Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sometimes I Just Don't Know How to Act

I treat my son just like any other almost three year old. I have expectations for him. I expect nice manners and kindness. I expect him to clean up after himself. I expect him to be a gentleman(boy). I teach him everything I think an almost three year old boy should know.

Expectations and reality are worlds apart in the wonderful world of Autism. Expectations and reality are also worlds apart in the wonderful world of Almost-Three.

Where do I draw the line? Should I draw the line?

I wrestle with this daily. Should I treat my son differently because he has Autism? Should I expect less from my son because he has Autism?

I don't know.

I know he has a serious condition that affects the way he processes information and life itself, but does that mean I should parent him diffrently than I did my daughter?

I don't know.

I try very hard not to excuse him from life and its' expectations because he has Autism. I try not to say, " Oh, he does that because he has Autism" Certain behaviors I know he just can't control and I accept that and I have come to expect that too.

I try not to say, " He can't do that because he has Autism"

That one is a little harder.

And maybe I'm mean. There are certain things that I won't allow him to do because he has Autism.

Hand flapping.

There have been two occasions when my son flapped his hands. Once when he was about 15 months old. He stated doing this strange looking open and shut motion with his hands. It looked, well, bad. He did it over and over again. This went on for days. Finally, I sat beside him and did what he was doing but I greatly exaggerated the motion and I said, "David, darling, that looks silly. Look at Mommy being silly too" He stopped that hand motions when he saw how I looked doing it.

He did it again yesterday. Only this time, the motion looked more like a penguin. He was watching Elmo at the time and there was a song on that he liked. I thought the flapping was due to excitement. He kept flapping well after the song was over. So I said, "David, if the song is good, don't flap, clap!" I went back to the part of the tape that had the song on it and we clapped together.

Was that the right thing to do?

I don't know.

To me, those little bodily idiosyncracies of Autism are like nose picking. Necessary, but not socially acceptable.

I get the whole need for sensory input. I just try to have David get his input in a way that doesn't look, well, bad. In a way that doesn't cause the Autism beacon to shine upon him.

Is that right?

I don't know.


Maddy said...

I wish I had some easy answers but it gets more tricky as they get bigger. Mine still sit on my lap [huge though they are] but that does give me the opportunity for some deep proprioceptive input on the quiet.
Best wishes

This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

Kelly Yates-Rice said...

My daughter is an adult and she still sits on my lap! :-)

There are no easy answers. It seems like almost everyday has a new challenge.

Amy said...

Kelly, I do the same thing with the hand flapping - we redirect him to clap instead. And still from time to time he'll do it. So we just redirect him. I agree that every day there seems to be a new challenge. The only advise I can give is to not let it drive you crazy.

I have two boys - 2 and 3. I see so many things that my 2 year old is doing verses his older brother. And I find myself telling Peter he has to do it too. But then I realize that he'll learn how to do it - at his pace. So I don't let it stress me on what Peter can't do as a three year old verses what he can do as a three year old.

Best wishes!

Kelly Yates-Rice said...

I'm glad to know I'm not the only "mean" Mom.

It's so good to hear from you. I don't know any other parents from whom I can seek advice.


serina said...

Ihave 8 year old twins with autism I do the same thing as a parent do what you feel is right and just think of your liitle one as a unique individual who does things just because but no matter what the love is always the same on both ends keep up the good parenting....

Charisse said...

Great work.

Kristin said...

I think you are doing the right thing.