he had a seizure during our end-of-year celebration meal.
And during the whole time, I never hated his autism.
He deserved better than that. Because in hating his autism, I would be obliged to hate his quirky approach to life, his habit of patting his hands against me to show that he liked me, his near-unceasing laughter, and his unreserved enthusiasm that had never been dulled by peer pressure.
Your Journey May Be Different But Your Goal Is The Same
“What we want for our children is the same thing that everybody else wants for their kids. It may take them a little longer to get that, it may take us more intervention, but in the end health and happiness is what everyone wants for their children.”
Ruth Singer Strunck, the mom of two young adults with autism
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Everyday And Social Skills For Unfamiliar And Difficult Situations
Sometimes autistic children and teenagers might seem like theyre behaving inappropriately. But actually they dont have the skills to handle unfamiliar or difficult situations.
For example, your child doesnt say hello to someone. Your child isnt being rude on purpose they might not know they should say hello. Your child might start hitting something because a particular noise is upsetting them. Or your child might smear poo on the wall because they like the warmth and texture of it, not because they want to upset you or do the wrong thing.
Breaking tasks into steps can help autistic children and teenagers learn everyday skills like how to get dressed or how to use deodorant.
Prioritize Independence And Communication
After baseline medical needs are met and you figure out how to deal with the everyday, I recommend that parents pay particular attention to the areas of communication, self-help and socially appropriate skills. A child who has a high academic ability, but poor communication skills, hygiene or a proclivity to hurt others will greatly limit their opportunities.
Nicole Sugrue, Port Washington, New York
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Im Not Someone To Pity Simply Because My Child Has Autism
Autistic children are writing books, making films, creating blogs, and making all sorts of other groundbreaking achievements. Yet, when a parent tells someone their child is autistic, they are usually met with an unnecessary apology or look of pity. Autism is not something to be pitied, and our societys outlook should change to reflect that.
Dont Approach Parents With Pity
Children with autism bring their parents joy, and theres plenty to be proud of. Approaching parents with pity undermines all that, and some parents take offense to those statements.
Children with autism often listen closely to what adults say, activists explain. Hearing an exchange of pity can make the child feel bad, wrong, or worthless. Your comment could cause more work for already overburdened parents.
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And Finally Theres An Extension To This Article Containing Points 6
Yeah, I originally planned to just extend this article, but instead Ive doubled it.
Writing for Autistic Not Weird has now become my job, thanks to those who support me via Patreon. The extension to this article is a thank you to anyone who thinks my work is worth $5 per month or more, and allows me to spend my time helping the autism community worldwide. To those interested:
Dont Take Things Personally
Children with autism may not respond in a manner you understand or expect. They may walk away from you, ignore you, or have a meltdown.
Its easy to have hurt feelings, but do your best to keep your emotions in check. The child may be working hard to adjust to your expectations and your reality. Be as flexible as you can, and keep trying to form that connection.
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Listen To The Parents
Just as you surround a child with autism with acceptance, do the same for parents. Your support could mean the world to them.
Advocates explain that parents would love a night off to decompress and get away. If you feel comfortable with the idea, offer to babysit. If you dont, provide a listening ear to a parent in need. Schedule a regular coffee date for decompression and chatter, or set up play dates between your children while you both supervise.
Our Home Is Safety Proofed
Youre probably familiar with baby proofing a house. But while most families can take down the safety gates and doorknob locks once the child ages, families with children on the Autism Spectrum often have these items and more protecting their child from their homes inherent dangers. This is because many children on the Autism Spectrum are prone to behaviors that can bring about self injury.
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Theres No Need To Tag Us In Every Facebook Article About Autism
Parents of children on the Autism Spectrum are research junkies, and do their best to stay up-to-date with each and every advancement in the autism community. Certainly, they know more than the average person. As one parent put it, Theres literally no Facebook article we havent seen. So, before you share it and tag us because were that friend with the child with autism, take that into account.
Treatment For Aggressive Children With Autism
Knowing how to stop an autistic child from hitting is key. Aggressive behavior can hinder a childs progress at school, at home, and in social interactions. If your child has an autism diagnosis and is engaging in aggressive behaviors, seek treatment options as soon as possible.
The earlier the intervention , the greater your childs chances of developing alongside their peers and becoming independent.
At Therapeutic Pathways, our Board-Certified Behavior Analysts put together an ABA treatment plan for each child engaging in aggressive behaviors. We work diligently to remediate harmful behaviors and encourage children to engage in safer, more appropriate behaviors.
For more information and to learn more about our ABA methods, contact Therapeutic Pathways at 422-3280 to see if our Behavior Center program is right for your child.
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When My Child Is Having A Meltdown Please Stay Calm
Meltdowns occur because children on the Autism Spectrum often feel overwhelmed by their surroundings. Therefore, a sense of calm is required to end the meltdown and restore a childs feeling of control. During a meltdown, the parent will likely be busy trying to calm their child. A helpful person standing by shouldnt approach the parent and child. They can help by trying to make the immediate area as peaceful as possible. As Autism Speaks recommends, Scan the area around the child for sights and sounds that may have contributed to the meltdown. . . . Is there an alarm that can be silenced? A flashing display that can be temporarily turned off?
Positive And Negative Consequences For Behaviour
A consequence is something that happens after your child behaves in a particular way. Consequences can be:
- positive for example, your child gets more time at the park if they get ready to leave the house
- negative for example, the toy is put away for 10 minutes if your child is throwing it.
You can use both positive and negative consequences to guide your childs behaviour. But its always best to focus more on giving your child positive attention for behaving in ways that you like. This usually means youll need to use negative consequences less.
Time-outQuiet time and time-out are useful consequences. Both involve taking your child away from interesting activities and not giving them attention for a short period of time.
Time-out might not work if your child tends to be withdrawn. It could end up being a reward rather than a negative consequence if it gives your child time alone.
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Were Not Safe And Shes Not Safe
In interviews, parents across New York State described the same scenes of fear and helplessness: being attacked by an adolescent child, now bigger and more aggressive than before. The dread that their child might turn on a younger sibling. Their growing helplessness as their childs self-injuring behavior relatively common among autistic children escalates. The emergency room visits when there was nowhere else to go. And their eventual realization that the family home may be the wrong setting for their child.
A father in Brooklyn described his anguish at watching his autistic son smash his head repeatedly against the hardest nearby surface: the wall, the floor, the detachable shower head. A mother in Albany described her daughters wild behavior: endless twirling, chewing on walls. Earlier this year, the girl was found in the yard with a broken arm, having either jumped or fallen out of a second-story window.
One of the glaring weaknesses of the system is there is no real option for families whose children fall into that category, said Christopher Treiber, an associate executive director at the InterAgency Council of Developmental Disability Agencies.
A half-century ago, many children with autism ended up in notorious state institutions like the Willowbrook State School on Staten Island, where those with developmental disabilities were left untended in filthy wards or strapped to beds.
It Won’t Always Be Like This
“During the hardest times, when my son wasnt sleeping or eating or when he melted down over lights and sounds, I wish I knew it wouldnt always be like this. I wish someone would have told me that the child I have now will grow and change and regress and thrive. You will feel frozen in time at different points. Know that it will get better. And harder. It will change.”
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You Are In An Abusive Relationship With Your Son Get Out
You and your husband need to get your son out of the house and â I’m sorry to say this â preferably arrested. He has gotten physical in the past, he has threatened you now. There is no reason to believe this to be an empty threat.
You and your husband will need to plan how to maximise your safety while doing this, but this needs to be done. You may still love your son but I don’t see any evidence he loves you back.
This seems to me analogous to living with an alcoholic: you go along with their behaviour, and eventually you’re living in a situation with someone else’s ‘rules’.
“… be prepared for his rage he will stop at nothing to bury me” sounds threatening. I’m not sure what you can do I recommend you get some counseling from someone with experience: maybe a lawyer police women’s shelter maybe your doctor people like that. He appears to be claiming that his uncontrolled rage would be your fault: that’s unacceptable, IMO.
Another possibility might be a relationship counsellor: who might provide an environment where you can explain your needs and motives, maybe define a plan or agree to some contract, without being threatened.
“He will tell lies and make it all about me” sounds to me like “guilt-tripping” and “gaslighting”.
For the short term, I’d simply put all agreements in writing, which contain three items each per agreement:
It is “measurable/quantitative” … e.g. empty all the trash bins and not just “take out the trash”.
This Is A Great Time To Parent A Child With Autism
“I am grateful that we live in the times that we do. So much new information has been discovered about autism. We live in the age of the internet and I can connect with another autism mom who lives several states or even countries over and talk about our shared experiences. I am grateful to have things like iPads that not only help my son communicate but also gives us a chance to share a moment while watching one of his favorite YouTube clips. A tip of my cap to the families that went before us. They really helped pave the way for the benefits my son has now. I hope I can do the same for the ones coming behind us.”
Eileen Shaklee, Wall, New Jersey
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Children On The Autism Spectrum Are Not Dumb
Kids with autism have the potential to be absolutely brilliant. Theyre also talented, philosophical, kind, and creative. This is something much of society fails to see, but in truth, the autistic mind is simply wired differently than those not on the Autism Spectrum. Hans Christian Andersen, Emily Dickinson, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Michelangelo, Mozart, and Sir Isaac Newton all are said to have exhibited autistic tendencies.
Autistic Son Hates School But Loves Arts And Crafts
- Lots and lots of arts and crafts and hands on activities I believe that I started losing interest in school in junior high and high school because there were so few hands-on activities. I don’t know where our school system got the idea that older kids don’t need hands-on instruction. But I completely disagree with this idea. I don’t think a kid ever outgrows the ability to enjoy hands-on activities.
- Remember the point of learning is to grasp the subject matter being taught, not just memorizing facts.
- Type of pencil used It is amazing what a difference changing from the standard #2 pencil to a basic, plasticBic auto pencil has made in our house .
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but standard pencils are kind of scratchy when you write with them. Plus they get dull so quickly, you have to re-sharpen them almost constantly. !.
The auto pencils are a bit more expensive, but they are SO worth it! Nathan still doesn’t like to write. But he now is more willing than before.
These are just a few of my favorite ideas.
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