As a mom, a parent with a son on the spectrum, its easy to get lost in our own lil world. We happily bounce along and do what we gotta do. We may do it differently or even look different as we do it, but we do it. We do *do* the same thing everyday, (for the most part). Its said that routine is a huge part in the progress of ASD kiddos. I on the other hand, somewhat disagree. I mean think about it, all of us live by routine really, we wake up every morning and eat breakfast soon after, go to work/school, have lunch, take a nap(okay, that's not fair) eat dinner, then go to bed and start all over. Does Bman care that I gave him a bath before his breakfast?? Nope! Does it bother him when I read him a book before dinner instead of bed?? Nope! I think living by a super strict routine is actually doing your child a disservice. I know, from experience, that routine at least in this ASD household doesn't matter. He actually does better when he cant predict whats gonna happen next. He learns, he grows. Putting his 'not so strong' skills to the test, only strengthens those skills. Ex. When we first started OT and speech, he'd scream, bat his arms and try to run away. By the second month, he was giggling as he saw his therapist through the door window. You don't start a new job, and then on the second day, make a mistake and quit. YOU LEARN!!! You get re-directed and you try again.
Instead of giving in to the outlandish behavior our asd kiddos can present (which I see often) stand your ground. Don't think they'll hate you, and/or resent you in the future for saying "no" or for expecting them to do something. They *are* children, and as children, they need rules, guidelines, held to certain expectations. I hold Bman to certain expectations. When your done eating, put your plate in the sink. If you want to play the Kindle, ask! I encourage him to "use your words" it takes him 5 seconds. But he always finds a way to spit those 5 beautiful little words out...."I...Want...To...Play...Games. If I gave in, and always just let him have it, in fear of a meltdown, I'd get one every time. He would know how to act, to get a certain reaction out of me. Of course there are times when I feel bad for saying no. Or I absolutely knowwwww, he didn't understand the words that just came out of my mouth, so I tend to be more patient in those moments. I feel as a member of the ASD community and witnessing how other parents handle their kids, I'm definitely the "mean mom"; and you know what? I like it that way.
It feels good knowing I'm still the adult, I still make the rules around here, and they obey. Its taken A LOT of hard work, patience, and a few mistakes made by yours truly, but I refuse to let a label keep my funny, adorable son locked in his own world. I'll join you, and hold your hand through the bad times and laugh through the good. We had a bad moment the other day while at Circle K, (mommy needed a soda bad) lol We walk in; mind you, I have Benji in the car seat slung over one arm, and Bmans hand in the other. As I get my drink he bolts it....before I knew it, he ran behind the counter, and I mean alll the way...like to the complete other side. I mean, really though, who can resist swinging doors???
As I say his name in my 'mom voice' I hear the courtesy clerk say to the other clerk, "what a bratty, undisciplined lil shit" ....the two teenage boys and their mom, who were in front of me, were giggling too. I mean, yeah its funny, to you. I had to keep my cool, cause man I was ready to unleash the beast. Did a child run into an area where he shouldn't have been? Yes! Did said child have any clue that he shouldn't have gone back there?? NO! I can almost guarantee that you ALL have made a mistake one time or another. I don't normally shout from the rooftop, "my kids disabled, cut him some slack" but I did. Out loud, in a defensive mamabear tone, I said, "He's disabled and its not funny" grabbed my free Dr. Pepper and walked straight outta there. As we were getting in the car, I told Bman, (who was upset I made him stop swinging the door) that it's okay he was upset but he had to listen. He said "sorry mama" then proceeded to sing along to the Lion King song that was playing. Just goes to show that as many times as you go into a Circle K and have a 'routine' is doesn't matter. These awesome, intelligent minded gifts are gonna do what they want regardless... work with them, not against them. The real world throws curve balls and he'll be ready.