Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Seeing myself in him

Have you ever looked for yourself in your child? I'm not talking about eyes, nose or other physical features, or even intelligence or attitude. I'm talking about behaviors. As a parent who has autism, I guess I have a semi-unique perspective on this. Most parents of autistic children are not such themselves.

Denver can get very aggressive with his toys to the point of breaking them. This is because he's trying to make what's happening with the toy as much like what ever he saw on television or somewhere else.

Take action figures for example. If two heroes are fighting, it's not enough to pretend the punch and effect. He will actually haul back and slam one figure into the other with force and conviction. He often does this with things that are not meant to be hammered into each other. He wants to feel the force of it all. It makes it more realistic to him. "But, Dad, punching isn't like that." Neither is crashing when it comes to his toy cars.

This often causes broken toys and those get discarded with a small lecture on being rough on toys.

So how does this fit in seeing myself in him? I did that too. I used to play all star wrestling with my vast assortment of stuffed animals and I didn't hold anything back. I punched them so hard they flew across the room. I did the jump from the turnbuckle and body slammed them into the floor. This caused tears and such that my grandmother would fix. I would get a lecture though. Crashing? Oh yes, my cars crashed with force that cleared other object off the table. That got me into a lot of trouble. "You had to see the ash tray! What were you thinking?"

I wasn't thinking, I was crashing. Didn't they know the difference? Apparently not.

It's important to remember the very literal sense that the Asperger's child has (along with other autistics to be sure). Look at a real crash. There's always force and damage and things go flying. Why would I play it out any differently?

Being able to see myself in my son has given me great hope. I know that I grew out of all the behaviors he exibits today. I did this without proper support, so he should do doubly as well, right? Well, that's kind of far ahead and he will have his own decisions to make by then. I will just have to do my job as a parent and remember, that I did these things too.

So take a look at the things your child does and try to think back. Did you do anything similar? What insight can you find? You might be surprised.

1 comment:

Crystal said...

I'm not autistic (I don't think), but I see many traits of autism that I possess in my son. I just didn't know they were autistic traits until my son was diagnosed.