I follow a few autism-related facebook pages, and on several, the administrators post anonymous questions from followers so that others may offer advice. There was one such posting this morning from a clearly frustrated mother who found herself yelling at her son, and feeling unable to handle his behavior.
I’ve been there, my family has been there, the ex has been there, and The Man has been there. We have all yelled at The Boy for one reason or another. Luckily, there is that voice inside of us that immediately tells us that it was unnecessary and the incorrect thing to do, and we tend to go back, make amends and start over. I think the person who posted the question has that sense of remorse, otherwise she wouldn’t have posted. And I think every person touched by autism can understand her feeling of helplessness.
What has helped me (and this is not to say that I don’t yell anymore, but it’s pretty rare), has been to really try to see the world as The Boy sees it, understand the frustrations he is dealing with, and remember that behavior is communication for our ASD kids. If he starts to fuss about something, or refusing to do something, I immediately try to put myself in his place and review what is really bothering him – many times it’s something sensory, some change to the routine, no physical activity, or the fact that he hasn’t had any time to revel in his obsessions lately. It’s not necessarily whatever he is verbalizing.
And reading books and blogs written by people on the spectrum can provide great insight and spectacular “A-Ha!” moments. It’s amazing how differently you can see your child sometimes after reading something that just clicks.
I think a lot of people get hung up on never quite understanding, and they develop their own sense of what these kids should be. “He should know better.” But I don’t dwell on the “shoulds” – I just keep analyzing my own kid, and his communication, either verbal or behavior, to try to understand him as he is.