This is a massive subject so naturally I’m only going to touch the edges of it, but it’s something I often wonder about and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Teaching Jude can be a challenge at times but how do you go about encouraging positive behaviour? And when is autism an excuse for such behaviour?
How do you teach your ASD child right and wrong? Do you let them get away with everything because they have ASD or do you treat them like any other neuro-typical child? Sorry, so many questions.
I think I’m kind of in the middle of every possible answer.
For me, it’s important for Jude to not believe he can do whatever he likes. This is just going to lead to life long problems and as you know, I have that constant fear of being completely out of control when he’s way bigger than me! And for this reason, I want to imbed notions of right and wrong as early as possible.
I’ve always been quite firm with rules (mostly…when I’m not too tired to argue). Obviously, not in a horrible way but very much guiding him towards how I think people in society should behave. I guess that’s what we do as parents. When people say that we shouldn’t inflict our views on children, I always retort that that’s actually entirely impossible.
I don’t think I treat Jude a huge amount differently to the girls. Obviously, there are moments where he can’t help himself and for those times, I step back. If Elsa were to behave the same way then it would be a completely different situation. Is this just expectations? I expect her not to have a melt down however with Jude, it’s perfectly acceptable.
Melt downs are a valid acceptance with children like Jude and I appreciate this. I guess the “excuse” element of the title really alludes to what you let happen on a day to day basis.
I’m waffling as usual. It’s just such a huge topic that really I shouldn’t even try to tackle it.
I was reading up on tips for behaviour and found these quite useful.
- Emphasise role models – both within the family and school. This can be a fantastic way for your child to understand socialisation. Emmeline absolutely loves to be in charge of showing Jude how we eat beautifully at the table. Works both ways!
- Use tools such as headphones – not something Jude particularly likes but if noise is a trigger for your child then when out and about, offer some sound muffling headphones for the duration of the trip. Don’t be afraid of doing something like this. It’s all about making your child comfortable and be damned what anyone else thinks.
- Timetables or maps. If you have a few shops to visit and you are already sweating with stress just at the thought of it, perhaps consider making a timetable or drawing a map. This way your child can see where you are going, how long you will be and they will hopefully be able to feel more in control of the situation.
- Be consisted. This goes without saying with any child but those with ASD may need consistency even more to reinforce the point.
- Have a safe room or a safe space where your child can retreat if they are feeling anxious. Jude has always sought a space that he can commander wherever we’ve gone. Even visiting friends or family, he’ll scout around the house until he’s content he’s found somewhere!
- Encourage turn taking games – this can pull a child with ASD out of their obsessive routines and will show them social situations they may naturally shirk away from. Jude loves board games and we have a few that he particularly enjoys. Seeing him interact with his sisters in this manner is just wonderful.
- Explain to siblings about ASD and why your ASD-er is able to do something they are not. Keep reiterating how wonderful they are for managing in difficult situations and praise good behaviour at all times. Giving your other children tasks or responsibilities (such as showing fantastic eating habits!) can really make them feel strong.
This is an element I think the girls have done fantastically with. I know they shout the usual “why is he allowed to and I’m not” every so often but they’ve understood marvellously.
- Final point. Remember you are not alone and there are people and numbers out there for you to call if you can’t cope with certain situations.
I’d love to hear how you work with issues around behaviour in your house. Let me know your thoughts.