Saturday, June 30, 2012

Even I can stumble in autism parenting

My kiddo when he was doing homework
Raising a child with autism is a series of challenges. Parents get flustered and we are no exception. Yes, I've been an advocate for education on autism but that doesn't make me more than human or immune to stress and frustration.

It's easier to give advice on someone else's child because you can almost do it with a clearer head and a different point of view. But that's why we have a community isn't it? So let me bring up to date.

Last week my son was grounded from his DS games for three days because of lying. He accepted that up front but got up in the middle of the night and stole his DS back from our bedroom. For that, he lost it until the 1st of July (with a vacation right around the corner). I warned him if he did that again, he couldn't take his DS on vacation. We spent the day talking about it and doing what is right. That very night, he stole it again.

I hid the DS in a new place that truly confounded him. We woke up at 2 am with him in our closet looking for it.

To stop that behavior we removed the DS from the house, but a new situation came up. It was 10:30 or so at night and we were in the opposite end of the house watching television when I got a phone call. It was the stepfather of one of my son's friends (not keep in mind my son's 10 years old). My son was standing in his friend's driveway on the opposite side of the block from us. I couldn't believe it. I went straight to his room and sure enough, he wasn't there. He had climbed out his bedroom window and left. We didn't hear a thing and no one saw anything either. I went and picked him up.

How did he manage a window with a six foot drop? His bed was how he reached the window and pushed out the screen. My mountain bike was parked under the outside of the window and that's how he got down. He was lucky, way too lucky to describe. The following morning we went into protocol mode. Call the therapists office and report to his psych dr, get his counselor and a police officer to come over and talk to him about how dangerous it was for a child in his pajamas to run off at night.

He hasn't run off again, but he's still getting up at night and getting into mischief. He snuck his laptop into his room and has gotten candy. The candy is no big deal but we are worried for his safety so there are rounds of us playing guard duty. His bedroom has been completely rearranged so there's no more reaching that window. I need to be taking his shoes and sandals at night. And I've set up a table in the living room so I can be right in sight of him while working at my computer instead of being in the office.

We've already received lots of wonderful advice. Good friend Neil from facebook suggested that his DS may have become his special interest and therefore as powerful as a stim behavior for him. Taking it away makes him too unbalanced. I missed that thought and thank Neil for pointing it out. So a new schedule is under way. He's saying he needs more of us. He's not throwing violent tantrums or anything like that.

But even an advocate can get flustered and need advice. No one is perfect.


Anonymous said...

Wow, great parenting. So a kid gets to break all the rules because he's autistic. That's really going to help him in the real world. Oh, it's ok if he steals or rapes someone, he's autistic and stopping him from doing it is wrong. Just teach him that he needs to say that he can't help doing something because OMG!Autism and then you don't have to bother with teaching anything else.

David Wilde said...

It may surprise a lot of people that I bothered to accept your comment, but have my reasons. One of which is the purpose of education. Yes, I’m going to take your comment and shred it before your very eyes. Don’t be surprised if a few other parents join force on that because you obviously paid little attention to what you just read before leaving this thoughtless and cruel comment.
You accuse me of not disciplining my child (never mind the fact that it’s none of your damn business) but you might note a couple things I posted clearly for those who can read:
He’s grounded. He’s been grounded and he’s still grounded. We had a police officer come and talk with him. And he’s even been made to stay in his room, lose other favorite toys, and he’s even been spanked. (Mind you ten licks with the paddle kept his attention for all of 30 seconds). I discipline my child, but once again, it’s truly none of your business. It’s commenters like you who make things hard for families that already struggle.
Your comment is hateful and lacks education or any attention to details of what you supposedly read. That’s very sad.
Nowhere and I mean NOWHERE does my blog post say that autism is used to let my child get away with crimes or anything else. And anyone who actually KNOWS me, knows that I don’t believe that autism should be an excuse or defense in criminal activity or bad behavior.
There is a distinct difference between disciplining bad behavior in a 10 year old and assisting with mental and sensory conditions like autism. Something you clearly don’t understand.
If I were to be such an uncaring parent, I wouldn’t have him working with therapists and counselors to learn how to control himself, I wouldn’t have doctors watching over his medications, I wouldn’t have worked with the school team actively to get him through 4th grade, I wouldn’t have a behavior reward chart on the wall for him that we’ve used for years.
But you don’t know any of this:
You don’t know my child
You don’t know me
You don’t know my family
And sitting at a computer, halfway reading a blog is not enough to get to know anyone personally or know their situation personally. You should try to remember that next time you think you should go on the warpath on someone or their family over how they are dealing autism or how they share their experiences with the autism community. We in the autism community are here to be helpful and positive for each other. If that’s too much for you, maybe you should find something else to do. I’ll be taking no more comments from you unless you would like to post an apology for going off the handle and being offensive.

David Wilde said...

Let me clarify something else brought to my attention. He has not been given his DS back yet. It's locked up in an office until Monday. He has not been told that he has been given back his DS yet either. The idea is to work his DS into a healthy reward rather than an entitlement. Not that I owed it to Mr. Anonymous to explain our life in detail to him or her. However, if Mr. Anonymous wants to send another hateful comment with accusations about teaching my child to be a rapist (or any comment at all at this point) I will be happy to have all those comments reported. This comment stands as warning to that person.

Michelle Allen said...

To whomever you are, you are obviously the one that needs EDUCATING!! My son's father, and his new wife, are doing one heck of a job raising our son! You have absolutely no idea what it is like to raise a child with special needs obviously, though you apparently have a few of your own. If you think that being Autistic means that he isn't living in the so-called "real-world" btw, you are sadly mistaken. He is slapped in the face by it every day! He has to work twice as hard at learning things that you take for granted, and sometimes learn them all over again a week later. So how dare you try to accuse anyone of poor parenting, when you haven't walked a single day in their shoes.

Blondiewrites said...

I don't have a child with autism, but I have friends that do. I enjoy reading about the trails and successes because I see patterns and many of the same behaviors that all parents go through. The comment made by anonymous, is said by someone that has no clue or idea what it takes to raise a child with autism to be a productive member of society. This boy is only 10 years old and has a special attachment to his DS, which is normal for an autistic child.

Where the hell did this article say that this 10 year old boy raped someone or even could? He is a child for gods sake. He is doing what many children have or can do, even children without a disability.

Carl said...

The majority of reasons why Anonymous is wrong has been covered here already, however I will go over the basics again.

As a parent of a child with autism and an autism blogger myself, I am well familiar with the issues of trying to teach proper behaviour to our autistic son.

As Mr Wilde explained physical punishment has very little benefit even if it is administered immediately as there are issues of pain tolerance (higher then most) and understanding of the reason for discipline. The main goal we have to cover is 1/ teach our child appropriate behavior to a degree he does not forget it. 2/ not create hard feelings by treating him in a more lenient fashion then his siblings.

Physical punishment and even loss of favoured items has little value with our child. The main thing to remember when dealing with him is that learning is done through extensive repetition (essentially ABA therapy methods)

Our son has limited vocabulary, not through lack of intelligence but as a symptom of his autism and as such has little ability to communicate with us effectively. For this reason we must use all efforts to attempt to create the most effective method of both discipline and teaching.

The other little detail that we have managed to learn over time is that every autistic child learns differently and this means that no matter how much some people who have no understanding of autism would love a one size fits all solution. That does not work with NT children so why would anyone expect it to work with a child who does not see things, or understand things the same way as other children their age.

David Wilde said...

Well said, Carl. There were two more comments that I would not post from Anonymous and then I had to change settings to this blog so that persons could not post to this blog anonymously anymore because I felt that his comments were that disturbing and inappropriate. When he accused me of "neurodiversity mantra" and impeding on his freedom of speech I realized this was a person that is outside of reason.

Neurodiversity has nothing to do with this blog post's subject matter. Beyond that, the comparisons given to claim what my child may or may not learn from how I teach my child is exaggerated and totally unfounded. It's ridiculous.

And freedom of speech does NOT mean you have the right to shove your beliefs down someones throat or be a troll on their blog. You want to practice freedom of speech? Do it on your own site. No one can stop you there. But when you go to another person's web page and make comments that are derogatory or considered inappropriate, degrading, attacking or obscene, the right falls to the person running that page to say NO.

If freedom of speech worked the way this person suggests, then they could go to the nearest coffee shop and scream obscenities at the top of their lungs and be verbally abusive to everyone. AND, they couldn't be removed for it. But that's not how freedom of speech works. And behaving like that gives the storeowner the right to tell you to leave or better yet call the police and have you removed for disturbing the peace.

Same goes with this blog, Anonymous, you violated the peace, you will not post here because of it. I suggest you get a better education to clear up your warped view of Freedom of Speech.