My biggest current battle in the learning curve of parenting an Autistic child.. dissecting what is Autism, normal 4 year old behavior and what is learned behavior. Giving a child with Autism consequences is A MUST! Knowing when is appropriate..That’s the difficult part.
Tonight, during dinner Ayden gets down from the table and gets under the table and gets real quiet. I’m keeping my eye on him and notice he is licking the wood chairs. As we were having dinner with people who GET IT, I still wanted to crawl under the table with him and DIE! Now, my thoughts are licking is way better than biting. So, let him lick. But, during dinner and with friends. I redirect. Knowing what’s coming. We stall the inevitable and I see the behaviors increasing and know any moment the world is going to crumble. And it does for an hour. Now, this whole scenario has gone on for about 2 1/2 hours.
When the meltdown is over, we return to our friends and he has shame written all over him. Melting down in front of others has to be hard. We try our best to avoid it and most of the people left in our life understand and try to be so helpful. Then, the aggression starts. He’s ANGRY and TIRED! And starts conflict with the other kids. I hold him as accountable as I would any child. But, my friends… they want to baby him. They call it supportive. And, I know their intentions are right on target but all those hands and voices coming at my child after a meltdown has to be overwhelming. But, he pulls it together. He also accepts his consequences with understanding. He verbally tells me his limits. I push them because we can’t live in a box and because sometimes life is normal enough to forget what I’ve learned over the past two months. And, we get through. And most invite us back in their home. Almost everyone I know at this point will tolerate Ayden’s meltdowns in return for his comedic nature, his openness, his funny euphemisms and because underneath it all – He is a HUGE bundle of love.
As a parent of an Autistic Child there is little room for error and lots of room for improvement. Knowing what falls in each category is the hard part. Things get boggled. We feed off each others emotions. A meltdown is an exhausting experience. I have learned to stall them, redirect them but still working on how to get through them with it causing him to lose pieces of me momentarily. Basically, the most tangible thing that I have is his ability to communicate. THANK GOD! It can always be worse.