Wednesday, August 03, 2011

the shame of being frustrated with your child for having autism.

Something I don't like talking about is how incredibly frustrated I sometimes get with Max. I know that all five year olds are hard to handle. But the difference with a neurotypical child and a child with autism is that you can reason with a neurotypical kid. You can sit down with him and explain consequences and choices and how things work. Heck, we do this with Cameron and she is only three. Having those conversations with Max is pointless, because he just doesn't think that way. The only thing that works with him is positive reinforcement, and it's hard to give positive reinforcement when he is only exhibiting behaviour you don't want to see.

A specific example is that he has recently started doing his business (#1 and #2) on the floor next to his bed. This is not actually new, as he has been doing this first thing every morning upon waking up for months now. To combat this I have been doing my best to set my alarm for 6am so that I can get into bed with him and be there when he wakes up (he won't do it if I'm in the room). My hope is that if I can just break this daily ritual we can get him to eliminate on the toilet. But, over the last few weeks he has started exhibiting this unpleasant behaviour at bedtime as well. His record is 5 times in one night before he finally fell asleep. Scott and I alternate clean ups so that we don't totally lose our minds.
This morning Scott mentioned that perhaps we should invest in a video monitor so that we can catch him in action. While I agree that this is likely the only way we can get him to stop, I also worry that for Max, this will only add a new dynamic to this game that he finds incredibly entertaining. It's hard not to want to yell at him when he is sitting on his bed giggling while you clean up after him and change his sheets for the umpteenth time that day. I don't write about this to garner sympathy. I write about this to give you specific examples on the types of things parents of children with autism deal with on a daily basis. If it wasn't this, it would be something else. In fact, I have no doubt that once we eventually conquer this challenging behaviour, Max will cook up something new for us.

On the days I am most frustrated, I make sure I take pictures of Max. It helps to see him through a different lens (literally, figuratively, whatever). I know we all get frustrated with our kids. But it sucks when you are frustrated with your kid for something he has no control over.

1 comment:

  1. Melissa4:39 PM

    I was going to say I don't know how you do it, but I hate that expression. And I do not know how you do it, based on your other posts. Thank you for sharing. It's helpful to hear honest women talk about their realities.

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