Consequence. Every action or inaction can have a consequence. We try to teach our kids this valuable lesson through out their young lives. But how to be teach this lesson to our autistic children. Autistic children have a very difficult time in any type of social interaction. This is a major struggle for us with Gavin. He doesn’t understand all the time that his actions have consequences,sometimes good and sometimes bad.
The best way we have found is to hold him to a higher standard. We have discussed this at length with all his doctors and teachers. Gavin has to face consequences for his actions. If he hits his brother there is a consequence. If he throws a fit or has a meltdown that has a consequence. They only way Gavin is going to learn is through consistency and consequence. We see Gavin as a child who is autistic and bipolar, ect. However, that doesn’t excuse him from being held accountable for his actions. For example, we don’t punish Gavin for smelling things as that’s just an aspy thing. We would however, punish (for lack of a better word) him for smelling his brothers food. Two very different things but for Gavin he doesn’t understand.
The other big issue is inappropriate touching. We have a zero tolerance policy for this behavior. It’s to his room for the rest of the day. We have to be extreme for things like this because people will get hurt. Gavin has little impulse control which makes this type of situation very dangerous. When he’s older he will go to jail not his room. We have to hit things like this really hard. It’s his only chance.
With all of this also comes guilt. We hate being so hard on him. Sometimes I just want to see him as developmentally disabled child and let these things slide, but I can’t. I would only be hurting him in the long run. But there does come a point where I wonder if this is worth the effort because he never seems to learn. His doc’s explained it like this: “you wouldn’t punish a blind man for not being able to see, but you punish the same blind man for shooting someone”. To me that makes a lot of sense. I hope this all pays off at some point and it someday just clicks with Gavin.
Until then we have to trust that his doctors are right and we are doing these things because it’s in his best interest. Sometimes the right thing to do doesn’t feel right all the time.